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Gillian Franklin appointed Chair of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation

Abbotsford Convent is proud to announce the appointment of Gillian Franklin as its new Chair from February 2023.

Franklin is recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative marketers with a passion and commitment to supporting women in business. She is the Founder and former Managing Director of The Heat Group Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading personal care companies. Gillian is also an accomplished Company Director, with broad experience over 30 years in Director, Deputy Chair and Chair roles across business, sport, the Arts, community and medical industries. Previous experience includes Melbourne Theatre Company (10 years), CEDA (7 years) and the Australian Grand Prix (23 years) amongst many others. Gillian is also a founding member and of the Australian pre-eminent women in business organisation, Chief Executive Women (CEW).

When discussing the appointment, Franklin said “I am thrilled and honoured to be the Chair of such an iconic and important organisation and look forward very much to working with the Board, team, and passionate community of stakeholders and Convent lovers to continue to build on all of the great work done to date. The Convent has an ambitious vision and I relish the opportunity to play an instrumental role in delivering this.”

CEO Collette Brennan said, “After an extensive search led by the Board, I am so happy to welcome Gillian and look forward to working with her, the Board, our team and stakeholders as we navigate the rebuild caused by the significant impacts of the pandemic and realise a strong foundation for our future. This focus will continue to serve the community through our treasured and nationally unique place, and our arts, cultural and community programs and services.”

“I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous contribution of our outgoing Chair, Victoria Marles AM. Over 11 years of committed, generous, and dedicated service, Vic worked with the Board and team to ensure more of the Convent was restored and in use for the community, and recognised, as evident through our addition to the National Heritage List. Under Vic’s stewardship, we also completed our new Master Plan, created and delivered a new public program, and she steered us through the worst of the pandemic with incredible commitment, perseverance and care. In between Vic’s departure in October 2022 and Gillian’s commencement in February 2023, we have been very thankful to have long term board member, Stuart Kells as our Chair, and Judy Williams as our Deputy Chair. They have provided stability during an important time of change”.

Judy Williams will continue in the role as Deputy Chair.