Brendan Sargeant (Chair)
Professor Sargeant is Professor of Practice in Defence and Strategic Studies, and Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Studies at the Australian National University. He retired from the APS in October 2017 after many years working on the development and implementation of Defence policy. As the associate secretary of Defence from September 2013 to October 2017, he oversaw implementation of the First Principles Review, a major reform of Defence organisation and enterprise governance, planning, performance and risk management.
Ms James is a professional company director and independent committee member. She has more than 30 years’ experience in the global financial services industry specialising in governance, risk and compliance. She is currently an independent director on the Commonwealth Bank’s superannuation and investments subsidiaries, and an independent member on the compliance committees of a number of large investment managers. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr Jarvie is a performance measurement and aid management professional. She is currently Adjunct Professor, Public Service Research Group, School of Business at the University of NSW (Canberra). She has 22 years of APS experience, including as a deputy secretary in the departments of Education, Science and Training, and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. She has extensive experience in evaluations and strategy development and worked for the World Bank in Washington, Vietnam and the Pacific. She is a member of the Indigenous Evaluation Committee for the National Indigenous Australians Agency, and is chair of the OCHRE evaluation committee for the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Dr Jarvie was a member of DFAT’s Independent Evaluation Committee for Australian aid (2012–2020).
Ms Hardman is a professional company director with experience in business and IT transformation, change leadership and governance. She has over 30 years’ experience in the global financial services industry specialising in business strategy, general management, and transformational change leadership. She is currently an independent director on two public sector boards, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Board’s Audit and Risk Committee, and consults to the private sector on board performance, enhancement and future-readiness.
Mr Ramsden is a highly experienced APS officer (now retired), who specialises in corporate and enabling service roles. He has served as chief financial officer for the Australian Customs Service and ComSuper. He was also chief operations officer for the Clean Energy Regulator and was responsible for managing all corporate support functions (finance, human relations, information technology, project management, risk management, communications and investigations) for this newly formed agency.
Tony Sheehan (Deputy Chair)
Mr Sheehan joined DFAT as Deputy Secretary International Security, Humanitarian and Consular Group on 2 October 2018. He was most recently Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator from September 2016. In that position, he was responsible for coordinating Australia’s Counter-Terrorism arrangements for the Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, working in close partnership with Commonwealth and state and territory agencies. Before that he served as deputy director-general in ASIO, chief operating officer in the Attorney-General’s Department and first assistant secretary, homeland and border security in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Before this, he spent 19 years at DFAT and undertook overseas postings to Taipei, Beijing and Jakarta, and held several SES positions in Canberra with responsibility for counter-terrorism, people smuggling and other transnational issues.
Mr Isbister has more than 25 years’ experience in international development and the humanitarian area through senior roles across both government and non-government sectors. He was the Australian Government’s humanitarian coordinator from 2014 to 2019 and is currently First Assistant Secretary for DFAT’s Economic Growth and Sustainability Division. He is also Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment and leads Australia’s international negotiations on climate change.
Ms Heckscher is currently First Assistant Secretary for DFAT’s Southeast Asia Division. She has responsibility for Australia’s relationships with Timor-Leste and the 10 ASEAN member countries, including Australia’s bilateral development assistance programs to those countries. Ms Heckscher is also a member of DFAT’s Aid Governance Board. She has held a number of other senior DFAT positions, which include heading up the Americas Division and serving in senior positions at Australian diplomatic posts in Singapore, Ottawa and Moscow. Ms Heckscher has also served in a number of legal roles in DFAT, including as the corporate counsel.