Our Community

We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the vision, support and strong community behind Paint The Town REaD.

If you’d like to be a part of our children’s literacy movement, get in touch. There’s definitely a place for you.

Our Board

From left to right: Colin Adamson, Hugh Campbell, Michelle Le Roux, Barbie Bates, Fiona Hamilton, Claire Bourke, Therese Mathews. Absent from photo: Jen Hookey and Rhonda Brain.

Chairperson: Therese Mathews

What do you do? I work as a Consultant.

Why is children’s literacy important to you?  Reading is a key tool to achieving future financial and emotional wellbeing and every Australian child deserves that opportunity. 

How do you help?  I’m the Chairperson of the Board. Alongside other board members I focus on the strategic direction and sustainability of Paint the Town REaD.

Secretary: Fiona Hamilton

Treasurer: Hugh Campbell

What do you do? I am the General Manager for Honest to Goodness foods.

Why is children’s literacy important to you?
I greatly enjoyed reading to my daughters, and to this day I see their constant fascination with a good book. The literacy statistics unfortunately for many young Australians is staggeringly poor, and it was an easy decision to support this charity in any way I could. 

How do you help?  I am the Treasurer on the Board and am responsible for the financial management of the charity, as well as supporting the Board on relevant decision making and direction setting.

Board Members:

Jen Hookey

What do you do? I am a Risk Assurance partner at PwC Australia.

Why is children’s literacy so important for you? Literacy empowers each child to learn and grow, as literacy provides the foundational building blocks upon which, other skills can be learned. If we can increase literacy for children, in both rural and urban communities across the country, we can have not only a positive impact on each child but on greater society as well. The opportunities for those children to make better decisions and embrace learning throughout their lifetime are endless.

How do you help? I am the Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee, as well as supporting the Board on strategic direction and the sustainability of Paint the Town REaD. 

Rhonda Brain OAM

What do you do? I am a retired primary school principal, founder and creative director of PTTR

Why is children’s literacy important to you? I continue to be motivated by the desire to address the emotional needs of belongingness, worthiness and competency in children. Poor literacy skills can devastatingly affect the fulfilling of these needs. Quality remedial teachers and programs can’t make up the shortfall if children start Kindergarten with poor language and pre-reading skills.

How do you help?  I work closely with our Executive Director and the Board to develop creative ways to encourage everyone to read with their children from birth.

Claire Bourke

What do you do? I’m an Employee Experience specialist at MLC Life Insurance. I have a corporate background but I’ve also worked in not-for-profits that focus on children’s literacy and social mobility for young people.

Why is children’s literacy so important for you? I’ve always loved to read. Books can take you so far outside your own experience, and build your empathy, understanding and knowledge of the world. Literacy is power and it’s linked to better outcomes, not just in education and the workplace, but also in health, wellbeing and even life expectancy. I think every child from every background deserves the opportunity to develop strong literacy skills and the love and enjoyment from reading that can take you anywhere!   

How do you help? I am a Board member, including a member of the Fundraising Committee, at Paint the Town REaD.

Michelle Le Roux

What do you do? I am a Partner at PwC Australia within the PwC Private team.

Why is children’s literacy important to you? Storytime in my house is one of my favourite times of the day! I love the wonder and delight that books bring to my daughters and I am excited to be able to support a charity which seeks to provide opportunities to children across Australia to discover the magic of stories.  Reading is central to so many aspects of our lives and hence it is so important that all children are provided with every possible opportunity to start their education on the front foot with language and literacy skills.  

How do you help? I am a member of the board and the audit and risk committee, working together with the other board members in considering the strategy, governance and financial sustainability of Paint the Town REaD.

Barbie Bates OAM

What do you do? I am Executive Director of PTTR, with a background in pediatric Occupational Therapy.

Why is children’s literacy important to you?  I was drawn to PTTR, because of the power of reading with children for strengthening bonding with their parents, and the massive positive effect this has on their growing brains. ‘Books and bonding build babies’ brains’.

How do you help?  I head up operational management of PTTR, using a collective impact assets based community development framework to grow our movement. Best part? Meeting with our amazing PTTR State Co-ordinators and teams of PTTR workers across Australia, seeing the difference they are making.

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