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Members of Relationships Australia Tasmania Board

Mary Bent, President

Mary Bent has been on the Board of Relationships Australia Tasmania since 2011 and President since 2014.

Mary is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has a Bachelor of Arts, and postgraduate qualifications in librarianship and health economics. She was Deputy Secretary in the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, until her retirement from full-time work in 2009. During her time as Deputy Secretary, Mary had responsibility for the management of State community health and mental health services, in Tasmania.

Mary has served on the Council of Bond University in Queensland and on the Board of Partners in Health, within the University of Tasmania. She has also had considerable involvement in the governance of community-based not-for-profit organisations, serving on the Board of Primary Health Tasmania and as Chair of the Tasmanian Libraries Advisory Board. In January 2011, Mary was awarded the Public Service Medal as part of the Australian Honours System, in recognition of the role she played in advancing public health services in Tasmania.



Kristian Falconer, Secretary



Emma Lovibond, Treasurer

Emma joined the Board of Relationships Australia Tasmania in 2017 and commenced as Treasurer in 2018.  

Emma holds a Bachelor of Business with majors in accounting and corporate governance,  a Master of Business Administration and is a registered Chartered Accountant.  She has experience working and volunteering across the private, not-for-profit and public sectors and currently works as a Project Manager for the Department of Education in its Strategic Data Management Team. 

Emma also volunteers her time on the Drug Education Network Board, which she joined in 2014 and was appointed  Treasurer in 2015.  

Emma’s commitments to her work, community and ongoing learning have been recognised over the years with accolades including;  2006 Tasmanian Trainee of the Year Nominee,  2010 University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Award;  2015 Department of Education Young Employee of Year,  2016 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards Finalist and  2018 Commonwealth Bank, Not-for-Profit Treasurers’ Award Nominee.



Wendy Key, Vice President



Kim Barker, Southern Representative

Kim is currently the Public Guardian. Earlier in her career, Kim worked as a rehabilitation consultant, counsellor and mediator.

Prior to taking on the role of Public Guardian, she was a long-term member of several tribunals, including the Guardianship and the Administration Board, the Mental Health Tribunal, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the Medical Board of Australia (Tasmania). Kim was also a long-term Director of the Motor Accidents Insurance Board and for many years chaired the Tasmanian Traineeship and Apprenticeship Committee.



Rick Marton, Northern Representative

Rick was appointed to the board in February 2018 as the Northern representative. His primary vocation is as a brand strategist and owner of digital marketing agency Effective Naturally (also an Employer of Choice) which delivers services to a range of companies across Australia.

As a past client of Relationships Australia, Rick appreciates the services and professionalism our organisation offers and has a passion for bringing communities together. He's an active Rotarian and Past President of the successful Central Launceston club who focus on community projects in health, education and inclusion. He was also heavily involved in the marriage equality debate over some and has led a range of community initiatives that serve to build bridges between sectors of our community. He regularly appears as a social media specialist on ABC Radio and runs a respectful discussion page on Facebook called Community Conversations.

His board experience includes being an elected member of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, Founding Director of Tourism Northern Tasmania, Chair of the Northern Young Professionals Network, Director of Theatre North and now a Director at Relationships Australia Tasmania including Subcommittee chair of Speak Up Stay ChatTY.

Rick has a track record of business transformation and natural momentum in organisations through relevance and clarity of purpose. Whilst he's been in business for 25 years, he recognises that people are central to every organisation and subscribes to the ethos of being quick to love slow to judge.



Ella Dixon, General Representative

Ella joined the Board of Relationships Australia Tasmania in 2013 and took on the role of Secretary in 2015. In 2017, Ella was appointed to the second Vice Chair position.

Currently, the CEO of the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) in Northern Tasmania, Ella's background has been working in and on the fringes of Government. Ella has completed a Masters in Regional Development Policy at the University of Tasmania, a Diploma of Entrepreneurial Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to her current position as CEO at the MRC, Ella spent eight years as Regional Manager in the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPAC) in a community development role. Ella is a strong advocate for women's economic, social and civic participation and has been involved in programs such as the Tasmanian Honour Roll for Women, International Women's Day, and the Women's Register/Women on Boards (governance for not-for-profits). She has extensive networks in Tasmania and particularly strong connections with the Northern and North West communities.

Ella is a director of the national peak body, Refugee Council Australia, as well as a number of working groups in an advisory capacity, relating to resettlement, health, education, employment and skills, and development, for the former refugees and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.



Sarah Dawkins, General Representative

Sarah Dawkins joined the Board in February 2018. Sarah is a lecturer at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmanian (UTAS), where she teaches in organisational behaviour and leadership. Sarah is also a registered clinical psychologist and clinical supervisor and applies her training and experience in mental health, to her research projects and teaching.

Sarah's primary research interests focus on mental health and well-being in the workplace, and the interface between work and family. Sarah is also co-leader of the UTAS Work Health and Wellbeing Network - a collective of academics and practitioners who share a common interest in how experiences of our workplaces and jobs are connected with our health and social wellbeing.

Prior to commencing her career in academia, Sarah worked as a clinical psychologist for several years, including with Relationships Australia (Tasmania), between 2006-2007.

Shona Gates, North West Representative

Shona joined the Relationships Australian Tasmania Board in 2018 as the North West Tasmanian Representative.  Shona is a Senior Social Worker with the Tasmanian Health Service, based at Northern Cancer Services in Burnie.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Work (First Class Honours) from the University of Tasmania and a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University.

Shona built her early career in child and family relationship support in community organisations.  She then worked overseas for UNICEF and non-government organisations in Timor-Leste, before returning to Tasmania to take a role in community sector development at TASCOSS.

Over the last 10 years Shona has worked as a clinical social worker in various acute healthcare settings for the Tasmanian Health Service.  Through this work she has developed an interest in arts and health and is currently completing a Masters of Therapeutic Arts Practice.

Shona is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers and is the Tasmanian Representative of Oncology Social Work Australia/New Zealand.

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