Our Board

Bruce Manefield FAICD – Chair

bmprofilepicBruce brings to the Gunawirra Board over 20 years of governance experience. He has served on a range of commercial and ‘for-purpose’ boards. His interest in the social and economic value of early intervention programs developed during his 13 years on the Board of KU Children’s Services, six of which he was the Chair.

Bruce is a keen proponent of the work of Prof. James Heckman and the ‘Heckman Equation’, which enumerates the economic value of early intervention programs.

Bruce has held a number of senior executive positions across a range of industry sectors including technology/online, early education and the services sector.


Luke Joseph – Director & Finance Committee Chair

ljLuke has worked in senior business advisory and management roles in the Justice, Professional Services and Clinical Research fields. He brings a wealth of experience in business operations, technology project delivery and financial oversight.

He successfully delivered the first integrated domestic violence system in NSW which enabled the NSW Police Force, Legal Aid and Victims Services to provide a co-ordinated response in the immediate hours and days after a domestic violence incident. His exposure to this work acted as a catalyst for an interest in Aboriginal affairs and he joins us at Gunawirra with the aim of ensuring our systems, processes and financial governance are comprehensive and robust, enabling Gunawirra to continue and expand its important work.

Leanne Heywood – Director & Fundraising Committee Chair

linkedinMs Heywood was appointed a director in September 2016. Ms Heywood is an executive and leader with over 25 years corporate experience in the mining sector, including 10 years with Rio Tinto. Her experience includes strategy development and execution, business finance, compliance and risk management.

Ms Heywood holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Charles Sturt University and an MBA from the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, CPA Australia and AUSIMM.

Ms Heywood serves as a non-executive director and member of the audit committee for Orocobre, an ASX200 mining company with substantial industrial chemicals and minerals operations in Argentina. She is also a member of the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity. Ms Heywood has strong links to the Wiradjuri people of the Peak Hill District.

Ursula Kim – Director 

Ursula Kim

I’m a local Kamarloi woman from the Northern Tableland. My passion is working with Aboriginal children. I have worked in the Early Childhood sector for 28 years and the last 5 years have been appointed the Director in my town at the local Aboriginal Preschool, which caters for 3-5 year old.

My goal is to make sure our children have a good start in Education and give them every opportunity to be successful in what ever they do in the future. I also want to help and support parents to be involved in their child’s early years so that our children can be confident and proud/strong people. Gunawirra approached me to be a part of their team and this gives me the opportunity to keep helping our children in a different aspect.

Adrianne Nixon – Director

a-nixon-profile-picWith over 30 years in the communications business, Adrianne’s experience is expansive. In addition to working with blue chip clients like Unilever, Nestle and Coca-Cola, over these years and across two continents she’s built an enviable network and in 2013 she launched Legends & Leaders, a hybrid of mentoring and training for marketing and advertising professionals. A unique program, L&L has already provided actionable insights for large and small clients alike which has brought about positive change for these organisations and the agencies they work with.

She now looks forward to adding her expertise to the team at Gunawirra in order to help ensure the long term success of the vital work they do.

Graham Toomey – Director

attachment-1I am an Australian Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri and Wongaibon Aboriginal nations of Western NSW. I work for Gunawirra as their Senior Cultural Manager and Artist.

What I bring to Gunawirra is my Australian Aboriginal culture, my knowledge and skills along with my life experience as being an Australian Aboriginal person. I consider my role as guiding, educating and assisting Gunawirra’s professional clinical staff, students and volunteers with understanding my culture and people. I’m involved with many of Gunawirra’s amazing programs and I also manage and facilitate the program I designed called the, ‘Journey to Learning’ program.

Another role I enjoy greatly is engaging with other Aboriginal people, their families, communities and organisations throughout Sydney and NSW as they seek support from the Gunawirra. I cherish my role at Gunawirra immensely and value the work, care, passion and commitment that everyone provides at Gunawirra.


BDJ Partners, supports the board with the annual auditing, accountancy and company secretary support.

The Gunawirra Board also wishes to thank the following people for their services to Gunawirra: Chris Commens (former Chair), Carol Flanagan, Paul Davis, Margaret Hetherton, Fiona Beith, Anne Gorman, Phil Costa, Charles Handmer, Gail Hilton, Jeff Nelson, Ian Hansen, David Ward and Arthur Tateossian.