Dialog Box

Our People

Marcus Dawe

Chair - Management Committee

marcus.dawe@missingschool.org.au

Marcus is a strategy, innovation, design and systems thinker. He leads several global initiatives in climate change and health. He focuses his activities on developing and supporting ventures that provide a global innovation edge. 

Marcus is passionate about health and co-founded Health Horizon, the largest collection of health innovations globally that allows innovators to showcase, seek funding and promote their innovations.

Marcus’s board experience is diverse. He sits on government committees, startup, non-profit, public and private sector business boards. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Marcus is passionate about health and education. He is strongly supportive of the vision and objectives of MissingSchool believing that it will continue to disrupt the market and change lives. 

Megan Gilmour

Co-founder & CEO - Management Committee

megan.gilmour@missingschool.org.au

Megan Gilmour is a social innovator who has worked on complex social and economic development operations across 24 countries, an expert in raising funding for dynamic innovation projects, and a leader in governance and systems, research and advocacy for students missing school because of serious illness.

Megan is co-author of an Australian-first report on school connection for sick kids which received a Prime Minister’s statement of support in 2015 and triggered widespread media. She then led action for a corresponding Australian government report, and designed the governance framework that shaped its findings. Megan created the Australian-first telepresence robot initiative connecting students with serious illness to their classrooms.

She’s a Churchill Fellow, a keynote and TEDx Speaker, and was nominated as a finalist for the ACT Australian of the Year award in 2018. In 2019 she was ACT winner and national finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category, and named on the Australian Financial Review list of 100 Women of Influence in Australia. Her work is passionately driven by her experience as a mother to a young son who survived a life-threatening illness. 

Scott Ellis

Treasurer - Management Committee

scott.ellis@missingschool.org.au

Scott is a Certified Practicing Accountant with over 25 years’ experience. Scott successfully manages his own business specialising in small business advice and management.

Scott has worked with several not-for-profits and draws upon his knowledge and experience to ensure MissingSchool’s accounting is compliant, efficient and effective.

Scott has children of his own and knows first-hand that a child’s education is important and that positive change makes an impact. Through MissingSchool, Scott is committed to ensuring that we keep seriously sick children connected to their school communities.

Lara Flynn

Secretary & Operations Manager - Management Committee

lara.flynn@missingschool.org.au

Lara is a highly motivated and organised professional with over sixteen years’ experience in professional roles that require a high degree of initiative, advocacy and responsibility. For the last five years, Lara has provided operational support the Dean of the Sydney University Business School which includes secretarial support to his board and management committees both internally and externally. 

Lara strongly believes in the vision of MissingSchool as she witnessed firsthand the impact missing school had on her cousin when he was sick. Lara watched her Aunty work tirelessly to support her son through a serious illness whilst advocating for his education at the same time. 

Lara hopes that she can support MissingSchool to continue to advocate for the education of other sick kids by keeping them connected to their school life.

Hugh Dixon

Public Officer

hugh.dixon@missingschool.org.au

Hugh supported his child through a life-threatening illness, and with honours and postgraduate studies in law and governance he is well placed to serve MissingSchool’s objectives.

Hugh understands the multiple burdens and stresses families and carers face when dealing with seriously ill children including the things many people don’t consider such as care of the sick child’s siblings, grief and trauma, strain on relationships, geographic relocation, financial hardship and more.

He sees a continuing relationship with the school community as critical to maintaining some kind of “normal” for seriously sick kids and their families.

Sarah Jones

Impact Manager, MissingSchool Telepresence Robot Pilot

sarah.jones@missingschool.org.au

Sarah is a driven, highly accomplished systems thinker who firmly believes that human connection changes lives.

Sarah has worked on Australian government aid projects, a local Indonesian NGO, an Indonesian university institution, and as an independent consultant and trainer. She’s also a cofounder of a tech startup in the international aid and development space, an unlikely turn of events for a social scientist who prefers words to numbers.

Her role on MissingSchool’s telepresence robot pilot brings together her professional background in complex international program management, her desire to see problems solved through systems change, her wonder at the technological age we live in.

Passionate about education, Sarah is eager to apply her skills to show how telepresence robots provide better connection and learning opportunities for seriously sick kids.

Vira Higgins

Community Manager, MissingSchool Telepresence Robot Pilot

vira.higgins@missingschool.org.au

A behavioural clinician in the disability sector, Vira is an advocate for holistic, person-centred care.

She has direct experience working with children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder in addressing their needs within the schools, homes and workplaces.

In addition to this clinical experience, she has held teaching, research and administrative roles within Behaviour Management, Counselling and Clinical Neuroscience disciplines.

Vira has a strong dedication to serving people with limited opportunities, advocating for their needs within the wider community, assisting them to create strong identities, and contributing to positive family relationships. Vira assists MissingSchool in developing and expanding the systems that facilitate connection for seriously sick kids.

Joanne Walsh

Program Manager, MissingSchool Telepresence Robot Pilot

joanne.walsh@missingschool.org.au

Joanne is an experienced primary school educator and education researcher, with a strong background in IT. Her interest in educational technologies led her to complete a Master’s degree in Digital Learning, and she is currently pursuing a PhD at Monash University in this field. 

Her lived experience as both a teacher and the parent of a child with chronic health conditions, led her to question the marginalisation of seriously ill children from school, and to consider how teachers can best apply and adapt digital technologies to include these children. This has drawn her to join the work of MissingSchool, to contribute to supporting the children and young people who want to continue learning with their peers and participating in their school communities, during serious illness. 

Sara Webb

Evaluation Consultant, MissingSchool Telepresence Robot Pilot

monitoring@missingschool.org.au

Sara is an evaluator and program designer who has worked with organisations around the world to develop, manage and evaluate activities that improve lives.

She has a track record in international aid and development work, and has lived and worked in India, Timor Leste and the Pacific.

Sara also works with Australian social enterprises, advocacy groups and companies. She is passionate about finding practical and meaningful ways to bring evaluation thinking to projects and organisations so they have the best possible information to guide their work.

Being part of the MissingSchool Telepresence Robots Pilot Project enables Sara to bring her diverse skills and experiences to an exciting Australian project with huge potential to change lives.

Jenny Lavoipierre

Advisory Panel - Member

jenny.lavoipierre@missingschool.org.au

As a parent, Jenny has supported her child through cancer and recovery. As an educator with over 35 years' experience, she has dedicated herself to advocating for seriously ill children’s educational needs.

Her work has spanned Independent, Catholic and State schools as well as TAFE and University levels. As the recipient of a Premier’s Teachers Scholarship her research focused on school strategies to support the learning of students with serious medical conditions. Jenny’s work in this field has been published in various contexts and presented at regional forums, conferences and school professional development events.

Jenny works as a voluntary advocate in her specialty area in addition to running her own business as a private education consultant. She served four years on the national board of Ronald McDonald House Charities and resigned this role in late 2017.

Gina Meyers

Co-founder, Researcher and Former Committee Member

Gina’s background is in science management but her interest turned to teaching after her children started school. In 2008, Gina’s son was diagnosed with a critical and life-threatening illness which kept him in and out of hospital – and out of school – for around 18 months.

During this period, although she was no longer working, Gina preserved her sanity by maintaining her volunteer involvement in her children’s classrooms. When her son’s health stabilised, she made a career change and moved full-time into education. She now works as a classroom teacher, and is firmly committed to ensuring that the needs of all students are met, even when they can not attend school.

Gina is proud to be one of MissingSchool’s founding members but dreams of a day when all kids with serious health conditions receive full support from their schools as a matter of course. Gina is the co-author of Australian-first research, School Connection for Seriously Sick Kids : Who Are They, How Do We Know What Works, and Whose Job Is It?

Cathy Nell

Co-founder, Former Committee Member

Cathy is a mum of two and her youngest child is a childhoold cancer survivor. Cathy became interested in learning issues resulting from cancer therapy after her son had a cord blood transplant in 2005 and a second transplant in 2010 for relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

After her son’s first transplant Cathy joined a US listserv for cancer parents and became acutely aware of the lack of children’s services in Australia. Cathy met Gina and Megan as their children were treated at the same centre in Sydney.
The three decided to form MissingSchool in 2012, recognising that there was no clear pathway or voice for parents advocating for their children’s needs for educational support and connection. Cathy is the co-author of Australian-first research, School Connection for Seriously Sick Kids : Who Are They, How Do We Know What Works, and Whose Job Is It?

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