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  • Our People


    The Honourable Linda Dessau, AM

    Governor of Victoria


    Bruce Kefford PSM


    Bruce Kefford joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board in November 2014. Bruce was appointed Chairman at the AGM in November 2015. An experienced strategic leader with an in depth knowledge of the food and agriculture sectors, and the dairy industry in particular, he is passionate about the application of innovation and science to improve industry competitiveness and sustainability.

    Bruce is recognised nationally and internationally as a thought leader in the reshaping of the national primary industries innovation system. Until July 2013, Bruce was Deputy Secretary with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, fulfilling senior advisory roles to industry, State and National Governments. Bruce also has a deep understanding of the investment, evaluation and delivery of research, development and extension, extensive relevant Board experience as well as a track record of brokering significant partnerships and joint ventures.

    Special Responsibilities:
    Member: Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee

    René Dedoncker

    René Dedoncker joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board in 2017. He is currently the Managing Director of Fonterra Australia. He joined the Fonterra Co-operative, a global dairy nutrition company, in 2006 and has held global leadership roles with responsibility for managing businesses and customers in over 50 countries. Most recently René was responsible for leading the strategic agenda for Fonterra’s Global Brands, Research & Development, and Food Safety & Quality.

    René successfully led Fonterra’s global foodservice business to double digit growth using world-leading technology, innovative products and a breakthrough business model. He is particularly passionate about driving positive change and empowering leaders to grow. Prior to joining Fonterra René worked in senior sales, marketing and operations positions with the Mars Corporation.

    René holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia. He has served as non-executive Director on the Riddet Institute Board since March, 2016; is on the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board as the manufacturers representative Director; is on the board of Darnum Dairy Products a joint venture between Darnum Park Pty Ltd and Beingmate (Australia) Pty Ltd; and is on Monash University’s Food and Agriculture Initiative Advisory Board. Born in Belgium and raised in Orange NSW, René lives in Melbourne with his wife and two children.

    Special Responsibilities:
    Member: Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee

    Andrew Maughan

    Andrew Maughan joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board in October 2015. Andrew is a lawyer, corporate advisor and experienced company director. His background spans international trade and agriculture, strategy and risk management, corporate finance and investment management.

    Andrew is currently Managing Director of corporate advisory firm Somerset Capital and is Chairman of food and agriculture companies AgLink (IDH Pty Ltd), Langdon Group, The Pastoral Pork Company and AGnVET. He is a Director and Investment Committee member of the Norman Beischer Medical Research Foundation.

    Andrew has previously been an Independant Director of the Pork CRC, Chairman of Bradflow and a Director of the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort. Before founding Somerset Capital in 1999, Andrew worked for Cargill (USA, Canada and Australia), Hudson Conway Limited and legal firm Freehills.

    Special Responsibilities:
    Chairman: Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee

    Naomi Pye

    Naomi Pye joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board in June 2016. Naomi is Director and Manager of Bolderwood Dairies Pty Ltd, a multi-generational family dairy farm. She holds qualifications and experience in education and agriculture.

    Naomi has been an active member of the dairy industry for over 20 years through roles with United Dairyfarmers Victoria, Victorian Farmers Federation, Australian Dairy Farmers Federation and WestVic Dairy. She has ten years’ experience on government boards, previously Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and currently Southern Rural Water. Naomi is a graduate, and member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    Special Responsibilities:
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee

    Dr Judith Slocombe

    Judith Slocombe was appointed as Director of the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board at the AGM in October 2015. From entrepreneurial beginnings in the business of Veterinary Pathology to senior executive roles, Judith’s extensive board experience covers the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors.

    Judith is the former Chief Executive Officer of the not-for-profit community organisation, Alannah and Madeline Foundation and Chair of the Consumer Advisory Panel at Walter + Eliza Hall Institute. She also holds director positions with the Cure MND Foundation, Children’s Rights International, Leadership Victoria and the Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre. Judith was named the Telstra Australian Business Women of the Year in 2001 and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to the Australian Society in Business Leadership in 2003.

    Special Responsibilities:
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee

    Dr Len Stephens

    Len Stephens joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Board in October 2019 as the Chairman Elect. Following retirement of the incumbent Chairman at the AGM in October 2020, Len will be appointed as the Chairman.

    Len is a veterinarian, with specialist expertise in research management. He also has extensive experience in governance and operations of industry owned rural R&D corporations.

    In his early years Len worked with the Victorian Department of Agriculture, servicing the dairy industry in Gippsland, where he also has family connections to dairy farming. He moved from Gippsland to become the inaugural director of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science.

    Len is currently Chairman of Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd, Chairman of Oysters Australia Ltd and a Director of Animal Health Australia Ltd. His previous positions include Managing Director of the Seafood CRC Company Ltd, Director Agrifutures Australia, Director Dairy Australia Ltd, Chief Executive Officer – Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, and General Manager – Meat & Livestock Australia. He also runs a small consultancy business.

    Special Responsibilities

    Member: Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee
    Member: Human Resources and Governance Committee


    Dr Clive Noble

    Chief Executive Officer

    Clive was appointed Chief Executive of the Gardiner Dairy Foundation in February 2018.

    A former public sector senior executive with a strong background in science and research, strategy and thought leadership, Clive has also been a senior executive consultant to government, agricultural industry, agribusiness and university sectors in governance reviews, strategy development, technology commercialisation, partnerships and joint ventures, capability development and performance evaluation. He has a deep understanding of national agriculture RD&E, combined with his leadership and understanding of innovation systems. Clive has extensive relationships across stakeholders of the Australian dairy industry and has utilised his industry relationships to enable him to create an extensive range of collaborations and partnerships to achieve joint benefits for parties.

    Ashley Eldridge

    PCD Project Coordinator

    Ashley brings her background in media, advertising, marketing and stakeholder management.

    Ashley was appointed as People & Community Development (PCD) Projects Coordinator in August 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) from RMIT and has a strong background in media, advertising, marketing and stakeholder management. Her previous experience working in a creative advertising agency equipped Ashley with a proficient level of exposure to regional Australia and New Zealand working with Agricultural and Machinery clients. She has also worked in one of Australia’s leading media publications where she worked with motoring and machinery dealer associates. Working with the PCD program, Ashley has been able to develop strong relationships across the dairy supply chain as well as successfully plan and implement our events since commencing her role with the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

    Ashley is currently on maternity leave and will return in late 2020

    Amabel Grinter

    PCD Project Coordinator

    Amabel was appointed as People & Community Development (PCD) Projects Coordinator in September 2019.

    She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences from La Trobe University. Her previous experience working on-farm has equipped Amabel with a proficient level of exposure to regional Victoria’s Dairy Industry. She is brings her knowledge of the many challenges currently facing dairy farmers, particularly in Northern Victoria. She has also spent time visiting farms within the UK, US and NZ which has given her exposure to the world dairy industry and Victoria’s place in it. Working with the PCD program, Amabel aims to share her passion for community and personal development with others across the dairy supply chain.

    Email: amabel.grinter@gardinerfoundation.com.au

    Jainesh Lal

    Finance Manager and Company Secretary

    Jainesh brings valuable expertise as the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Finance Manager, having worked in roles across a myriad of industries for 14 years.

    Jainesh was appointed to the role of Finance Manager in May 2014 and took over as the Company Secretary following the 2014 AGM. Jainesh possesses over 14 years of experience in various Finance and Accounting roles held over a myriad of industries, of which the previous eight years have been in the not-for-profit sector. Jainesh’s notable roles include Program Finance Manager at the United Nations Development Program based in Fiji, and most recently as the Finance Manager at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, a subsidiary company of the University of Melbourne.

    Email: jainesh.lal@gardinerfoundation.com.au Connect on Linked In

    Richard Meredith

    Program Manager, People Development & Stakeholder

    Richard Meredith has led organisations and teams as founder and managing director of a communication/ marketing consultancy for 15 years; director and chair of not for profit, arts and tourism organisations; managing editor, writer and reporter and corporate affairs executive.

    He has worked in the agricultural sector, particularly dairy, for over 30 years and brings a broad range of skills and a great depth of experience in organisational leadership, relationship building and enabling teams and individuals to perform beyond their boundaries.

    He is very experienced in project design, strategy and brand management with added strengths in collaborative project work and in personal communication, writing and editing.

    Email: richard.meredith@gardinerfoundation.com.au Connect on Linked In

    Jenny Walsh

    Office Manager

    Jenny brings extensive administration and dairy industry experience to her role as the Office Manager and in team support function.

    Having an extensive background in the dairy industry, Jenny joined the Gardiner Dairy Foundation in June 2007 and is responsible for the office management, administrative, financial and team support functions. She also provides administration support to the Chairman and Chief Executive.

    Email: Jenny.walsh@gardinerfoundation.com.au Connect on Linked In