Our Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is elected by the Members of the organisation for a two year period with half standing down annually. The Board is ultimately responsible for the governance and performance of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA).

The Board consists of an elected President, a Chairman (these may be the same person), and other Directors. The maximum size of the Board is nine. Persons with disabilities constitute a majority of the board.

All Directors operate in a voluntary capacity. They meet at least once a month and more frequently if needed. In addition, many of them serve on sub-committees of the Board, which look at specific areas of operation or issues of interest.

Download Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's Charter of Board Operations


Joan Hume

Joan Hume* President Since 2014

Joan joined the Board of SCIA in 2012 because she believes she can still make a valuable contribution to the development of the organisation with which she has had an association for over 35 years.

Joan has a professional background in secondary education and TAFE as a teacher and disability consultant and in public health policy and rehabilitation as a senior policy advisor.  She holds a BA DipEd and an MA in English Literature from Sydney University.

Her activism and advocacy in disability commenced after she sustained a spinal cord injury in her early 20s. For over three decades she has played a prominent role in the birth and development of Australia's disability rights movement especially as foundation editor of the magazine "Quad Wrangle" and later board chairperson for the Australian Quadriplegic Association (now Spinal Cord Injuries Australia), NSW state president of Disabled Peoples' International (now People with Disabilities Australia) and a founding member of Women with Disabilities Australia.  She has represented DPI Australia at the United Nations in New York.

She is dedicated to promoting the independence, dignity and full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. Joan has been awarded an OAM for services to people with disabilities, a high commendation for her writing in the Australian Human Rights Awards and an Australian Achievement Award for writing on media portrayal of disability.

Apart from extensive experience in both mainstream and disability education, Joan brings well-honed writing and policy development skills, familiarity with management and collaborative board participation practice.

Joan is a member of the Members' Issues Sub-Committee and the Board Development and Governance Sub-Committee.


Stewart Calderwood

Stewart Calderwood Director Since 2012

Stewart suffered a spinal injury in 1994, in a diving accident, was left temporarily paralysed and went through intensive therapy within a spinal unit which undoubtedly aided the recovery. He subsequently became involved with the Back Up Trust, a UK charity assisting those paralysed through spinal cord injury to inspire independence and to encourage everyone to get the most from their lives.

Stewart moved to Australia several years ago and wanted to be involved with a charity addressing the needs of people with spinal cord injury which is passionate about transforming lives.

Stewart is currently a Director at Ord Minnett. He has corporate background in the finance sector with over 25 years’ experience in London and Australia. He has client relationship management experience in a wide range of institutional and corporate clients. He will use his corporate and financial back ground to bring the needs of the charity and its members to the awareness of the Corporate Sector.

Stewart  is a member of the CEO Liaison Sub-Committee


Brad O'Hara Chairman Since 2015

Since joining the board of SCIA in March 2010, I have seen the organisation go from strength to strength. Today, SCIA is an organisation that continues to put people first, and it’s this commitment that keeps me coming back to the boardroom to work with my fellow directors to position this organisation at the centre of providing our members with much needed support and advice.

You may have read recently that the Board of SCIA approved a partnership with the University of Technology Sydney, Spinal Cure and SCIA to work with like-minded individuals to further research in the area of Neurostimulation, a potentially life changing project for all Australians with spinal cord injury. It’s this and other work that SCIA is undertaking, that will position the organisation at the forefront of supporting individuals with a spinal cord injury.

Personally, I have been working with the team at SCIA to establish a specialist wheelchair assist program. We are in the early stages of doing our research, but it looks promising.

2017 is shaping up to be very exciting for SCIA and I am very happy to be part of it.


Richard Klinger

Richard Klinger * Director from 1997 – 2005; 2007 – present

Richard considers it a privilege to be a member of the SCIA Board of Directors and a part of a unique organisation that is governed by a majority of people with a severe physical disability.

He was Chairman of SCIA (AQA) from 1998–2001 and President from 1999 – 2000.

Richard’s background is in civil construction engineering and his present occupation is Managing Director of equibuilt, a Building Services Company.

He finds it most rewarding to be involved with the wider SCIA team of dynamic and committed people that provide services that make a difference to the lives of people with a spinal injury and in doing so keeps their needs and aspirations firmly on the policy agenda.

Richard is a member of the SCIA Members Issues Sub-Committee and a past member of the NSW Community Housing Advisory Committee from 2000 – 2001.


Christine Tink

Christine Tink Deputy President since 2016

I’m a wife and a mother to three kids and the family dog, and the owner of an interiors and homewares e-commerce store. A motor vehicle accident almost 8 years ago left me with a C4/C5 spinal-cord injury.

I’m passionate about discovering new ways to increase both the availability and affordability of assistance equipment, infrastructure and services.  Since requiring a wheelchair I have become acutely aware of the cost of equipment and the limitations that cost can place on the lives of individuals. I believe that it shouldn’t cost the equivalent of a small car to get about in the world in the same way that ambulatory community members can.   

Accessibility shouldn’t be limited to our local environment.  I’ve always had a passion for travel and I’m currently researching ways to offer greater support, information and affordability for wheelchair travellers.  I maintain an attitude that anything is possible and I look forward to a time when accommodation provisions for wheelchair travellers are the norm not the exception.

I’m excited to be included on the board at SCIA as I believe that my business experience and passion for making a difference will benefit the wider SCIA community.


Rick Stewart

Richard (Rick) Stewart Director since 2015

I was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 1993 resulting in a C4/5 spinal cord injury and live with my family in Ryde NSW. Being active in the community I have a long history with SCIA dating back to 1997 being extensively involved in the areas of peer support/education, advocacy and coordination of the Discovering the Power In Me self-motivation program. I founded and maintain the Easy Ryders peer group for persons with a disability (families/carers included) living in Ryde and surrounding area. The combination of my acquired spinal cord injury, SCIA involvement and community activities provides me with the relevant experience, knowledge and skills to understand the current and emerging issues that SCIA needs to deal with both now and into the future. Although a new incoming director, I also served a term on the board a number of years ago. My sole intention is to ensure SCIA’s Board has the leadership required to embrace and take advantage of the enormous changes that are about to happen, especially with the advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other government initiatives. I therefore pledge a 100% commitment to ensure that SCIA's services, programs, facilities and direction meet the changing needs of its members, service users, their families, friends and carers in order that they comply with SCIA’s vision and mission statements. I urge all members to take an active interest in this great organisation which exists solely to provide valuable services and benefits to persons with a spinal cord injury and similar.

I’m a member of the Members Issues Sub-Committee. Feel free to contact me with any matters relevant to this committee: 

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0423 775 817
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Brett Stevenson

Brett Stevenson Director since 2016

Brett comes from a pioneer farming family in the Dubbo district of NSW. After graduating from University in 1983 he commenced a career in Commodity Futures markets with Dalgety Australia. Due to the deregulation of the Australian dollar and interests rates in December 1983 he progressed into financial markets working with the ANZ Bank in New Zealand, ANZ Bank in Australia, Midland Bank in Australia and the United Kingdom and Swiss Bank Australia. In 1993 Brett moved back into Agricultural commodities heading up Treasury and Group Risk at Dalgety Australia. In 1995 he commenced his own company specialising in price risk management services in Australian agriculture which he still operates today.

In January 2010 Brett had an accident whilst on holiday leaving him C5/C6 incomplete quadriplegic. In becoming a director of SCIA he has the following to offer; ”Having spent 33 years in business of which 20 years has been establishing my own business I bring an understanding of what is required to ensure strong customer relationships in competitive industries. I forecast change coming as a result of the NDIS and I want to help to ensure a strong support environment for people who have experienced a spinal cord injury.”


Mark McCauley

Mark McCauley Deputy Chairman since 2016

I was admitted to Practice Law in June 1977. In July 1978 I was made a Partner of a mid-sized law firm. My law practice was mainly commercial. I was advising clients on the purchase of an island near Hamilton Island when I was involved in a helicopter crash. I was aged 35 and married with 4 young children when the accident occurred. After 5 months in hospital I returned to work. In December 1988 I became a Consultant to the International law firm Baker McKenzie. I was the head of the Corporate Division for nearly 5 years. In 1993 I was appointed a lecturer at the College of Law. 

In the course of my professional career I have been a director of 3 public corporations. I am a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and recently completed their intensive courses on Foundations of Directorships and Governance Foundations for Not For Profit Directors.

SCIA, along with most Not for Profit organisations, is facing a very challenging future with the changes to government funding. I have both the legal and practical experience to assist the Board in developing strategies to meet these challenges.               


* Denotes a person with a disability

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