Michael G. Smith AO
Major General (Retd)

Michael Smith is the Chairman of the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund, having succeeded the inaugural President, Major General Arthur Fittock AO (Retd) in 2016.  He is a non-Executive Director of the Institute for Economics and Peace, Past National President of the United Nations Association of Australia and a former Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. From 2008-2011, Michael was the founding Executive Director of the Australian Civil-Military Centre, a multi-agency organisation established by the Australian Government to support the development of national civil-military capabilities to prevent, prepare for, and respond more effectively to conflicts and disasters overseas.

From 2002-2008, Michael was CEO of Austcare (now Action Aid Australia), an international humanitarian and development agency committed to supporting under-privileged communities.

Major General Smith served for 34 years as an Army Officer in the Australian Defence Force, graduating with the ‘sword of honour’ from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1971, and had a distinguished military career as an infantry officer, commanding at all levels from Platoon to Brigade Commander. He was a member of the Defence Organisation’s Strategic Review writing team in 1993, served as Australia’s Defence Adviser to the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1994, and throughout 1999 was Director-General for East Timor. He was appointed as the first Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in 2000-2001, in recognition for which he was promoted from a Member to an Officer in the Order of Australia.

Michael holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the Australian National University, a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of New South Wales, and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies.  He is a graduate of the Cranlana leadership program and the Company Directors Course at the University of New England. 

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Deputy Chairperson
Dr Michelle Bryne

Dr Michelle Byrne is the Former Mayor of the Hills Shire Council having served a total of 7 years including 4 as the first popularly elected Mayor for the Hills. She is also the youngest Mayor to have served in the Hills and only the 3rd Female Mayor in 112 years.

Michelle was one of the inaugural winners of the Gallipoli Scholarship in 1998 and is the proud Great Granddaughter and Granddaughter of Charles Henry Way and Leslie Charles who fought on the Shores of Gallipoli in WWI and in Milne Bay in WWII respectively. Michelle is passionate about fostering the ANZAC spirit in our younger generations, ensuring young people get access to education and encouraging young people to take up leadership positions.

Michelle is also a medical scientist by training and worked in cancer research and type I diabetes research before giving it away to pursue her love for local government. She is also a lawyer and has worked in the areas of family law and commercial law. Michelle is also a mum to a set of 6 year old twins and a 2 year old.

Kate Tollenaar

Kate Tollenaar is a communicator, leader and future technology specialist. She has a passion for grassroots innovation to solve organisational and social challenges. She has served in the Australian Army for 22 years in a range of roles including telecommunications, personnel management, training and artificial intelligence. She seeks to work with organisations that employ technology for environmental and social good. 

Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), two Masters degrees from ANU and she is currently enrolled in the Australian Company Directors Course. 

Denise Feeney

Denise Feeney joined the Management Committee in October 2020 and was previously a business owner for 20 years, operating a Video Ezy franchise, and later as a Mobile Mortgage Specialist at Australian Military Bank.  She is active in the Not-for-Profit arena as Treasurer and charter member of Wattle Grove Lions Club and Lions District Global Causes Team – Hunger as Chairperson.

Chair of Selection Committee
Jan Hartmann

Jan Hartmann joined the Fund Committee in 2010 at the invitation of the inaugural Chairman, Major General Arthur Fittock and in 2011 was appointed Chair of the Selection Committee.

Since that time, with the support of the other members of the Committee, Jan has been involved in the selection of more than half of the recipients to date. Jan’s background is primarily military, having served in the both the regular Army and the Army Reserve for a total of 22 years. On leaving the Army Jan worked in various roles including a period as a Veteran’s Advocate for the RSL, before working as an assessor for Veteran’s Home Care. In 2001 Jan was appointed to the Veterans’ Review Board as a Member, then as a Services Member. She retired in 2015 to spend time at home with her five grandchildren and devote more time to the Gallipoli Scholarship.

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Committee Member
Margot Smith

Currently the Chief Executive Officer of RSL & Services Clubs Association, Margot has worked in member bodies for almost fifteen years. She has enjoyed a long history of giving back to professions at Chartered Accountants, Law Society of England and Wales, Finsia, Governance Institute and the Institute of Managers and Leaders (formerly the Australian Institute of Management). Interspersed throughout her roles in associations, Margot has also worked at Optus, Scholastic, Ausgrid and LexisNexis in a range of events, marketing and community engagement roles.

Margot has extensive volunteer, fundraising and mentoring experience, and has a real passion for giving back. Margot holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & Education), a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (Management), an Advanced Diploma in Events, Certified Chief Happiness Officer certification, a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, a Certificate in Governance and has undertaken the Company Directors Course.

Committee Member
Omer Incekara

Omer Incekara was elected to the Management Committee at the 2022 AGM after helping to reinvigorate the Scholarships Communication and marketing activities on a pro-bono basis for the last three years.

As the CEO of Xavier Advertising, Omer brings a wealth of experience gained while working for nearly four decades at some of Australia’s and Asia Pacific’s best-known advertising agencies to our board. As a brand strategist, he is acknowledged for intuitively understanding consumer behaviours—demonstrating an intimate knowledge of consumer dynamics, market motivators, and brand and communication strategies. Omer has led small and large teams working on Blue-chip accounts across Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Omer also currently serves on multiple boards, including Chairing the Ataturk Scholarship, Advisory Board member of Multicultural NSW, Advisory Board member of Salvation Army,  Director of ATMA (Australian Turkish Mutual Alliance)

Arriving in Sydney aged 11 in 1970 from Turkey, Omer was a part of the RAAF Cadets during his high school years. Later, he served with NATO’s Comstrike Force in LSE – Izmir Turkey during his two years of compulsory National Services.

Omer is an enthusiastic, energetic professional that leads by example and likes nothing better than to roll up his sleeves and get the job done.

Committee Member
Geoff Evans

Geoff Evans served for nineteen years in the Australian Army’s Special Operations Command as both a commissioned and non-commissioned officer. During this time Geoff served on four operational deployments before being wounded in action in Afghanistan in December 2010.

In 2013, Geoff founded Homes for Heroes, a national charity supporting homeless veterans and their families. In 2014, Geoff was appointed to the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans Mental Health where he served two terms.

In January of 2016, Geoff was appointed as the CEO of Disaster Relief Australia, a 3000 strong international disaster relief organisation. Geoff consults to business and industry on leadership, operational design & delivery and workplace culture. Geoff holds an international relations degree from Deakin University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.