SWAN Governance

Our structure and governance 

SWAN Australia’s Board consists of a Chair, Deputy Chair, Treasurer, three ordinary members, and CEO and Secretary, Heather Renton, who oversees national activities. Our board members’ professional experience spans both the health and disability sectors (with a collective experience of over 65 years), leadership, finance and law. Our directors contribute their valuable expertise on a pro bono basis.

The Board meets four times a year and approves, monitors and reviews the organisation’s strategy, finance and budget, sub-contracting arrangements and risk management plan.  You can view our Strategic Plan here. 

SWAN gratefully acknowledges our dedicated volunteers for their important contributions.

SWAN Australia is an incorporated association and Australian registered body. As a medium-sized charity, we undergo an annual review.

Meet the SWAN team

SWAN governance Heather Renton image meet the team
Heather Renton, CEO

Heather is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of SWAN Australia. Heather draws on her lived experience managing her daughter’s undiagnosed condition for over nine years. She established SWAN Australia to ensure other families did not face their child’s undiagnosed or rare condition unsupported. Heather is a passionate health and disability advocate and is a member of various committees and advisory groups, including:

  • Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Community Advisory Group.
  • National Congenital Anomaly Advisory Group.
  • Human Genetics Society of Australasia – Education Ethics and Social Issues Committee.
  • Undiagnosed Disease Network International.
  • Rare Disease Now Community Engagement Committee.
  • Rare Connect Undiagnosed and FOXP1 – moderator.
  • Genetic Undiagnosed And Rare Disease (GUARD) Collaborative Member.
  • Community Advisory Group Member for the Discipline of Genetic Counselling, University of Technology Sydney.
  • InGeNA Access and Equity Working Group Member.
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Liz Bishop

Liz has worked in the community sector for more than 35 years, predominantly in management and education roles in the disability sector. She has held various CEO and deputy CEO positions in not-for-profit organisations and worked as a strategic project manager and group facilitator. In addition, Liz has chaired numerous not-for-profit boards and has broad governance experience. 

SWAN governance Mel Regan image meet the team
Melanie Regan

Melanie has more than 10 years’ governance experience on disability boards and was formerly a project manager for the department of health. A registered nurse and health care provider, Melanie has also worked as a published research fellow at Monash University and has contributed to writing a number of health and disability grant applications.

SWAN governance Emma Amalfi image meet the team

Emma Amalfi

Emma has worked in the finance sector over the last ten years, both in Australia and overseas. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge of both the commercial and charity sectors. Emma’s experience includes financial statements, taxation, forecasting, budgets and business growth.

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John Balaskas

John has more than 25 years’ leadership experience in large, high- transaction, geographically dispersed businesses and industries. John’s experience spans the public sector, small and medium-sized enterprises, listed companies and multinational corporations. John currently works as a regional general manager in the consumer area, managing more than 100 staff across all aspects of business performance, operations, compliance and service quality.

SWAN Aus Nicole Antonopoulos image meet the team
Nicole Antonopoulos

Nicole has served on numerous disability boards and has more than 15 years’ policy experience across the health and disability sectors. This includes working with the Cancer Council, GlaxoSmithKline consumer health care and Amaze (a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting autistic people). Before joining the health and disability sector, Nicole worked as a lawyer, specialising in refugee law.

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Rhiana Spinoso

Rhiana is a Victorian-based genetic counsellor working primarily in the cancer and general genetics settings. A SWAN committee member since 2016, Rhiana uses her expertise to support SWAN families by providing insights into genetics and genomic testing.

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