Meet Our People

Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors bring a wealth of energy, enthusiasm and expertise to our cause.

Our Board provide all expertise pro-bono and receive no remuneration.

Megan Donnell, Founder & Executive Director

As the founder of the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation, Megan oversees all strategic and operational aspects of the organisation including: engaging and aligning with partner organisations and patient groups globally; managing the financial position of the organisation from fundraising and revenue generation through to distribution of funds as well as executing the Foundations’ strategic plan.

Megan lives on the Northern beaches of Sydney and is the mother of two children, Isla and Jude, who both have Sanfilippo Syndrome.

Prior to making the Sanfilippo movement her life’s work, Megan’s occupation was a management consultant, specialising in large-scale IT project management and organisational change management.

Contact Megan via email:

Angeline Veeneman

Angeline's professional background is in management consulting. She runs her own consulting company, providing specialist project management and Information Technology services to non-profit and commercial organisations. She is a French national married to a Dutch man with twin girls born in Switzerland (and logically calls Australia home).

Contact Angeline via email:

More on Angeline’s passion for our cause here

Mark Arnold

Mark is responsible for strategy and governance of the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation. He has been a Board member since its inception.

His key activities include defining organisational strategy; developing a strategic plan; and establishing processes to facilitate compliance with governance and regulatory requirements. Mark is a seasoned entrepreneur who has owned and managed a successful consulting practice and several start-ups including an insurance company.  

He is also the father of three beautiful girls, finding himself somewhat outnumbered.

More on Mark’s passion for our cause here

Paul Schoff

Paul brings his experience as a leader in professional services to the Board, focussing on governance, asking good questions, and aiming to ensure the Foundation is sustainable and resilient into the future.

As the leader of the Minter Ellison's Australian Competition & Regulatory Group, Paul advises on and manages legal risk for clients from regulatory investigations as well as defending enforcement actions under competition and securities laws.

Paul was partnered with Megan Donnell for The Growth Project, which helps to build leadership capacity of emerging not-for-profit sector leaders in Australia. Paul resides in Sydney's inner west with his wife and two teenage children. 

More on Paul’s passion for our cause here

Our Scientific Advisory Board

The current members of our Advisory Board include.

Our SAB provide all expertise pro-bono and receive no remuneration.

Professor Ian Alexander

Professor Ian Alexander BMedSci MBSS (Hons), PhD, FRACP (paeds), HGSACG, FAHMS is head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit, a joint initiative of Sydney Children's Hospital Network and the Children's Medical Research Institute in Sydney. He is the Chair of of the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.

Read Professor Alexander's bio

Associate Professor Kim Hemsley

Associate Professor Kim Hemsley BAppSci (Med. Lab. Sci), PhD, is a neuroscientist and is the Head of Childhood Dementia Research Group, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders Health & Medical Research Institute, Flinders University. 

Read Dr. Hemsley's bio

Dr David Ketteridge

Dr. David Ketteridge MBBS, FRACP (Paediatrics) is a metabolic physician and General Paediatrician at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.

Read Dr. Ketteridge's bio

Professor David Ryugo

Professor David Ryugo BA Psych, PhD Psychobiology. is a Professor of Neuroscience at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

Read Professor Ryugo's bio

Dr Nicholas Smith

Dr. Nicholas Smith MBBS (Hon), DCH, FRACP, PhD (Cantab) currently heads the Department of Paediatric Neurology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.  

Read Dr Nick Smith's bio

Dr Michel Tchan

Dr. Michel Tchan BMedSc, MBSS, PhD, FRACP is a Clinical and Metabolic Geneticist and Head of Department, Genetic Medicine at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. He is also the Deputy Chair of the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.

Read Dr. Tchan's bio 

Associate Professor Sarah Spencer

Associate Professor Sarah Spencer is a Principal Research Fellow at the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Read Associate Professor Spencer's bio 

Associate Professor Karin Borges

Associate Professor Karin Borges is a neuroscientist who is Head of the Neurological Disorders and Metabolism Laboratory at University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences.

Read Asssociate Professor Karin Borge's bio

Dr Jana Vukovic

Dr Vukovic is a neuroimmunologist at the University of Queensland who heads the Neuroimmunology and Cognition Laboratory which is investigating the interactions between the brain and the immune system in health and disease.

Read Dr Jana Vukovic's bio

Our Team

Our team is made up of passionate people committed to driving research towards a world free of Sanfilippo Syndrome.

Dr. Kristina Elvidge, Research Manager

Dr. Kristina Elvidge began her a career as a medical researcher, later moving from the laboratory into the realm of science communication. Based in Melbourne but a frequent flyer, Kris drafts all our science communications, manages our international grants program, and works with our Scientific Advisory Board.

Driven to make a difference to the lives of children battling Sanfilippo, Kris is also working with Government and key stakeholders to project manage our exciting Brain in a Dish project. When she’s not working hard for the Foundation, Kris enjoys time with her husband, young daughter and the family dog.

More on Kris’ passion for our cause here

Gail Hilton, Operations Manager

Our Operations Manager Gail is no stranger to the not-for-profit space. She joins the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation with 15 years’ experience in the sector, having worked for organisations including Redkite, YWCA NSW and CanTeen and more recently as an NFP consultant.

Gail’s skills in operations, programs and people management and her ability to think ‘outside the box’ are much-valued at the Foundation where she is making a true impact to our organisation and our ability to drive progress in the research landscape. Gail is mother to two young children and recently made the move to Northern Beaches of Sydney. 

More on Gail’s passion for our cause here

Brad Philips, Business Development Manager

Brad’s background is in digital web design and marketing, having worked in the corporate banking world for 12 years. His skills in project delivery and website management have helped him leap into the for-purpose sector, where he is helping to build peer-to-peer marketing campaigns and delivering impactful events.

Brad’s digital skills and passion for health and wellbeing were an asset while at the helm of our Foundation’s SF Super Series. He has since transitioned into a business development role, in which (amongst other things) he manages our grant writing, client relations and business strategy. When not working, Brad can be found mostly outdoors – running, trekking and travelling. 

More on Brad’s passion for our cause here

Ingrid Maack, Social Media & Communications Manager

Ingrid’s background is in media and communications, having worked in the world of magazines and boutique publishing as a writer and subeditor across sectors including IT, Retail Pharmacy and Education. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ingrid produced a quarterly magazine called Rattler for the NSW Community Child Care Co-operative.

Ingrid is the mother of two boys and aunt to two children with Sanfilippo, Isla and Jude Donnell. She manages social media and all communications for the Foundation but wears many hats from fundraising to event management and administration.

More on Ingrid’s passion for our cause here

Philippa Silva, Family Engagement Coordinator

A former Chief Operating Officer (COO), Philippa’s professional background is Finance, Investment and Marketing. She has worked for government departments and in finance, education, technology and people services. 

Philippa is passionate about using her skills for ‘work with purpose’.  She is the mother of three children, one with a rare blood disorder and another with special needs. Philippa works with our families and their networks to build and guide a movement of support to help find a cure for Sanfilippo Syndrome. 

More on Philippa's passion for our cause here

Erene Keriakos, Bookkeeper

Erene, aka ‘EK’ or ‘Smiley’, is our Foundation’s bookkeeper. She is an accountant by trade with over 15 years experience in company accounting for small to medium business. Erene worked alongside our Foundation’s founder, Megan Donnell, ‘pre-Sanfilippo’ and was involved with the Foundation as a supporter and volunteer before joining the team. She works at the Foundation 2 days per week and also does bookkeeping for the Fragile X Association of Australia.

When Erene is not crunching numbers, she spends time with her husband and three children. A quiet achiever and long-time supporter, EK is a much-valued member of our team.

More on Erene’s passion for our cause here

Emma Kirkman, Events Manager

Emma's background is in IT administration, marketing, events and travel management – the perfect skillset for life in a fast-paced not-for-profit. Emma’s can-do attitude, incredible work ethic and community spirit makes her a much-valued member of our team.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Emma was involved in the grassroots drought relief campaign ‘A Fiver for a Farmer’ which went viral and raised more than $1million in less than five weeks. Emma is the mother of four young children and lives on the Northern Beaches.

More on Emma’s passion for our cause here

Nikki Hopkins, Operations Coordinator

Nikki is an experienced administration and operations consultant whose impeccable organisational skills have seen her work in roles at Channel 9, Pacific Magazines and more recently within the printing trade. This positive team player empowers our Sanfilippo Children's Foundation team to meet their goals. Nikki lives on Sydney's Northern Beaches and is the mother of three children including a son with Autism.

More on Nikki's passion for our cause here 

Danielle Cini, Research Program Coordinator

Dani administers all aspects of our grant program and assists with all science communications. She has completed a Biomedical Science/Science double degree at Monash University, with Honours in Biochemistry, where she achieved first class honours!

After this she worked as a Research Assistant at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute and has volunteered for the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society. 

When Dani isn’t learning all she possibly can about Sanfilippo, she dabbles in digital painting, coding and writing.

More on Dani's passion for our cause here