About our members

The members of the Board of the Trust bring extensive experience from a range of sectors and provide their services in a voluntary capacity.

Hon Dean Brown AO (CHAIRMAN)

dean brownThe Hon. Dean Brown AO is a former Premier of South Australia. He was in Parliament for 27 years and held numerous ministerial portfolios. Dean’s education and background is in agricultural research, Government and corporate management. His qualifications include a Doctor of Science (honoris causa), a Master of Rural Science from the University of New England and a Post-graduate Fellowship in Business Administration from the University of South Australia. He is a Director of Mission Australia and Foodbank SA, and is a Board member of the Heritage Foundation of the University of Adelaide. Previously he has been the Premier’s Special Advisor on Drought and the River Murray Community Liaison Manager during the drought for the South Australian Government. He was also a Director of Scantech Ltd, Chairman of Hillgrove Resources Ltd, Chairman of InterMet Ltd, a Director of the National Youth Mental Health Advisory Board, and a Director of Australian Agricultural Consulting and Management Company. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Hon Donald Hopgood AO (DEPUTY CHAIRMAN)

Don Hopgood worked as a secondary school teacher and university tutor before being elected to the South Australian Parliament in 1970. He studied at Adelaide and Flinders Universities gaining an Honours Arts degree and then a Doctorate in Modern History. In retirement, in the 1990s, he returned to Flinders and did a degree in theology. Don served in parliament for 23 years, holding various ministerial portfolios including development and mines, education, environment, water, emergency services, and health. He was Deputy Premier for six years between 1985 and 1992. During 1997–1999 he was the Moderator of the Uniting Church SA Synod. Recently Don has been teaching courses at the College for Seniors and the University of the Third Age and has been researching the history of jazz in South Australia.

Professor Don Bursill AM

Playford Trust - Don BursillDon Bursill has had 40 years in the water industry, 17 years as Chief Scientist for SA Water. He was CEO of the Co-operative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment for 11 years and Deputy Chair of the Board of the Global Water Research Coalition, which is an alliance of major national water research agencies. Don was an Adjunct Professor at the University of SA for 20 years and was the Chief Scientist for South Australia from February 2011 until August 2014. Awards include a Member of the Order of Australia, an Honorary Doctorate from UniSA, a CSIRO Medal for water research, South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year (2011) and Citizen of the Year for Tea Tree Gully (2011).

Mrs Francene Connor

Playford Trust - Francene ConnorFrancene Connor is a marketing and public relations specialist who has worked in the private and public sectors including at the Royal Adelaide Show, RiAus and the South Australian Museum. Francene was an elected Councillor and Alderman on the Adelaide City Council and has been a Board Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission, TafeSA Council and the Adelaide Convention and Tourism Authority. Francene was a board director of the Australia Day Council of SA from 2014-2016 and has been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2008. Francene was a member of the University of Adelaide’s School Advisory Board in the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, and the Council of the Friends of the Adelaide Festival. Francene is a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation and a member of the Leaders Institute of South Australia. She is a Certified Practising Marketer and Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute.

Professor David Day

Playford Trust - David DayDavid Day is a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University in the School of Biological Sciences. David received his PhD from the University of Adelaide and undertook his postdoctoral training in the USA before returning to Australia as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow at CSIRO in Canberra. Subsequent posts include Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Australian National University, Chair and Head of Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia, Executive Dean of Sciences at the University of Sydney, and Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research) at Flinders University. His research interests are in plant biochemistry and molecular biology and he has published more than 200 research articles. David is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science where he serves as Secretary of Science Policy on its executive council.

Dr Kate Delaporte

Playford Trust - Kate DelaporteKate Delaporte graduated from University of Adelaide with a BAgSc (Hons) and a Doctor of Philosophy. She was the third Playford Trust Horticultural Scholar (1996-2000). In 2000 Kate was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study the use of Australian plants overseas. Kate worked on the research and development of eucalypts, as the Postdoctoral Research Fellow, in the University of Adelaide’s Ornamental Eucalypts Development Program with Professor Margaret Sedgley. These projects were supported by the RIRDC, industry collaborators and the Playford Trust. More recently, this work has been supported by AusIndustry, BioSA, and Horticulture Australia Ltd, in collaboration with industry and the University of Adelaide.

As a past scholarship recipient, Kate is involved with the Playford Trust Scholars Association and is very excited about the networking opportunities that the PTSA will offer to all past, present and future Playford Trust Scholars and Award recipients.

Hon Robert Lawson RFD QC

Playford Trust - Robert LawsonRobert Lawson graduated in Arts and Law. He practised law as a partner in a large Adelaide firm of solicitors and later as a barrister at the independent Bar. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1988, he is a former President of the South Australian Bar Association. Robert was a member of the Legislative Council in the South Australian Parliament until 2010. He held a number of offices in the Brown/Olsen/Kerin governments. Robert’s ministries included Disability Services, the Ageing, Administrative and Information Services, Workplace Relations, Attorney-General and Consumer Affairs. He is a member of the board of the Law Foundation of South Australia and is Chairman of the Carrick Hill Development Foundation. Before entering Parliament, Robert served in the RAAF Specialist Reserve with the rank of Wing Commander.

Ms Jacqui McGill

Jacqui McGill is a highly accomplished Executive and Non-Executive Director with more than 30 years’ executive leadership experience. Jacqui is the Chairman of TAFE SA, a member of the Economic Advisory Committee for SA and leadership consultant. 

Jacqui held a range of key leadership roles with BHP including Asset President of Olympic Dam and BHP Mitsui Coal. Jacqui has deep operational experience in large scale, complex, capital intensive organisations and well-developed capital portfolio execution experience in capital constrained, and risk laden environment. Jacqui serves on the Art Gallery Board of SA, and joined Playford Trust in October 2018.

Ms Bunty Parsons

Bunty ParsonsBunty is a writer and editor with more than 30 years experience in communications, marketing and public affairs. She began her career as a journalist at The Advertiser, working in news and politics. She worked for a number of years in media relations and held senior corporate affairs roles with Telstra and EDS Australia. Since 2004, she has run her own business, consulting widely throughout the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Bunty has lectured in marketing at Flinders University, worked in political offices and delivered leadership training. Her board experience includes Time for Kids Inc., the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, the Partner Marketing Committee of the University of South Australia’s Business and Information Systems faculty, API Inc, and the Service to Youth Council of SA. She is an active volunteer and has co-authored two non-fiction books.

Dr Leanna Read

Playford Trust - Leanna ReadDr Leanna Read is the fourth Chief Scientist for South Australia and chairs the South Australian Science Council. She is a renowned biotechnology expert and brings a wealth of executive, board and investment experience in technology-based businesses. In addition to her role as Chief Scientist, Leanna chairs the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing and is a member of the SA Economic Development Board and the Council for the University of South Australia. Prior roles included CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Tissue Growth and Repair and the founding managing director of Adelaide biotechnology company, TGR BioSciences Pty Ltd. She has received a number of awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia, the 2006 South Australian of the Year (Science and Technology) and the 2011 Central Region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology Category.

Mr Dean Standish

Playford Trust - Dean StandishDean Standish commenced working in the accounting profession in 1961. In 1968 he became a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. The major portion of his professional life has been as a partner in a medium sized 3 partner practice in Adelaide. This partnership covered the period from 1976-2006. In 2006 the practice was merged with HLB Mann Judd (SA) and Dean continued to work as a consultant to the merged practices, until retiring in June 2014. The major focus in his career was small business and audit. Dean has been a member of the Rotary Club of Mitcham for approx 25 years and has held a variety of positions at both Club and District level. He is Treasurer, Public Officer and chairs the Finance Committee.

Mr Keith Yates

Playford Trust Keith YatesKeith Yates is a science graduate majoring in geology who retired in 2007 after over 40 years in the mining industry exploring for minerals in Australia and overseas. He is a founding director of Adelaide Resources Limited which was listed in 1996 and which conducts minerals exploration in a number of Australian states, including South Australia. Keith is Chairman of the South Australian Minerals and Energy Advisory Council, which advises the Government on mining matters. He has lived in South Australia for over 45 years and is keenly interested in the education of young people and the benefits that their subsequent employment can bring to the State.