Our Executive

Cheryl Vardon

Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner

Cheryl Vardon is the Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC). She has held the role since October 2015. 

Cheryl was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of the University) from Griffith University in 2018. 

She has a distinguished career as an educator and is recognised for her leadership in the protection of vulnerable children and young people. 

Since 2016 Cheryl has led a series of reviews for the Queensland Government leading to practical systems reform measures to keep vulnerable children more than safe. Reviews into system reforms still continue under Cheryl’s leadership. 

She is an experienced reviewer of systems using case studies and stories to influence policy and establish reforms.

Cheryl’s work in Indigenous education and services for Indigenous children and young people has received a Prime Minister’s Reconciliation Award. 

She has held many leadership, board and statutory roles, as a Director-General, Chief Executive, Commissioner and Adjunct Professor, in private, public and not-for-profit organisations, including education departments, children’s services departments, consumer affairs, a national charity, universities, and tribunals. 

Cheryl is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders, a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia. 

Cheryl is an experienced public speaker, having delivered a number of keynotes across Australia and internationally throughout her career. 

To request Cheryl as a speaker or panellist at your next event, contact us.

Back to top

Phillip Brooks

Commissioner

Phillip Brooks is the Commissioner at the QFCC and joined in October 2017. Phillip has held an esteemed career in the child, youth and family support portfolio in Queensland and began working for the Queensland Government 18 years ago as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Police trainee in Innisfail with the Queensland Police Service.

Phillip is a descendant of the Bidjara Tribe (Great Grandfather), the Kairi Tribe (Great Grandmother), and the Ducabrook Clan located at Springsure Central Queensland. Although, growing up he spent the majority of his time living in Townsville North Queensland. As a result, Phillip is deeply invested to responding in ways that support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to exercise their responsibilities and to heal, grow and prosper.

Back to top

Dr Leanne Gill

Executive Director - Evaluation and Workforce Futures

Leanne has been the Deputy Commissioner for Programs since September 2017 and is responsible for the QFCC’s oversight and evaluation of the sector. Leanne has a depth of experience as a public sector executive and leader that can build teams and work with stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions to meet government priorities. She has worked in strategic change roles across the Queensland public service and tertiary education sectors drawing on her background in organisational development, talent management, capability development, performance management, applied research and performance evaluation; and has worked as a university lecturer in the field.

Some of Leanne’s achievements include the sector’s Gender Pay Equity Review, the effectiveness review of the Queensland Mental Health Commission and the design of Government wide reforms in human capital management at the Queensland Public Service Commission. Leanne undertook a 3 month placement with the United Kingdom Civil Service, hosted by Civil Service Learning in 2015.
Leanne holds a Doctorate in Education (thesis on building organisational capability), and Masters and Undergraduate Degrees in Business Management from Queensland University of Technology and has been a member of the QUT Graduate School of Business Advisory Board since 2012.

Back to top

Natalie Conner

Executive Director - Corporate and Communications

Natalie Conner has held the position of Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services at the QFCC since October 2016.

Natalie has worked as a Senior Executive in the Queensland public service for over a decade and came to the QFCC with broad experience gained in regional and head office environments. Her industry experiences include working with sectors as diverse as transport to as specialised as parks, sport and racing. Prior to coming to QFCC, she worked in the social policy team responsible for child protection and domestic and family violence prevention in the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Back to top

Jaime Blackburn

Executive Director - Research and Child Death Prevention

Jaime is a senior executive and qualified accountant with extensive experience in both the public and private sector, having spent a significant period of her career delivering professional services within a ‘Big 4’ environment in Queensland and in the UK.  

Jaime previously worked for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and held roles in corporate governance, risk management and internal audit services. 

Jaime currently manages the child death prevention, family and child research and the child death review teams.  

Jaime also acts as a risk management advisor to the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Queensland Art Gallery. 

Back to top

Penny Creamer

Executive Director - Oversight and Indigenous Outcomes

Penny Creamer is the Executive Director Oversight and Indigenous Outcomes and has been with the QFCC since June 2018.

Penny brings a wealth of knowledge to the QFCC, having worked in child and youth services and the education sector for more than two decades. 

Penny has extensive experience working in Indigenous education, setting up early childhood programs in remote areas of Queensland including Cape York, Torres Strait Islands and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Further to this work, Penny led the implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family centres across 10 Queensland communities.

Working both internationally and here in Queensland, Penny has led a variety of youth programs, including her work in the foundational Bullying. No Way! campaign which provides information and ideas for students, parents and teachers to combat bullying. 

Back to top

Tracy Fogarty

Director - Office of the Commissioners

Tracy Fogarty is the Director to the Principal Commissioner. She joined the QFCC in April 2016. In this role Tracy supports the Principal Commissioner and leads the Children and Young People’s Perspectives and Policy and Advocacy Leadership functions of the QFCC. 

Tracy has worked in a range of governance and program management roles in the Queensland public service for over a decade. She has worked in a diverse range of portfolios including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural affairs, environment and natural resources. Tracy has provided professional executive support to a number of Chief Executives. Prior to joining the QFCC, Tracy worked in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet on whole of government reforms including Queensland’s child protection reforms and domestic and family violence reforms.

Back to top

17 September 2019