Meet Our Board Members

OV’s board is a dedicated group of outdoor enthusiasts who represent a wide cross section of our Community.

Members are appointed based on individual backgrounds and expertise, in addition to empathy and understanding of the outdoors sector. Each Board member is committed to the ongoing success and growth of the organisation in its role as advocate for the outdoors sector.

Richard Thornton

OV Chair

Richard has worked within the outdoor industry for over 25 years, working for small and large organisations around the world, including the YMCA, Outward Bound and The Prince’s Trust. He has been the Chief Executive Office for The Outdoor Education Group (OEG) since January 2016. Previously, Richard was Chief Executive at the UK Sailing Academy, Deputy Director at The Prince’s Trust and Operations Director of Fairbridge UK, a youth charity.

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He was also Chair of the Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee (www.aaiac.org), the UK’s lead body for safety in adventurous activities, an Accredited Practitioner through the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) and a member of the IOL Providers Group. Richard is currently a member of the Sports and Recreation Industry Reference Committee and Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee reviewing the Outdoor Recreation Training Package. He believes outdoor education is one of the most powerful tools in the development of skills for the real world. That by taking young people into the natural world, we can help them discover more about their own nature.

Sandy-Allen Craig

Sandy brings to the board a range of experience and expertise from across the Outdoor Education sector. She has worked as a freelancer, in corporate outdoor training, as a PE teacher and as an Outdoor Education Director in schools before moving into the tertiary sector where she has spent the past 3 decades developing and implementing Outdoor Education courses for Deakin University and Australian Catholic University.

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Sandy brings to the board a range of experience and expertise from across the Outdoor Education sector. She has worked as a freelancer, in corporate outdoor training, as a PE teacher and as an Outdoor Education Director in schools before moving into the tertiary sector where she has spent the past 3 decades developing and implementing Outdoor Education courses for Deakin University and Australian Catholic University. As part of this process of curriculum and program development she has had the opportunity to work alongside multiple outdoor activity providers and outdoor pursuits associations in a wide range of natural environments. She has published in a range of areas including wages and conditions in the outdoor profession, outdoor education program outcomes, risk management, bush adventure therapy, leadership programs in developing nations and gender equity in outdoor and environmental education. Sandy has played an active role with the Victorian Outdoor Education Association (VOEA) the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) and Bushwalking Mountain Craft Training Advisory Board (BMTAB), in a variety of roles across many years. She is presently the National Coordinator for the Outdoor Leadership and Outdoor Education units across the multiple campuses of Australian Catholic University. She has been awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation, for outstanding contribution to student learning. Sandy believes that every person should have the opportunity to experience the joy and wellbeing that time in the outdoors can bring and the power these experiences can have for the ongoing protection and care of our natural environments and hopes that her role on the OV board will enable the support of initiatives and endeavours in all things “outdoors”.

Bernie Mills

Bernie has worked in the Outdoor Education sector for almost 20 years. His career began professionally as a guide and leader, working across a range of sectors including in schools and with corporate organisations. He has worked both domestically and abroad. Bernie is a qualified teacher, having previously taught VCE Outdoor & Environmental Studies and Physical Education.  He is currently the Director of Experiential Education at Firbank Grammar School, a leading Melbourne school in outdoor and environmental education.

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Bernie is most passionate about designing and facilitating purposeful and empowering educational programs that build character, address the issues of today and provide optimistic solutions for the future. He believes Outdoor Education allow us to focus on the critical skills and attributes that our students require to thrive in their world and throughout their futures.

Bernie is an active member of Alpine Search and Rescue and Bush Search and Rescue.

 

Josh Ambrosy

Josh is a lecturer in the School of Education at Federation University, his teaching interests include outdoor education and professional practice. Josh’s research focuses on alternative models of teaching and learning in middle years education. Josh has worked in several P-12 school contexts across Government, Independent and Catholic sectors. Josh has been actively involved in OV for several years including a time on staff. He also has strong links to both Environment Education Victoria as the previous vice-president and ACHPER Victoria including receiving an ACHPER Honour award in 2020.

Amber Gardner

Amber has worked in tourism for over a decade. She current heads Tourism North East, the regional tourism organisation charged with developing the long-term strategic vision for tourism in the High Country, North East Victoria. Prior to that she worked as the Director of Marketing, Sales & Business Development at Mt Buller, 

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the most popular alpine resort in the State, along with a range of senior marketing positions in both Australia and the UK. As such, she is experienced at developing innovative ways to drive visitation and yield opportunities across diverse product portfolios, and driving collaboration between government, industry and community/interest groups.

Alison Bristow

Alison has been a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for 20+ years.  She brings to the board a wealth of experience in financial strategy, planning and analysis as well as systems integration, legal and supply chain management.

She is currently the CFO of Sabrands, a privately owned wholesaler in the food, beverage and cleaning industries.

She is also the Director of Blacklight Distribution, a family business which is the importer and distributor of outdoor brands Nitro Snowboards and Mammut across Australia and New Zealand.

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Her experience with the Nitro and Mammut brands has given her a great insight into the impact of recent events on the outdoor and snow industries and the need to support the industry and associated regional areas with appropriate education, funding and recognition to develop their resilience in difficult times.

Alison has three young adult children so also appreciates the benefits of exploring the outdoors as a family and the wellbeing that comes from spending time experiencing new adventures 

Reegan Key

Reegan is the Manager, Public Information and Warnings at Emergency Management Victoria.  Her role focuses on implementing best practice in the outputs of the Public Information Section in Victorian emergencies, though the management and improvement of warnings, media engagement and community information across all hazards.

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Reegan has developed her operational capabilities in Public Information as part of incident management teams since 2007. In 2012 she represented Australia as the Public Information Officer in a cooperative research deployment to southern France, and undertook a study tour of the USA in 2015 to look at the provision of information during emergencies in major cities. Prior to working in emergency management, Reegan’s experience spans multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns, media management for national and international sporting events, promotion of some of the world’s biggest brands and a double degree in Business/Marketing and Communications/Public Relations.