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Our national team of advocates is available Monday to Friday 8am–8pm and Saturday 10am-4pm 

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Our people

Craig Gear OAM

Chief Executive Officer

Craig Gear OAM was appointed CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network in 2018, after serving as its chairperson. Craig has extensive experience in health service management and health consulting. Responsible for leadership of the organisation’s Senior Leadership Team and supporting the implementation of OPAN Board’s strategic directions. Craig works to enable a flourishing and dynamic network with member CEO colleagues. He is also responsible for managing external government and stakeholder relationships.

Karen Doyle

Director Operations

Karen has worked with not-for-profits for over 25 years, with the past seven years in the community services sector. She oversees internal operations of OPAN, including marketing, communications, learning and development, business operations, data and NACAP Expansion projects. Coordinates the implementation of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program and OPAN Board work plans and leads contract reporting. Supports the CEO with network management, OPAN Board and governance committee operations.

Samantha Edmonds

Director Policy and Systemic Advocacy

Samantha has extensive knowledge and experience in policy, advocacy, human rights, and a strong commitment to inclusive aged care. Sam is on the Board of the International Federation of Ageing, Chairs the DoHAC Diversity Consultative Committee and is a distinguished member of the Australian Association of Gerontology. She ensures the consumer voice and the rights of older people remain at the centre of the work we do. Leads OPAN’s Policy and Systemic Advocacy Team. Builds and strengthens relationships with stakeholders. Develops responses to systemic issues through position papers, submissions and consultations. Leads OPAN’s Policy and Systemic Advocacy Advisory Group.

Rona Doherty

Finance Manager

Rona is responsible for maintaining and enhancing financial controls and financial governance processes to ensure compliance with
legislative, audit, and government/funder reporting and contract terms and conditions.

Catherine Stade

Manager Advocacy, Operations and Practice | National Aged Care Advocacy Program operations

Catherine leads OPAN’s Operations and Practice Team who are dedicated to supporting the network in achieving national consistency in advocacy practice and operations. The operations team is responsible for managing OPAN’s national advocacy line call centre solutions and other national operational projects. The practice team develops national guidelines and coordinates advocacy support resources. These teams also lead the Advocacy Operations and Practice Advisory Group, which brings together the network members’ management leads for continuous improvement in NACAP service delivery.

Diana Vizard

Strategic Engagement Manager | Marketing, Communications and Learning & Development

Diana leads OPAN’s Marketing, Communications and Learning and Development Team. Manages the organisation’s relationship with key sector stakeholders and allied peaks. Creates and implements OPAN’s Engagement Plan, which aims to increase the profile of the organisation, network members and the work we do. Oversees production on OPAN webinars and other awareness-raising events. Leads the Marketing, Communications, and Education Advisory Group, which works together to ensure consistent messaging and identify initiatives at a national level.

Emily Cornes

Manager, Data, Analysis and Reporting | Data Projects

Emily leads the team responsible for improving the quality and consistency of the network’s data as well as its data analytics capabilities. Leads the development and implementation of advocacy outcomes and impact measures to demonstrate the value and impact of our advocacy work. Oversees measures to strengthen OPAN’s cyber security posture. A key member of the Data Governance Steering Committee, Salesforce Community of Practice and Advocacy, Operations and Practice Group.