Board of Directors

Rick Ralph

Rick Ralph joined the Mates4Mates Board in 2015, combining his skills-based business knowledge with his passion for supporting current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel.

Rick is the Chief Executive Officer of the Waste Recycling Industry Queensland, which is an industry-leader in advocating for the sector. Rick brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of business management, corporate governance and not-for-profit organisations. Rick is passionate about providing the best support for veterans across Australia, no matter where they live or what their circumstances. Rick was elected Chairman of the Mates4Mates Board in 2017.

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Miriam Dwyer

Miriam joined the Mates4Mates Board in July 2013, providing leadership and initiatives to support positive health outcomes for our veterans.

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, Miriam has a deep understanding of the health and wellbeing challenges our veterans may face when transitioning from the Australian Defence Force. Miriam has been a leading voice when it comes to finding new ways to treat Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) by commissioning extensive research through Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.

Miriam holds a Bachelor of Science and postgraduate qualifications in education. She is an internationally recognised speaker on the importance of medical research on health and wellbeing. 

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Vannessa Patterson

Vannessa joined the Mates4Mates board in June 2017, bringing her defence and business experience, along with a desire to help veterans retain a positive sense of purpose in their lives on transition from the ADF. As such, she also volunteers with two other organisations whose missions are to also provide assistance to veterans when transitioning.

Vannessa brings almost 20 years of experience as a senior operational risk manager in highly regulated heavy industry sectors, including construction, manufacturing and mining maintenance. Vannessa has also held roles on a government board and a number of other committees.

Vannessa holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and postgraduate qualifications in operational risk, as well as a Masters in Business Administration. She is the Lead Strategic Risk Agent at ManageDamage and is also an entrepreneur and company director currently involved in product commercialisation.

Barry Vains
Barry Vains OAM

Barry joined the Mates4Mates Board in 2017 bringing decades of experience in providing support to our veterans and their families, as well as valuable knowledge of strong business management.

Barry is a proud member of RSL Queensland, serving for over 20 years in many different volunteer positions throughout the state following on from his two years National Service with the Australian Army in 8RAR and 4RAR. He is currently the President of the Pioneer Fitzroy Highlands RSL District, a Director of RSL Queensland and the Chair of the Audit and Risk Sub-Committee of RSL Queensland.

In June 2017, Barry was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to veterans and their families.

Barry holds a Bachelor of Business (Management), a post graduate Diploma in Accounting, and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Scott Denner

Scott joined the Mates4Mates Board in 2017, bringing a wealth of experience in veteran services and civilian business leadership.

Scott has served in the Australian Army for 17 years as a regular and reserve officer, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Scott has extensive experience in the private and public sector gained from business leadership roles in Australia and the United Kingdom.

In 2016, Scott accepted the role of State Secretary and General Manager of Operations at RSL Queensland which he currently still holds. These roles, as well as his position on the Mates4Mates Board allow Scott to help lead the way in providing first-class support to veterans and their families.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Management (Professional Studies), a Masters of Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Brigadier Tony Rawlins 

Brigadier Rawlins, a serving Australian Defence Force officer, joined the Mates4Mates Board in 2017, to further broaden the representation on the Board.

In April 2016, Tony was appointed to his current position as the Commander of 7th Combat Brigade, which is a combined arms multi-role manoeuvre brigade based at Enoggera in Brisbane. Tony has completed operational service deployments with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in Israel and Lebanon and with the Headquarters International Security Assistance Force. Additionally, as the Commanding Officer of 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Southern Iraq, he commanded Overwatch Battle Group West -Two.  For this service, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in 2008.

Tony holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Masters of Management (Defence Studies), Masters of Defence Studies, Masters of Arts and is an admitted Barrister/Solicitor in the ACT.