Our Board and Staff
BOARD MEMBERS & STAFF BIOS
RUTH TOFLER-RIESEL is co-founder and director of Kids Giving Back. She previously made documentary films for Discovery, Nat. Geo and PBS (USA). While living in Boston, Mass. Ruth also produced and wrote multimedia exhibits for museums across the USA and Australia, and developed and ran cross-cultural workshops for the corporate sector. Ruth holds BA, Dip Ed, and Grad Cert. in Education (TESOL) qualifications, and taught ESL at the UNSW Institute of Languages. When Ruth’s son was only 9 years old she took him to Thailand to teach English and work with elephants for a few weeks. Kids Giving Back was born from the inspiration that came out of that trip.
CAROLE SCHLESSINGER is co-founder and director of Kids Giving Back. Prior to Kids Giving Back, Carole worked extensively in business and marketing having previously owned a children’s swimwear business, worked with the Australian Trade Commission as well as World Education Program, and consulted in cross cultural training and marketing. She received her B.Comm at UNSW and has lived and worked in Japan, Israel, Hong Kong and New York. Carole is passionate about providing kids with positive life experiences in order to create the next Generation of Generosity.
David has over 20 years of international banking and capital markets experience including with Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, and Babcock & Brown having worked in New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Sydney. David is currently a Director of Centennial Property Group International and was previously the CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC-NSW). David has been a founding board member of Kids Giving Back since June 2012 and has served as a board member of a number of other non-profit organisations.
David has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and has three children.
Roxanne has vast commercial experience gained both as a commercial lawyer and as the co-owner and publisher of the Australian Jewish News. Throughout her career she has provided voluntary legal advice at both the Kingsford and Redfern Legal Centres, advising on diverse issues relating to families. Roxanne became a director of Kids Giving Back in 2015, she is also a director of The Pyjama Foundation and was previously a director of Jewish Care for 6 years. She also volunteered for the JCA and has broad philanthropy sector experience.
Roxanne has a B. Arts, B. Laws (Hons) from the University of Technology and has four children.
Connie has almost 30 years experience as a corporate/commercial lawyer,specialising in intellectual property,technology and telecommunications. She has practised in Sydney and New York. More recently she was in Hong Kong for 13 years,where she was a senior partner with the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer,giving her broad Asia experience, particularly in respect of inbound China investment. She has championed diversity & inclusion and corporate social responsibility within the legal profession in Hong Kong and was recognised for her pro bono legal work by the Hong Kong Government in 2012. She has been recognised by Euromoney as a Leading Woman in Business Law. She became a director of Kids Giving Back in 2015, and was elect chairman in May 2016.
Connie has a B.Comm (Marketing ) with merit / LLB from the University of NSW and has two children.
Anthony has over 15 years of management consulting experience including Ernst & Young, Portland Group and Infosys. Anthony is currently a Director of Infosys and is a respected thought leader and trusted advisor with a proven track record in designing and executing effectiveness transformational change and major efficiency programs and achieving sustainable and measurable bottom line results for leading global and Australian companies. Anthony is a recent graduate of The Growth Project, a one year leadership development program helping charity leaders build sustainable organisations that make a difference for years to come. He became a director of Kids Giving Back in 2016.
Anthony has a B.Business (Accounting) from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has three children
JENNIFER CROSSMAN – Senior Advisor to Board
Jenny has almost 40 years experience teaching english and history in both the Public and Independent schools sectors in NSW – co-educational and girls schools.
Most recently she held the position of Deputy Principal – Head of Senior School at Kambala.She has held positions such as Head of Middle School in a regional K – 12 school and was also Deputy Principal in two K -12 schools. She has been responsible for the wellbeing and academic care of students and the wellbeing of staff; with extensive experience in mentoring, mediation, relationship building and student welfare. Jenny is passionate about providing students with opportunities to develop a sense of meaning and purpose.
Having had a close association with Kids Giving Back , implementing their programmes at Kambala for over 4 years, she was delighted to take up the appointment of senior advisor to the board on education in June 2016.
Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education from University of Sydney and a Master of Educational Studies from the University of Newcastle. She has three adult daughters and one grandson.
NADINE BEN-MAYOR – Program Coordinator
Nadine has over 20 years experience in the Events industry specialising in music for corporate and private functions, and 8 years experience working in the health industry at the Cancer Council of NSW.
After volunteering for a signature Kids Giving Back Cook4Good program with her daughter, Nadine was deeply moved by the work of the organisation.She became a regular volunteer and before long was employed as the Kids Giving Back Program Coordinator back in Feb 2016.
She has a Bachelor degree in Science from the University of NSW and qualifications as an Interior Designer from CATC.
She has two children, a supportive husband and a much loved dog named Billy.
KIRSTY WARREN – Program Delivery Manager
A self-confessed Science geek, a passion was ignited in Kirsty when she visited a children’s charity in Uganda at the end of high school. Here she realised that a leader didn’t need to be someone who made the most noise and that differences can be made by quietly going about one’s business.
Kirsty returned to Uganda while studying her Bachelors in Psychology and Philosophy, managing a number of projects for the charity. She went on to teach Science in an inner city school in London, raising aspirations of disadvantaged and disengaged high school students, almost all of them taller than her.
Kirsty’s passion for encouraging children and young people to explore the world around them and become their best selves, has taken her to USA to coach soccer and ultimately is something that attracted her to Kids Giving Back.
ANDI SMITH – Charity Relations Manager
Andi Smith started her career in advertising and public relations. She then went on to dance professionally and ran 2 successful dance studios in both South Africa and Sydney for 20 years. She and her husband immigrated to Australia 22 years ago.
For the past 12 years Andi has worked for online and market research companies where her roles have included customer service, social media, marketing and operations.
Her 3 children have been inspired to volunteer since the inception of Kids Giving Back. Her family are passionate about giving back to the community and continue to volunteer regularly for various organisations.
Andi has a B.Comm from the University of South Africa majoring in Marketing and Business Economics, as well as an Advanced Dance Teachers Diploma.
Andi feels blessed to be a part of the Kids Giving Back team!