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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 June 2020 and serves until the AGM in 2021. Collectively it encompasses a range of management, financial, governance, legal, education and artistic expertise:

President & Chair—Jill Farrelly

Jill has been a member of Canberra Potters for five years. She understands the benefits a thriving and sustainable organisation can provide to its members and  will work to ensure CPS continues to contribute to the Canberra arts community. She aims to achieve a balance between strategic leadership, governance and meeting the needs of members.

Jill’s career has spanned more than 30 years in Federal and State Government agencies. She has worked in policy and program roles in areas such as children, women, disability and mental health.  Jill has had extensive experience working with community groups, other government agencies and Ministers.

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—Kerry Byers

For many decades Kerry has been an active volunteer, trainer and board member of Lifeline ACT. In addition, she has been a committed member, secretary and manager of sports teams, scouts and school committees. Now retired, Kerry has previously worked as a workplace rehabilitation provider, managing allied health professionals. She has provided account management duties and prepared tender documents with local and federal government agencies.

Kerry’s interest in pottery continues to develop and she is a regular participant in classes and activities at Canberra Potters. As her formal work commitments have eased, she is ready to devote her energies to the Canberra Potters community through board involvement.

Board Member—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.