Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Catherine Walter AM - Chair

Catherine Walter AM - Chair

Catherine Walter was appointed a trustee of Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2014 and Chair in November 2020.

Catherine Walter has over 20 years’ experience in finance, governance, corporate and for-purpose sectors. Catherine is Chair of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance and is a director of Export Finance Australia, and Australian Foundation Investment Company.

A former Managing Partner with Clayton Utz Melbourne, Catherine has previously been a director of: ASX, National Australia Bank, Orica, Melbourne Business School, Victorian Opera, Australian Ballet School, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. She is a past Chair of Creative Partnerships Australia, Federation Square, Australian Synchrotron and Equipsuper, and a past Commissioner of the City of Melbourne. In 2003 Catherine Walter was honoured as a Member of The Order of Australia for service to business, particularly as a director of a range of public companies, to the arts, to the law, and to the community through the Melbourne City Council.

Alexandra Gartmann

Alexandra Gartmann

Alexandra Gartmann was appointed a trustee of Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2018. She is a passionate advocate and champion for rural and regional Australia, having grown up and grown her career in rural and regional Australia. Alexandra currently resides in central Victoria, on Dja Dja Wurrung country. She has a Bachelor of Science with honours in Resource and Environmental Management from the ANU.

Alexandra is Chair of the Victorian Agriculture and Climate Change Council, a Non Executive Director of Nufarm, the Deputy Chair of the Australian Wool Testing Authority, a Director of the Australian Farm Institute and a Director of the One Basin CRC.

Former executive roles include Executive at the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group responsible for the Group’s Partnerships, Marketing, Corporate Affairs, ESG and Climate Risk in addition to being CEO of Rural Bank, the agribusiness division; CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), CEO of the Birchip Cropping Group (Wimmera Mallee region) and Community Landcare Coordinator in the wheatbelt of WA.

Former non executive roles include membership of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, Chair of the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Advisory Council, a member of the Australian Landcare Council, Crawford Fund, National Rural Advisory Council, Victorian Flood Disaster Appeal Panel, National Centre of Excellence for Civil Society Advisory Committee, Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, Victorian Women in Primary Industries Advisory Panel.

Alexandra has been an active Ambulance Community Officer with Ambulance Victoria and continues to enjoy hockey, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding and dog agility trials.

Bruce Parncutt AO

Bruce Parncutt AO

Bruce Parncutt was appointed a trustee of Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2018.

Bruce’s career spans over 40 years in investment management, investment banking and stock broking. He is Chairman and a principal of investment banking group, Lion Capital and a member of The Australian Ballet board.

Previous roles include Managing Director of McIntosh Securities, Senior Vice President of Merrill Lynch, Director of Australian Stock Exchange Ltd, President of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Board Member and Chairman of the NGV Foundation, member of the Felton Bequest Committee, Council member of Melbourne Grammar School, and Director of a number of listed public companies.

Bruce’s experience includes extensive involvement in financial analysis, merger and acquisition transactions, capital-raisings, and investment in companies across a broad spectrum from early stage to mature public companies. He holds a Bachelor of Science, and an MBA.

Bruce was recognised as Officer in the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for distinguished service to the community as a philanthropist, particularly in arts and education, and as an advocate and supporter of charitable causes, and to business and commerce.

Jan Robins

Jan Robins

Jan Robins was appointed a trustee of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2020

Jan brings to the Trust more than 30 years’ experience in executive roles across funds management, private banking and philanthropy.

Between 2005 and 2018, Jan held leadership roles in philanthropy as the CEO of the Colonial Foundation, the Jack Brockhoff Foundation and the RACV Foundation. These roles, in addition to her part-time and voluntary work with a number of Victorian-based youth focussed charities, have underpinned Jan’s commitment to championing the social purpose sector with a special interest in children and youth. Jan is a current Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation.

Over the two decades prior to her philanthropic roles, Jan held Executive or Director roles in funds management and private banking with leading international banks including Macquarie Bank, UBS, Bankers Trust, and Citicorp.

Jan is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Harvard Business School – Managing for Competitive Advantage.


Andrew Sisson AO

Andrew Sisson AO

Andrew Sisson was appointed a trustee of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2020.

Andrew has over 40 years investment management experience and in 1988 founded Balanced Equity Management to manage portfolios of Australian shares. In 2011, Balanced Equity Management was acquired by Franklin Resources Inc, a funds management company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Prior to establishing Balanced Equity Management, Andrew worked at National Mutual Life Association as a Portfolio Manager, progressing through various roles. Andrew also completed a secondment to the UK merchant bank Samuel Montagu as a Corporate Finance Manager.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics & Statistics) from The University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD).

Andrew has been a director of Opera Australia since February 2017, and a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne since January 2020.  He has recently been a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria (2010-2019) and a Director of Save the Children Australia (2008-2014).

In 2018, he was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the finance and investment sector, as an adviser to financial regulatory bodies, and through philanthropic support for cultural and charitable groups.