Playgroup WA is governed by a voluntary Board with direct playgroup experience or connection.
Leanne Gordon – President
Being on the Board of Playgroup WA is an ideal match with Leanne’s skills and experience, the keen interest she has in child development, and as the mum of two sons. Having attended various playgroups over the years when her children were younger, Leanne has always recognised the benefits of playgroups for young children and their parents.
Leanne brings to the role the experience gained from many years in senior management roles in human resources and organization development, and her current experience of running a change management practice. Leanne has a Commerce degree, majoring in Human Resources Management and Strategic Management, and completed Executive Leadership programs with the Australian Graduate School of Management, AICD Governance training, and the Akimbo altMBA. Leanne has previous experience as the Chair and member of a range of industry Boards and committees.
Sandy Davidson – Vice President
Sandy has extensive and diverse experience in strategic management with specific competencies in finance, human resources and asset management. With many years working as a Chief Financial Officer for a large not-for-profit, Sandy brings specific sector knowledge to the Board of Playgroup WA. Sandy’s focus is on knowledge-sharing and is currently working as a trainer/assessor with international students who are studying business at Advanced Diploma level. She has a Master of Business Administration, focusing on Management and Leadership.
Sandy joined the Board of Playgroup WA in 2019 and is the Vice President. After watching what an important part of early childhood playgroup was for her daughters and their children, Sandy is passionate to give back to the community by serving on the Board.
Dr Melanie Henry – Secretary
Dr Mel Henry is a Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner with a background in Educational Psychology. Mel’s experience spans over a decade working in higher education across student support and transition services, management, research and policy roles. She has also worked in government and not-for-profit sectors and managed online counselling services. Mel holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from Edith Cowan University, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. Mel is published in the areas of online student engagement and learning, and equal opportunity.
Neil Stockdale – Treasurer
Neil has over 20 years experience in senior Finance, Risk, Strategy and Commercial roles. He has worked for a number of global energy companies in London, Singapore and Australia with a strong focus on supporting the transition to a low carbon environment in a sustainable and responsible way. Neil is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor Degree in Geology.
Neil joined the Playgroup Board in 2021 with the aim of using his experience to give back to the community through the positive opportunities that Playgroup offers.
For over 15 years, Shirley has held various strategic advisory roles around Australia and internationally. She has advised senior management of organisations on implementing actions to deliver more value, reduce inefficiencies, explore new opportunities, empower employees and improve processes to be in alignment with a company’s vision. She has worked with governments, non-government organisations, academic institutions and community-based organisations to help build capacity on long term issues, such as climate change adaption practices and advocacy for climate resilient decisions and policies. She holds degrees in chemical engineering and business management.
As a mum of two children, Shirley knows first-hand the importance of playgroup being a safe and supportive environment where children can play, learn, explore and grow. Playgroup was a great way for her to make new friends and be part of her local community. Through her local playgroup, Shirley helped to raise funds for the local hospital to purchase paediatric equipment and supplies. Shirley joined Playgroup WA’s board in 2018 and looks forward to continuing to help shape and guide Playgroup WA.
Sophie Ecker Costanzo
Sophie is community-focused and has undertaken various leadership and committee roles, such as President of the Student Association of the University of Notre Dame Australia (2006) and Councillor on the Council of the Law Society of Western Australia (2016).
Formerly the CEO and In-House Counsel for one of Australia’s largest privately owned occupational hand therapy providers and global orthopaedic expert, Sophie is also an experienced personal injury and insurance litigation lawyer. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Management). In 2019, she was named a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist (1 out of 5 for the Medium & Large Business category that had 8,500 contenders).
Sophie is proud to be a mother to her young family. She values the positive service Playgroup WA provides to the WA community and is excited to be a member of the Playgroup WA Board.