Ethics and Leadership in Volunteering


A Community Leaders’ Panel Discussion with a Q & A Session held as part of the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Program

Start Date

15th Aug 2018 3:00pm

End Date

15th Aug 2018 4:30pm


Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

E.; T. 0419 291 605

The Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Program (VCLP) is a flagship program launched in 2016 that provides University of Tasmania students with the opportunity to engage more deeply with their leadership throughout their time as students at the University. It rewards and recognises the wide range of experiences that they have while studying, both as part of the University community and with the wider community, and allows them to identify, articulate and evidence those experiences and the skills developed to future employers. The Program recognises a commitment to civic service as an institutional responsibility and provides students with opportunities to engage with local Tasmanian leaders and to participate in a self-chosen volunteering activity within the broader community.  

As part of the Program, a Community Leaders’ Panel Discussion with a Q & A Session is will be held during National Student Volunteer Week. There are over 200 student leader positions on campus through both paid and volunteer opportunities. Members of the public, the University community including staff and student are invited to attend the Panel Discussion and to participate in the Q & A Session directed at members of the panel.  


  • Professor Rufus Black, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania
  • Mr Mitch McPherson, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY
  • Ms Rikki Mawad, Development Manager and Government Advisor, Brave Foundation
  • Ms Sharifah Syed-Rohan, Student and Campus President
  • Mr Zac Romagnoli-Townsend, active member of Seed, Indigenous Youth Climate Network
  • Ms Adrienne Picone, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Australia

Facilitated by Ms Stephanie Taylor, Executive Director, Student Experience, University of Tasmania

Students leaders completing the VCLP will receive credit for their attendance at this event.

imageRufus Black is the Vice Chancellor and President at the University of Tasmania. Previously, he was Master of Melbourne University’s Ormond College and an Enterprise Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing and a Principal Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. Rufus’ private sector experience includes nine years as a partner at McKinsey and Company, serving clients in Australia and Asia, and as a Director for national law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

His educational and social sector experience includes being the President of Museums Victoria, the Deputy Chancellor of Victoria University, the founding Chair of the Board of the Teach for Australia Board, a Director of the New York based Teach for All and a Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He has worked extensively for government at Federal and State levels. He was a Board Member of Innovation Science Australia, conducted the Black Review into the Department of Defence and the Prime Minister’s Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community and was the Strategic Advisor to the Secretary of Education in Victoria.

Rufus holds degrees in law, politics, economics, ethics and theology from the University of Melbourne and Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

imageIn 2013 Mitch was working in the trade industry as a glazier. When his younger brother Ty took his own life, Mitch decided to turn the devastating loss into something constructive, and founded SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.

What started as Mitch sharing his story has now grown into a registered not-for-profit that works hard to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma. Mitch has spoken at over 600 events, including school groups, workplaces and sporting clubs, and he is dedicated to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

He believes his story resonates with many people. People who, like his family at the time, might not think mental health is a priority or that they will ever be affected by it. Mitch’s vision is that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY will become a national charity, with a focus on delivering programs in schools and sporting to increase awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

imageRikki is the National Development Manager and Government Advisor for the Brave Foundation and a Sessional Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania. Her teaching portfolio includes Dispute Resolution and Evidence Law while her research focus has been on measures to improve access to justice for children and people with disability. Rikki was most recently working as the National Coordinator of the Disability Access to Justice Research Consortium at the University of Melbourne and the Assistant Director of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI).

As a former Adviser in the Federal Parliament, the Australian Senate and the Tasmanian Parliament Rikki maintains an interest in politics and current affairs as well as a passion for education, equality and justice. She was a 2017 delegate to the Australia India Youth Dialogue and a graduate of the 2013 Tasmanian Leaders Program.

Rikki has served on many Boards including the former Tasmanian Academy, the University of Tasmania Council, the Colony 47 Partnership Brokers Scheme and the Link Youth Health Service. She is currently a member of the Board for Chatter Matters and the Sexual Assault Support Service. She has a Masters in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Bachelor of Arts and Law with Honours and is a trained Radio Producer. During her undergraduate studies, Rikki held the position of President of the Tasmania University Union from 2005 – 2008.

imageSharifah Syed-Rohan is a third years Bachelor of Arts/Law student majoring in Indonesian. When Sharifah is not studying, she is an active member of a number of university clubs and societies, most notably working as Campus President- South of the Tasmania University Union.

Sharifah was born and raised on the North West Coast of Tasmania and is a proud product of the public school education system, having been educated at East Devonport Primary School, Devonport High School and The Don College. Sharifah was fortunate enough to be awarded the Vice Chancellor’s National Scholarship which has allowed her to pursue higher education at the University of Tasmania.

Since a young age, Sharifah has had a profound desire to help those within her community. She lives by the idea that the world is a place in which each individual can make a difference and believes that there is no purpose in complaining about the shortcomings within our society when we could instead we could be working towards bridging the gaps, empowering people and creating solutions to these problems. 

Therefore, Sharifah has served in an array of leadership positions, most notably having served as a youth representative on a number of Devonport City Council committees, as Welfare Officer of the Tasmania University Union and most recently as Campus President- South of the Tasmania University Union. Sharifah is chuffed to be a part of this event and looks forward to sharing her leadership experiences and insight on leadership and ethics with the audience.

imageZac graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts that comprised a double major in Philosophy and International relations. While at the University, Zac participated in the 2013 -14 Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) during which he learned about leadership, earned a certain IV in community development and hiked the Kokoda track. This experience helped Zac to develop and practice leadership skills and this led him to become involved in youth led Climate Justice activism with Seed. He was also employed as the Indigenous trainee and the Indigenous cadet at the Riawunna Centre. In 2016 was a member of the inaugural exchange program with the University of Arizona.  

Throughout his time at the University, he worked to raise the awareness of Riawunna, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support services, improve their experience and outcomes, as well as making connections between the University and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.  Zac is a coordinator for Seed; Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, and they are building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for Climate Justice. Seed is the sister organisation of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Their campaigns include the anti-fracking movement, supporting mobs opposing coal mining in the Galilee basin in QLD and the well-known For the Love of the Reef peer to peer fundraising campaign.  

Zac plans to return to UTAS to further his studies and hopes to learn about and gain political influence to contribute to the Climate Justice movement. His hobbies include skateboarding, music, visual art, and helping to build meaningful, positive and constructive social change via grassroots organising.

imageAdrienne Picone joined Volunteering Australia (VA) as the CEO in January 2017. Prior to starting at VA, Adrienne was the CEO of Volunteering Tasmania and during that time she has been a tireless campaigner for, and supporter of volunteering. Adrienne is passionate about the for-purpose sector and strives to ensure that volunteering is universally acknowledged as being integral to the social, economic and cultural cohesion of our community.

Adrienne has worked with volunteers for over 15 years as a Volunteer Manager, trainer and management consultant. She has qualifications in education and extensive experience with Local and State Government as well as for purpose organisations. As the CEO of VA, Adrienne is responsible for ensuring that the organisation remains true to purpose and delivers on its mission to lead, strengthen, promote and celebrate volunteering in Australia.