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The Board maintains strategic oversight of the operations of the Canberra Potters’ Society/Watson Arts Centre and the finances, strategic risks and programs of CPS are standing items of discussion at each Board meeting. The Board supports the management and staff in its purpose to:

Maintain Canberra Potters and Watson Arts Centre as a dynamic, innovative and inspiring arts hub of excellence, supporting personal and professional development across all levels of ceramic arts practice while providing exciting community engagement through artist, exhibition and visitor experiences.

The board was appointed at the AGM in April 2019 and serves until the AGM in April 2020. Collectively it encompasses a range of management, financial, governance, legal, education and artistic expertise:

President & Chair—Velda Hunter

Velda brings a varied skill set that is well suited to Board participation and oversight of the Canberra Potters. She possesses qualifications in Health Science at Masters level. As a Registered Nurse for over 30 years, she has worked at management level in quality improvement, quality audit, occupational health and safety and change management as Patient Safety Officer, Nurse Education Consultant, and other roles. She was Secretariat for a committee that investigated complaints and concerns against medical and dental staff of ACT Health Directorate. As Secretariat her duties included, writing documents for and communicating with governing bodies such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency within a strict legislative framework. As a Senior Policy Officer (ACT Health Directorate) and Senior Policy Advisor (Northern Territory Health and Families) for a period of eight years, Velda gained direct experience managing Service Funding Agreements with non-government organisations valued at over $2M. She liaised and communicated with service providers, fostering positive relationships, empowering individuals, and ensuring that clients were provided with services as agreed. She developed multi-million dollar funding applications for projects such as building new accommodation facilities for young adult mental health clients (ACT), and Aboriginal women (NT). She provided Secretariat and advice for strategic committees such as the ACT’s Mental Health Strategic Oversight Group to oversee the implementation of the ACT’s Mental Health Services Plan 2009—2014, and the Ministerial Advisory Council on Mental Health chaired by the Minister for Health.
Her goal as a Canberra Potters Board member is to participate in an honest, open and transparent Board that values the organisation’s people—both staff and members, provides exemplary customer service, and fosters development of ceramic arts across the community and at all levels of expertise.

Deputy Chair—Joanne Searle

Joanne Searle is a current lecturer in ceramics at the Ceramic Arts Workshop, Australian National University. She is a Canberra based ceramicist who completed a First Class Honours degree at the School of Art in 1999. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally including the 53rd & 56th International Ceramics Competition in Faenza, Italy in 2003 and the First Taiwan Ceramics Biennale in 2004. In 2003 Joanne was awarded the major prize at the Canberra Potters Society and Port Hacking Potters Award. In 2004 Joanne was the invited artist at the Asia Pacific Students Workshop ‘ Ceramics for Use, a New Perspective’ at the University of Hawaii.
Joanne joins the Board as a non-CPS Member. Her expertise in current ceramic arts practice and role as lecturer with Canberra’s highly regarded ANU School of Art underlines our objective to strive for the professional delivery of our own education services.

Treasurer—Melissa Stenfors

Melissa has a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters in Foreign Relations, as well as a Certificate IV in Adult Training and Assessment. A recently retired senior federal public servant Melissa has undertaken positions for Australian National Audit Office, Department of Employment and Industrial Relations (internal audit) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 1985, where she remained until retirement – which included over four years as an auditor and has held FCPA status.
During over three decades with DFAT, she worked in the corporate area (mainly finance) and in the consular area including six overseas postings where she was responsible for providing corporate services to the head of the post including: HR, finance and budgets, security services, property and IT.
Melissa is excited to bring her financial knowledge and experience to the role of Treasurer at Canberra Potters.

Secretary—Nicole Hoffman

Nicole worked at artsACT from 2003 to 2016, where she held positions in the areas Arts Policy and Arts Funding. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and currently works in Artist and Events Engagement at the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (another artsACT Key Arts Organisation). Nicole has Postgraduate qualifications in Art History and Curatorship from the Australian National University and hopes her experience as an arts administrator in both the public and private sectors will bring insight and benefit to Canberra Potters.

Board Member—Donald Porter

Don is a school teacher of 30 years experience and retired after teaching at Dickson College. In that role, he served on the College Board and a number of sub-committees. Skills and experience he is eager to bring to the Canberra Potters Board. Don holds an associate Diploma in Ceramics from the Canberra School of Art, ANU. He is currently Chair of a corporation committee for a residential apartment building. Don has been a member of the Potters’ Society since 2015 and is actively involved as a student and volunteer.

Board Member—Tessa Hoser

Tessa is a retired lawyer, working potter and life long pottery collector. She has past board experience including the Chair of the Gowrie Organisation NSW, Member of Audit & Performance Committees, Chair (past) Norton Rose Fullbright, Sydney Charity & Mental Health Committees. Special skills include legal, compliance, regulatory and risk management. Tessa has an empathetic and collaborative personal style and a commitment to integrity, tolerance and community.

Board Member—David Leake

David has a Diploma of Visual Arts–Ceramic in 2013 and completed a Graduate Certificate Visual Arts–Ceramic in 2015 at the ANU. David has participated in workshops, master classes, Member/Student exhibitions and Open Days at Canberra Potters since 2003. He has exhibited in a number of local galleries including an EASS exhibition at Watson Arts Centre in 2013. David is a member of a number of arts organisations including: Strathnairn Arts where he was a board member in 2013/14 and has participated in workshops and exhibitions since 2009; Clay Bodies ceramic group member and exhibitor; Photo Access participant in photography workshops and exhibitions; and The Artist Shed taking part in painting/drawing and group exhibitions.
David’s professional life revolves around construction, principally construction management and consultancy. For over three decades he has been the manager of Quality Assurance and Asset Acceptance within civil engineering construction for land development within the ACT. He undertakes the management and supervision of staff including training and technical requirements. He is responsible for financial and budget forecasting, monitoring expenditure and contract management. He has extensive experience in preparing funding submissions for special projects, tendering and contract documentation. This includes liaison with ACT Government, developers, engineering consultants and contractors.