Bernadette Black AM

Social Economic Ambassador (SEA)

Bernadette works with governments and communities across Australia, leveraging her advocacy of connecting lived experience to service delivery and policy design. Her work is having a transformative impact on our wider systems, helping these structures collaborate and become simple, so they can meet the needs of those that need it most.

From her own humble beginnings as a 16-year-old mother to founding and leading Brave Foundation as its inaugural CEO, to most recently being appointed its Social Economic Ambassador (SEA), Bernadette has gained a deep understanding of the issues facing our most disadvantaged youth and families. Bernadette’s appointment as SEA builds on her learnings and experience, as she leads the SEED, advocating for our most at-risk young families.

Bernadette has the vision to see an ‘intersection sector’ mobilised in Australia, this emerging sector will liberate new ways of thinking, through designing policy and funding architecture that meets the needs of our nation’s most at-risk families through life stages moments and early intervention. She convenes coalitions to advocate for wider systems change, that alleviates disadvantage for the next generation, allowing for longer-lasting and more meaningful impact.

She believes Australia can lead the way in transforming our traditional government systems, whilst complementing our already necessary government functions.

Bernadette Black is a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to young people, communities, and local governments. Alongside her international study, she has been awarded the Australian Tasmanian of the Year and included in the top 100 Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence for her pioneering leadership and impact with Brave. Bernadette is married to Steven, they have three children Damien, Baeleigh, and Flynn. Damien is married to Rebecca, and they have a little girl and a little boy. Bernadette is Nanna BB to her grandchildren, Juliette and Jaime. Baeleigh is married to Asher. Bernadette lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Jane Dickensen PSM

Policy and Advocacy Advisor

With a background in economics and education, Jane has worked in the Australian Public Service since the early 1990s across a range of social policy areas. Jane has worked extensively in family policy and was part of the team that developed, implemented and evaluated Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme. Jane has an ongoing interest in policies related to the workforce participation of parents.

More recently Jane worked collaboratively with the Brave Foundation to establish the Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens program as part of the Try, Test and Learn Fund, a fund testing innovative approaches to assist some of the most vulnerable in society onto a path towards stable, sustainable independence.

Kia Pelham

Executive Assistant to the SEA

Kia comes with a career of strategic executive and personal assistant experience and is the backbone to this nimble department, whilst demonstrating daily the very real principles that SEED is built upon

Lisa McGhee

Community Manager

Lisa joined the Brave Foundation as Community Manager of the Navigator Network in August 2022. A natural network weaver and relationship builder, she has worked in Government and charities and not-for-profits in Australia and the UK.

Lisa has experience in community justice mentoring, charity law and regulation and domestic and family violence prevention. She is passionate about systems change and challenging structural disadvantage, especially where this concerns women and girls.

Prior to joining Brave, Lisa was the Lead Doer and Connector at the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia (SIMNA), where she co-ordinated the constellation of people, resources and skills that make this the active network of individuals and organisations that it is today.

Read more about the Navigator Network.

Advisory Council

Andrew Tyndale
Impact Investing Specialist
Bernadette Black
Social Economic Ambassador
Carolyn Curtis
CEO, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation
Emily Cormack
Grant Program Manager, Equity Trustees
Grainne O'Loughlin
CEO, Karitane
Jack Coghlan
Principal, Consulting, Social Ventures Australia
Jennifer Weber
CEO, Caroline Chisolm Society
Jill Roche
CEO, Brave Foundation
Lorraine Finlay
Australian Human Rights Commissioner
Lucia Boxelaar
Associate Lead Principal, Clear Horizon
Marg Thomas
Assistant Secretary, Women’s Economic Security, The Treasury
Max Jeganathan
Policy & Political Subject Matter Expert
Mellissa Gray
Reform Lead, Keeping Children Safe Reform Unit, Department of Premier & Cabinet, Tasmania
Rebecca Pinney Meddings
Director of Children, Youth & Inclusion, Brotherhood of St. Laurence
Sacha Edema
Head of Government Affairs, Paul Ramsay Foundation
Simon Rowell
Director Economic Policy, Department of Premier & Cabinet (NSW)
Tamara Pararajasingham
National Manager Service Design & Development, Uniting Australia
Wendy Field
Head of Policy & Programs, The Smith Family
Rachel Howard
Strategic Consultant, Public Policy, Communications
Sharon Bessell
Professor, ANU Canberra
Kate Harrison Brennan
Director, Sydney Policy Lab

Our Board

Professor Maria Harries
Mia De Leo
Company Secretary
Angie Mastrippolito
Board Member
Irene Quah
Board Member
Jamie Crosby
Board Member
Dr Niki Vincent
Board Member
Rachel Howard
Board Member
Rolfe Brimfield
Board Member

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SEED acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work and live. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.


SEED, as a department of Brave Foundation, is supported as a child safe organisation by ChildSafe™.

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