Governing Council

The ACO is governed by a Council, which acts as its Board of Management.
ACO Councillors are elected by ACO Members on an annual basis, with half the members being elected each year.
The current Council comprises:       

Prof_Konrad_Pesudovs_-_Council_Member

Professor Konrad Pesudovs BScOptom PhD PGDipAdvClinOptom MCOptom GAICD FACO FAAO FCCLSA

President

Professor Pesudovs was elected to Council in 2010.  He is the Foundation Chair of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders University.  He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  His past governance experience includes roles as a Councillor of the SA Division of the Optometrists Association of Australia from 1992-1996, as Vice President from 1993. Professor Pesudovs was also on the committee of the SA Chapter of the Contact Lens Society of Australia from 1993-2000, President between 1994-1996.  Professor Pesudovs is a member of the editorial boards of eight professional journals including Optometry and Vision Science.

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 A_Gentle_photograph_ACO_Web
Professor Alex Gentle FACO PhD
Vice President
Chair National Vision Research Institute Board of Administration

Alex studied for his undergraduate optometry degree at City University, London and completed pre-registration training, leading to his professional optometric qualifications, at Moorfields Eye Hospital. His PhD studies, undertaken at the university of Wales, Cardiff, and his post-doctural research, at the University of Melbourne, reflect his interest in the mechanisms and manifestations of ocular and refractive development and scleral biochemistry.

Alex underwent his clinical ocular therapeutics training soon after being appointed to a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne.  Since then, his teaching duties have spanned the basic ocular biological sciences, ocular disease and thereapeutics, as well as clinical optometry.  As a result of his interest in optometric education, Alex completed a Graduate Certificate in University Teaching, also at the University of Melbourne.

A continuing interest in ocular therapeutics led Alex to serve on the Prescribing Practices Advisory Committee of the Optometrists Registration Board of Victoria, then on the ORBV itself, and most recently, on the Scheduled Medicines Advisory Committee of the Optometry Board of Australia.  Alex was appointed to Deakin University in 2012, where he is Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning), Chair in Vision Science and Course Director – Optometry.

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Mitchell Anjou
Mr Mitchell Anjou AM MScOptom BScOptom FACO
Executive Committee Member 

Mitchell Anjou was elected to Council in 2015 and has been a member of the Australian College of Optometry since 1982 and a Fellow since 1985. He worked at the ACO for over 22 years as a clinician, educator and manager up to 2010. Since then he has been employed at The University of Melbourne as an Academic Specialist, Senior Research Fellow in Indigenous Eye Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

After initial training as an optometrist at the University of Melbourne, Mitchell was awarded his Master’s degree for research undertaken at the National Vision Research Institute of Australia. He then travelled overseas for two years before taking up a position as staff optometrist in the Melbourne Optometry Clinic at the ACO. He was appointed Director of the Clinic in 1991 and was also a senior fellow and coordinator of the clinical school for the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences in the University of Melbourne. 

Mitchell served for over 10 years on the Optometrist Registration Board of Victoria, including five as Deputy Chair, and is now an appointed member of the Registration and Notifications Committee of the Optometry Board of Australia. He is a Director of the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand and founding member of the Public Health Optometry Group. Amongst his other professional involvements, he sits on Optometry Australia and Vision 2020 Australia Aboriginal eye health committees.

Mitchell's many contributions to optometry and public health, particularly the eye health of Indigenous people, were recognised in the 2013 Australia Day honours when he became a Member of the Order of Australia.
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Sarah Byrne Ms Sarah Byrne BA LLB GAICD
Chair Human Research Ethics Committee

Sarah Byrne is a practising lawyer of over 25 years' experience in public law, health law, corporate governance, and related policy development.  Positions she has held include General Counsel  for the Australian Medical Association and two Commonwealth Government Departments, ACT Public Advocate, Deputy CEO of the ACT Justice & Community Safety Department, and Executive Director with responsibility (inter alia) for Research Integrity and Corporate Governance for the National Health & Medical Research Council.  She has served on the boards of several non-profit arts organisations and three NHMRC Partnership Centres, and is the lawyer on the Commonwealth Department of Health's Human Research Ethics Committee, having been an in-house lawyer in that Department for some years.  She has particular interest and expertise in information law, health and medical research law and ethics, and governance in the public and non-profit sectors.

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 Melissa Downing

Mrs Melissa Downing B.Sci. B. Optom (Hons), GradCertOcTher

Melissa Downing was elected to the ACO Council in 2016.  Melissa studied her undergraduate science and optometry degrees, and attained therapeutic endorsement through the University of Melbourne.  Melissa has worked in a wide range of independent and corporate optometry businesses including in regional locations.

From 2003 Melissa was involved with Education committees for both OA Victoria and the ACO, highlighting her passion for pertinent continuing education for optometrists.  Melissa is also passionate about developing quality graduate optometrists and was a Clinical Instructor for University of Melbourne for several years.

Melissa’s 6 years on the OA Victoria Board including 4 years as President and range of sub-committees, gives her the governance skills and experience to contribute to the ACO council in shaping the next generations of optometrists and providing accessible eye care for the community. 
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Benjamin Hamlyn

Mr Ben Hamlyn B. Optom (Hons), GradCertOcTher

Ben Hamlyn was elected to Council in 2016.  Mr Hamlyn studied his undergraduate optometry degree in Queensland and attained therapeutic endorsement through the University of New South Wales.  Ben has spent much of his professional life working in regional and remote locations across the Northern Territory and South Australia.  In this time he has worked with the Fred Hollows Foundation, Brien Holden Vision Institute and the outreach ophthalmology service in Central Australia.  He is passionate about ensuring quality eye care is available to all.Ben was first appointed to the board of Optometry South Australia (then Optometrists Association Australia, SA) in 2011 and continues in this role.  He has been a member of a number of committees and working groups both regionally and nationally for the OA.  In 2014 he became a lecturer at Flinders University, Discipline of Optometry where he has a key role in developing students’ skills in the course.  Ben recognises the importance of quality graduate optometrists in ensuring a vibrant profession into the future.

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 LucasPaul

The Honorable Paul Lucas BEcon LLB MBA MURP CMILT FAICD

Paul Lucas was appointed to Council in July 2014, and reappointed in June 2015.  Mr Lucas has almost 10 years’ experience in private legal practice, followed by over 15 years in Queensland Government including ministerial responsibilities in health service delivery and policy. He was responsible for a number of initiatives in broadening scope of practice for Optometrists and other Allied Health Professionals – an issue he continues to be passionate about.

Mr Lucas served in numerous Ministerial capacities including Deputy Premier, Minister for Health,  Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Attorney General and Minister for Local Government, and Minister for Innovation and Information Economy.

He holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics and Laws and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration and in Urban and Regional Planning.

He is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law and Business at Australian Catholic University. He lectures to undergraduate, postgraduate, and into international programs at The University of Queensland.

He is a Non-Executive Director of Airservices Australia and chairs its Environment Committee.

He is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a trained Mediator.
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Geoff-McColl

Professor Geoff McColl BMedSc BS MB PhD MEd

Geoff McColl is Professor of Medical Education and Training and Director of the Medical Education Unit in the Melbourne Medical School. Since 2008 he has led the development and implementation of the new Melbourne MD. He has previously held the positions of Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Clinical Dean of the Royal Melbourne Hospital/Western Hospital Clinical School. Professor McColl is a visiting rheumatologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and past president of the Australian Rheumatology Association. He has also been a member of Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee since 2005 and Chair of the Drug Utilisation Subcommittee since 2013. Professor McColl’s current research interests are related to the teaching and assessment of diagnostic reasoning skills in medical students.
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 Mark OSullivan

Mr Mark O'Sullivan BEc FICAA FFin MAICD
Chair Finance & Risk Committee

Mark was a partner at a global professional services firm for 17 years until mid 2014 when having spent 3 weeks a month of the last 10 years overseas, he decided to have period of time at home with his family. Mark's career has focused solely on the financial services industry specialising in asset management. Mark was also responsible for several ASX listed clients and has deep, extensive experience on risk, corporate governance and operations. Mark is a member of the NSW Department of Financial Services & Innovation main Audit and Risk Committee  as well as that Department's Property and Housing Group’s Audit & Risk Management Committee. 

Mark has presented countless times to Boards, regulators, the media and public conferences on all aspects of investment products and processes and has gained this experience having worked for some of the world's largest financial institutions and leading multi faceted teams across all Asia Pacific markets and around the globe.
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Maureen_OKeefe

Ms Maureen O'Keefe MBA MAICD BSc Dip Ed
ACO Chief Executive Officer 

Maureen O'Keefe was appointed as CEO of the Australian College of Optometry in March 2013, having spent the previous seven years as COO at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.  Maureen holds a Masters in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours and a Diploma in Education.  In addition, Maureen is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Williamson Community Leadership Program and an Executive Education Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Maureen has spent her career in higher education, research and health organisations and has more than fifteen years experience in senior executive roles.  Maureen was previously a member of the Council of the Victorian Cancer Agency for 6 years, including two years as a member of the VCA Clinical Trials Working Group.  Maureen is currently a Board member of both the BioMelbourne Network (since 2011) and Vision2020 Australia (since 2013).  Maureen was appointed to the Victorian Department of Health's Clinical Trial Research Consultative Council from July 2014.
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Clare Escott

Ms Clare Escott BSc (Hons) ACA MAICD 
ACO EGM Finance & Corporate Services, Company Secretary

Clare Escott was appointed as General Manager Finance & Corporate Services and Company Secretary in December 2010.  Clare is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has a wide range of experience, having worked in both private practice and the public sector over the last 20 years.   Most recently Clare held the position of Director of Corporate Services for North Down Borough Council, a local authority in Northern Ireland.  In this role, she headed up a team of over 50 staff and was responsible for leading the delivery of Finance, Human Resources, ICT, Procurement and Member Support activities across all Council Departments.  
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Other ACO Committees are:

Finance & Risk Committee
Human Research Ethics Committee
NVRI Board of Administration
VES Advisory Committee