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our leadership team 

Below is our Senior Leadership Team, who, along with Bravehearts’ over 70 employees, are committed to seeing our Vision of making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child a reality.


Chief Executive Officer

Alison Geale

Originally from Sydney, Alison previously worked in Australian media for over 20 years. She has enjoyed Senior Management roles with all major Australian Radio networks in both key metropolitan cities and major regional hubs.

Before joining Bravehearts in 2018, Alison spent more than 15 years with Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) Australia’s largest media and entertainment company. She spent 6 years in a Senior Group Management role which oversaw SCA’s largest national revenue program across all of SCA’s media assets Australia wide and internationally. In addition, Alison was responsible for all of SCA’s training and development for Sales staff network-wide.

From 2013 Alison was Director of Sales for SCA’s Gold Coast Media Operations which included SEA FM, GOLD FM and TV stations Southern Cross Ten, ONE and 11. She then became General Manager of all of Southern Cross Austereo Gold Coast media brands.

Committed to serving her community, Alison has served as board Member for Gold Coast Business Excellence and also the Gold Coast Community Fund, and lives with her husband Graeme and daughter Holly in Gold Coast QLD.

Alison joined Bravehearts in 2018 and became CEO in June 2019.

Director of Therapeutic and Support Services

Deirdre Thompson

Dr Deirdre Thompson has been with Bravehearts since 2014 commencing in the role of National Therapeutic Services Manager before moving into the role of Director of Client Operations in the same year.

Deirdre holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) and a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, with over 25 years of experience both in the UK and Australia.  She is passionate about working with and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and has held senior roles within Government and the not-for-profit sector for 16 years in Australia. Deirdre currently provides oversight to all of our client services, including Counselling, Advocacy and Support, Training, ChildPlace and Education and is committed to extending the reach of all of these services to enable us to meet our mission and protecting children across Australia.

Director of Research

Carol Ronken

Carol Ronken worked as a researcher and Associate Lecturer at Griffith University in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice before joining Bravehearts in May 2003. With a BA(Psych) and Masters Applied Sociology(Social Research), Carol is the Director of Research for Bravehearts and is passionate about ensuring the organisation’s active involvement in research, policy and legislative development that aims to prevent, respond to, and ultimately reduce the incidence of child sexual assault in the community. In 2011 she received an award from the Queensland Police Service Child Protection and Investigation Unit for her contribution to child protection.

Carol also co-authored The Bravehearts Toolbox for Practitioners working with Child Sexual Assault (Australian Academic Press, 2011). Carol currently holds position as Visiting Fellow in the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, at Queensland University of Technology. She is a member of a number of working groups, including the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation Research Working Group, the Twitter Trust and Safety Council (Australia) and the Australian Child Rights Taskforce. Her professional memberships include the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and the Child Protection Practitioners Association of Queensland.

Mandy Browne

Head of Community Engagement

Originally from Melbourne, Mandy has worked in the media for over 30 years, both in Australia and the UK. Mandy spent almost 25 years with Newscorp, across a number of newspaper titles including The Herald, The Australian & The Australian Magazine. Prior to joining Bravehearts, she spent 7 years at Southern Cross Austereo (SCA).

Mandy has been in management roles for the past 20 years, including Sales Director at Gold Coast Publications (Gold Coast Bulletin &, Sun Community newspapers) and Director of Sales at SCA Gold Coast, incorporating the Hit and MMM networks and Channel 9. Mandy was also a company Director for the Best of the Gold Coast magazine.

She moved to the Gold Coast in 1999 for a sea change and never returned. She is an avid sports fan and coaches junior basketball.

Mandy has been a long-standing advocate of Bravehearts, with her family (husband Andrew and children Hayley and Ben) launching the Ditto program on ‘A current affair’.

Executive Assistant and National Grants Manager

Jo Compagne

Jo Compagne has worked for Bravehearts since 2006 in various roles including coordinating the donation of goods and services to create Bravehearts $1.3million head office, Executive Assistant to Hetty Johnston AM and National Grants Manager. Jo is passionate about the protection of children and as a mother of 5 and grandmother to 4, believes it takes a whole community to raise and protect a child. Jo is committed to doing all she can to bring about vital change to protect Australian children and is dedicated to ensuring people needing Bravehearts services know they are valued, heard and supported.

Andrea Spina

Finance Manager

Andrea has been a part of the Bravehearts team since its establishment in 1997, working firstly as a volunteer to establish the first chart of accounts and in the position of Treasurer in the beginning years. Andrea was then employed in a paid position in April 2008 to oversee the implementation of a new accounting package.

Andrea’s role is to oversee the recording of accounts and payroll and ensure accuracy for financial reporting to our funding bodies, both government and non-government.  Andrea is part of the finance team which completes the annual audit.

Andrea was previously employed from 1999 to 2008 by a construction company managing the accounts and payroll along with the quantity estimating of house construction and ordering of construction materials.

Michelle Borkowski

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Michelle comes to Bravehearts from a 10-year career in Hospitality and Tourism, where she was a Director of Sales for Intercontinental Hotels Group, working across a variety of hotels in Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Canberra and most recently the Gold Coast. In addition to this Michelle also worked for other brands in key commercial roles at Oaks Hotels Resorts, Potters Brewery Resort and boutique management rights in Burleigh Heads. Prior to Hospitality and Tourism Michelle has a background in financial management and enjoyed the best part of 8 years as a Financial Controller.

Using her skills and knowledge in sales and marketing Michelle has the ability to recognise and retain relationships with key stakeholders both internally and externally.  Michelle is passionate about building long-lasting relationships and puts a heavy focus on key account management between businesses and Bravehearts. Michelle is based in our Arundel Head Office and works on fostering partnerships on a national level.

Michelle is an avid Golf lover, you will often find her playing or enjoying a chat on the 19th hole.