McAuley Community Services for Women's governance structure encompasses the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea who carry out a stewardship and ownership role, and the Board of Directors that is the key governance body for the organisation.

Each Board member is committed to providing good governance, effective financial management and creativity as they advocate for a better, safer and just society.

Board of Directors

Our current board members are:

Sonja Hood (Chair)

Sonja Hood is CEO of Community Hubs Australia, an organisation working across Australia to help to integrate migrants and refugees - particularly women - into our community. Her background is in health policy, where she has a PhD and over 20 years experience in research and implementation in Australia, the US and the U.K. Her particular interest is programs that drive change and make a tangible difference to people's lives, and this is the reason she joined the Board.

Kath Tierney rsm (Treasurer)

Sr Kath Tierney, a Sister of Mercy, works as a governance and management consultant across the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and in the broader community. Her association began more than a decade ago when, as Congregational Leader, she oversaw the amalgamation of two Mercy ministries (Mercy Care and Regina Coeli) in 2008 to form the current organisation. In her capacity as Congregational Leader she had oversight of Mercy health, welfare and education ministries Victoria-wide for 12 years. 

Mark Birrell

Mark is the Chief Financial Officer of Partners Wealth Group, and has had extensive experience as a financial services executive /consultant in the development and management of distribution, financial planning, retail investment product, superannuation and master trust businesses with major Australian Organizations and Industry Bodies. His background includes leadership experience with profit centre and strategic development responsibilities. Mark's strong leadership skills and experiences are an asset to our organisation.

Michelle Cotter

Dr Michelle Cotter is Principal at Mercy College in Coburg and recently completed an Executive MBA, Doctorate of Education, Master in Leadership and Master in Religious Education. Leading the Mercy College community for global citizenship in the twenty first century resonates powerfully with the story of Catherine McAuley and Michelle sees her stewardship of Catherine’s story being realised in her work as a teacher and leader in the school, but also as a contributor to our Board.

Anita Morris

Dr Anita Morris is the Allied Health Manager of Social Work and Pastoral Care at Western Health. She has worked as a social worker for over 20 years and in 2015, Anita completed a PhD focused on the safety and resiliency of children who experince family violence. She was an expert witness at the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and she hopes to bring her knowledge of honouring children's voices into our organisation and continue to support initiatives that keep women and children safe.

Louise McNamara

Louise McNamara is Community Engagement Officer at Loreto Mandeville Hall in Toorak. She joined the Board after having spent four years on the Special Events Committee working closely with other people passionate about preventing family violence.  While assisting the Safe House and the women and children who arrived there was always a focal point, advocacy also became important to the committee and inspired Louise to move into governance.

Matt Tilley


Matt Tilley, KiiS 101.1 FM breakfast radio personality, had been involved with our organisation for a few years through his MC'ing of the last two Fed Up lunches, before joining the Board in 2016. It offers him a chance to work for the elimination of family violence, but also to continue his long association with ministries of the Sisters of Mercy, an order of women religious that he admires for the work they have done over many decades. He welcomed an involvement in the Fed Up lunches because they offer men the chance to weigh into the issue of family violence in a positive way.