Our Board & Staff

Wendy McCarthy, AO


Wendy is an experienced manager and company director who began her career as a secondary school teacher. She moved out of the classroom into public life in 1968 and since then has worked for change across the public, private and community sectors, in education, family planning, human rights, public health, overseas aid and development, conservation, heritage, and media. She was a founding member of Women’s Electoral Lobby and continues to be an advocate for women.

Wendy has held many significant leadership roles in key national and international bodies including eight years as Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ten years as Chancellor of the University of Canberra, and 12 years of service to Plan Australia as Chair, with three years as Global Deputy Chair for Plan International.  In 2016 she completed eight years as chair of headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation ad in 2017 she completed 9 years as Chair of Circus Oz, Australia’s leading circus.

Currently Wendy is Deputy-Chair of Goodstart Early Learning and a non-executive Director of IMF Bentham, the world’s most experienced and successful publicly listed litigation funder.  She is a Patron of the Sydney Women’s Fund, Ambassador for 1 Million Women and Advisor to Grace Papers.

Wendy has established several businesses, including the national consulting practice McCarthy Mentoring which specialises in providing mentors to major corporations, the public sector and not for profit organisations. Her daughter Sophie McCarthy bought the practice in 2012 and Wendy remains as founder and mentor.

An experienced speaker and facilitator, Wendy is regularly asked for comment on social and political issues.  She enjoys writing and is the author several books including her memoir Don’t Fence Me In published by Random House in 2000.