Our Board

Ian Hicks, AO, Chair

Ian is Executive Chair of Applied International Pty Ltd (a private investment group based in Melbourne), Chair of the George Hicks Foundation and in June, 2021 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his community and philanthropic work. Ian has a strong interest in the arts, is a major supporter of the Australian Ballet and an enthusiastic collector of Australian art and sculpture. He has a vineyard, avocado farm and sculpture park on the Mornington Peninsula in Shoreham. Ian holds a Bachelor of Economics.

Andrew Fairley AM, Deputy Chair
Deputy Chair

Andrew Fairley AM, LLB (Melb), Hon Doc (Deakin), is a commercial and equity lawyer at Hall & Wilcox in Melbourne.  He has a deep involvement in the philanthropic sector as Chair of the Sir Andrew Fairley Foundation and former Chair of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. He is an Industry Director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and a Director of Qualitas Securities Pty Ltd.  He is a former Chair of Equip Super, an Industry Superannuation Fund managing $30b.  He also formerly Chaired Parks Victoria and is the former Deputy Chair of Tourism Australia.

Elina Wilson

Elina is a Co-Founder and Director of SALT Catalyst – a private company established in 2018 to manage the investments and philanthropic activities of her family. SALT Catalyst operates with the ethos of using intellectual, social and financial capital to catalyse a more just, kind and compassionate world. Prior to establishing SALT Catalyst, Elina had a long career in brand and corporate marketing spanning across her native Finland, several European countries and Australia. Elina is passionate about education, especially early childhood and language development. Other areas of interest for Elina are socio-economic, gender and indigenous equality, mental health, empathy and environmental sustainability. Elina currently serves on the Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board, Wolf Foundation board and several advisory boards of privately held companies. Elina holds a M Sc. in Economics and Business Administration.

Paul Thomas Hicks

Paul-Thomas Hicks has an diverse range of experience in local and international business roles obtained over 25 years specialising in Entrepreneurial, Commercial Management, Supply Chain and Logistics.  PT is a director of the George Hicks Foundation and Applied International Group and is heavily involved in local and community sports organisations.  Having grown up holidaying on the Peninsula and with children of his own he is passionate about breaking the cycle of disadvantage and creating long term sustainable change on the Mornington Peninsula.

Brett Watson
Brett is a Peninsula local, currently residing in Mount Martha and brings to the MPF strong business knowledge and experience in leadership, complex problem solving and technology innovation. With a history starting as a research scientist with the Alfred Hospital, Brett has had roles in product, strategy, digital and technology across financial services and consulting, leading to his current position as a Partner at KPMG where he is currently the Banking lead for Advisory.
Sarah Jordan

Sarah has an extensive sales and digital marketing career spanning over 20 years in the corporate and education sectors. Having worked with News Limited, Australian Consolidated Press and Murdoch Magazines, Sarah led sales for some of Australia’s leading publishing brands including donna hay, madison magazine, Harpers BAZAAR and INSIDEout. In the last 8 years Sarah has advised to the Peninsula’s leading educational institutions including Chisholm TAFE, Chisholm Online and Monash University, Peninsula campus where she was instrumental in developing campus led strategy to raise awareness of the education opportunities within the area by engaging the local community. Sarah is particularly passionate about the importance of education for all.

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew is Chair of Sentinel Foundation, and has had a long and successful career in the financial services industry. As the creator of both Lonsdale Ltd and Lonsec Ltd, he provides research integrated client software, and share broking services to Accountants and Financial Planners. Andrew is active as a philanthropic donor and close supporter of a number of not for profit organisations. He is a resident of Mt Martha. 

Cathy Scalzo

Cathy is CEO of the Scalzo Family Office and Trustee of the Grace and Emilio Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure children and young people at risk of not meeting their full potential are given the support they need to thrive. Cathy is a board member of ygap, Australians Investing in Women and Kids in Philanthropy. She was previously General Counsel of Scalzo Foods, one of Australia’s largest privately owned food businesses, a senior associate at Allens specialising in workplace, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and a diplomat at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Having spent her holidays on the Mornington Peninsula since childhood, Cathy is a passionate supporter of MPF’s placed-based approach to philanthropy and her family foundation is a long term donor to MPF’s No Limits and Scholarships programs.  

Georgia Dawson
Georgia Dawson is a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Centre for Program Evaluation. She has extensive skills in quantitative data analysis including item response theory, structural equation modelling and path analysis.
Professor Frank Oberklaid

Professor Frank Oberklaid, OAM, MD, FRACP, DCH, was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital – Melbourne for over 25 years. He is currently Co-Group Leader of Child Health Policy, Equity and Translation at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and an Honorary Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Professor Oberklaid is an internationally recognised researcher, author, lecturer and consultant, and has written two books and over 200 scientific publications on various aspects of paediatrics. His work has been acknowledged in the form of a number of prestigious awards and many invited international lectureships and visiting professorships.

James Flintoft

James Flintoft has substantial private sector and government executive leadership and governance experience. He has served on various private sector, government and not-for-profit boards. He is currently on the boards of Transport Accident Commission, Epworth Healthcare, Development Victoria, Foundation House for Refugees, Social Traders, and Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal.

He spent a decade in the public service including as Chief Executive of Regional Development Victoria facilitating regional and community development; and was First Assistant Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Before joining the public service, James worked in the private sector as a senior executive at ANZ Business Banking; a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Sydney, London and Washington; and a commercial lawyer at Allens Arthur Robinson. 

He was formerly Treasurer of the Mirabel Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and counselling services to children orphaned or abandoned due to parental drug abuse.

He has a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne, an MBA from the Wharton School, and is a Graduate of the AICD.

James and his family have lived and spent holidays on the Mornington Peninsula, and is passionate about education creating foundational skills and pathways for all Australians.

Our Staff & Associates

Stephanie Exton, CEO
Executive Director

Since 2017 Stephanie has led MPF’s growth and transformation with her pioneering approach to systemic change led by local community. With a unique combination of personal engagement, targeted support, data analysis, government partnership and community empowerment, Stephanie’s approach to place-based philanthropy provides people experiencing disadvantage with relief from short-term crisis, then access to networks that foster long-term, systemic change. Stephanie has built this approach over a 15-year career in philanthropy, where she has worked with marginalised populations, grass-roots organisations and major donors in metropolitan Melbourne and around regional Victoria, in roles with Igniting Change, the Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation, the Reichstein Foundation, and MPF’s antecedent, the George Hicks Foundation. In her earlier music and arts administration careers, Stephanie has held positions in four of Australia’s six symphony orchestras, and remains an active and passionate cellist.

Gitz Naidu, CFO
Chief Financial Officer

Gitz is Chief Financial Officer of MPF and has been working for the past 9 years within Ian Hicks Family Office – Applied International.  A passionate accountant and Chief Financial Officer with 20 years experience in Finance and Accounting. She started her carrier in public accounting and prior to this, she served as a Chief Financial Officer in Retail Industry and in IT Tech firm.  She has a strong background in Finance and Tax with her Masters degree in Taxation and is a fellow of CPA Australia and Tax Institute of Australia and a graduate member of AICD.

Ivy Milan Financial Accountant

Ivy is a Financial Accountant at MPF. She has a strong background in finance and accounting having completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Professional and Practicing Accounting. She is an associate member of CPA Australia and is a passionate accountant who has worked in various industries.

Nikki Fisher Communications Manager

Nikki has over 25 years of experience working in media and communications. As a journalist Nikki was a regular contributor to ‘The Age’ for over a decade.

Nikki completed a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Welfare. Her studies provided her with research and writing skills as well as knowledge of social systems, in particular the systemic disadvantage vulnerable women and children face, and knowledge of protective factors for health and well-being for women, children, and adolescents.

Nikki has lived on the Mornington Peninsula for 17 years with her husband, they have two teenage sons. She is passionate about social change and excited to support the work of MPF using her well-honed communication skills.

MPF is a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 tax status. All donations are tax deductible. In 2017 the George Hicks Foundation made a ten year commitment to fund the operational costs of the MPF. Projects are funded with donations from our wide range of donors.