Global Citizen


Hon Mary Wooldridge to Chair Global Citizen’s Australian Board of Directors

(Melbourne, AUS | Tuesday 25 August, 2020) – International advocacy organisation Global Citizen today announced the appointment of Hon. Mary Wooldridge as Chair of its Australian Board of Directors, and recent appointments of Directors, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO and Natasha Stott Despoja AO.

Together, these three new directors bring decades of experience in gender equality, health, science, education, innovation and charitable management to the Global Citizen movement, the world's largest movement of action takers and impact makers. Their contributions will ensure that Australians continue to play an active role on the global stage and that Australia champions efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030.

The new members will join existing directors, Ms. Trish Daley and Mr. Ian Allen AM.

“With less than ten years remaining to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the framework for ending extreme poverty, we need countries such as Australia to step up and ensure these goals are delivered. Due to COVID-19 more people have been pushed into extreme poverty. This means that the urgency and need to act is more important than ever. I’m delighted that we have the breadth of experience from these new directors to ensure we double our efforts in Australia and see the country return as a champion for the most vulnerable,” said Sarah Meredith, Country Director of Global Citizen’s Australian operations, Global Citizen.

“We also thank retiring Director and former Chair, Michael Smellie, for his leadership and support since the organisation was established. Michael has been integral in supporting the organisation’s growth both here in Australia and internationally and we thank him for his commitment to ending extreme poverty”, continued Meredith.

Commenting on her appointment, Mary Wooldridge said: “As a teenager I was a Rotary Exchange student to Vancouver in Canada and one of my host parents was the Mayor of the local community. I saw then how activism within a community can drive positive change and this has always motivated me to support grassroots movements and people within communities to drive the change they want to see. Much of my work has been driven from that experience.

At this time as I move beyond Parliament, my appointment as Chair of Global Citizen’s Australian Board will allow me to harness and build on this, supporting the team with our aim to mobilise young people in Australia to advocate for the change that’s needed, and to ensure we inform and attract support to end extreme poverty from our government, corporations and broader community. Global Citizen’s mission to drive change at a global level, so that we recognise we are all part of an interconnected world, enables me to help drive this at a broader level than I’ve ever been able to contribute to before. I’m thrilled to join the team.”

For more information about how to join the movement, please visit and follow @GlblCtznAU Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GlobalCitizen.


About Global Citizen

Global Citizen is the world's largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. To date, the actions of our community, along with high-level advocacy efforts and work with partners, has resulted in commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion, affecting the lives of more than 880 million people. For more information, visit


Feature Communications, on behalf of Global Citizen Australia:

Lisa Poisel,, 0412 151 664

New Board of Directors - Further Information

Hon Mary Wooldridge

Mary was elected as the Member for Doncaster at the November 2006 Election and was re-elected in 2010. Following the abolition of the seat of Doncaster in a redistribution of electoral boundaries, Mary was elected as a Member in the Eastern Metropolitan Region and became Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and the Shadow Minister for Health before retiring from the Parliament in 2020.

Mary has Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in the USA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prior to entering Parliament, Mary had a number of roles including Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Young Australians, Manager at McKinsey and Co. in New York, Executive Director at both PBL and CPH in Sydney and Senior Advisor to the Federal Industry Minister.

From 2010 to 2014, Mary served as Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Disability Services & Reform and Minister for Women’s Affairs.

These portfolios saw Mary at the forefront of the Victorian Government’s major overhaul of the state child protection and out of home care system, securing a full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Victoria, whole-of-government action plans in alcohol and drugs and family violence and reform of community mental health and alcohol and drug treatment systems.

Joining recently appointed:

Professor Linda Kristjanson AO

Professor Linda Kristjanson AO is the former Vice-Chancellor and President of Swinburne University of Technology (2011-2020).  She is Chair of the Board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Linda is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. Her academic career spans four decades across Australia, Canada and the United States. Before her current role, Professor Kristjanson was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development) at Curtin University (2006-2011). She has an extensive research career in palliative care and was the inaugural Chair of Palliative Care, funded by the Cancer Council of Western Australia (2001-2006).

Professor Kristjanson was a member of the Board of the National Health and Medical Research Council (2003-2006). She has served as Non-Executive Director of a number of boards including the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information and the Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Diseases. In 2002, Professor Kristjanson was named the Australian Telstra Business Woman of the Year in recognition of her entrepreneurial work in health, science and innovation.  She was Chair of AuScope (2008-2017) and served as Non-Executive Director of AARNET, the Australian Synchrotron Holding Company Ltd., and the International Centre for Radioastronomy Research. Professor Kristjanson was a member of the Australian Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce (2017-2018).

In 2007, she was awarded the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Balfour Mount Professorship in Palliative Medicine. She received a lifetime achievement award in 2012 from the Bethlehem Griffith Research Foundation.

In 2017, Professor Kristjanson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, in honour of distinguished service to tertiary education through leadership and governance roles, strategic and innovative university reforms, contributions to cancer research and palliative care, and to women.

Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AO

Natasha Stott Despoja AO is the founding Chair of Our Watch Australia (the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children).

She is a former Senator for South Australia (1995-2008) and former Leader of the Australian Democrats.

She served as Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls December between December 2013 and 2016 to promote women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership and reduce violence against women and girls.

She has served recently as a member of the World Bank Gender Advisory Council and the UN High Level Working Group on the Health & Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents.

In 2001, she was made a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

Natasha is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide; a non Executive Director of Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer and the Australian Ballet, a member of the ANU Council, the ActionAid Arise Leadership Circle,  the 50:50 by 2030 Broad Agenda Advisory Committee, Chief Executive Women, CEW and the Global Women's Institute Leadership Council.

She is a former Deputy Chair of beyondblue, a former Burnet Institute Board member; served on the board of the South Australian Museum (2009-2013), the Advertising Standards Board (2008-2013) and the Museum of Australian Democracy (2010-2013).

She has been Patron or Ambassador for a number of not-for-profit groups including Girls Takeover Parliament, The Orangutan Project; Ovarian Cancer Australia, and ENUF the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign.

She lives in Adelaide with husband Ian and children Conrad and Cordelia.