Our Board

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Veronica (Ronnie) Faggotter


Ronnie has worked in the private and public sectors, as a small business owner, and in public housing for more than twenty years. She was Director of the South Australian Government’s State Recovery Office from 2005 until her retirement in 2019. Her focus was supporting communities following a disaster and increasing the State’s disaster recovery capacity and community resilience. In 2011, Ronnie was included in the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll for her work in emergency management. In 2017, she received the Local Government Association – Jim Hullick Award for outstanding collaboration with local government in the area of recovery. Ronnie is currently the Fund Administrator for the South Australian State Emergency Relief Fund.

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Des Collinson


Des is a founding partner of a chartered accountancy business in Adelaide and has been in practice for 40 years. As Treasurer, he oversees the corporate governance of GraceWorks Myanmar (GWM) and implementation of its vision. He is a director of Australia Medic Alert Foundation and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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Peter Simmons

Founder & CEO

Peter founded GWM in March 2004 following a trip to Myanmar that brought him face-to-face with the daily challenges individuals and communities face. Having maintained a presence in Myanmar during a tumultuous session, he has become a recognised expert in grassroots development in the country. Peter has more than 35 years in business and community leadership roles, is a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and has served on the board of Teen Challenge Victoria and as Chairman of Youth for Christ Victoria. Peter is also a former winner of the Collie Trust Foundation scholarship and holds a Master of International and Community Development (ICD).

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Rob Cunningham

Board member

Rob’s experience spans more than 20 years, specialising in trauma-based work in the child protection, youth mental health and international disaster settings. This includes extensive experience as part of Australian Government responses to emergency and disaster settings nationally and internationally, such as the shooting down of Malaysian flight MH17 in Ukraine (2014), evacuation of Lebanon (2006) and London terrorist bombing (2005). Today, Rob’s practice and research interests centre on developing and evaluating innovative social change programs. He is in the final stages of completing a PhD focused on the long-term impact of sport-for-development programs on young people in post-conflict settings.

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Zoe Solomon

Board member

Zoe is a skilled evaluator, project manager, community worker, and governance, risk and compliance professional. She has worked in executive administration and project roles in several not-for-profit organisations. This includes working with GWM partners and staff in the field in Myanmar. Zoe has extensive experience navigating complex situations with multiple stakeholders, including management experience in small and large organisations. Zoe also has significant research experience and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) and Master of ICD, which culminated in a minor thesis focused on cultural competence and gender in international development evaluations. She has also undertaken postgraduate studies in management.

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Elizabeth Graetz

Board member

Elizabeth is a business and marketing strategy consultant with 18 years’ experience. Her clients have ranged from small-to-medium enterprises through to ASX-listed companies in diverse industries. Her relationship with GWM dates back to 2011 and includes facilitating the 2012 strategy that supported the first major transition into a community development organisation. She was part of GWM’s first community development education training team in 2012 and 2013, and supported local partner capacity building in Myanmar. She holds a Master of ICD, Bachelor of Business (Communications) and Bachelor of Creative Industries (Media Studies) and is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute.

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Clay O’Brien

Interim Director

Clay works as a consultant in access to finance and economic development. He was based in Myanmar from early 2019 until February 2021, working with microfinance institutions, UNCDF, IFC and other development partners – and before that in 2012-13 with LIFT. Clay’s previous positions include Managing Director of AYANI Inclusive Financial Sector Consultants; more than two years in Indonesia running an agricultural finance project; the Senior Sector Specialist for Financial Inclusion at the Australian aid program; and various roles with the global microfinance network, Opportunity International. In total, he has worked in international development for more than 18 years. Prior to that, Clay was Managing Director of an investment bank (ING Barings), focused on mergers and acquisitions, and began his career as a lawyer.

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Dr Anthony Ware


Dr Anthony Ware is an Associate Professor of International and Community Development at Deakin University as well as Convenor of the Development-Humanitarian Research Group, Secretary of the Development Studies Association of Australia, and Research Affiliate of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership. He is author or co-author of numerous academic papers, and author/editor of books including, Myanmar's Rohingya Conflict, published in 2018. Anthony is recognised for his extensive research into development in conflict-affected situations, and everyday peace formation, particularly in Myanmar. He is a strategic advisor to GWM and contributes strongly to the training and leadership of our community development education work.