Board of Directors
Carlie Bender is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and an AIEF Alum. Carlie is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW, a past recipient of an AIEF scholarship and a proud Gumbaynggirr woman from Bowraville on the north coast of NSW.
She completed her secondary education at St Vincent’s College, Potts Point and in 2014 she graduated from the University of New South Wales with degrees in Law and Criminology. Carlie worked throughout her time at university, undertaking roles at AIEF, Allens Linklaters, SBS and the UNSW Faculty of Law. She is employed as a Solicitor at SBS, focussing on pre-publication advice, contracts and legal research.
Rob Coombe is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. Rob is currently Executive Chairman Elect of Colonial First State, a leading Australian superannuation and wealth management business. In addition, he is Chairman of Generation Development Group (previously Executive Chair 2017-2020) an ASX listed financial services company which owns Generation Life, Ascalon Capital and operates a Pooled Development Fund licence. Rob also Chairs Tibra Capital, a privately owned global multi strategy hedge fund business and Expert360, Australia’s leading online talent market place. In addition to the above Chairmanships, Rob is a main board Director of CIMB Group, one of the largest universal banks in the ASEAN region with operations in each of the 10 ASEAN countries. He is also the Board’s sustainability sponsor and Chair. On top of Rob’s commercial interests, he is Deputy Chairman of Surfing Australia.
Between 2013 and 2019, Rob was firstly CEO (2013-2017) then Chairman of Craveable Brands, the largest Australian owned Quick Service Restaurant business. Rob’s tenure with this business was during its ownership by Archer Capital and culminated in a successful exit to PAG in August 2019. Before joining Craveable Brands, Rob was responsible for all of Westpac's Retail, Business and Agri banking operations. Prior to this role, Rob spent 6 years as the CEO of BT Financial Group, responsible for all of Westpac’s funds management, financial planning, insurance, private banking, broking, platform and superannuation businesses in Australia.
In total, he has 40 years’ corporate experience in both Australia and Asia, primarily in financial services. He has had extensive experience on the boards of both listed and private companies. In 2011 Rob was awarded the prestigious UTS Alumni of the Year for Excellence and in 2021 he was appointed as a fellow of the University. Both awards were in recognition of his achievements in the business community and social sector.
Greg Cooper is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Chair of AIEF's Investment Committee. Greg is currently the Independent Non-Executive Director and the Chairman of Colonial First State Investments Limited and Avanteos Investments Limited (collectively CFS), and a Non-Executive Director and Chair of Board Investment Committee of NSW Treasury Corporation, a Non-Executive Director Perpetual Limited and a number of small technology and investment related firms. Greg is a Non-Executive Director of Australian Payments Plus Ltd (AP+) and its subsidiaries/related entities: NPP Australia Limited, BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd, BPAY Pty Limited (subsidiary of BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd), BPAY Group Pty Ltd (subsidiary of BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd) and EFTPOS Payments Australia Limited. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Catholic Church Insurance, Edstart and Open Invest Holdings Limited.
Until December 2018 he was Chief Executive Officer of Schroder Investment Management Australia Limited, a position he held since September 2006. Greg was also responsible for Schroders Institutional Business Globally.
Prior to joining Schroders in 2000 he was the Head of the actuarial and asset consulting practice for Towers Perrin in Asia, he has also worked in the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. Greg commenced his investment career in 1992. He was a Board Member of the Financial Services Council for 10 years until December 2018 and its Chair for 3 years.
Emily Hill is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. Emily is a proud Dunghutti/Yuin woman, who completed her secondary education at St Catherine’s School, Sydney (an AIEF Partner School). She holds a combined Bachelor of International Studies/Bachelor of Law from the University of Sydney.
Emily is currently posted to the Australian Embassy in Washington DC serving as Counsellor in the Political Branch. From 2013-16 Emily was posted as an Australian diplomat to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Emily has worked in various roles in Government including at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and in the Office of the Foreign Minister.
Helen McCabe is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Founder and Managing Director of Future Women. Helen was formerly the Digital Content Director at Nine Entertainment Co and the editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly which she joined after 12 years in newspapers working as the Deputy Editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Night Editor of The Australian and a number of roles on The Daily Telegraph. She has also reported from London where she was the European Correspondent for News Ltd.
Helen began her career in Adelaide television before moving to Canberra Press Gallery with the Seven Network. She is also on the board of the Garvan Research Foundation and is an Ambassador for Adopt Change.
Michelle is a Director of AIEF having co-founded the organisation in 2007 following the successful establishment of the St Joseph’s College Indigenous Fund. Michelle was the former CEO (1995-2003) of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AustCham), the largest Australian business organisation outside of Australia, representing over 1,400 corporate members, more than 500 Australian and local companies and a community of about 100,000. Prior to that Michelle spent eight years working in hospitality management in Sydney, London and Hong Kong.
Michelle is responsible for all stakeholder relationships and engagement, as well as internal and external communications including media and marketing and events.
Andrew Penfold AM
Andrew is the Executive Director of AIEF and sits on the National Apology Foundation for Indigenous Australians (NAFIA) Board, and the Expert Advisory Group for the You Can Be Foundation. In 2014 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the Indigenous community.
Andrew participated in the Indigenous Australia stream of the Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008 and received a Leadership Award from the Prime Minister at the Australian Davos Connection in 2008. He was also one of the 2009 True Leaders in the annual Australian Financial Review Boss Magazine award, was a finalist for Australian of the Year in 2010 and was nominated by The Australian for its Australian of the Year award in 2012. In 2013 Andrew received the inaugural NSW Human Rights Award, assuming the role of NSW Human Rights Ambassador, and an Order of Merit from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the highest award issued by the organisation. In the same year he received the 2013 Community Alumni Award and the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence from the University of Technology, Sydney. As the winner of the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Andrew became a member of the UTS Luminaries, a select group of UTS graduates with a sustained record of outstanding achievements.
He is a former finance lawyer and investment banker with 20 years’ experience working in leading international firms in Sydney, London and Hong Kong. In 2004, Andrew left the business world and spent five years working on a fulltime but voluntary basis as Founder and Chairman of the St Joseph’s College Indigenous Fund and a range of other non-profit and charitable organisations before establishing AIEF in 2007.