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Board of Governance

Amaze Structure

Amaze is an incorporated association, and has Public Benevolent Institution income tax exemption and Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status from the Australian Tax Office. The organisation began operations in December 1966 as the Victorian Autistic Children’s Association (VACA) in order to provide facilities and training for children with Autism. In the 1990′s, the name was changed to Autism Victoria, and in 2013, members agreed to officially change to Amaze Inc.

Amaze moved to its current office at 24 Drummond Street Carlton in 2009.

Funding Sources

Amaze receives funding from the Victorian State Government Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) to provide information services to families and professionals.

Amaze is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (formerly Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or “FaHCSIA”) to run the “Helping Children with Autism” program in Victoria, providing funding to families with children aged 0-6. The DSS also funds the “Early Days” Workshop program in Victoria.

Amaze receives support from individuals and organisations and from fundraising activities which enable us to provide additional services not funded by government.

Amaze is a founding member of the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders (previously the Autism Council of Australia) and is represented by the Chief Executive Officer.

The Board of Governance 2015 to 2016:

Jane Evans Chair Jane Evans
  • Qualifications: B.A., LL.B (Hons).
  • Experience: Fifteen plus years’ experience as a legal practitioner in Australia and overseas; former partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons), practising in the area of mergers and acquisitions; extensive experience in governance law and practice including on other Boards in the not-for-profit sector.
  • Special Responsibilities: Board Chair.
  • Committee Roles: Chair of Governance Committee; member of Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, Policy Committee, and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.
Shannon Eeles Deputy Chair
  • Qualifications: B NursSc (Hons).
  • Experience: Shannon has worked with children with ASD and their families for over 10 years. She is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Inclusive Schooling of Children with Autism (CISCA) and is co-founder of the IDEA Program and the Little Learners Autism Program. Shannon’s special area’s of interest include education and public policy.
  • Special responsibilities: Deputy Board Chair; Marketing and Communications; Social Policy & Research.
  • Committee Roles: Chair of Policy Committee.
Graeme Wickenden Treasurer
  • Qualifications: B.Bus., Grad Dip I.T., Grad. Dip. Finance and Investment, FCPA.
  • Experience: extensive background in accounting and finance; has held a broad range of finance-related positions at GMH, NAB, Dunn and Bradsheet, Aviva Financial Services and St Vincent De Paul Aged Care and Community Services. Employed as the CFO for the Villa Maria Society.
  • Special Responsibilities: Treasurer.
  • Committee Roles: Chair of Finance. Audit and Risk Committee.
Catherine Wyatt
  • Qualifications: Bachelor of Medicine.
  • Experience: Catherine has been a General Practice Doctor for over 25 years and has been active in the local community having served on her local school council and sat on the Boards of two Aged Care facilities.
  • Special Responsibilities: Social Policy & Research.
  • Committee Roles: member of Governance Committee.
Janine Hoey  
  • Experience: Janine has been a company director since 2002. Over a 25 year career Janine has held a variety of executive roles with a strong finance focus. Her last role was as General Manager Group Operations, Strategic Planning and Risk, and Acting Chief Financial Officer of an Australian-owned global clean energy solutions provider.
  • Committee Roles: member of Finance, Audit and Risk Committee; member of Governance Committee.
Professor Nicole Rinehart
  • QualificationsPhD, Professor, Clinical Psychology, Deakin University, Consultant Clinical Psychologist,Melbourne Children’s Clinic, Honorary Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor, Clinical Psychology at Monash University.
  • Experience: published over 90 Journal articles and book chapters in the ASD field; involved in research grants totaling over 6 million dollars from the NHMRC, ARC, Neurosciences Victoria, and other international funding bodies; received multiple awards for contribution to Research and Education, including The Queens Trust for Young Australians and Rising Star of the College of Clinical Psychologists Award.
  • Committee Roles: member of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.
Rachel McNamara
  • Qualifications: B.Sci., M. Nutrition & Dietetics.
  • Experience: A blogger on autism and social justice issues at; worked as an Accredited Practising Dietitian, in administration roles and as a sales assistant; a regular volunteer in primary school. Rachel is autistic, and a parent to two autistic sons. With a special interest in autism, Rachel has undertaken extensive research to understand both scientific and personal perspectives of autism.
Ryan Brown
  • Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts. 
  • ExperienceRyan has been working in the not-for profit sector for 10 years, developing sustainable fundraising and communication programs. Ryan is currently the Director of Engagement, Foundation and Corporate Communications at Northern Health and has held senior appointments at the Australian Red Cross and CARE Australia. He was an elected Councillor in 2015 at the City of Monash, is currently an Associate at AskRight, and has held board positions at a number of community based organisations.
  • Special Responsibilities: Fundraising & Philanthropy.
  • Committee Roles: member of Governance Committee.
Professor Sandra Jones
  • Qualifications: PhD (social marketing) and Masters qualifications in Assessment and Evaluation, Public Health, and Business Administration.
  • Experience: experienced researcher with a broad profile of ASD related research; founding Director for the Centre for Health and Social Research at ACU and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow; Director (founder and full-time leader) of a large university research centre for 15 years; five years’ experience as a director of the Cram Foundation in NSW (nonprofit organisation supporting people with severe disabilities).
  • Committee Roles: Chair of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee; member of Policy Committee.



Annual Report 2008-09 Annual Report 2009-10 Annual Report 2010-11 Annual Report 2011-12 Amaze Annual Report 2012-13
2008-09 Annual report 2009-10 Annual report 2010-11 Annual report 2011-12 Annual Report 2012-13 Annual Report Amaze Annual Review – 2014 Amaze Annual Review 2014-15

Annual Reports/Reviews


Accounting and Auditing

The Association’s accounts are audited annually, and professional accountancy support is provided by Graeme Wickenden.

Board Election Process

Board positions are held for three years on a rotational basis, with three Board positions becoming vacant at each AGM. Members of Amaze may nominate for these vacancies and will be notified of the relevant dates. Nominations are sought on the basis of skills required and acceptance of nominations is at the discretion of the Board.

Anyone considering nominating for the Board will need to bring energy, understanding and enthusiasm to the Board, as well as specific skills as determined each year by the Board.

Please contact the Chief Executive Officer for additional information for prospective Board candidates by email.

Contacting the Board of Governance

If you wish to get in touch with any board member, please forward an email to them c/- the Amaze CEO, to


Vale Ursula Smith

The Board of Governance wishes to extend its sympathy to the family of Ursula Smith, who lost her long battle with cancer in August 2013. Ursula had been a committed member of the board for many years and a strong advocate for individuals with ASD.

Ursula Smith