New Chair and Board of Directors

Tradeswomen Australia Foundation founder and director Fiona Lawrie today announced the appointment of two newly appointed non-executive directors Ron Smith and Richard Dent along with the election of the Chair of the Board, Jane Sydenham-Clarke.

The Board provides leadership and governance for carrying out the Foundation’s mission to increase the representation of women working in skilled trade roles.

“The new members are experts in their fields bringing an impressive and diverse range of skills and experience to each of Tradeswomen Australia’s portfolios. I am looking forward to a year of growth and expansion working alongside a supportive and invested team.” Jane Sydenham-Clarke

Jane Sydenham-Clarke, Chair CEO of Skyline Education Foundation Australia, formerly CEO at Freemasons Victoria, Jane has held leadership roles including at Fed Square, Kidney Health Australia and Southgate Arts and Leisure Precinct. She brings a lifelong commitment to empowering women in work with senior leadership experience across marketing, commercial partnership development, community engagement, and operational management. Jane is committed to collaboration and communication, with a track record inspiring unprecedented business and social outcomes through innovative commercial practice. She is driven to make a sustained positive impact for women in trades building on contributions to Victoria’s social fabric through enabling community, cultural, education, tourism and health outcomes. Jane is a Leadership Victoria and AICD graduate, a non-executive director of Urban Camp and a mentor to emerging for purpose leaders.  

Richard Dent, Director Richard has been have been active in Australia’s civic life for more than two decades, most recently as Leadership Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer and prior leading large complex organisations, advising governments, and contributing to public policy and major social campaigns such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme campaign, as well as fostering leadership in business, government and civic organisations. Richard is proud to have helped provide services to some of Australia’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals and families, and established a body of expertise in leadership, executive management, and NFP governance. He is deeply experienced in building NFP organisations’ activities, sustainability and impact. His creed is to bring together business, government and civic organisations to make progress in complex issues for Victoria, Australia and the world, particularly relating to economic wellbeing, adapting to digital disruption, fostering social fairness, maintaining a sustainable environment and upholding human rights.

Ron Smith, Director Managing Director of Corporate Media Communications PL has over four decades of experience in the media advising both the private sector and government in relation to media and community strategies. Ron has worked with the Urban Land Authority for twelve years; was responsible for the communication program to establish the Docklands Authority, and was the independent media adviser and strategist for the Local Government Board during the Victorian Council Amalgamations.  He has been an advisor to many Councils in Victoria specialising in crisis management and has been involved in creating strategies for Kidsafe Victoria on child accident prevention and developing campaigns for the Victorian Deafness Foundation and the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Ron has an enduring commitment to fairness and is dedicated to enabling equity for women in trades.