Forestry Australia Directors and Staff

Forestry Australia is a registered non-profit company limited by guarantee, run by a skills-based Board of Directors. Board positions are honorary and Directors hold office for a period of 3 years. The Board is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Institute, providing oversight of the corporate, business and financial affairs of the Institute. The Board have at least one face-to-face meeting each year and meet by telephone conference at other times.

Dr Michelle Freeman – President

Michelle is a forester with a passion for native forest management. She has a double degree in Science (Ecology) and Forestry, and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Her PhD was in partnership with CSIRO Darwin looking at savanna fire and tree dynamics of northern Australia, as part of the Tiwi Carbon Study. She has worked in timber harvesting operations, planning and regulation in Victoria and is currently a Senior Planner at Forestry Corporation on the south coast of New South Wales.

Michelle was on the Board of the IFA from 2012 – 2014, and chaired the Future Foresters Initiative from 2015 – 2017. From 2014 – 2017 she was an Independent Council Member on the Federal Governments’ Forest Industry Advisory Council and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of company Directors.

Jim Wilson  – Vice President

Jim Wilson has a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) Australian National University 2003 and is the General Manager, Enterprise Performance at Forico, Tasmania.

He is a Registered Forestry Professional and graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Rural Leadership Program. Jim’s career has been focused in the private sector and he has invested his recent years working with Forico, as well as providing significant service at sector level in advocacy and leadership.

Jim is also an active farm forester with both plantation and native forest in Tasmania.

Monique Blason – Director

Monique is the General Manager Community Services at the South Australian Forestry Corporation (ForestrySA) and holds a Bachelor of Science (Natural Resource Management) and a Graduate Diploma in Water Resource Management from Adelaide University.

Monique’s 30 year career has focused on public land, fire and biodiversity management, specialising in policy and regulation development, operational and strategic planning and advice, multi-tenure partnerships and programs, and stakeholder engagement. She also spent seven years in the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet developing and coordinating whole of government emergency management, crisis resilience, public safety regulation, review findings and lessons management programs and initiatives in partnership with State and Commonwealth governments and non-government emergency management organisations.

Monique has represented ForestrySA on the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services (AFAC) and its Rural and Land Management Group and Forestry Australia’s Forest Fire Management Group and is a currently a representative on the SA State Bushfire Management Committee. Monique has embraced forest management, seeking to improve knowledge of and promotion of the multiple benefits of sustainable forests, and the importance of certification.

Matt de Jongh – Director

Matt is the Sustainability Manager for Responsible Wood and holds a Bachelor of Science (Forestry), ANU and a Graduate Certificate in Business Management, UNE. Matt is a forester with over 20 years’ experience in both operational and policy roles. As an operational forester for about 11 years, Matt managed both native and plantation forests, with Forestry Corporation of NSW, in various locations throughout regional NSW, also spending time on a secondment to the NSW Natural Resources Commission to assist with the management of the state wide NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program. In forestry policy Matt has worked for both the Australian Government and the Australian Forest Products Association. Matt has developed strong stakeholder engagement skills, not only as a forester, but also in the six years spent as Local Area Manager for the NSW Local Land Services, working closely with a variety of stakeholders including Landcare groups, landholders and the agricultural industry. Matt is passionate about promoting and communicating sustainable forest management and advocating for the environmental, social and economic benefits associated with forestry.

Blair Freeman – Director

Blair is the Head of Strategy and Sustainability with Indufor, an international forest sector consulting firm. He is a professional forester with over 25 years of experience in providing advisory services on forest policy, strategic planning and natural resource management across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Blair has a Bachelor of Forest Science degree from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Business Administration degree from AGSM in Sydney. He is also an alumnus of the World Forest Institute, where he represented the Australian forestry sector under the Global Forest Information Fellowship Program.

Dr Bill Jackson – Director

Bill Jackson is an adjunct Professor with the Tropical Forest and People Research Centre of the University of the Sunshine Coast and an independent consultant with over 40 years’ experience in forest conservation and management, protected area management and community development.

Bill was the chief author for the Australia State of Environment Report 2016, and he held the positions of Chief Executive of Parks Victoria and Director of National Parks from late 2010 until mid-2015. Prior to his appointment to Parks Victoria, he was Deputy Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). During his 13 years with the IUCN, he helped establish the organisation’s overall strategy and worked on a wide range of conservation issues in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. Earlier in his career he worked on community forestry in Nepal and forest and fire management in New South Wales. His PhD focused on community forestry in Nepal.

He is currently working on Global Environment Facility projects in Papua New Guinea and Bhutan.

Ruth Ryan AFSM FFA – Director

Ruth Ryan has over 40 years’ experience in forestry and fire in Australia. Much of her career has been in commercial softwood plantation management in Victoria including ten years as Corporate Fire Manager for HVP Plantations. She now manages Waroo, a consulting business in forestry, fire and natural resource management.

She has a Bachelor of Forest Science (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and is a qualified and experienced forest firefighter, who maintains her operational involvement. Her expertise in forest fire has resulted in being appointed on an international advisory board for the European Union funded FIRE-RES research project and The Commonwealth’s Wildfire Resilient Landscapes Network which was launched ahead of COP28.

Ruth is a Registered Forestry Professional and is a member of Forestry Australia’s Forest Fire Management Committee.

Mick Stephens – Director

Mick is presently the CEO for Timber Queensland, the peak state industry body. He is a resource economist with 30 years’ experience in policy development, advocacy and applied R&D in forestry and agriculture.
He has held senior private and public sector roles both in Australia and overseas, delivering leadership and mentoring teams for durable outcomes.

In 2008 Mick was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate agroforestry practices in North America and Europe, and in 2013 received a Gottstein Fellowship to look into active forest fire management in the United States and Canada. Mick has a degree in economics, post-graduate qualifications in environmental science and a Master of Forestry from the Australian National University.

Jacquie Martin – CEO

Jacquie is a highly experienced association and event management specialist with a passion for member-based organisations and collaborating with volunteer boards to develop and deliver on an organisation’s strategic objectives. Most recent roles include the Executive Officer for the Australasian Lymphology Association and the HR & Event Manager for the Australian Corrosion Association.

Sue Bruce – Finance Officer

Sue is Fellow CPA, an experienced financial manager, accountant and HR professional. With over 30 years’ experience and qualifications in accounting, management, teaching and governance, Sue takes pride in providing top-class service to Forestry Australia’s members, staff, suppliers and stakeholders.

As our Finance Manager, she also enjoys seeing a balanced balance sheet! A career highlight was the reconciliation of expenditure for a $640 million project spanning 14 years across 3 financial systems. Away from the spreadsheets, Sue has two adult children and two grandchildren who love spending time with their Nanna Sue.

Andrea Diem – Branch, Events & Communications Officer

Andrea has over 10 years’ experience in Marketing. Andrea organises the highly successful Forestry Australia webinar program as well as coordinating our communications including issuing e-News, broadcast emails and producing The Forester.

Andrea provides support to Forestry Australia Branches, Divisions and Regions to offer online and face to face events including field trips, networking events. Andrea welcomed the rapid change of Forestry Australia in the last 2 years and loves working with other Branches and committee members to deliver value and networking opportunities to members.

Andrea is originally from Colombia, married and a mother of one child. Andrea loves travelling and spending time with family and friends.

Jodi Duiker – Administration & Membership Officer

Jodi has worked in Administration roles for over 15 years, including Executive Assitant, Office & HR Management and Practice Management across varied expressions and passions. Alongside supporting Forestry Australia’s members (maternity leave position), she also assists committees such as the Mentoring Program, the Registered Forestry Professionals scheme, and the Future Forester’s Initiative.

Jodi is passionate about supporting individuals and teams to help achieve successful outcomes, whilst working with purpose and passion, and ensuring that we value people along the way. She is married with 4 grown children, who together seek to embrace family, life and adventure in all they do.