Board of Directors

Professor Michael Wilmore

Chair Person

Professor Michael Wilmore is an experienced academic leader with a background in the humanities and social sciences. He has held senior academic roles in universities in Australia and the UK, and completed research projects in Nepal, the UK, and Australia. He was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education at UNE in 2018 and is currently acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor. His leadership experience encompasses a wide range of initiatives, including projects with significant impacts on university culture, external partnerships, business improvement processes, and investments in built and digital environments.

Michael holds first-class BA Honours in Archaeology (University of Exeter), a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology (University college London), and a PhD in Anthropology (University of London). His areas of teaching and research interest include the anthropological study of media, communication studies, and research-skill development. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Professor Debra Dunstan


Professor Debra Dunstan is a Clinical Psychologist and Physiotherapist, a national award-winning scholar and an academic leader. Through a diverse career spanning more than 30 years, Debra has demonstrated a commitment to education and training as the means to the social and economic development of individuals and communities.

As a clinician, Debra has practiced in the public (State and Commonwealth), private and NGO sectors across health and human service domains. In 1997, she established a multidisciplinary private practice in rural NSW and in 2007 transitioned to the academy as a Churchill Fellow. Since entering the higher education sector, Debra has achieved a record of excellence in teaching, research and organisational growth and change.

Debra holds a Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy, Master of Letters (Psychology), Master of Psychology (Clinical), Master of Business Administration (Educational Leadership) and Doctor of Philosophy.

Dr Jessie Harman


Jessie Harman is a dedicated humanitarian and a recognised leader in the promotion of engagement and partnerships across a broad range of regional and international organisations. Jessie has extensive senior executive leadership, academic teaching and research experience and was Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Partnerships) with Federation University Australia.

Jessie holds a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Sociology, an MBA and a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship. She has lectured in the areas of Human Resources and Marketing at Federation University and was involved in research and development projects for the University involving commercialisation, regional competitiveness and dual-sector partnerships. During this time Jessie has also served in a number of positions at Rotary International at club, district and international levels, and is currently Chair of the international Membership Committee.

Executive Team

Benjamin Gilmore

Chief Executive Officer

Benjamin Gilmore is an established innovator, education strategist and learning technologist with experience across a range of industries in Australia and overseas spanning some 20 years.

Over the past 15 year Benjamin has established his position as a thought leader in the vocational education sector, holding senior positions at the largest private RTO in the country, including Head of Strategy and Experience, Learning Design and Technology Manager, and National Marketing Manager. Each of these roles boast initiatives at the forefront of the application of technology in education, marketing and communications.

Benjamin has completed postgraduate studies in Data Science, as well as vocational qualifications in Management and Marketing.

As the CEO of UNE Partnerships, Benjamin has a strong focus on excellent student experience and meaningful collaboration with partners and customers.

Frederic Trost

Director of Partnerships

With over 40 years of commercial experience in a variety of senior management roles, Ric has worked in numerous industries ranging from aviation charter and sales, engineering, food manufacture, retailing and licensing of technology and IP.

A strong focus of Ric’s expertise has been business development and project management within an international context building export capability and establishing businesses with extensive exposure to markets in over 50 countries. In the domestic space, Ric has spent 9 years in a successful, co-owned and managed bakery manufacturing and retailing business.

Prior to joining UNE Partnerships, Ric spent 9 years as a business consultant to SME’s which involved developing strategic business, marketing and export plans, mentoring, process re-engineering and change management interventions. Apart from expertise and hands-on business experience, Ric holds a Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Commercial Law and Masters in International Trade & Commerce Law as well as qualifications in LEAN Six Sigma and Prince2. Ric is currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Meggan Michell

Director of Education

Meg Michell has wide experience and high-level capability and responsibility in the development, management, delivery and administration of education and training programs for organisations and individuals, developed over 20 years in the Australian VET sector. Meg is an expert in the quality management, regulation, recognition and funding mechanisms in the sector, leading UNE Partnerships through successive registration renewal processes and achieving maximum approval terms with the National VET regulators.

Director of Education with UNE Partnerships since 2002, Meg oversees the delivery and ongoing quality management for a range of AQF and non-AQF qualifications and courses, ensuring ongoing response to industry and client needs and audited quality assurance mechanisms as designated under the National VET Regulator Standards for RTOs.

Melissa Jubb

Director of Corporate Services

Melissa Jubb has had many years experience providing strategic advice and support to small and medium businesses, including financial, structural, cashflow management and human resources. A member of both CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Melissa has worked as a partner in public practice as well as in the not for profit sector.

Melissa has a strong focus on sustainable growth for business and creating a  positive and supportive team culture.

Over the years Melissa has gained specialised experience in commercial leasing and redevelopment of retail shopping centers, as well as corporate governance and investor management. She has worked very closely with complementary professional advisors to maximize outcomes for the businesses she advised.

Penne Vincent

Director of Learning Innovation

Penne Vincent has worked in the VET sector in Australia for more than two decades in a range of training organisations across NT, Qld and NSW. This involved work as a tutor, teacher, instructor, training manager, resource developer and learning design manager before taking on the role of Director of Learning Innovation.

Penne is passionate about developing quality learning experiences for adult learners and in particular finding learning design solutions to meet individual and organisational development needs. She enjoys the challenge of using project management, problem solving and team collaboration skills to develop and maintain high quality learning solutions that meet the learner’s needs.

Nicky Whichelow (PhD)

Director of Sales and Marketing

Nicky has spent over 20 years in marketing and sales with considerable experience in the RTO space across a wide range of industries, ranging from Health and Fitness, to Heavy Plant and Machinery. Her expertise in digital marketing and communications gives her valuable insight into prospective student demands.

Nicky joined the UNEP Executive Team in November 2022 and is currently working on developing a range of improved communication tools to better help prospective students make sound learning choices.

Academic Directors

Cathy Baynie

Health Programs

Cathy Baynie is Academic Director of UNE Partnerships’ Health Programs portfolio and has worked as a practice manager and consultant in the Australian healthcare sector for more than 30 years. She has a strong background in nursing and paediatrics and a focus on health policy and governance.

Cathy presents and assesses for the Medical Assisting qualification at UNE Partnerships, and her dedication to professionalism and quality in practice management has seen her hold a number of positions in the Australian Association of Practice Management, including NSW/ACT State President and National President 2017-2020.

Gary Smith

Health Programs

Gary Smith is Academic Director of UNE Partnerships’ Health Programs portfolio and a successful practice manager of extended-hours and large, multi-services medical practices in the Western Sydney area in the primary healthcare space for ovr 36 years. He is a dedicated Australian practice management professional with a long history as a presenter, assessor and past Academic Director of UNE Partnerships’ Professional Practice Management program.

Gary has made significant contributions to quality and professionalism in the Australian healthcare sector through education and representation, having held a number of positions with the Australian Association of Practice Management including NSW State and National President. He continues to serve in a number of positions and associations related to quality in general practice across Australia.

Jenny Sewell

Leadership and Management

Jenny Sewell is Academic Director of Leadership and Management portfolio at UNE Partnerships, and has a broad scope of Knowledge, and is working on several of our current projects including PSC New Graduate program, NSW Department of Education Managers program.

Jenny completed her Bachelor of Education at UNE and began her career as a school teacher, quickly moving into the business world where she was a director in a successful real estate company. Her innovation and leadership led her to be selected as national training manager for the First National Group and from there, her adult education and communication skills along with a talent for organisational leadership led her into soft skills training and consultancy nationally spanning the real estate, tourism, and education sectors. Along the way, she completed her MBA through UNE.

Sean O’Toole

Government and Community Services

Sean O’Toole is Academic Director of UNE Partnerships’ Government programs, with more than 20 years’ experience in adult learning and a focus on optimising the performance of organisations, teams and individuals. He has worked in both vocational and higher education sectors, served on university curriculum advisory boards, and managed industry-leading and award-winning capability-building initiatives in large government organisations.

Sean is a Churchill Fellow and the 2015 Fulbright professional scholar in vocational education and training, has Master degrees in Education and Australian Studies and postgraduate qualifications in management and organisational behaviour. He is extensively published, including authoring five books and more than 60 articles on adult learning and organisation development.

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