Our people
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At ACN, our power is in our people. Our high-performing and passionate team spans across two offices and five operational divisions: Commercial, Education, Office of the COO, Professional and Strategy. We are led by a Chief Executive Officer and each operational division has an Executive Director and supporting teams – all of whom bring a wealth of diverse expertise, experience and passion.

View ACN organisation structure here

Board of Directors

ACN is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors. The Board is made up of Directors elected from, and by, the membership of ACN and two independent Directors appointed by the Board. The Board is responsible for ensuring that ACN has an appropriate corporate governance structure and ACN continues to grow and develop for the advancement of the nursing profession and in line with our constitution. The Board also adheres to the ACN Governance Charter, of which copies can be requested by emailing the Company Secretary.

Christine Duffield

Emeritus Professor Christine Duffield FACN


» About me

Christine Duffield is an internationally renowned and passionate nurse who has worked across direct care, consultancy, academia, research and in leadership roles to spearhead the advancement of the nursing profession in Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and Australia for over 40 years. She is a Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management at Edith Cowan University, Perth; Emeritus Professor University of Technology Sydney and President/Chair Australian College of Nursing.

Having published over 200 research papers, Christine was named in Mendeley’s Top 100,000 Cited Researchers of the World in 2020. Christine is also the Associate Editor for the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the most highly ranked international nursing journal.

Christine led the development of the first five industry funded Chairs of Nursing in Australia and has been instrumental in establishing key institutions including the Centre for Graduate Nursing Studies (1989) and the Centre for Health Services Management (1999).

Christine has held numerous senior University roles on Academic and Graduate Students Committees and has made a significant impact to the nursing profession by attracting over $14M in research funding as Chief Investigator, supervised 30+ research students and examined 30+ research theses.

Christine is an experienced Board Director who has established and chaired Clinical Governance Committees for two aged care Boards.

As the President/Chair of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), she has led the review of the ACN Constitution, governance policies and procedures and assisted in moving to a skills-based Board.

A skilled leader, Christine has been a member of State and Commonwealth Committees including Health Workforce Australia; Grants Committee Rosemary Bryant Centre; NHMRC and ARC expert review panels; Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Advisory Committee – Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration and has represented Australia on panels for the International Council of Nurses.

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David Plunkett

Adjunct Professor David Plunkett FACN

Vice President

» About me

David Plunkett FACN GAICD, MBA, RN is Chief Executive Eastern Health Melbourne Victoria, where he operationalises the strategic plan, quality and financial plan for the current and future financial years of the health service. David has been an Executive for Eastern Health in Melbourne for a number of years where he provided professional leadership to the nurses and midwives within Eastern Health. He has a deep understanding of the need to manage and mitigate risk, scope, assess and implement improvements to performance – on any aspect of health service performance.

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Carmen Morgan

Carmen Morgan FACN

Board Director

» About me

Carmen has 30 plus years’ experience as a nurse. Much of her clinical career has spanned rural, regional and remote health in Western Australia. For the last 13 years she has taken on progressively more senior nursing leadership roles and is now the Director of Nursing of the Broome Hospital in WA and Regional Nurse Director for the acute care, primary health care, mental health, aged care and public health practice areas. Carmen was elected to the board in 2013 for a two year term and re-elected in 2015 for a further four years until 2019.

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Georgina Willetts

Professor Georgina Willetts FACN CMgr FIML

Board Director

» About me

Professor Georgina Willetts has over 30 years nursing experience and more than a decade of experience in leading nursing and midwifery reform within the healthcare industry, moving to academia in 2011. She has completed two educational programs at Harvard Macy institute in Boston USA and continues to be a visiting faculty there, she received her doctorate of education in 2014 and was awarded the University wide Monash Teacher Accelerator Program honours in 2015.

Georgina is currently Head of Discipline & Course Director in Nursing within the Department of Health Professions at Swinburne University, where she established a new discipline of nursing and contemporary nursing curriculum using innovative teaching strategies. Her clinical interests are medical/surgical nursing, models of care, interprofessional practice/education and professional identity. Her research interests include translational research into the areas of healthcare education, health care workforce, and the performance of professional identity in practice.

Georgina has been an active member of ACN and the Royal College of Nursing for more than 15 years, she is involved in the ACN Policy Chapters and the Emerging Leaders program. Georgina is a Fellow of ACN.

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Ross M Lewin B.Com CA F.FIN

Independent Director

» About me

Ross M Lewin B.Com CA F.FIN is a Chartered Accountant who has over 35 years of experience in investment banking and corporate advice. He is the Founder/Managing Director of independent investment firm, Brenowen Cross Capital. Ross gained his experience in large financial services organisations (ABN Amro, ANZ Bank), as well as boutique advisory and specialist restructuring firms. In his current and previous roles, Ross has provided insightful strategic recommendations and conducted mandates in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, divestment, shareholder and bank negotiations. 

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Michael Ryan

Michael V Ryan B.Com LLB LLM

Independent Director

» About me

Michael V Ryan B.Com, LLB, LLM is a practising solicitor with Addisons Lawyers. Michael has over 35 years’ experience as a partner in leading Australian and International law firms. He specialises in corporate and commercial law representing clients across many industries including the health industry. He regularly advises boards of directors of small, medium and large companies including listed companies on their duties, conflicts and governance and works closely with boards to support them through complex or difficult periods or transactions. He has presented papers on corporate law topics including directors’ duties and exposures and has been recognised by his peers as a leading corporate law and mergers and acquisition practitioner. He joined the board in June 2021.

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Chris Raftery

Adjunct Professor Chris Raftery FACN

Board Director

» About me

RN, NP, BNur, MEmergN, MBA(HSM), MNSc(NP),  PhD(c)

Adjunct Professor Chris Raftery FACN is a well-respected published and endorsed nurse practitioner, as well as distinguished and dynamic nursing leader who has been part of the profession for over 2 decades.  He is Deputy Chair of the Queensland Clinical Senate and a strong advocate for nursing in Queensland and nationally, maximising the full potential of our profession in our current and future health system.  As the former national president of the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, Adjunct Professor Raftery, having broad clinical and systems leadership experience and credibility across the sector, is a leading identity with the development and growth of advanced practice nursing and the role of the nurse practitioner at the local, state and national levels, informing healthcare policy, strategy, reform and regulation.  He also influences capacity building across the system in partnership with key stakeholders, to deliver nursing solutions for state and national health priorities.  With additional strengths in innovation, technology and health economics, his contribution and strategic influence in shaping and advancing the nursing profession nationally, continues to maximise our individual and collective opportunities now and into the future. 

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Heather Keighley


Board Director

» About me

Heather is a respected and professionally connected nurse leader within the NT and nationally with expertise in health workforce, clinical governance, and leadership. She is a strong advocate for rural and remote nursing and midwifery, health workforce, and primary healthcare. Current chair of the Rural Nursing and Midwifery Faculty for the Australian College of Nursing and Board Director for the National Rural Health Alliance.

Her nursing experience is extensive within NT rural and remote settings, from ED and ICU in Alice Springs and Director of Nursing in Tennant Creek, to the Top-End remote communities of Ramingining and Gunbalanya in Arnhem Land. Heather has worked in clinical roles in women’s health and midwifery care, public health management and Director of Nursing for Primary Health Care. As the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer from 2016-2018 Heather coordinated the NTG review of remote nurse safety and led the implementation of the review recommendations to keep remote Territory nurses safe at work.

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Donna Waters

Professor Donna L Waters FACN

Board Director

» About me

BA(Macq), MPH (USYD), PhD (USYD)

Donna is currently Deputy Executive Dean (Projects) for the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. This Faculty consists of seven cognate Schools of Health, including the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery (formerly the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery). Previously, Donna was Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery (2014 – 2020), following six years as the Associate Dean (Research).

Her career has included clinical research roles at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead (Sydney), Director of an independent nursing and health services research organisation and Manager of Research and Projects at the former NSW College of Nursing. Donna’s first academic role (Clinical Chair) was with the University of Technology Sydney as Associate Professor of Nursing for the NSW Justice Health service.

Leadership, management and research are three areas in which Donna has excelled throughout her career. She has successfully conducted health services research projects under competitive grant and consultancy arrangements and continues to grow health research capability through teaching, student supervision and contributions to peer reviewed literature and professional texts.

Donna is passionate about the health of children and youth and has recently completed a ten-year term as a Board Member of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network where she also served as Chair of the Network Safety and Quality Committee. In 2021, Donna completed a one-year program in Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership through Harvard Medical School and continues to pursue an active interest in lifelong learning, research-led practice, person-centred approaches to health and implementation science.

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Executive Leadership Team

Our Executive team is made up of five Executive Directors (Commercial, Education, Office of the COO, Professional and Strategy) and a Chief Executive Officer. Our executive team passionately drive the direction of ACN and the whole team.

Kylie Ward

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN

Chief Executive Officer

» About me

ACN CEO, RN, M.Mgt, Dip.App.Sci (Nursing), Acute Care Cert., FACN, FCHSM, Wharton Fellow, MAICD

Policy Reformer. Humanitarian. Visionary. Nurse. For-Purpose Leader. Equality Warrior. Adjunct Professor. Mum. Transformation Specialist.

From humble beginnings, Kylie has gone on to become one of the most influential professional health leaders of the country and a formidable, passionate advocate for women, children and equality.

Kylie’s story is grounded in service to others, a vision for a greater future and a tenacity to get the job done. Kylie’s strengths lie in breaking down the walls, reframing the issue for fresh thinking and bringing people together to create long-lasting solutions.

Kylie currently serves as CEO of Australian College of Nursing (ACN). She has led a program of transformation at ACN, increasing revenue, tripling student numbers, raising awareness of the profession and building a legacy of nursing leadership, policy, sponsorship and community.

Kylie is inspired to increase the recognition of nurses and women in society. Articulating and amplifying the professional voice of nurses, ensuring they have a major seat at the table to develop health and social policy.

She has led the ACN community to find their relevance through policy leadership, political and industry influence, as such, ACN is now Australia’s beacon for Nurse Leadership.

Kylie holds honorary academic appointments with five leading Australian universities and in 2017, Kylie won Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in ACT for Purpose and Social Enterprise.

In 2022, Kylie was named the ACT Winner of the Excellence in Women’s Leadership Awards by Women and Leadership Australia and was a national finalist for two of CEO Magazine’s prestigious awards, CEO of the Year and Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year.

Kylie has served on numerous State and Territory Senate and Parliamentary Inquiries and gave evidence in 2019 at the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Before joining ACN, Kylie ran a successful consultancy specialising in transformation, executive coaching, leadership and change management. She is renowned for her business acumen, entrepreneurship, and visionary style leadership.

Kylie is a regular keynote speaker, author, media personality and mother of two men.

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Neil Haynes

Neil Haynes FACN (Hon)

Chief Operating Officer, Company Secretary

» About me

Neil Haynes’ career has spanned both profit and not-for-profit sectors, with extensive experience gained both in Australia and the UK. His most recent roles were Director of Finance in the employment services and training sector and, prior to that, with the largest independent Chartered Surveyor in Europe.

Passionate about finance and driven to get involved and understand the strategic business needs of ACN, Neil thrives in working closely with all arms of the organisation to ensure they are empowered and equipped to deliver high quality services to our members, stakeholders and the nursing profession. Neil holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Hull University and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. (FCA).




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Yvonne McKinlay MACN

Yvonne McKinlay FACN

National Director, Education

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Linda Davidson

Linda Davidson FACN

National Director, Professional Practice

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