About us

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About McKinnon Institute

As leaders today, politicians face a more complex, pressured and difficult job than ever before.

Our programs provide a stimulating and challenging experience for MPs through collaborative and interactive sessions with guest presenters, one-on-one and group work with colleagues and facilitators, and deep dive sessions with former ministers, politicians and public servants sharing their own leadership lessons and reflections.

  • Monash academics
  • Former MP’s as practitioners
  • Senior political staff practitioners
  • Leaders with subject matter experts on the panels
  • National and NZ presence

Founding Partners

The Board

Grant Rule


Grant is Co-Founder of the Susan McKinnon Foundation and Director and Co-Founder of Australia’s largest cloud based, business SMS solution provider, MessageMedia.

Hon. Prof John Thwaites AM

Acting Chair

John is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and ClimateWorks Australia. He was the Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999-2007.

Sam Mellett


Sam runs the Susan McKinnon Foundation, joining as their first employee. She joined the philanthropic sector after over a decade in brand and marketing.

Prof. Sharon Pickering

Prof. Sharon Pickering

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education

Sharon is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Senior Vice President of Monash University. She previously served as Dean of Arts at Monash University and prior to that as the Head of the School of Social Sciences.

Hon Prof. Chris Pearce


Chris is Managing Partner at DB Results. He serves on a number of not-for-profit boards and is an adjunct professor at Deakin University. He was a federal MP from 2001 – 2010.

Margaret Fitzherbert


A former state MP and federal government adviser, prior to her election Margaret was a communications professional, writer and not-for-profit director.

Meet the team

Margaret Fitzherbert


A Former state MP and federal government adviser, prior to her election Margaret was a communications professional, writer and not-for-profit director.

Prof. Rod Glover

Academic Director

Rod’s deep passion is public policy. This includes roles as Deputy Secretary (Innovation and Projects) in Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and as Senior Adviser to an Australian Prime Minister.

He has led the development of the COAG National Reform Agenda and a National Industry and Innovation Statement. He also worked for the Australian Treasury, and innovation agencies in San Francisco, London and New York.

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Amy Green

Manager, Communications & Events

With a background working in communications and campaigns in state and federal politics for members of parliament, Amy is responsible for all outward-facing communications.

And planning and managing face to face events, workshops and residential intensives (in a post-COVID capacity) for the McKinnon Institute through the various programs offered.

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Tia Trieu

Finance and Operations Manager

An experienced client engagement specialist with extensive experience across a variety of sectors in relationship, account and project management positions.

Tia is responsible for managing McKinnon Institute’s financial and business operations across the organisation.

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Naomi Ockerse

Executive Assistant

Naomi is Executive Assistant to the CEO and Academic Director.
She has joined the education and philanthropic sectors, with a background in corporate Sales and Marketing.

Rebecca Tooher

Senior Program Manager

Rebecca is a researcher, teacher and practitioner with over 20 years experience in complex program and project planning, implementation and evaluation, and professional development.

Committed to working in partnership with stakeholders and collaborators, Rebecca is an expert in the use of quality evidence for policy and practice and an experienced presenter and facilitator.

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Matt Crocker

Strategic Advisor

Matt has been Policy Director for three NSW Premiers over the last decade, Chief Operating Officer for health insurance company Manchester Unity, and a senior advisor for Westpac and the Australian Energy Market Commission.

Matt is now a director of the Biennale of Sydney and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and works with a number of organisations on public policy issues.

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Clay Burke

Events & Alumni Coordinator

With a zest for all things digital, Clay has garnered experience and knowledge in the areas of content creation, social media and marketing.

Having worked in communications and events management within the government and education sectors, he brings with him a background in live and online events coordination, particularly in the curation process of alumni engagement and seminar programs.

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If you’d like to know more, we’d love to hear from you.

If you would like to get involved and find out more about our upcoming courses,
please get in touch with our team who can assist you.

Enquire Now