Meet our Directors
Dr Megan Alessandrini
President, Tasmanian delegate
Megan has a keen and long-standing interest in animal ethics, assisting in the development of our Positive Ageing in the Company of Animals Project and attending the 2015 Roundtable on Animal Welfare in Canberra.
A member of the Dogs’ Home of Tasmania board for 12 years and our board since 2010, she lives in Hobart and works as a senior lecturer in politics and policy at the University of Tasmania.
Vice President, Tasmanian Delegate
Michael has been CEO of Dogs’ Homes Tasmania since 2018, having held senior positions in the community and health sectors.
After many years as an industrial relations practitioner and university lecturer, Michael elected to pursue his interest of social justice. His love of animals attracted him to Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania and subsequently to Companion Animal Network as a director.
Dr. Julie Bellamy
Vice President, South Australian delegate
Julie is the CEO of the Animal Welfare League of South Australia (AWL) where she leads her team to connect lost, stray and abandoned pets with safe and happy homes.
Julie graduated from Glasgow University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. She has over 19 years’ experience in the veterinary and animal welfare industries, including state and national policy development, veterinary practice ownership, university lecturing and significantly improving animal welfare standards at a number of not-for-profit organisations. Julie brings a wealth of knowledge about veterinary health and animal welfare to the Board, and is keen to impact pets and people across many communities positively.
Treasurer, Queensland delegate
Denise, CEO Animal Welfare League of Queensland, has worked and volunteered within the animal welfare industry for more than two decades, developing successful partnerships with councils and achieving some of the highest re-homing and lowest euthanasia rates of dogs and cats in Australia.
She has been a member of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Animal Ethics Committee and is actively involved in several not-for-profit organisations.
Honorary Secretary, Victorian delegate
Barbara is committed to providing a voice for animals and the people who care for them. She has served on the board of Lort Smith since 2011 and is currently its president, and was appointed to our board in 2015.
Barbara is founder and managing director of communications firm Pesel & Carr. A life-long animal lover, she relishes any opportunity to protect and strengthen the human-animal bond.
Jennifer joined Lort Smith in late 2021. Her extensive experience spans health, financial services, community services, energy and fast-moving consumer goods.
She has held positions with Baptcare as Executive General Manager, Mission & Corporate Development, the Victorian Government as a Deputy Secretary, Corporate Chief Strategy Officer, Department of Economic Developments, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Girl Guides Victoria as the Chief Executive Officer, Medibank Private as the Group GM Strategy and Transformation and other senior roles with ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and A.T. Kearney. Jennifer joined Lort Smith at an exciting time of growth with their second site opening in Campbellfield and the redevelopment of North Melbourne Animal Hospital.
Melissa is the General Manager of Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, previously the Vice President of their Board, and committed supporter and volunteer with the home for over 20 years.
Melissa has over 25 years’ experience in Operations & General Management, Project & Change Management and Leadership & Governance. Passionate about Animal Welfare & Leadership, Melissa is excited to be joining SDCH to support them to succeed through challenging periods of change.
Katie has eighteen years' experience in marketing, communications and business management, with diverse knowledge across non-profit, animal welfare, health and specialist consulting, within the private and public sector.
She has more than 10 years’ experience working and volunteering within the companion animal welfare industry including time as a member of the University of Queensland Animal Ethics Committee (Animal Welfare Representative). Katie is passionate about community and social causes, particularly animal welfare, and has been a long-standing supporter of the work of Animal Welfare League Queensland. She lives on the Gold Coast with her husband, two children and a ginger tabby cat who rules the house.
Sue Hedley OAM
West Australian delegate, Founder of SAFE Inc (Saving Animals From Euthanasia)
Sue previously worked primarily in human services, driving towards de-institutionalising care in the welfare sector.
It was a natural progression to champion the foster care model in animal welfare as the best means to achieve zero euthanasia for re-homable pets. Sue established SAFE Karratha in 2003 and the organisation is now a large network of branches, volunteers and supporters across Western Australia.
Dr Rob Rahaley
South Australian delegate
Rob has over 40 years of experience in veterinary medicine including diagnostic pathology, animal welfare and biosecurity emergency management. Rob completed his Masters degree at Melbourne University and his PhD at Kansas State University.
From 2007 until 2013, Rob was the Director of Animal Health and Chief Veterinary Officer with the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). During his time with PIRSA he represented South Australia on several national policy committees with animal welfare responsibilities including the National Biosecurity Committee, Animal Health Committee and the Animal Welfare and Product Integrity Working Group. Rob is a graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has served on many Boards in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors. He is a current Board member with Animal Welfare League of South Australia Inc (AWL), and is the Chair of AWL’s Finance and Audit Sub-Committee.
CEO, Companion Animal Network Australia