Our board of directors

Melinda Ryan

ABFI Chair

Academic Qualifications

  • Master of Project Management, RMIT
  • Master of Social Science (Planning & Environment), RMIT
  • Local Government (Planning), Swinburne University of Technology

Professional / Volunteer Experience

With experience spanning across public and private sectors in areas of planning and property, Melinda is strategic minded and project focused.

Throughout her career, Melinda has developed a broad understanding of the planning system through her involvement in an assortment of planning projects, achieving positive outcomes in often complex circumstances.
Her areas of expertise span land use, subdivision and development, planning for bushfire and environmental risks, and, liquor licence requirements.

An inclusive leader, Melinda has held various leadership roles in the Community most notably President (2015-2018) of Peninsula Business Networking Inc. committed to creating a connected business community.
Melinda is also an advocate for and active participant in the Main Street Salvos project, working to provide safe places in her local community.

Personal Statement

My personal mantra: Living ‘on purpose’, with gratitude.

I believe that we are each in control of our own reality, how we think, how we feel, how we act and how we react. With this understanding comes great responsibility – to be the best version of ourselves, for ourselves and our community.

A for Attitude is an effective tool to communicate this complex message to children, empowering them to live their most authentic and purposeful life in a kind and respectful way.

Bill Chalkley

ABFI Secretary

Academic Qualifications

  • Navigating Officer Certificate King Edward VII Maritime College London
  • MACS (Member Australian Computer Society) Retd
  • Executive MBA – PA Consulting Group

Professional / Volunteer Experience

Having completed a 4 year cadetship to become Cadet Captain and a Navigating Officer within the P and O international shipping group Bill then spent the rest of his working life as an Information Technology professional. Working initially for an international computer systems manufacturer based in London and then in Melbourne was followed by a period as IT manager of a large Food and Liquor distribution cooperative in Melbourne. Joining PA Consulting Group as a Senior Consultant based in Melbourne he rose to become Partner with responsibility for IT Consulting services and HR nationally. As a Partner in this global consulting firm meant many overseas assignments undertaking IT Strategy development, consulting service development and project management in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, USA, UK, Norway and Denmark. Assignments were undertaken for many different private and public clients in Manufacturing, Finance, Insurance and Defence Systems as well as for State and Federal Governments. Upon retirement from full time work at PA Consulting Group Bill continued to provide part time IT consulting services via his own small business.

From 2009 until 2013 Bill was a member of the General Committee and Honorary Secretary at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron responsible for Governance and Fund Raising. While Honorary Secretary he was also Acting General Manager for a period of 3 months.

Personal Statement

Making life a better place for those in need is especially important in today’s particularly competitive society. If nothing changes then nothing changes. Using my experience to help individuals and organisations improve can be the catalyst for positive change.

Joanna Johnson

ABFI Deputy Chair and Blog author

Academic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts (hons)
  • Master of Virtual Communications
  • Diploma of Editing and Proofing

Professional /Volunteer Experience

Jo is a coastal dwelling, storytelling kind of gal. An author, dancer, mother and lover She’s been a word-nerd her entire life and business babe for half of it. Her passion for all things online began with shopping but quickly morphed into marketing, advertising, communications and content. With a pedigree that includes TMP Worldwide, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Morgan & Banks, Country Road and realestate.com.au, she certainly knows the corporate ways. And that’s exactly why, when given half a chance she went out on her own to start a consulting and freelancing business. Her buzz now, comes from helping a new breed of business owners and entrepreneurs find their own voice amongst the noise and grow in confidence by sharing their stories.

Jo has volunteered for many years at the RSPCA and is an active member of the volunteer group at her children’s school.

Personal statement

I am passionate about helping those who can’t help themselves – whether it be rescue animals or disadvantaged children. I am also incredibly passionate about literacy; it’s a key tool in empowering people to better their situations and expand beyond their own limiting beliefs. Read, read read!

Andrew Ternes

ABFI Treasurer

Academic Qualifications

  • Cert IV in Accounting – in progress

Professional / Volunteer Experience:

Andrew’s early business acumen had him repairing motor cars from home while still a young apprentice. Once qualified, he ran a number of small mechanical workshops, eventually building his own vehicle gas conversion factory, employing 7 staff for 15 years.

This entrepreneurial enthusiasm has lead him into other commercial ventures throughout his life, gaining valuable experience and people skills along the way.

He went on to work in Real Estate, then ran a successful tool sales franchise for 7 years. Andrew’s keen interest in the economy steered him to work as a futures trader in commodities for 10 years, but his real passion is for helping people. He now consults with tradespeople to improve their admin and office systems and, with an imminent Cert 4 in Accounting to round off his skillset, will soon be qualified and well able to fully support their business practices.

Andrew was the honorary Treasurer of McCrae Yacht Club 2016 – 2017.

Personal statement

If you want something – go for it. Do the work. Make it happen. Believe that you can and will achieve your goals. I look forward to playing a key role in the Attitude Books Foundation and helping to grow and progress the mission to help children become more resilient adults.

Jo Petrillo

ABFI Social Media Director

Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Business/Communications – Monash University

Professional / Volunteer Experience

Joanne is an accomplished freelance marketing consultant based on the Mornington Peninsula. With specialisation in the tourism and food service industries, she has worked with both public and private sector organisations for over 12 years.

Joanne brings her experience in social media, strategic planning and relationship building to ABFI and will assist the foundation in achieving marketing and promotional goals in both digital and offline spaces.

She has held volunteer positions on a range of committees over the years including a current role with the Food Industry Advisory Body that facilitates the local food provenance mark Mornington Peninsula Produce to give consumers confidence in supporting local farmers and growers.

Personal Statement

I believe that success comes in many forms, so never compare yourself to others. If you live with authenticity and follow your heart, your dreams will follow.

Julie Davey

ABFI Founder

Academic Qualifications:

  • General Nursing Certificate Div 1 – Prince Henry’s Hospital
  • Self Esteem Facilitation Skills with Jack Canfield in USA
  • Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

Professional / Volunteer Experience

Throughout her nursing training Julie felt there was something else calling her. A trip to Europe after graduation sparked her interest in art and design but without a folio she couldn’t get into university. Not to be put off, she began dabbling and created a range of simple greeting cards full of terrible puns and dreadful cartoons.

Pracise, persistence and determination eventually lead to improved skills and paved the way for freelance work with clients such as Vic Govt, NAB Travel, BHP and a host of children’s book publishers.

Her life purpose became clear as she watched her dad deal in a positive and proactive way with a terminal illness. While researching the role that attitude plays in health (both physical and mental) she discovered wisdom and strategies that many people didn’t learn at school or home and packaged them in a little book titled A for Attitude.

Testimonials from families, teachers, psychologists and others, inspired the launch of the Attitude Books Project which aims to place a copy of A for Attitude in the hands of every grade 3 child every year.

As a Rotarian, Julie designed and developed the website and social media platforms for the Rotary Club of Rosebud-Rye and continues to offer pro-bono support for their online presence. She has co-founded several local environmental initiatives and is a regular volunteer at McCrae Yacht Club.

Personal Statement
I believe that success, in any area of life, is all about attitude and the choices we make and am passionate about helping children to be resilient, responsible and productive human beings.

Nadia Hughes – Our Pro-bono Accountant


Academic Qualifications:

(BA Hons, B.Bus & Comm CPA)

Professional / Volunteer Experience:

Nadia Hughes joined SMART Business Solutions, (our generous pro-bono accounting support team),  at the end of 2013 and has continued to work tirelessly in partnership with Shannon to grow a highly successful business. Receiving a ‘New Partner of the Year’ Australian Accounting Award within less than 12 months is a testament to Nadia’s dedication and skill.

Nadia brings to ABFI a wealth of experience having worked with countless business owners and high net worth individuals.

Having set up and run several successful businesses, Nadia thrives on helping her clients navigate legal and tax challenges so they can focus on growing their business and maximise their wealth.

In her spare time Nadia is a chauffeur for her four active children. She is passionate about health and fitness and establishing equal opportunities in the local community. This is demonstrated in her pro-bono work with underprivileged people, teaching them finance skills for life.

Personal Statement

 Our Can Do Kids

Madison Bailey

Attitude Ambassador

Madison has an amazing Can Do Attitude and we are grateful to have her as our Inaugural Ambassador for Australia.

We asked her to create a promo video to help sell tickets for our last Can Do Kids Concert — and she did it with great gusto and precision. We asked her to sing our opening song at the concert — and she did it with style and passion. And we asked her to be our mascot and ambassador and we know she will do a fabulous job. Welcome to our team, Madison!

Personal Statement:

Madison wants to help make children feel more confident, to help them know they have great potential to make this world a better place, and believes that teaching children in grade 3 to be happy, resillient and kind will in turn help our future generation to be happy healthy minded teenagers, and adults.

She hopes to inspire children to know they can be strong, confident and can do anything they put their mind to — and if at first they don’t succeed; to have the confidence try and try again. Madison has demonstrated this many times in her 13 years and has big dreams for her future. Because you can do anything when you’re a can do kid!

Hannah Milner

Can Do Kids Club Captain

Every team needs a great leader and Hannah is perfect for this role. Hannah sang beautifully at our Can Do Kids Concert in May 2017 and followed up soon after with a couple of stella performances in Dromana Secondary College’s ‘Wizard of Oz’. She has a great Can Do attitude to life and we know she will be a wonderful Kids Club Captain.

Personal Statement:

Captain Happy

Aussie Achiever interviewer

When Parker was invited to be one of our ace interviewers, he decided to make a name for himself, and ‘Captain Happy’ was born. So far he has interviewed two of our Aussie Achievers: Adam Alexander and Grant Denyer.

Personal Statement: