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. 


Virginia Brown

Elected Director

Virginia holds a qualification in Project Management and offers extensive experience in change management, risk management, stakeholder engagement and leadership. Virginia brings a pragmatic, risk-based approach to the Board. She has worked for many years in the delivery of large programs and projects, and has established and maintained strong internal and external stakeholder relationships. Virginia has a strong background in managing both perceived and actual risks.

Virginia also offers rich Guiding experience. She has been a Leader of Youth and has held various Region and State roles. Virginia has experienced the positive impact of Guiding on young women and girls, and the benefits that are a consequence of being part of an organisation that truly values its youngest members. 

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.


Aine Leonard 

Elected Director

Aine is currently a Company Director, Committee Member of a Not for Profit and is a Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer. Aine offers rich experience in finance, compliance, legal and risk management roles. She is now working with a number of businesses to evolve their finance and governance functions at Board level, as well as within operations, financial and risk management. Aine is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds several qualifications in Governance.

As well as her rich professional experience, Aine has demonstrated a consistent passion for Guiding. In Ireland, Aine was a Brownie and Guide Leader and served as Grant Secretary, a Member of the Finance Committee and has represented Irish Girl Guides at world events for many years. She is currently a Junior Guide Leader in Haberfield.


Jo Tonon 

Elected Director

Jo is currently a teacher in Special Education and part way through a Master of Education (Special Education). Jo has worked extensively with children from low socio-economic, First Nation and trauma backgrounds. Jo is an active member of the local Aboriginal Education Consultive Group. Prior to teaching, Jo worked as a company administrator, managing logistics and completing risk assessments. Jo was also heavily involved in managing the finances and tax activity statements for various companies.

Jo offers rich Guiding experience and has been actively participating in the governance of Guides at a region level for nearly twenty years. Jo brings extensive knowledge of the Australian Guide Program and a strong passion for Girl Guides. 

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.  


Charlotte Weatherall 

Elected Director

Charlotte holds a Master of Business Psychology and has extensive experience working and volunteering in several Not for Profit organisations. As well as having completed training in building corporate partnerships, Charlotte has a decade of experience connecting with Rotarians across the State and around the world. She is currently a Rotary Club Board Member and has previously held roles of President, Secretary and Membership Director for the club. 

Charlotte has been a member of Girl Guides for 18 years. She is highly passionate about innovation, inclusion and the leadership skills that will empower Girl Guides members to continue thriving in all areas of their lives. 

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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