Meet Invictus Australia Patron, Ambassadors, Board, Research Advisory Committee and Staff
Patron & AMBASSADORS
General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (Retd)
General Cosgrove was instrumental in bringing the Invictus Games to Australia, being involved from the very outset of the bidding to secure the Games in Sydney right through to the closing ceremony. Sir Peter Cosgrove said upon his appointment as Patron Invictus Australia.
“The Sydney Invictus Games shone a light on plight of our veterans and their families. At the closing ceremony I urged all Australians not to turn off that light.”
“Invictus Australia is about using the power of sport to improve the quality of life of veterans and their families. I’m delighted to be supporting their important work as Patron.”
“The men and women who have served our country need our support, particularly as they return to the civilian community. The Australian public responded wonderfully to the Invictus Games in Sydney. The challenge is to now keep that level of support and understanding going.We must all commit to promoting ways of rehabilitating the servicemen and women who have served our nation and who now need our support. Sport is a powerful vehicle for rehabilitation and reintegration but importantly is also one that can proactively support the general wellbeing of our community.”
Hamish was an engaged and passionate ambassador for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, having been influenced by a trip to Afghanistan. He said of the experience, ‘I was profoundly changed by a trip we took to Afghanistan in 2008. It was my first real experience properly interacting with Defence personnel and saw first-hand the incredible work they do.’
Back in 2018, Hamish said about the Invictus Games, ‘I think it’s an awesome movement that not only provides a great experience for Defence personnel and veterans but allows the public to show tangible support for veterans which I think there is a real want to do, we just often don’t know how. It’s an awesome chance to show our appreciation and support to people who, quite frankly, have risked their lives to support our country!’
Matt, a blind (5% vision) Paralympian, world champion surfer and cyclist, is the epitomy of unconquered, having lost 95% of his vision by the time he was five and told by teachers and doctors that he would never play sport.
Matt has been a professional athlete for over a decade, sponsored by some of the global sporting brands by fostering the right mindset, behaviors and work ethic.
Matt is an athlete, speaker and executive coach, Chair of the Macquarie Business Park Community Partnership and an Executive Board Member of Blind Sports NSW. With an unconquerable mindset, belief in the healing power of sport and passion to help others, Matt is a perfect ambassador for Invictus Australia.
Curtis McGrath OAM
Curtis served in the Australian Army as a combat engineer for six years. In 2012 Curtis stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol, taking both his legs. 20min after the explosion, Curtis famously said that “you will see me in the Paralympics.”
The Invictus spirit runs through Curtis’ veins. Having captained the Australian team at the inaugural Invictus Games in London, Curtis went on to compete in the 2016 & 2017 Games, and was an ambassador at Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
“The Invictus Games became an important part of my life and my rehabilitation,” he said. “For me, it gave me a purpose. I’d been thrown this huge curve ball, and sport opened up this world of opportunities to me that I never knew was coming, and that became my life. And it is my life now.”
Erin Molan is the proud daughter of Major General Jim Molan, a former Australian Army officer, and as such has a profound understanding of the issues Defence families face and the vision of Invictus Australia. That is, a world in which all members of the Australian Defence community are active and connected through the power of sport and recreation to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing throughout their lives.
And sport is in Erin’s blood – a Presenter for the Nine Network, Erin is co-host of the hugely popular and Logie-award winning NRL Footy Show and was the first full-time female panellist and co-host in the show’s 22 year history. Trailblazing, fearless and unconquered, we couldn’t think of a better fit for an Invictus Australia ambassador.
Erin is a very proud ambassador for a number of other charities – including Save Our Sons, Defence Cares and Bowel Cancer Australia. Molan also donates her time to support and MC a number of charity events including the online launch of Invictus Australia, the Ronald MacDonald House and Legacy Australia. She also spends time mentoring and engaging with young women.
Molan competed in the gruelling Sydney to Hobart Yacht race in 2015, raising over 5 million dollars so far for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation – a charity that provides much needed equipment for sick children in hospital.
These days Molan, a passionate Raiders fan who hails from Canberra, calls Sydney home, and she will travel just about anywhere to watch and be part of a good sporting contest. She plays a passable game of netball, touch and badminton, which she mastered while growing up in Jakarta.
Stephen Moore AM
Stephen Moore AM was pivotal in bringing the Invictus Games to Sydney in 2018. Whilst playing a game of wheelchair rugby at the soldier recovery centre in Darwin at Robinson Barracks, the idea was born to bring the Games to Sydney. Moore played a significant role from the start – from helping to develop the bid, engaging the right people, and securing funds.
“When I was at the solider recovery centre in Darwin, I saw what soldiers were going through and some of the things they were dealing with, some of the depths that people were in, and I thought that the Invictus Games would be a really powerful vehicle to promote a road to recovery. That road to recovery takes many different forms says Stephen, and “it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life, whether you’re injured, ill or able bodied, you need to have a purpose and I think that the Invictus Games embodied that. The more we can promote the values and the ethos of the Invictus Games, the better, and if one person can be impacted by these Games in terms of their own recovery and rehabilitation then I think it’s been a success.”
Stephen Moore AM is an Australian former rugby union footballer, who played Super Rugby for the Brumbies and Queensland Reds and has 129 caps for Australia internationally, including 24 tests as captain. As a passionate advocate for sport & the health of veterans, we are proud to have Stephen continue his support as an ambassador of Invictus Australia.
James ‘Jimmy’ Spithill
America’s Cup winning skipper James ‘Jimmy’ Spithill was an ambassador for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. Respect for service personnel was a driving force in Spithill’s desire to be associated with the Invictus Games as it became the first to feature Sailing.
Spithill says he has long held an interest in the military. As a youngster he read books about the ANZACs and would ponder “how people would lie about their age just to go and serve their country and then how it was really tough most of the time when they came home and tried to get on with life. “It just didn’t sit well with me,” he said. “It just didn’t seem right.
“Fast forward to more recent times, through being in the America’s Cup I was fortunate to meet some US guys who have served and became mates with a few of them. It just became a strong feeling in me. Then the opportunity popped up to be an Ambassador and I jumped at it. I wanted to get behind the cause and do anything I could to help.”
Spithill’s brother, Tom, helped coach the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 sailing competitors at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney and continues to support veteran sailing programs.
Meg was 22 when she joined the Australian Air Force as a Fire Fighter and was posted to Tindal, NT. Meg has recently medically discharged from Defence in 2021, and is beginning a journey towards becoming a Rugby League Coach.
Rugby League is a sport that Meg has an affinity for, having debuted and represented Australia at the 2017 World Cup, Queensland Maroons 2018,19 and also the Brisbane Broncos 2018,19 and 20.
Meg loves the idea of being able to help the next generation of female players and veterans become the best versions of themselves, with sport and camaraderie incredibly important to her overall wellbeing.
invictus australia Board
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd)
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd) is a highly decorated and respected senior executive and leader in the national security, defence and aerospace sectors. He was Chief of the Defence Force of Australia from 2014-2018, Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2011-2014) and Chief of Air Force (2008-2011).
He is currently Chair of the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements, Chair of the Australia Pacific Security College Advisory Board, Deputy Chair of the Airservices Board, Deputy Chair of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation, on the Boards of the Western City and Aerotroplis Authority and the Australian International Military Games, a member of the Governing Committee of the Temora Aviation Museum and is Non-Executive Director Defence and National Security Policy with BAE Systems Australia.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin (Retd) has provided specialist advice to the highest levels of governments, industry leaders and international stakeholders and his aerospace knowledge and expertise is extensive. As Chief of Defence, he successfully led the Australian Defence Force, comprising 80,000 permanent and reserve personnel, to significantly improve capabilities and responses to major global events and championed organisational change across areas of national security, culture, diversity and leadership performance.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin (Retd) has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Glenn Keys AO
Glenn is the founder and Executive Chairman of Canberra-based Aspen Medical, one of the world’s leading providers of outsourced healthcare solutions. Prior to building and leading businesses in the private sector, Glenn had a distinguished career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Glenn sits on a number of Boards including the National Disability Insurance Agency, the University of Canberra Council and Project Independence. Project Independence is a not-for-profit that Glenn founded in 2012 to provide homeownership for people with an intellectual disability and is the only homeownership programme of its kind in Australia. In 2017, Glenn was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for both his philanthropic leadership in the business sector and his work as an advocate for people with an intellectual disability.
Glenn is a graduate of the University of New South Wales and the International Test Pilots School in the UK. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Project Management, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.
Brigadier Patrick Kidd OBE OAM (Retd)
Patrick Kidd was appointed as the CEO of the AIMG in Jan 2017 and was on secondment from Deloitte until the Games concluded in October 2018.
Prior to joining Deloitte in 2015, Patrick served in both the British and the Australian Army serving in a variety of key appointments until he retired from the Australian Army in 2014 with the rank of Brigadier.
Patrick has seen operational service in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and received the Order of the British Empire for his services as the Commander of The Royal Tank regiment, in Iraq in 2003 and an Order of Australia Medal for his role conceiving and delivering the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and service to disability sport.
Previous Board Members
- Peter Leahy (Chairman, April 2016 – June 2020)
- Lynne Anderson (April 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Stewart Cameron (April 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Dave Chalmers (April 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Geoff Jones (April 2016- Dec 2018)
- Cheryl Bart (Sept 2016 – June 2020)
- Angela Diamond (May 2018 – March 2020)
- Phillip Prior (Sept 2016 – Jan 2018)
- Campbell Rose (Sept 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Janine Kirk (Sept 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Brian Thorburn (Sept 2016 – Dec 2018)
- Peter Collins (July 2017 – Dec 2018)
- Gayle Anderson (March 2018 – Dec 2018)
- Renee Wilson (March 2018 – Dec 2018)
Michael Hartung OAM
Vanessa has enjoyed sport her entire life, as a competitor in younger years and now as a passionate participant in ocean swimming, yoga and most recently running. She believes unequivocally in the healing power of movement, particularly when combined with nature and community connection.
Vanessa has a BA in Communications and Diploma of Business Marketing specialising in Sports Marketing, and worked at the Sydney Olympic Games liaising with international broadcasters and athletes.
Having previously worked in the commercial sector, Vanessa made a deliberate shift in the past few years to For Purpose organisations, with a focus on mental health and the power of connection and sport in positively impacting wellbeing.
Debbie was previously the ACT Centre Manager and Programs Officer with Soldier On, generating and implementing a diverse range of wellbeing activities and events, both locally and nationally for the Defence Community.
An Army spouse of 24 years means she has a good insight into all aspects of Military life. She and her family have enjoyed postings to the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and have now settled in Australia.
Debbie maintains a fit and healthy lifestyle. Her sport is Dragon Boating, and she is always looking to recruit new paddlers and share her passion.
Rachel spent seven years in Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and saw active service as part of Operation Slipper in 2002.
Rachel knows firsthand the power of sport, selected as a competitor on the 2016 Australian Invictus Games Team to Orlando, and currently competes nationally in Powerlifting and Wheelchair Basketball.
Rachel’s professional experience includes electrical engineering, project management and contract administration. She is a qualified Powerlifting coach and CrossFit Instructor, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology.
Anne has been involved in sport for most of her life. A lifelong competitor and rugby tragic, she is passionate about the benefit of sport and recreation for physical and mental wellbeing.
Anne has a Master of Athletic Administration from Central Washington University; completed while coaching the university’s nationally ranked women’s varsity Rugby team.
Anne has a range of professional experience managing teams at domestic and international competitions.
Ceridwen possesses broad experience working in the sports industries in United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and has a Masters of Sports Administration and Bachelor of Event Management.
Most recently she performed the roles of Games Delivery Coordinator and Sports Information Manager at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, where she witnessed the positive effect sport and recreational activities can have on veterans and their families.
OUR RESEARCH advisory COMMITTEE
To ensure evidence-led & effective outcomes, Invictus Australia formed a Research Advisory Committee.
- Refine and endorse Invictus Australia’s research strategy and goals
- Collate and review relevant existing and ongoing research
- Shapes Invictus Australia’s approach to collecting data and reporting
- Identifies research opportunities
- Drives quality research outcomes and application of research findings
Dr Anne Grunseit
Senior Research Fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration and the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre located at the University of Sydney
Anne has over 20 years’ experience and technical skills in quantitative and qualitative research in health and social research, and currently specialises in the evaluation of scaled-up preventive health programs. She has conducted evaluations studies of government-led non-communicable disease prevention programs including several statewide mass communication obesity prevention campaigns, and a number of large scale programs for the general population, workers and Aboriginal populations including ACT Healthy Weight Initiative, Get Healthy at Work, and the NSW Aboriginal Knockout Challenge.
She leads the Australian arm of an international collaboration examining knee health among recreational runners and is on the evaluation advisory groups for a community-based program to improve chronic pain management in rural and regional communities and a policy-based initiative to raise the minimum legal age for the purchase of tobacco products in Tasmania. She is currently the coordinator and teacher of the University of Sydney Public Health Program Evaluation unit of study in the Masters of Public Health and regularly conducts evaluation workshops for the NSW Ministry of Health and its pillars.
Senior Research Specialist, Phoenix Australia
Ellie Lawrence-Wood, PhD, BBSc (psyc hons) is a senior research fellow at Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, and an adjunct fellow in the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide. She specialises in the area of military and high-risk occupation mental health and wellbeing, with a current focus on performance optimisation, risk mitigation and early intervention for Veterans and first responders exposed to stress and potentially traumatic events through their occupations.
She has extensive experience in assessment and monitoring of the health impacts of service among military and first responder populations, and has specific expertise in the prospective longitudinal assessment and monitoring of mental, physical and neurobiological impacts of stress exposure. She has been an investigator on several project grants and consultancies, including the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, and was the lead Investigator on the Impact of Combat Study specifically.
Other military projects she has led include the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) Prospective Study (the precursor to the Impact of Combat Study), a large-scale project focusing on the psychological, physical and neurobiological impacts of deployment to the MEAO among ADF personnel; and the Mothers in the MEAO study, a follow-up to the Military Health Outcomes Program (MilHOP) Health Studies, aimed at understanding the specific health and psychosocial wellbeing impacts of deployment, for Australian mothers deployed to the MEAO.
In addition to her research, she is the current Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee, and a Director on the Board of Management, for the Operation Flinders Foundation, a South Australian based charitable organisation that runs a world leading wilderness adventure program for young people at risk.
Dr Anna Lewis
Squadron Leader, Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve, Principal Research Investigator ADF Adaptive Sports Program
Dr Anna Lewis is an RAAF Reserve Physiotherapist with a strong research and clinical background. Her research experience includes a doctoral research study investigating clinical pilates as a treatment for chronic low back pain in the Australian Defence Force. This work was recognised with the Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Award at the Australasian Military Medicine Association Conference in 2010.
Anna has a strong focus on assisting people to improve function and pain through exercise. Currently Anna is leading a research study evaluating the effect of participating in exercise programs to improve physical and mental health for Wounded, Injured and Ill (WII) ADF members. In public health roles, Anna has led production and development of health system reports in areas of access, safety and quality and efficiency of health services. She has proven experience in leading a team through scoping, research and literature reviews and analysis of data to report on appropriate health system utilisation to assist clinical practice improvements.
Recently Anna was seconded to the NSW Ministry of Health to support the COVID-19 response. Anna works as a physiotherapist at Sports Focus Physiotherapy maintaining her strong interest in clinical pilates and rehabilitation programs utilising exercise.
Associate Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for PTS, The Road Home
Karen is the Associate Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for Post-Traumatic Stress, for The Road Home and also currently working on her PhD at Adelaide University focussing on a therapeutic model for children of a parent with service related post-traumatic stress. Karen’s background is psychotherapy, participatory action research and community development.
The Road Home researchers also work closely with a service delivery arm engaging veterans, first responders and their families, addressing their support needs. Karen has worked with many communities who have experienced trauma in Australia and also in developing countries. Karen enjoys her current role in research to impact and improve the health and wellbeing of veteran and emergency service families. Karen and her veteran partner have four kids – Maddy, Ben, Evalyn and Huon –ranging 16 to 8 years old.
Director of Research, Invictus Pathway Program, University South Australia.
Associate Professor Steve Milanese is the Director of research of the Invictus Pathways Program at University of South Australia. Steve is also Program Director of the Masters of Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy and a researcher in the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, a self-funded research group at UniSA.
He is a physiotherapist with postgraduate qualifications in sports physiotherapy, manual therapy and ergonomics and holds adjunct positions in universities in India, Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. He has over 90 peer reviewed publications and has supervised a number of DSTG funded PhD projects. Steve has broad research experience, having undertaken funded research and supervised PhD students using a range of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods methodologies.
Director NSW/ACT, Open Arms
Julie Pert is the NSW/ACT State Director of Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counseling. Julie is also a reservist with over 20 years in the Army and a clinically trained psychologist. She has also worked with embassy staff overseas and emergency services more recently as the Occupational Psychologist for FRNSW. As a result of working with staff on the frontline, her areas of interest and specialty include: trauma management, training, counselling, assessment and selection.
Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) is Australia’s leading provider of high-quality mental health assessment and clinical counselling services for Australian veterans and their families. Open Arms is focused on meeting client needs through a combination of proven clinical practices and new and emerging evidence-based approaches.
Dr Lindsey Reece
Senior Research Fellow, Prevention Research Collaboration, USYD
Dr Lindsey Reece has extensive experience in applied research and evaluation, specialising in Physical Activity, Sport and Public Health. Her primary interest is in reducing physical inactivity – a global problem leading to long term chronic disease, and support more people to become physically active to achieve positive health, wellbeing and economic outcomes.
Within her current role as Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Prevention Research Collaboration, she is the Academic lead of the SPRINTER (Sport and Active Recreation Intervention & Epidemiology Research) group – an innovative research partnership with the Office of Sport, NSW government. Previously, Lindsey managed a broad range of research and evaluation initiatives with Public Health England and Sport England to implement their national physical activity and sport strategies.
Her portfolio included evaluation work for: city-wide physical activity pathway for people affected by cancer; Child and Adolescent Obesity regional public health program; whole systems approach to obesity control; physical activity programme aimed at integrating physical activity within clinical care pathways. Lindsey also sits on the global research board for parkrun and is the Academic lead for parkrun Au.
Dr Simon Rosenbaum
Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychiatry and Director, Exercise Sports Science Australia, UNSW
Associate Professor Dr Simon Rosenbaum is a Scientia Fellow in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney and the Black Dog Institute. Simon has published over 170 peer-reviewed publications, including a textbook on the role of exercise in the treatment of mental illness. Simon serves as an elected national director of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), is the Vice-President of the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress (ASTSS) and has worked with a variety of groups including emergency service workers, contemporary veterans and refugees.
Dr Miranda Van Hooff
Director of Research, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Adelaide University
Miranda Van Hooff is the Director of Research at The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies. Over the course of her career, Dr Van Hooff has conducted several large-scale longitudinal studies of childhood survivors of the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires, children hospitalised for a significant burn injury, children exposed to the neurotoxic effects of lead in childhood and adults exposed to the 2006 Black Tuesday Bushfires.
Since 2009, her research has focused on the mental health of current and ex-serving Australian military and emergency service personnel, as the lead researcher on the 2015 Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, the 2010 Military Health Outcomes Programme and the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Health and Wellbeing Study. These studies were the first in Australia to ascertain the prevalence of ICD-10 Mental Disorder in current and ex-serving ADF members and South Australian Firefighters and have been strong drivers of change in relation to policy and service provision.
Hooff’s excellent history of NHMRC, Cat 2 and contract research funding has involved widespread and long-standing collaboration with numerous external stakeholders including DVA, the Department of Defence, the SA Metropolitan Fire Service, The Road Home, the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, The Royal Society for the Blind and Assistance Dogs Australia. Hooff has authored 43 peer-reviewed journal articles, 1 book chapter and 31 commissioned reports for the Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs. Dr Van Hooff has received research grant funding of over $9.1M since 2013.