November 8 2023

OzHelp Foundation welcomes new Chair of the Board

The OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) is pleased to announce the appointment of Leanne Wells as the incoming Chair, elected by the OzHelp board directors at their board meeting held in Canberra last week, alongside new Board Director Jason Bisa. Leanne’s appointment took effect immediately, with outgoing Chair, Peter Howman, resuming his role as director. Ms Wells has been an OzHelp board member for over a decade and has extensive knowledge of OzHelp and the broader health system. She is an experienced Chair, board member and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) across a range of primary health care and health consumer peak bodies.

Leanne’s extensive experience makes her ideally placed to lead OzHelp into a new era, expanding its services further to Australia’s at-risk workers.

“OzHelp provides a vital range of prevention and early intervention services that assist employers to create resilient, mentally healthy workplaces and help employees achieve their best possible mental health and wellbeing, concentrating in sectors such as construction, transport, logistics and agriculture,” said Leanne.

Through her dedicated involvement with OzHelp over the years, and extensive health sector expertise, Leanne is aware of the challenges impacting the sector and is looking forward to tackling these alongside her Board, OzHelp employees and its customers.

Leanne replaces outgoing Chair, Peter Howman, after two years of outstanding service to OzHelp and the wider mental health community.

“I am honoured to be stepping into the role following the skillful and strategic leadership of Peter and look forward to continuity as Peter continues to serve OzHelp,” said Leanne.

Peter strongly endorses Leanne’s appointment and welcomes her to the position of Chair. Peter will remain on the Board with the appointment of Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

“I am delighted to see the appointment of Leanne to the position of Chair of the OzHelp Board. She has been a valued member for the last 10 years and shows a strong commitment to including lived experience in the design of services. I know she will continue to be an incredible advocate for mental health and wellbeing for at-risk industries,” said Peter.

OzHelp also welcomes to the Board is Jason Bisa, from New South Wales, bringing a decade of experience across the building and construction sector.

“Jason’s experience, coupled with his skill set, work ethic and passion for making a difference in the lives of others makes him a valuable addition to the Board and I look forward to working with him, alongside the other Directors to ensure OzHelp continue to take meaningful action and create positive change within the industries we serve,” said Leanne.

For the Foundation, it is an exciting time for our current and future partners and stakeholders. In a time where the spotlight is on organisations who strive for gender equality, it is also the first time in OzHelp’s history that it has both a female Chair and CEO, with board member Caroline Walsh appointed as the new CEO in October after an extensive national search. Caroline commenced on 6 November 2023 and is looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for OzHelp. Lyn O’Connell will continue as Deputy Chair.

In Brief: OzHelp’s Board Changes

Leanne Wells (Chair): Leanne Wells is a health policy consultant and consumer advocate with over thirty years’ experience in national health and social policy, program, and service development. She is the former longstanding CEO of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, the nation’s preeminent peak body for healthcare consumers. Leanne has extensive governance and advisory experience serving as a Non-Executive Director on boards in the for-purpose and health and human service sectors.

She is presently a Board Director and Chair of the Community Advisory Council at Coordinare (the South-eastern NSW Primary Health Network) and has been recently appointed as Chair of the OzHelp Foundation where she has been a long-serving Director. She Chairs the Expert Consumer and Community Panel at ASPIRE, the Australian Social Prescribing Institute for Research and Education, and is a member of the Orygen Institute’s External Advisory Board.

Jason Bisa (Board Director): Established in the building and construction industry, Jason has developed a detailed knowledge of the entire industry lifecycle from sales, operations, and construction. Jason has a commitment to learning and sharing for the benefit of helping others and generating change. As President of HIA ACT & Southern NSW, Jason works closely with the Regional Executive Committee to facilitate positive outcomes for builders, trades and suppliers in an industry currently facing significant market, statutory and sustainability challenges. Industry participation also includes that with the Master Builders Association.

Jason is a director on the board of Project Independence, a charity developing specialised accommodation solutions for those with intellectual disability. President of the ACT Rugby Union Club instigated Jason’s interest in corporate governance and the reward of advocacy.