Meet the Board of Directors

Emily Milton Smith

Board Chair & State Commissioner

Emily Milton Smith is the 20th State Commissioner of Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT. At 29 years of age, this appointment which coincidentally coincides with the celebrations of a century of Guiding in NSW, is illustrative of the Association’s commitment to its centenary theme, empowering future women. 

State Commissioner Emily Milton Smith said of her appointment: “Girl Guides empowers girls and young women to make a positive change in the community. It is a vibrant space where girls and young women develop confidence and build resilience to navigate their world. This has been at the heart of the Girl Guide movement for the last 100 years and our purpose burns bright for our next century. Every day, we shine a light on girls and young women as today’s leaders and tomorrow’s future.” 

“Like all our members, past and present, Girl Guides is part of my story. I know its impact firsthand. As a young girl, it was a place where I carved my journey and lay the foundations for the woman I am now. It is the reason I became a volunteer: to guide the next generation of girls on their own path.  

“I’m honoured to lead the organisation in its next chapter as we continue to deliver a place to grow – for every girl and any girl” concluded Emily.

Emily is an award-winning leader and education specialist in the for-purpose sector, engaged in social impact, sustainability, and youth and community services.  

With extensive experience in women's empowerment, and a research background in digital media, communication technology and visual culture, combined with professional experience in advocacy, marketing, and PR, Emily brings a unique perspective to what the Association can achieve. 


Lisa Walters

Elected Director and Deputy State Commissioner

A senior executive Lisa is a graduate of the Australian Company Directors Course, Lisa has demonstrated financial management and reporting skills with a strong background in reporting and decision support at a Board level. 
She possesses strong operational cross functional knowledge including Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources and Sales and Marketing and has proven business development capabilities including the strategy development and implementation.
Lisa brings a fresh and modern perspective to Guiding.  She has extensive corporate and not for profit experience which, combined with her Guiding experience and “can do” attitude means she truly understands the needs of Guiding.

David van Gogh

Honorary Treasurer

David uses his corporate and risk experience to contribute to the Board’s important role in driving the empowerment of girls. He supports the Guiding model of developing leadership skills in girls through skills-based education and active community participation.

David leads Amstelveen, a specialist team of governance, risk, compliance and assurance professionals. He has 15 years of corporate experience spanning risk advisory, internal audit, corporate governance, and major technology and business change projects.

David is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has qualifications in Business Law and Technology. He was previously a Director in Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice and has served as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Reserve. He contributes to public policy, including on the importance of encouraging girls to undertake STEM studies.

Krista-Lee Fogarty

Co-opted Director

Krista is a srategic, innovative and results driven General Manager of Risk at Graincorp with an extensive background in global Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) strategy development and transformational leadership  across the renewable energy, construction, infrastructure, industrial, and property industries.

Krista displays a strong leadership capability with a solid track record in safety differently, behavioral based safety, leading safety in design, managing strategic safety initiatives, empowering and leading teams, management and stakeholders to drive the HSEQ agenda and achieve results through a hands on and commercially savvy approach.

Krista possesses in-depth knowledge and passion in HSEQ with nearly 20 years’ experience coupled with appropriate qualifications, legislative expertise, high-risk environment exposure, commercial acumen and drive to build HSEQ strategy from the ground up and succeed on an international spectrum. 

Sonja Freeman

Elected Director

As an adult Member and volunteer Sonja offers her time and passion for the Association to the emerging generation of Guides and give back to a movement that provided her with so many opportunities for development, adventure, friendship and joy in her youth. 

Sonja wants to ensure other young women and girls could have the same opportunities.

As a Lawyer, Sonja has developed knowledge and experience in industrial relations, property law and management; knowledge and experience that she applies in her role as Board Director.

Kath Follers

Elected Director

Kath has been a Qualified Leader in a variety of Guiding roles for over 38 years, joining Girl Guides as a Leader of Youth when her daughters joined the movement. Currently a Resource Leader for Northern Sydney Region and NSW & ACT Outdoors Trainer and Boating Instructor. Kath has held a number of management roles, and has attended most NSW & ACT and Australian Jamborees. 

Kath was Contingent Leader for the Australian Senior Guide contingent to Guelph in Ontario Canada, has attended a number of events for older Guides around Australia, and regularly attends the State Regatta, acting as Leader in Charge of Boating and the safety boat driver for the event.

A valued member of the State Water Activities Centre, RTS Tingira, Committee, Kath's obvious passion is the outdoors, in particular boating, although she is also a proficient camper. She has mentored many youth members and Leaders in her various roles and is involved with training outdoor skills in various locations throughout NSW & ACT.

Jo Higgins

Co-opted Director

Jo has held a number of corporate roles in the UK, Singapore and Australia, developing capabilities across corporate strategy, marketing & brand strategy, risk & governance, product, data, privacy, organisational design and operational HR.

She’s fascinated by innovation and human-centred design. Having participated in a start-up accelerator program, she currently mentors high school and university students as they explore the innovation ecosystem.

She’s also passionate about diversity and inclusion and is proud to support a number of NFPs looking to drive a broader conversation about equity and belonging. Through her role on the Board, she’s excited to support the Girl Guide mission of empowering the future generation of female leaders.  


Michelle Kothe

Elected Director

Michelle has a long history of involvement with Girl Guides and the movement's principles and cites Girl Guides as the source of skills, support and leadership opportunities that she has been able to use to help herself and the community. 

Michelle's interest in serving on Girl Guides NSW & ACT Board of Directors stems from her passion for working with girls, youth and the community for social change. Over the last two decades Michelle has built and refined a wide range of skills including success as a business women, sitting on a commercial board, and frontline and management positions with community focused organisations in the non-profit sector.  

Michelle is currently co-Chair of the ACT National Science Week Co-ordinating Committee.

Michelle proudly draws on her broad experience and provides valuable regional representation in her role as Board Director. 

Joanne Muller

Elected Director and Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT Appointed Director to the GGA Board

Joanne has been a member of Girl Guides for over 50 years and holds the Queen's Guide, Emu, Red Kangaroo and Asian Pacific Leadership Awards. During this time she has fulfilled the roles of Leader, District Manager, Deputy State Commissioner, Honorary Legal Advisor as well as serving on a number of board sub committees for both Girl Guides NSW & ACT and Girl Guides Australia.

With formal qualifications in science teaching & law, as well as being a Graduate of the AICD Company Directors course, Joanne has 25 years’ experience in the regulation of health practitioners and is currently a member of the following: Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW (Legal Member), St Johns Ambulance NSW (Director), Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries NSW (Chair), Royal Academy of Dance London – Development and Fundraising Committee (Member), the Curriculum Committee of the RANZCR,  the Consumer Panel of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce and the Radiation Advisory Council of NSW.

Cecily Zhu

Elected Director

Cecily has been involved with Girl Guides since she joined as a youth member and she continues to serve today as a leader of her local unit. Outside of Guiding, Cecily is a nationally accredited mediator and admitted solicitor, with degrees in Law and Finance. She is the director of a dispute resolution firm that specialises in commercial and workplace conflict. Cecily helps individuals and organisations to resolve disputes effectively through mediation, facilitation, and training. She is also a lecturer of Business Law and Mediation, both in Australia and throughout Asia.

As a young member from a CALD background, Cecily has a special interest in championing diversity and brings a unique perspective to the Board. Cecily takes enormous pride in her involvement with Girl Guides as she has observed the real and positive impact of Guiding on girls and their communities. She is committed to contributing to the governance of Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT to ensure the organisation can continue empowering girls and young women for generations to come.



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