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Board of Directors

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Kate Vines - Founder and Head of Patient Care

Kate was born and educated in New Zealand and moved to Australia at age 17. After initial roles in sales and marketing, Kate spent 15 years with Sydney Automotive Paints, the last six of those as Marketing Manager. In 1991 Kate was diagnosed with a rare Medullary Thyroid Cancer and was forced to take an extended break from work. In 2000, Kate established her own event company promoting motivational speakers in Australia. Kate successfully ran this business until 2006. In the following years, Kate worked at the Australian Retailers Association and also at Progressive Business. In 2012, Kate together with husband Richard Vines, formed Rare Cancers Australia. 

As Founder and Head of Patient Care, Kate’s main role is to provide support, guidance and information for patients and their families. Kate works diligently with government, clinicians and industry to ensure that rare cancer patients voices are heard and advocates for change to ensure patient needs are met.

 

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Richard Vines - Founder and Chairman

Richard attended University of Melbourne where he studied Maths and Statistics. He then trained as an Actuary but was seduced by the fledgling IT industry before qualifying. After several years working in software development, Richard formed his own software company which he then sold in 1990 before embarking on a second software venture in Europe. In 1996, Richard returned to Australia where he was retained by an American company to establish a sales channel in Australia. In 2001 Richard left the IT industry and has since worked in a number of not-for-profits associated with retail, politics and health.
 
In 2012 Richard and his wife Kate established Rare Cancers Australia, a patient advocacy group whose mission is to improve the lives and outcomes for rare cancer patients. Richard is now a highly sort after spokesperson for cancer patient advocacy issues and is a member of a number of committees. In September this year, Richard was named Co-Chair of the Cancer Drugs Alliance Committee, a stakeholder coalition tasked to promote timely access to drugs for cancer patients.

 
 
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Mark Brennan - Director

Mr Mark Brennan is the former Australian Small Business Commissioner. 

He has a strong track record of achievement in the small business area throughout his extensive career.

Mark sits on the board of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand and is a member of the International Council for Small Business.

Mark served for seven years as the inaugural Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC), the first such position in any jurisdiction in Australia. The VSBC model implemented by Mark is widely regarded as best practice and he has been consulted by those states which have subsequently introduced their own small business commissioners.

In 2011, Mark was named the Council of Small Business of Australia’s (COSBOA) National Small Business Champion for his work in guiding and developing the role of Small Business Commissioner in Victoria.

In 2010 Mark was appointed Director of Liquor Licensing in Victoria, having served as the VSBC since 2003.

Subsequently, Mark served as the inaugural full time Chairman of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, established to deliver integrated regulatory functions for liquor and gambling. 

In 2013, he became the Australian Small Business Commissioner. Mark completed this post in 2016.

Mark has owned and operated his own small business as Principal of MA Brennan and Associates. The firm provided advice to government on legislative reviews and policy issues. It also advised businesses and industry membership groups on government relations.

Mark has previously held a range of roles in the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments including as Executive Director of Small Business in the former Department of State Development. Mark has also worked as a barrister and solicitor in private practice.

Mark is highly respected across all levels of government and by the business community.

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Trevor Burns - Director

Trevor is a highly respected government affairs practitioner with more than 25 years direct experience in Canberra.

Trevor has worked for global companies, Australian institutions, and all levels of government, including in federal ministerial offices. This gives him a unique perspective on how to interact with government, and importantly, how to achieve results.

Trevor spent ten years as the Head of Government Affairs with Australia’s global financial services provider, Macquarie Group Limited. He had responsibility for external relations, public affairs, and government relations across the Group

Prior to this, Trevor was Head of Government and Parliamentary Relations for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and Director of Communications and Government Relations for the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

He has worked in ministerial offices and held senior positions in Federal, State, and Local Government in Australia.

 

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Nina Parker - Director

Nina Parker is a senior licensing executive in the Worldwide Licensing and Pricing (WWLP) group at Microsoft.

The WWLP group is accountable for leading and orchestrating the business groups, business segments and field sales teams in the global development and implementation of licensing business models and financing solutions, which makes it easy for customers to acquire, use and manage Microsoft software products and software services and helps maximize the company's long-term profitability. Nina brings a unique blend of technology and commercial acumen to our board, that assists us with our technology strategy for enabling patient support programs for the community.

Nina holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree from The University of Melbourne.

 

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Leah Graeve - Director

Leah holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Monash University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She brings a broad range of commercial skills and over 10 years’ experience negotiating commercial outcomes both in the corporate world and more recently in the private sector. She hopes that this experience together with her passion for reducing inequity to the access of pharmaceutical drugs will serve RCA well.

In her spare time, Leah can often be found running with her two golden retrievers or enjoying a game of tennis.

 
 
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John Cannings OAM - Director

John was until recently a Partner of PwC Australia and the Australian National Markets Leader for Health, PwC’s Health Consulting Leader for Australia and Pharma & Life Sciences Leader for Asia-Pacific.

John Cannings is an experienced and well known corporate and commercial lawyer with extensive health and pharmaceutical industry knowledge. He has been in practice for 33 years and specialises in corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, corporate governance and board advice, particularly in the Health and Pharmaceutical sectors.

John has been a Patient Advocate since 2014 when he was diagnosed with NSCLC. John has actively presented at Patient forums, made submissions to Government, principally around equitable access to new and innovative targeted cancer drugs and presented evidence to a Senate Committee on Access to New, Innovative and targeted cancer medicines in Australia.

John is currently a non-executive director of Rare Cancers Australia Limited a NFP advocacy, research and patient assistance organisation.

John is currently a Consumer representative on the Australian Genomic Health Alliance and a member of the joint committee with the Australian Digital Health Agency.

John is a non-executive director of RSL LifeCare Limited (a Public Benevolent Institution) providing aged care and community services and facilities in NSW Australia.

John was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2010 for services to the community and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has a Bachelor of Arts (1981) and Laws (1983) from Sydney University and is a Member of the International Bar Association. John was awarded Honorary Life Membership to RSL NSW in 2012.

John is married with 2 children and lives in Sydney, Australia

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Gillian Adamson - Director

Gillian Adamson has committed her professional working life to service in the airline industry, tourism, local government and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Gillian worked with Pfizer Australia for over a decade until 2010 when she left for Brussels to support her husband’s diplomatic posting. 

At the time she was Pfizer’s Senior Manager for Public Affairs and Policy, heading a team responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with Australia's peak bodies for Medical and Nursing professions and Health Consumer Organisations. Her responsibilities also extended to the development and implementation of Pfizer’s Quality Use of Medicines strategy and the effective implementation of Pfizer Australia's Community Engagement strategy including Corporate Volunteering, Employee Giving and Awareness Days. She represented Pfizer Australia on a number of Industry Committees. 

During her time at Pfizer Gillian was awarded the global W.E. Upjohn Award, a global award for outstanding dedication and exemplary performance in her role.

Whilst supporting her husband in Brussels Gillian worked with a range of organisations promoting Australia’s profile to key international stakeholders. This included her work on a number of committees with the Asia Pacific Women’s Association and as Patron and Honorary Patron of the British and Commonwealth Women’s Club.

In 2016 Gillian was appointed to the Board of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).