Thirrili Board Directors
Founding Director and Inaugural Chairperson of Thirrili Ltd
John Paterson was appointed Chief Executive Officer for AMSANT (Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT) in 2006, and has held senior management positions within government and Aboriginal community organisations for more than twenty-five years. He is affiliated with the Ngalakan tribe from the Ngukurr region, south-east Arnhem Land.
John graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Social Science in Human Service. He is also a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. John is a member of the CEOs Group of Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) and chairs the NACCHO eHealth Expert Group. He is also a former Top End Hospital Network Council member.
His interest includes mentoring Indigenous youth, strengthening Indigenous governance structures and gardening. John is also President of the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club.
Founding Director and Chief Executive of Thirrili Ltd
Project Director, National Indigenous Critical Response Service
Adele Cox is a Bunuba and Gija woman from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She has been a strong advocate for many years in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention. She was previously a Senior Consultant on the National Empowerment Project and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project.
Adele worked at the Telethon Kids Institute as a Senior Research Officer on a range of projects, including the WA Aboriginal Child Health Survey. She later provided input on large research projects focussed on Aboriginal health and suicide prevention, which also led to her involvement as an Academic at the University of Western Australia.
Adele is a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Leaders Group.
Founding Director of Thirrili Limited
Wayne has practiced as a management consultant since 1996. Prior to this he worked as a senior executive in several government agencies at a Commonwealth and State level, where the focus of his work was in health and community services policy development, implementation and review.
As a consultant Wayne has undertaken assignments in the areas of health, community services, disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. He specialises in strategy development and review, program and project management, program evaluation, process redesign, activity based costing, benchmarking, and organisation design and review.
Wayne has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) and a Master of Business Administration.
Director of Thirrili Limited
Michelle is from Townsville, North Queensland and draws her connection to the Kuku Yulanji nation.
Michelle Deshong is currently Chief Executive of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. Prior to this she held many senior leadership roles in both the government and non-government sectors. From 2001-2010 she was the Director of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre and she currently holds a number of directorship roles in the not-for-profit sector. In 2013 Michelle was named in the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.
Michelle has extensive experience in areas of leadership, governance and politics. She has a strong commitment to human rights and has been a NGO representative on many occasions at the United Nations forums on the Commission on the Status of Women and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Director of Thirrili Limited
Tim Goodwin is a barrister and practices primarily in the areas of commercial and public law. Prior to joining the Bar, Tim worked at Allens as a solicitor in commercial litigation, banking and finance.
Prior to this Tim served as Associate to Justice North and Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court of Australia. He also served as Foreign Law Clerk to Justice Skweyiya of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Most recently Tim was a Junior Counsel supporting the recent Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Tim has a Bachelor of Arts and Laws (with Honours) from the Australian National University and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School.
Tim is a member of the Yuin people of the South East Coast of New South Wales. He serves on a number of boards, including the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Dr Mark Wenitong
Director of Thirrili Limited
Dr Mark Wenitong is from the Kabi Kabi tribal group of south Queensland (Qld). He is currently working as a Medical Advisor at the Apunipima Cape York Health Council in Cairns, Qld. As Medical Advisor, Mark’s role is to provide strategic leadership, support and advice to the Board, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and senior management team.
After studying Medicine at the Newcastle University Medical School, Mark completed his degree in 1995 as the third Aboriginal male graduate. He was also one of the first Aboriginal men to become a doctor. Mark began his medical career working in community development with World Vision and also spent time working in Central Australia. He was the Senior Medical Officer at Wichopperen Health Services in Cairns for nine years; acting CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, where he worked in primary health care in East Timor; and also Medical Advisor for the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in Canberra.
Dr Wenitong is a past President and founder of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association and is a member of several state and national advisory committees.
Mark is committed to improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia through community control. He is interested in preventative medicine, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, refugee health and prison health.