ACN's CEO & Executive Team | Australian College of Nursing

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ACN's CEO & Executive Team

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I have the energy, the inclination and the passion to drive ACN’s strategic direction. My goal is for ACN to be recognised nationally as the go-to organisation for nurse leaders, and for us to be relied on at any stage of their career, to assist them with developing the necessary skills to drive change in Australia’s health and aged care systems."

- Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN
CEO, Australian College of Nursing

Australian College of Nursing’s Leadership Team

ACN is led by a Chief Executive Officer and has four operational divisions, each with an Executive Manager and supporting teams. ACN is governed by a nine member Board. The Board is made up of seven directors elected from and by the membership of ACN and two independent directors appointed by the Board.

ACN’s Executive Team Email:

Chief Executive Officer
Adjunct Professor KYLIE WARD

RN, MMgt, Dip App Sci (Nursing), Acute Care Cert., FACN, Wharton Fellow, MAICD

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward has more than two decades of experience as a celebrated Nurse Leader, and a respected, senior level Health and Aged Care executive. Intimately aware of the significant contribution nurse leaders make to health and aged care, community outcomes, individualised care and patient experiences, Kylie also brings an innate passion for people, professionalism, service and leadership to the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).

Her distinguished career - including nursing with a clinical background in intensive care and aged care, Monash University lecturer and more recently as an expert in transformational leadership, culture and change management - has resulted Kylie’s exceptional skills in organisational design, culture shaping, insight and strategy development.

In 2009, Kylie was awarded a Wharton Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her approach to leadership is modern, ethical and progressive, and focuses on building mental and spiritual resilience to meet organisational challenges and lead people through change. She is inspired by the power of leadership to engage and excite people, and ultimately drive business success.

Kylie has enjoyed a long and active association with ACN and its founding organisations, and was awarded Fellowship of both organisations in 2007.  She understands and honours their history and commitment to nursing in Australia and is passionate about leading ACN to become a dynamic and influential key professional organisation.

Executive Director, Commercial

Helen Goodall’s career with ACN commenced in 2003 with RCNA and she has held several positions within the organisation. She is proud to have been part of the team involved in shaping the organisation into the professional body that it is today. 

Helen thrives on working with great people and working collaboratively to achieve goals. She believes that ACN’s strength is its team, its members and the organisations that partner with ACN.

Helen’s primary motivation is to develop and maintain ACN’s commercial focus. She brings a wealth of experience to ACN, including business development, and program and contract management in the financial sector, in addition to holding a Graduate Certificate in Management and a Master of Business.

As an advocate of ACN’s vision to advance nurse leadership to enhance health care, Helen adds warmth and vitality to the business of leadership.

Executive Director, Professional and Leadership
MICHELLE GUNN RN, B (Nursing), MACN, LLB (Hon), Grad Dip LP, Lawyer (QLD Supreme Court)

Michelle Gunn has been a passionate nurse leader and advocate for quality and affordable health care for over twenty years.  

She is a tireless champion for the nursing profession, and exemplifies the flexibility, resilience and drive that is required to address the challenges faced by the profession. Being passionate about empowering nurses and dedicated to working to reduce violence against women and children, has taken Michelle to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, where she delivered an intervention on the 'Global plan of action on violence'.

Most recently Michelle has been a Director of Nursing in the Queensland Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, where under her leadership, graduate nursing employment has increased to record numbers across Queensland.  Prior to this she held a number of nursing leadership and governance roles including, supporting the Board and Executive of Children’s Health Queensland as they became an independent statutory authority and opened the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. 

As the current recipient of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons Foundation for Surgery Louis Waller Medico-Legal Scholarship, Michelle is undertaking doctoral research into clinician’s perceptions of their legal and ethical obligations, and how they balance competing obligations for the individual patient and the community.

A proven high achiever and passionate advocate for empowering people to access opportunities to fulfil their potential, she received her Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction and her Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours.  Michelle brings to the Australian College of Nursing a dynamic combination of nursing and legal expertise and a strong awareness of the unique capability of nurses to lead health care initiatives and transform the lives of people and communities.

Executive Director, Corporate Support

Neil’s 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).

Executive Director, Education

Anne is a registered nurse and a long time Fellow of The College of Nursing, a predecessor organisation to ACN.

Her background and extensive experience in nurse education encompasses clinical teaching, course coordination, curriculum development and design and evaluation. More recently, she held the position of Manager Nursing and Midwifery Registration at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA,) which supported the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. A key function of her role at AHPRA was the accreditation of international nursing and midwifery qualifications and registration. Prior to the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010, Anne was a Professional Officer at the Nurses and Midwives Board of NSW.

Having gained considerable experience in the implementation of legislation, regulation and change management, Anne was keen to build on and utilise her regulatory knowledge and experience and returned to an education environment. She joined the Executive team at ACN in July 2015, and is excited to be working once again with a peak professional body, having previously worked at The College of Nursing as the Manager of Continuing Professional Development where she developed and delivered short courses in a wide range of specialty areas.

Anne believes that education and engagement are the keys to advancing nurse leadership. She cites her own qualifications of a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Education (Adult Education) and a Certificate IV TAA as making a significant contribution to her ability to progress her own career and attain leadership roles. As a result, she is passionate about nursing professional development through higher education and encourages members and the broader profession to undertake quality education that meets their professional needs.

Anne has always valued her ACN membership and relied on it to keep her engaged and informed about key issues relating to the profession, health reform matters, policy and being able to speak out on behalf of the profession when it is not always possible to do so individually.

Executive Assistant to CEO

Narelle Barrie was appointed as EA to the CEO in May 2016. Narelle joins the ACN team with significant experience working at the executive level reporting to CEO’s of diverse industries in NSW and Canberra. As well as having significant experience Narelle is well qualified with Certificates in Office Skills,  Office Administration and Business Services and she has completed an Introduction to Financial Accounting gaining high distinction. As well as the above mentioned Narelle also holds a Certificate in Child Studies.

If you would like to contact the Office of the CEO, the details are:

Ph:        02 6283 3459

Australian College of Nursing Annual Report

During the year, there were a number of highlights and milestones for the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), as we further demonstrated our influence and relevance to health and aged care policy and the politicians who shape it.

The 2015-16 financial year was one of fiscal consolidation and conservation. The Board took decisive steps to secure a sustainable future for ACN. These actions kept the organisation on track to become Australia’s most recognised professional nurse leadership organisation and allowed us to invest further in the services provided to our members, fellows, students and the nursing profession.

Click here to download the ACN 2015 - 2016 Annual Report