Our Executive

Cheryl Vardon

Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner

Principal Commissioner, Cheryl Vardon

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.

Vacant

Commissioner

Recruitment underway.

Dr Leanne Geppert

Deputy Commissioner, Programs and Operations Management

Dr Leanne Geppert, Deputy Commissioner

Dr Leanne Geppert is the Queensland Family and Child Commission’s newly appointed Deputy Commissioner, Programs and Operations Management.

A qualified Clinical Psychologist with a passion for children and young people’s mental health and well-being, Leanne has spent more than 20 years delivering, leading and improving services and related systems across the mental health sector, and brings additional expertise in primary health across corrections and youth detention.

She was most recently the Executive Director of the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC), where she was instrumental in the implementation of the Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023, which will guide Queensland’s approach to improving the mental health and well-being of all Queenslanders.  Through this work, suicide prevention has been an especially key area of focus for Leanne, with the development and launch of Every Life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan – a bold new plan to tackle Queensland’s suicide rate.

Prior to QMHC, Leanne was the Executive Director of Mental Health and Specialised Services at West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, where she led the region’s mental health services, drug and alcohol services and primary health services in prisons and detention centres, while also overseeing specialist state-wide programs for forensic mental health, learning, clinical research and service benchmarking. 

Leanne’s executive leadership career has grown from many years spent as a clinician in Child and Youth Mental Health Services and a lifelong commitment to improving service planning and performance to achieve better outcomes for all Queenslanders. Her passion for and experience with children and young people’s mental health, as well her commitment to systems reform, will help lead the Queensland Family and Child Commission into a future that is focused on listening to the voices of young Queenslanders and their families, and advocating for real change to the way services are delivered to support them.

Dr Geppert holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and a PhD. She is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian College of Clinical Psychologists.

Dr Leanne Gill

Executive Director - Evaluation and Workforce Futures

Leanne has been the Executive Director for Evaluation and Workforce Futures 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.

Natalie Conner

Executive Director - Corporate and Communications

Natalie Conner has held the position of Executive Director, Corporate and Communications 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.

Jaime Blackburn

Executive Director - Research and Child Death Prevention

Executive Director, Jaime Blackburn

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. 

 

Penny Creamer

Executive Director - Oversight and Indigenous Outcomes

Executive Director, Penny Creamer

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.