Board Members

Deaf Children Australia’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with lived experience of deafness, sector professionals, parents and family members of deaf children.


Each member brings a unique perspective

and helps to provide diverse governance to the organisation. The Board work closely in conjunction with the CEO and Senior Management Team.

Dr Kerry Ferguson joined the Board in 2014 and has over thirty years’ experience in Tertiary Education. She is a Higher Education Consultant; Director and Principal Consultant, EduResolutions. She has led large and diverse portfolios and managed complex organisational change.

Kerry is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and from 1999 – 2013, she held a Pro Vice-Chancellor position with a major focus on Equity and Student Services. Prior to this, she held a variety of academic leadership positions in Health Sciences.

Her portfolio of responsibilities included being an inaugural member of the University Threat Assessment team and Crisis Intervention team, complaint management and resolution, diversity and equal opportunity for staff and students, student services, social inclusion, Indigenous education, student enrichment and engagement, counselling services and developing the University Mental Health strategy.

Her formal qualifications include a BA (OT), a Masters of Education in the field of Counselling and a Professional Doctorate in Education.

Kerry is a Family Therapist and an experienced mediator in conflict resolution.

Dr Kerry Ferguson


Karen explained her motivation in joining the Board of DCA:

“I am proud to be appointed to the Board of DCA, an organisation with a proud history and one that is an integral part of the Deaf Communtiy. DCA has met many challenges and embraced many opportunities in the past and is now facing a new set with the introduction over the coming years of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It is my hope that I can be of assistance to the Board and the broader Deaf Community in identifying and delivering the opportunities available.

“My background experience is in the Commonwealth and State Public Service in the fields of health and human services, disability, education, treasury and the Premier’s department. I have been on the Board of Scope Victoria for 5 years and on the Defence Reserves Support Council, an employer support body. I am an Economics graduate and attended the London Business School Senior Executive Program. I also volunteer at FareShare. I look forward to contributing to DCA and the Deaf Community.”

Karen Cleave

Deputy Chair

Colin Clark


Professor Colin Clark joined the board in 2019. He is a professor of accounting and also Director of the Victoria Business Confucius Institue at Victoria University. He previously served as Dean International at Victoria University and earlier served as Deputy Dean and Executive Dean of the former Faculty of Business and Law at Victoria University.


Colin has been active within the accounting profession and is a former Vice President of CPA Australia and a past President of the Victorian Division of CPA Australia. He is a past member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board Advisory Group.

Professor Colin Clark’s professional memberships and qualifications include:

  • Fellow, CPA Australia

  • Fellow, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

  • Fellow, Institute of Public Administration Australia

  • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors

He holds a Bachelor of Business (Acc) (FIT), Diploma Education (SCVH), Master of Business Administration (Monash), and PhD (Monash).

Colin served as a Director of Western Health for 10 years until mid-2020, including chairing its Finance and Resources Committee.

Colin was attracted to Deaf Children Australia because of its admirable mission and looks forward to contributing to its financial and resource management.

Chris Penman

Chris Penman joined the Board in 2014. He brings his expertise as a lawyer and consultant, having retired in 2014 from The University of Melbourne where he was General Counsel for most of his 11 year tenure. During this time, he worked extensively in governance, compliance, trusts and advancement matters, in addition to a broad range of issues and transactions requiring strategic legal input to senior members of the University.

Beforehand, he was a partner at Baker & McKenzie for over 20 years, practising primarily in corporate and general business law, both in Australia and Asia. Chris is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is involved in the governance of several other not for profit organisations. He has done this in various other roles during his career, having initially been admitted to legal practice in 1973. Chris holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons 1) Sydney and a Masters of Law (London/Melbourne).

Chris’ aspiration: To provide an appropriate governance, strategic and financially responsible framework for DCA which, along with management and staff, enables it to continue to deliver services and programs to improve opportunities for the younger deaf community in Victoria, and in other regions in Australia where DCA may operate.

Adam Rich

Adam Rich joined the Board in 2015 and is honoured and proud to be part of such a worthy and historically important charitable institution as DCA.

Adam is a lawyer practising in the Corporate & Commercial Division of Melbourne law firm, Wisewould Mahony. He was admitted to legal practice with Wisewould Mahony in 1999, has been a partner of the firm since 2005 and was managing partner for 6 years from 2008 to 2014.

Interestingly, Wisewould Mahony and DCA have a 150 year old connection: James Wisewould Esq was a cofounder of both Wisewould Mahony Lawyers and Deaf Children Australia (formerly the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb). James Wisewould founded Wisewould Mahony (formerly Wisewoulds) in 1853 and was DCA’s honorary legal counsel and a founding board member in 1863.

A large part of Adam’s legal practice involves advising clients with respect to corporate governance and compliance and commercial business transactions and advice and he hopes that his legal skill set and experience in managing an organisation of 150 staff will be of value to DCA.

Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from La Trobe University, a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Monash University and a Masters of Commercial Law from Melbourne University.

When he joined the Board, Adam said he is looking forward to gaining a thorough understanding of the matters involving DCA so as to be of value to the Board in its deliberations and decision making and, therefore, contributing to DCA and the deaf community. He is also keen to get to know the other DCA Board members and staff and members of the Deaf community so as to gain a more in depth understanding of the role DCA plays in improving the lives of children and young people in the Deaf community and so as to be part of ensuring that DCA continues to play a key role in ensuring that deaf children are given adequate opportunities to live a fulfilled life within the broader community.

Melisa Sloan

Melisa is a lawyer and Principal of Madison Sloan Lawyers where she works extensively in succession planning, estate planning, probate and property matters. She joined the Board in 2018.

Melisa is profoundly deaf and attended Princess Elizabeth Junior School for kinder. As a consequence of this, she identifies with and understands the challenges deaf and hard at hearing children and their families experience. She looks forward to learning more about the role DCA plays in assisting the deaf community with these challenges and the services they offer including those provided to deaf children in remote communities. She also understands the importance of the economic sustainability of DCA in servicing the diverse  needs of the deaf community.

Melisa joined the Board to make a difference to the deaf community that DCA service by working closely with other Board members to identify opportunities available and supporting deaf children in embracing these opportunities so they can enjoy enriched lives within the community.

Carol Webb joined the Board in 2018 and has over 15 years’ experience in the Human Resources arena. She has developed and implemented a broad range of leadership, strategic human resource management and organisational capability programs. As an experienced HR consultant, she has proven ability to coach managers, facilitate a range of corporate programs and work at Board level. She has extensive experience in change management, strategic planning, and has a passion for education and training.

Carol has a young son who is deaf and she is committed to enhancing the level of support and opportunities for children and young people with hearing loss. She is excited to be able to contribute to DCA and ensure its long-term success.

Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Masters of Management.

Carol Webb


de Vere Gould

William de Vere Gould joined the Board in 2019. He is currently a Client Director at Ernst and Young. William de Vere Gould has been employed at Ernst and Young for 10 years, the first five in London and the last five in Melbourne. Previously William worked at National Australia Bank (NAB) for four years where he became the Head of Operational Risk for the Australian Bank.

Prior to working at NAB William worked with Deloitte and Touche/Arthur Andersen for six years. During this time, William specialised in risk consulting, regulatory compliance and internal audits.

William de Vere Gould’s professional memberships and qualifications include:

  • Qualified chartered accountant

  • Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors of England and Wales

  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

William stated that it is, “An honour to be part of organisation with such a rich history and admirable purpose, my hope is I can bring my personal experience and professional skills to assist the Board in making decisions that contribute to the lives children and young people in the Deaf community.”