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Our team

The Judith Neilson Foundation team works with our partners and networks to promote the wellbeing and resilience of communities in Africa and Australia. Our team builds on Judith Neilson’s history of philanthropic giving, while helping to forge the Foundation’s strategic priorities for action.

Freeman /

Chief Executive Officer

Simon Freeman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Judith Neilson Foundation and the Judith Neilson Family Office.

Simon has over twelve years’ experience across philanthropy and private family offices, and has been heavily involved in the formation, management, and strategic development of a number of major Australian foundations, including four years as the inaugural CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation. During his time in philanthropy, he has overseen the allocation of over $300m worth of funding commitments to a range of causes.

A Chartered Accountant, Simon moved to Australia from the UK in 2004 while working for Deloitte and has worked for a variety of financial institutions in the banking and investment management industry.

He is also a volunteer Director of Whitebox Enterprises, a leader in the development of large-scale jobs-focused social enterprises in Australia.

Mawande /

Head of Programs, Africa

Upenyu Mawande, Head of Programs, Africa

Upenyu Mawande oversees partnership and program management as the Head of Programs for the Africa portfolio at the Judith Neilson Foundation. Upenyu is passionate about improving the lives of the world’s poor and vulnerable and addressing systemic inequity. Utilising her combination of program, strategic and financial management skills, Upenyu has over 15 years’ experience in team leadership and program management in the international aid and development and not-for-profit sector.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Upenyu has been responsible for the design, implementation and quality assurance of programs across the emergency response to development spectrum in over 45 African, Asian, Pacific and Latin American countries. Upenyu has worked, partnered with and consulted for over 300 organisations over her career, and to support and strengthen the sector at large has sat on various committees of the international development peak bodies of Australia and New Zealand. Outside of her role with the Foundation, she is currently an Advisory Committee member to the Australian International Development Network.

Van Doosselaere /

Head of Programs, Australia

Candice looks after the Foundation’s partnerships and programs in Australia, seeking to foster partnerships with and support individuals and organisations working to co-create a world where everyone can live with dignity and thrive.

Candice has spent 15 years working in impact driven roles, including over ten years across the not-for-profit and philanthropic sectors in Australia, with previous experience working in Development and Cooperation for the European Union’s External Action Service in China.

Born in Mexico to Belgian parents, Candice grew up in the USA and Belgium, and has lived and worked in six countries across four continents. With master’s degrees in Law and Human Rights, Candice’s career has been guided by her passion for social justice, equity, diversity and sustainable development.

Until recently, Candice ran her consulting business dedicated to building bridges in the for-purpose sector based on her belief and experience that tackling big issues in a complex world cannot be done in isolation, but collaboration requires dedicated resourcing and consistency.

She also volunteers her time in youth-focused organisations dedicated to amplifying the voices of young people in society.

Hosier /

Chief Operating Officer

Peter is the Chief Operating Officer at the Judith Neilson Foundation, having overall responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the organisation as it embarks upon an ambitious phase of growth. With extensive experience in planning and executing risk-aware growth strategies, Peter brings expertise from his work within the financial services, asset management and startup innovation ecosystems.

Peter has led business performance monitoring and assessment across six continents, driven continuous improvement initiatives across the Asia Pacific region, and helped unite a global ecosystem of capital allocators from 96 countries to accelerate social and environmental impact.

Peter is passionate about problem solving and presenting new strategic initiatives to founders and executive teams, to help bring impact strategies to life. Peter believes that capital, people, creative thinking and a bias for action can drive exponential impact for people and planet.

Makepeace /

Head of Communications

Rosie is the Head of Communications at the Judith Neilson Foundation, overseeing the Foundation’s strategic communications and storytelling.

With over 15 years’ experience in strategic communications and stakeholder relations, Rosie brings expertise from her work in the international development sector and government relations across Asia Pacific, Africa and Australia.

She has led communications teams across a range of international development programs in governance, disaster recovery, conflict prevention and media strengthening for international donor and United Nations programs. Rosie’s passion lies in collaborating with program partners to share stories of sustainable change and the impact achieved.

She believes in the power of storytelling to inspire and drive positive transformations.

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