Meet the Board


Meet our dedicated board members, committed to making Warehouse Circus the best it can be!

Heather Nicoll


Heather has over twenty years-experience in management roles including fifteen years as an Army officer, five years as a University corporate services portfolio Director, and short-term roles as a technology consultant and project manager. Heather currently manages the Canberra practice of a management consulting firm, a role in which she oversees business strategy planning and recruiting and focusses on government technology and strategy transformation programs.

Heather has postgraduate qualifications in IT and business and has substantial experience in higher education fundraising. She has been a member of several not-for-profit boards and management committees including a University of Queensland fundraising campaign steering committee and pre-school board. She currently volunteers as an engagement officer for Indigenous Reading Project, a start-up social enterprise aimed at improving indigenous youth literacy.

Anna Fitzgerald

Vice President

Anna brings a broad background and skillset. This includes financial management including establishing, monitoring and adjusting internal budgets through to trust accounting for different real estate agencies. Anna has a passion for people and relationship management, her current role has seen her develop the strategic plan, metrics and operational objectives to lead the Alumni & Donor team in building and maintaining stakeholder relationships.

Anna has extensive experience in event management which sees experience and skills in logistics, project management, public relations, marketing and fundraising. She has capability working with varied stakeholder groups and has an increasing understanding of the legal system and obligations through her current studies in working to complete a Juris Doctor.  Anna holds a Master of Management, a Master of Business Administration and bachelor of Event Management, which also give her many tools and a varied skillset in the spaces of human resource management and corporate governance.

Melinda Gabriel


Melinda is currently the Assistant Secretary Finance Business Information for the Department of Defence. Melinda’s qualifications include CPA, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). Melinda’s experience includes preparation of financial statements and internal management accounts, provision of strategic financial advice to senior decision makers, development and management of financial policy, procedures and controls, management of financial transaction processing, delivery of high-quality financial systems and general experience in HR management and leadership.

Melinda has extensive experience on committees and boards of community organisations, for example, Melinda was the finance officer of the German Australian Preschool for 2 years, in which time the Preschool expanded its operations from two days per week to four.  She is committed to seeing community organisations achieve results that benefit the community and members.

Joan Ross


Joan Ross is active in the community after retiring from her role as a senior policy officer in the Australian Public Service.  Joan is an active member of the Social Policy Committee of the National Foundation for Australian and the University of the Third Age.

Since moving to Canberra in the late 1980s, Joan has served on the Board of No Sweet Fashions, a NFP group helping refugee and disadvantaged migrants with English and employment skills.  In 2017, after several years, Joan completed her service on the Board of DUO Services Australia, a provider of a range of in-home care for people with disabilities and older Australians. She has completed a short course on Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  This covered topics about the fundamental compliance and performance related roles and responsibilities of directors, specifically in the areas of governance, risk, financial performance and strategy.

For the last decade of her career in the APS, Joan worked in the Department of Finance and Administration in the Budget Division as a team leader.  She has strong management skills, has a demonstrated ability as a project manager and a good understanding of financial management.

Joan has worked in employment and education policy, including equity issues for women and people with disabilities. Joan is a graduate of the University of Queensland and, until 2014, she was a registered psychologist.

Debra Surman

Public Officer

Debra is a senior management executive with more than 20 years’ experience leading award-winning marketing and communications strategies of national and international corporations.

She is currently the Director of Communications and Engagement at Canberra Metro, the builder and operator of Canberra’s light rail network. During construction of the light rail, Debra led the Project’s extensive community engagement program which was fundamental to building community support and approval for light rail.

Known for her energetic and collaborative leadership style, Debra is passionate about working with organisations that make a positive difference and benefit communities.

Debra has served on several not-for-profit boards and management committees including the Woden Valley Gymnastic Club Management Committee, the University of Technology Sydney Post-graduate Academic Board and Lyons Early Childhood School board. She also mentors business start-ups in marketing and communications.

Andrew Henderson


Andrew Henderson is a legal practitioner and legal education researcher who teaches at the ANU College of Law and the Canberra Law School.  He has background in law, policy development, organisational leadership and education. His professional experience and skills touch on a broad range of the organisation’s activities.

Andrew spent 10 years work with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in a number of roles after a period of legal practice Perth, Western Australia. While with the Commonwealth, Andrew developed and lead a series of significant policy and change management initiatives in areas as diverse as courts administration and personal insolvency.

Andrew left legal practice to work in education – first as a school teacher and then in legal education – and has continued to develop a passion for developing innovative approaches to teaching in law.  His fascination with teaching and learning in law lead him to undertake postgraduate (PhD) research at The ANU College of Law in legal education, focused on how law school affects students’ motivation and identity.

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