Board of Directors

Professor Chris Moran


Professor Chris Moran joined UNE on 17 July 2023 as the Vice-chancellor and CEO. Prior to his appointment he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at Curtin University at Curtin University from 2016 to 2023. From 2007 to 2016 Professor Moran was Professor and Director, Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland (UQ). The Institute comprises seven discipline-based research centres and is one of the largest entities of its kind in the world.

Chris holds a bachelor of Agricultural Sciences (with Honours) and a PhD from the University of Sydney and has a strong international and national reputation for his research and expertise in soil science (digital image processing), natural resources (spatial modelling and statistics) and water management. Professor Moran has published widely in scientific literature and the broader media.

Professor Moran joined the UNE Partnerships Board on 3 August 2023.

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.

Michael Blanchflower


Michael Blanchflower is an entrepreneur, executive and governance professional with a demonstrable 20 plus year track record of success in business. This includes the sale of his own financial services start up to Macquarie Bank in 2010, leading a successful private equity merger strategy in 2014 that delivered a significant and diversified wealth management business (sold in 2023), and in 2016 establishing a successful eco-tourism business (sold in 2020).

Michael studied Economics and Marketing at Macquarie University before completing a Diploma of Financial Services with Tribeca, and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance & Investment with FINSIA. Michael is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A lifelong learner, Michael is currently studying a Diploma of Counselling.

Michael has fulfilled many demanding governance positions, leading companies through challenging periods of growth and change and is proud to serve as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of UNE Partnerships.

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.

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.

Nicky Whichelow (PhD)

Director of Sales, Marketing and Partnerships

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.

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.

Academic Directors

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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