Board of Directors

Peter Hodgson

Chairman of the Board
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Niki Ellis

Director
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Paul Ronalds

Director
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Rod Glover

Director
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Peter Hodgson

Chairman of the Board
MA (Honours) in Law Cambridge University UK Chairman of the Board and ex-officio member of the Board Audit Committee, Board Programs and Risk Committee, and Board Human Resources Committee

Peter Hodgson is currently a director of several public companies and, until late 2016, was the Chief Executive Officer of The Myer Family Company – a privately-held investment and wealth management business with offices in four states. Until 2008, Peter worked with ANZ in senior roles including Group Managing Director Institutional, Chief Risk Officer and Head of Structured Finance. Prior to returning to Australia in 1997, Peter had been working in advisory and structured finance in the United Kingdom, Asia and the US, variously at Bank of America and BZW. Peter has been a director of Save the Children since May 2012 and became Chairman in June 2012.

Peter has been on the Centre for Evidence and Implementation Board since 2018.

Niki Ellis

Director
Professor Niki Ellis is an occupational physician and a public health physician. After two years in clinical roles as a junior doctor she moved into public health policy and strategy roles for a decade: first with the Tasmanian Department of Health and then with the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission. The next ten years were spent in the private sector, building up a strategic health consultancy across the Eastern seaboard of Australia, which she sold to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Niki has always had an interest in evidence-based health care, but her work in implementation science began in the UK, where she worked on health services innovation at London South Bank University and the Department of Health in the early 2000s. She returned from the UK to take up a chair at the University of Queensland. In this role she led the establishment of the Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health, a joint venture between the Departments of Defence, Veterans’ Affairs and UQ, University of Adelaide and Charles Darwin University. After five years she moved to Melbourne and Monash University where she was the foundation professor and CEO of the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research. This Institute, along with another, was awarded, for Monash University, the prestigious Ashley Goldsworthy award for engagement with industry by a university in 2012. ISCRR was also invited to present its collaborative research model at the National Health and Medical Research Council’s first meeting of its Research Translation Faculty, as a case study. Niki has retained an adjunct appointment at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash. In recent years she has extended her interests to include the practical application of collective impact theory to work disability, and the emerging field of measuring social impact. Niki has had several opportunities to work with one of the leading futurists of the world, Professor Sohail Inayatullah. Specifically on the development of plausible futures in military and veterans health, workplace health and safety, Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander health and optometry. In addition to joining the board for the Centre for Evidence and Implementation, Niki is a non-executive director for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, SuperFriend and DrinkWise; and is a member of the advisory board for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science at Bond University. She is also the Work for Health Advisor to Comcare.

Niki has been on the Centre for Evidence and Implementation Board since 2019.

Paul Ronalds

Director
Paul Ronalds is one of Australia's leading voices on poverty eradication and international development.
Paul has been the Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Australia since July 2013. Prior to joining Save the Children, Paul was First Assistant Secretary responsible for the Office of Work and Family in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In this role, Paul provided advice to the Prime Minister of Australia on a broad range of social and economic policies designed to support families and communities.
In the NGO sector, Paul worked for World Vision Australia as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Strategy. He was also Chief Operating Officer of Urban Seed, an innovative and dynamic NGO that provides a range of services to marginalised people in Melbourne's inner city.
Paul has worked as a corporate lawyer with international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, and is the co-founder of wishlist.com.au, one of Australia's most successful e-commerce companies.
A graduate of the St James Ethics Centre's Vincent Fairfax Fellowship in Ethics and Leadership, Paul also has degrees in Economics and Law with Honours from Monash University, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and a Masters in International Relations from Deakin University.
He is the author of The change imperative: Creating a next generation NGO – a book that examines the challenges faced by international NGOs in a rapidly evolving global political context.
Paul enjoys playing basketball, cooking and hiking. He is married to Susannah and has three children.

Paul has been on the Centre for Evidence and Implementation Board since 2018.

Rod Glover

Director
Rod Glover is an independent economics and strategy consultant, advising governments in Australia and globally on innovation and entrepreneurship policy. He has extensive experience in public policy, including as a Deputy Secretary in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, as Senior Adviser to an Australian Prime Minister, and with Melbourne Business School and the Australian Treasury. His executive education has been in public leadership, economic development, collaboration and platform strategy. Rod sits on the Advisory Board of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. He was previously a director of the Victorian Government’s Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science and a member of the Australian Government’s National Sustainability Council. Rod is also the co-founder of a digital start-up in the higher education field. Until its recent merger with Save the Children, Rod was the chair of Hands on Learning Australia. Rod has been a director of Save the Children since April 2017.

Rod has been on the Centre for Evidence and Implementation Board since 2018

Executive Team

Robyn Mildon PhD

Executive Director
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Vanessa Rose PhD

Director
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Melinda Polimeni PhD

Director
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Jessica Hateley-Browne PhD

Director
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Cheryl Seah PhD

Director
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Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam PhD

Director
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Jane Lewis

Director
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Maryanna Abdo

Managing Director
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Robyn Mildon PhD

Executive Director
Robyn Mildon, PhD, is the Founding Executive Director of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation. She is an internationally recognised figure in the field of implementation science, evidence synthesis and knowledge translation, and program and policy evaluations in health, education and human services. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, a Visiting Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Co-Director of the recently established Behavioural and Implementation Science Interventions (BISI), National University of Singapore, the inaugural Co-Chair of the Knowledge Translation and Implementation Group with the Campbell Collaboration, an international systematic review group.

Over her career, Robyn’s work has helped to advance the implementation of better evidence in policy and practice settings, improving the quality and effectiveness of health, education and human services.

In addition to her Australia-based work, she has provided ongoing strategic service reform advice to government and nongovernment agencies in New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States; has been an invited speaker at multiple events around the globe; and has led a number of workshops training students, policy makers and practitioners in implementation science and evaluation methods. Robyn has authored or co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications, commissioned evidence synthesis reviews and research monographs, book chapters, and a large number of research reports. She also led the design and delivery of the Specialist Certificate in Implementation Science at the University of Melbourne and is a Co-Author of an upcoming edited book The Science of Implementation (Springer, forthcoming).

Robyn was the Founding Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 1st Australian Implementation Conference (AIC) in 2012, which has since become a highly successful biennial event focusing on what it takes to achieve full and effective implementation of evidence in policy and practice. She was the Co-Chair of the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit held in Melbourne, Australia, in October 2018 and will Chair the upcoming Evidence and Implementation Summit 2021.

Vanessa Rose PhD

Director
Vanessa Rose, PhD, is a research psychologist with substantial experience developing and evaluating evidence-based programs implemented within health and human services. She previously led a program of work at the University of NSW focused on improving the lives of children, families and communities facing adversity, establishing a community-based research centre to bridge the gap between research-practice and research-users. Vanessa has also led work in NSW government developing an evidence-informed framework to establish shared outcomes across agencies and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Her background includes child psychological assessment, managing a community health centre and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in health inequalities, health promotion and research methodology.

In her role with CEI, Vanessa is responsible for a portfolio of evaluation projects. These include large-scale, whole-sector evaluations using robust methodologies to measure outcomes and assist government and other policy agencies in decision-making for future investment.

Melinda Polimeni PhD

Director
Melinda Polimeni, PhD is a registered psychologist and researcher specialising in program design and implementation. Melinda has substantial experience delivering projects to improve outcomes for vulnerable children across child, family and welfare services. Over the last 10 years Melinda’s work has focused on utilising both her clinical and research skills to lead a portfolio of program design and implementation projects focused on improving parenting outcomes. She has significant experience in program and service design, professional training and coaching, implementation support, and evaluation. Melinda has a strong track record of effectively tailoring evidence-based solutions to meet the needs of governments and the NGO sector. She has worked with a range of stakeholders to co-design, implement and evaluate approaches to improve outcomes for children and families across education, early childhood, health, welfare and disability services. Previously, Melinda worked as a school psychologist, providing psychological services to primary and secondary schools, and as a sessional lecturer teaching undergraduate students biological psychology and disability studies.

In her role at CEI, Melinda is responsible for a portfolio of implementation, service reform and evaluation projects focused on improving outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families.

Jessica Hateley-Browne PhD

Director
Jessica Browne, PhD, is a researcher with a background in health psychology. She has more than 10 years of experience in applied behavioural research, particularly in the health services and population health fields. She has held roles in academic and applied research centres, and in a government agency.

Jessica has worked on a variety of large-scale trials and evaluation projects, and has expertise in using mixed-methods and hybrid designs in research that seeks to address health and social program and policy challenges.

Jessica is committed to high-quality and creative knowledge translation, and is passionate about contributing to and utilising the best evidence to inform policy and practice.

Cheryl Seah PhD

Director
Cheryl Seah, PhD, is responsible for coordinating CEI’s evaluation of KidStart, a program that empowers vulnerable young children and their families in Singapore. As project manager, Cheryl combines her passion for supporting children and families with her brilliant acumen in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Cheryl has extensive knowledge and experience coordinating and supporting child-centred and early intervention programs. Some of her research and career highlights include evaluating the impact of a parenting program in the first postnatal year on parenting stress and attachment, and managing the design and implementation of a large-scale early childhood holistic outcome project in Singapore.

Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam PhD

Director
Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam, PhD, is a researcher with expertise in the area of childhood disability, disability and international development, research design and implementation with a focus on qualitative and mixed methods research, and research with vulnerable populations. With a background in physical therapy, she has over 20 years’ experience as a clinician, educator and researcher. She has a passion for research that examines the inclusion and participation of children and youth with disabilities in their communities, the transition from childhood to young adulthood for people with disabilities, improving evidence-based care delivery, and facilitating clinically-relevant research in order to improve the utilisation of evidence in practice.

In her role with CEI, Gayatri will use her expertise in research design and methodology, particularly qualitative methods and participatory research methods to produce better outcomes for children and families

Jane Lewis

Director
Jane Lewis has been a key user of and advocate for evidence and implementation science in the UK for a number of years. She was previously Head of UK Programme Development & Quality with Save The Children UK, leading on innovation, programme development, implementation, evaluation and scale-up strategies for SCUK’s UK programmes which focus on narrowing the gap in early years outcomes for children growing up in poverty. Before joining SCUK she was Director of Implementation Support at the Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation, working with national and local governments and NGOs. Prior to that she ran Research in Practice, supporting evidence-informed practice in local government and NGOs. Her background is in research and evaluation: she led a research department at NatCen Social Research (one of the premier social policy research and evaluation centres in the UK) for many years, and then ran the research centre at the National Children’s Bureau (one of the UK’s leading NGOs in child and family services).

As a member of CEI’s leadership team, Jane is now establishing our work programme and team in the UK as well as supporting our work in Australia and Singapore.

Maryanna Abdo

Managing Director

Maryanna Abdo is the Managing Director of CEI. Mary has lived in Asia since 2012, supporting organisations to develop strategies and capture innovations that maximise impact across more than 25 countries. Her clients have included governments, foundations, impact investors, non-profits, multilateral donors, and educational institutions.

Previously, Mary was with global strategy house L.E.K. Consulting, where she was a Senior Manager and founding member of the firm’s global education practice. She was previously Vice President at EY-Parthenon. In both institutions she led the education team’s work with public and social impact clients, while also developing thought leadership initiatives, authoring major reports for USAID, DFID, World Bank Group, Qatar Foundation, and Jacobs Foundation, among others.

Before joining Parthenon in Mumbai in 2012, Mary was a manager at the Young Foundation, a social innovation think-and-do-tank in London. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Pforzheimer Fellow in Non-Profit Management, and a Master from the College of Europe, which she attended as a Fulbright Fellow. She has a Bachelor degree summa cum laude from the University of Southern California, which she attended as a Trustee Scholar.

In her role with CEI, Mary supports clients to maximise the impact of the programs they fund. She leads strategic projects within CEI that enable the organisation’s growth and impact.

Australian Office

Sydney

Vanessa Rose PhD

Director
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Belinda Parker

Senior Advisor
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Margaret Stott

Senior Advisor, Implementation
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David Taylor

Senior Advisor
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Matthew Burn

Advisor
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Chloe Jacob

Advisor
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Vanessa Rose PhD

Director
Vanessa Rose, PhD, is a research psychologist with substantial experience developing and evaluating evidence-based programs implemented within health and human services. She previously led a program of work at the University of NSW focused on improving the lives of children, families and communities facing adversity, establishing a community-based research centre to bridge the gap between research-practice and research-users. Vanessa has also led work in NSW government developing an evidence-informed framework to establish shared outcomes across agencies and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Her background includes child psychological assessment, managing a community health centre and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in health inequalities, health promotion and research methodology.

In her role with CEI, Vanessa is responsible for a portfolio of evaluation projects. These include large-scale, whole-sector evaluations using robust methodologies to measure outcomes and assist government and other policy agencies in decision-making for future investment.

Belinda Parker

Senior Advisor
Belinda Parker brings a combination of in-depth professional experience and academic knowledge to her work in education and child wellbeing.

For the past ten years, she has held roles as a teacher, mid-level school leader and lawyer, gaining insight into challenges and opportunities for implementing effective evidence-based reforms. As Head of Department in a large government secondary school in Victoria, Belinda led a team of teachers to design and implement student literacy and engagement initiatives and embed curriculum and learning policies. Building on this practical experience, she recently undertook a Frank Knox Fellowship at Harvard University, specialising in monitoring and evaluation of large-scale reform projects. Beyond these roles, Belinda has worked as a project manager and carried out field-based research projects in Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.

At CEI, Belinda is responsible for a portfolio of implementation, evaluation and evidence synthesis projects. She holds a Master of Teaching, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Melbourne, and a Master of Education from Harvard University.

Margaret Stott

Senior Advisor, Implementation
Margaret Stott has a background in psychology with broad experience in implementing evidence-based practices in both government and non-government organisations. Her work has focused on the implementation of programs in relation to child wellbeing and domestic violence, as well as clinical supervision of multisystemic therapy teams within the juvenile and disability sectors. In her role with CEI, Margaret conducts both practice design and coaching, and is highly skilled in demonstrating the practical application of techniques to help others improve their practice. With years of experience in supporting practitioners’ skill development and acquisition, she is an expert in the implementation and coaching of evidenced-based practices.

David Taylor

Senior Advisor
David Taylor is an economist with a background in consulting and a longstanding interest in using better evidence to inform policy. His most recent project explored the application of cost benefit analysis techniques in evaluating evidence-based social policy interventions to determine their economic impact. At CEI, David uses his quantitative and consulting skills to engage in a range of projects involving implementation, impact and economic evaluations.

Matthew Burn

Advisor
Matthew has broad practice experience in child protection settings including several roles working with fathers and their families. He has worked in research and has spent years consulting organisations regarding the design, implementation and evaluation of social work practice and child mental health. Matthew’s areas of interest include, fatherhood, parenting, child mental health, behaviour change, Motivational Interviewing and Implementation Science. His most recent projects included a consulting role for the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health and co-designing a state-wide practice framework for foster and kinship care services in NSW.

At CEI, Matthew uses his design, implementation and evaluation skills to consult on a range of projects.

Chloe Jacob

Advisor
Chloe is a mixed-method researcher with a background in economics, behavioural sciences, and social care evaluations. She worked at the Behavioural Insights Team as a lead researcher on complex evaluations using a range of analytical approaches, including randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental methods, online experiments, qualitative methods, and observational data. Previously, Chloe worked as a consultant where she delivered process and implementation evaluations, cost-benefit analyses, change management strategies, program and project management training and tools, and governance frameworks.

Chloe is passionate about embedding evidence-based principles throughout policy and practice and improving our ability to measure and communicate non-financial benefits and costs in social care interventions.

In her role at CEI, Chloe oversees a range of projects with a focus on implementation, impact and economic evaluations.

Melbourne

Robyn Mildon PhD

Executive Director
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Melinda Polimeni PhD

Director
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Jessica Hateley-Browne PhD

Director
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Tom Steele

Advisor
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Nerida Heyward

Centre Coordinator/Executive Assistant
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Sameera Sanjeevani

Accountant
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Michelle Yang

Assistant Accountant
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Priscilla Blake

Communications Manager
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Tamara White

Advisor
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Jade Mitchell

Research Assistant
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Stephanie Selig

Operations and HR Coordinator
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Dr Karla Lopez

Senior Advisor
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Robyn Mildon PhD

Executive Director
Robyn Mildon, PhD, is the Founding Executive Director of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation. She is an internationally recognised figure in the field of implementation science, evidence synthesis and knowledge translation, and program and policy evaluations in health, education and human services. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, a Visiting Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Co-Director of the recently established Behavioural and Implementation Science Interventions (BISI), National University of Singapore, the inaugural Co-Chair of the Knowledge Translation and Implementation Group with the Campbell Collaboration, an international systematic review group.

Over her career, Robyn’s work has helped to advance the implementation of better evidence in policy and practice settings, improving the quality and effectiveness of health, education and human services.

In addition to her Australia-based work, she has provided ongoing strategic service reform advice to government and nongovernment agencies in New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States; has been an invited speaker at multiple events around the globe; and has led a number of workshops training students, policy makers and practitioners in implementation science and evaluation methods. Robyn has authored or co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications, commissioned evidence synthesis reviews and research monographs, book chapters, and a large number of research reports. She also led the design and delivery of the Specialist Certificate in Implementation Science at the University of Melbourne and is a Co-Author of an upcoming edited book The Science of Implementation (Springer, forthcoming).

Robyn was the Founding Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 1st Australian Implementation Conference (AIC) in 2012, which has since become a highly successful biennial event focusing on what it takes to achieve full and effective implementation of evidence in policy and practice. She was the Co-Chair of the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit held in Melbourne, Australia, in October 2018 and will Chair the upcoming Evidence and Implementation Summit 2021.

Melinda Polimeni PhD

Director
Melinda Polimeni, PhD is a registered psychologist and researcher specialising in program design and implementation. Melinda has substantial experience delivering projects to improve outcomes for vulnerable children across child, family and welfare services. Over the last 10 years Melinda’s work has focused on utilising both her clinical and research skills to lead a portfolio of program design and implementation projects focused on improving parenting outcomes. She has significant experience in program and service design, professional training and coaching, implementation support, and evaluation. Melinda has a strong track record of effectively tailoring evidence-based solutions to meet the needs of governments and the NGO sector. She has worked with a range of stakeholders to co-design, implement and evaluate approaches to improve outcomes for children and families across education, early childhood, health, welfare and disability services. Previously, Melinda worked as a school psychologist, providing psychological services to primary and secondary schools, and as a sessional lecturer teaching undergraduate students biological psychology and disability studies.

In her role at CEI, Melinda is responsible for a portfolio of implementation, service reform and evaluation projects focused on improving outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families.

Jessica Hateley-Browne PhD

Director
Jessica Browne, PhD, is a researcher with a background in health psychology. She has more than 10 years of experience in applied behavioural research, particularly in the health services and population health fields. She has held roles in academic and applied research centres, and in a government agency.

Jessica has worked on a variety of large-scale trials and evaluation projects, and has expertise in using mixed-methods and hybrid designs in research that seeks to address health and social program and policy challenges.

Jessica is committed to high-quality and creative knowledge translation, and is passionate about contributing to and utilising the best evidence to inform policy and practice.

Tom Steele

Advisor
Tom Steele is an Advisor at CEI with a breadth of experience in research and evaluation. He is a qualified dietitian with a background in clinical and public health nutrition settings investigating childhood obesity prevention and chronic disease management. These skills have transferred to leading and supported projects in education, bioethics, child and family welfare servicesA

At CEI, Tom oversees a portfolio of projects mostly within the setting of evaluation, and manages the collection, collation, analysis, synthesis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data. Tom has strong skills in data collection and visualisation and has brought innovative technological solutions to his projects. He is also skilled in sense-making of evidence and project findings when writing project and policy reports across sectors. Through his clinical training and subsequent experience, he has demonstrated an aptitude for stakeholder engagement in various situations, often including highly sensitive and emotive circumstances with vulnerable groups. He also has teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, through his role as a sessional academic at Deakin University in the Faculty of Health.

Nerida Heyward

Centre Coordinator/Executive Assistant
Nerida Heyward has 16 years' experience in administrative and executive support roles working for non-profits, corporate and government organisations. She is particularly interested in community development. Prior to her role at CEI, she provided crucial support to the CEO of a genomics research organisation. Nerida's work with CEI involves supporting the leadership team and management of the centre’s daily administrative functions.

Sameera Sanjeevani

Accountant
Sameera Sanjeevani is a Certified Practising Accountant with working experience in industry and public practice over 10 years. She believes in quality education and health services are vital for betterment of children and firmly supports the mission of CEI.

In her role with CEI, Sameera is responsible for day to day finance operations, including Singapore branch. The role covers a broad range of activities from transactional processing to reporting, improved financial processes and practices, budgeting & forecasting.

Michelle Yang

Assistant Accountant
Michelle Yang is an associate member of CPA Australia with solid accounting knowledge and practical working experience in non-for-profit organisations. As an Assistant Accountant, she is committed to delivering accurate and timely results to support the stakeholders making effective decisions.

In her role with CEI, Michelle is responsible to provide financial assistance to deliver performance and accountability for a range of activities, including from transactional processing to financial reporting, budgeting & forecasting.

Priscilla Blake

Communications Manager
Priscilla Blake is a communications and advocacy specialist with an academic background and decades of practice in intermediary work spaces and social change settings. She is motivated by equity and improvement in strategies systems and practises, and business ideals and policy formulations that work to this end.

At CEI Priscilla is responsible for increasing the organisations profile as a leading evidence and implementation consultancy and advancing awareness of high quality evidence based decision making.

Tamara White

Advisor
Tamara White is a registered community psychologist specialising in program design, evaluation and implementation. With a background delivering programs within education and the child and family services sector, Tamara is an experienced practitioner, with specific expertise in working with child, young people and families. Tamara also has experience as a consultant, working alongside program managers and staff to understand and apply evidence to practice, prepare for evaluation and improve outcomes for clients. Most recently, Tamara managed a consultancy team in the not for profit sector coaching organisations on program design, implementation, and evaluation.

Tamara has a passion for improving the quality and impact of the valuable work delivered in the community and government sector, particularly for marginalised and vulnerable communities. She is high skilled in co-design, workshop facilitation, stakeholder engagement and the translation of evidence to practice. Tamara has a strong track record delivering projects that meet the needs of governments and the NGO sector and a commitment to the use of high-quality evidence in policy and practice.

Her most recent projects include a national capacity-building project with family violence services to improve adoption of evidence-based practice and readiness for outcomes measurement; and program development with a women’s shelter delivering a school readiness program in a remote indigenous community in the East Kimberley.

At CEI, Tamara works on projects that support the implementation of evidence-based practice in the sector, to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable communities and bridging the evidence to practice gap.

Jade Mitchell

Research Assistant
Jade Mitchell graduated with a Master of Applied Psychology from the University of Melbourne. She has developed a keen interest in social and policy issues. Through her studies in applied psychology, Jade has a strong understanding of applying evidence-based insights to real-world contexts. In her role at CEI, Jade provides a range of support for the delivery of research projects, including evidence synthesis and the collection and evaluation of data.

Stephanie Selig

Operations and HR Coordinator
Stephanie brings more than 15 years of experience of managing the day-to-day operations of small, international offices, to producing large scale, multi-million-dollar projects, to her role at CEI. Having worked with global fundraising organisations, arts production companies, and in the university sector, she enjoys streamlining complex operations into comprehensive processes that shape and guide best practices while increasing efficiencies.

In her role with CEI, Stephanie will offer general operational support to CEI’s project teams, foster initiatives to improve systems and processes, and coordinate HR activities.

Dr Karla Lopez

Senior Advisor
Karla is an experienced Forensic Psychologist with a specific interest in the implementation of evidence-based practice in all facets of community wellbeing and safety initiatives. In over 20 years primarily in the public service she has held strategic, therapeutic, program development and risk management roles pertaining to a range of complex client groups coming into contact with the criminal justice system. She has a strong track record of research, service co-design and implementation evidenced by her extensive work over the last decade to enhance police risk assessment practice in the areas of offender monitoring, crime prevention and covert policing. She is an experienced and dynamic trainer and workshop designer committed to supporting practitioners to use research evidence in practice through mentoring and coaching.

In her role as Senior Advisor with CEI, Karla is responsible for leading a diverse portfolio of program development, implementation and evaluation projects focused on enhancing practice and improving outcomes for vulnerable and high-risk cohorts. She holds a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Honours) from La Trobe University.

Singapore Office

Cheryl Seah PhD

Director
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Surendran Jayasundar

Project Coordinator
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Veronica Sng

Project Coordinator
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Nur Fadhiilah Hamzah

Research Assistant
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Patricia Thong

Operations Coordinator
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Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam PhD

Director
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Maryanna Abdo

Managing Director
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Marlyna Melita Binte Mochtar

Research Assistant
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Nawaz Kareem Sudhakaran

Research Assistant
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Joel Koh Jun Kai

Advisor
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Evelyn Tan PhD

Advisor
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Bao Yi Tan

Research Assistant
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Sally Ng

HR and Admin Coordinator
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Esther Goh

Advisor
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Cheryl Seah PhD

Director
Cheryl Seah, PhD, is responsible for coordinating CEI’s evaluation of KidStart, a program that empowers vulnerable young children and their families in Singapore. As project manager, Cheryl combines her passion for supporting children and families with her brilliant acumen in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Cheryl has extensive knowledge and experience coordinating and supporting child-centred and early intervention programs. Some of her research and career highlights include evaluating the impact of a parenting program in the first postnatal year on parenting stress and attachment, and managing the design and implementation of a large-scale early childhood holistic outcome project in Singapore.

Surendran Jayasundar

Project Coordinator
Surendran Jayasundar graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (Hons) from the National University of Singapore. His research experience extends across multiple fields of psychology, including clinical, educational and health. Suren now uses his passion for research, and skills gleaned from his background as a research assistant, to better the lives of others. Suren works with CEI to provide high-quality research support to the KidSTART program in Singapore.

Veronica Sng

Project Coordinator
Veronica Sng graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons). She has prior experience conducting research projects and evaluating programs that support vulnerable and low-income youths. Her work has focused on increasing youths’ social connectedness so they can become resilient individuals. In her role with CEI, Veronica is responsible for providing research support to the outcome evaluation of the KidSTART program in Singapore.

Nur Fadhiilah Hamzah

Research Assistant
Nur Fadhiilah graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychological Science from the University of Wollongong. Having worked as a teacher assistant since her undergraduate years, she has accumulated experience in working and interacting with children, and has developed a passion to help children with special needs.
At CEI, Fadhiilah is now involved in providing research support in evaluating the outcome of the KidSTART initiative in Singapore.

Patricia Thong

Operations Coordinator
Patricia Thong graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and Master of Business Systems (Information Technology Projects). She has 10+ years of experience in office management and administrative support in global MNC’s and SME’s in Asia, Australia and the US.

Patricia’s role in CEI involves supporting the leadership team and management of the centre’s daily administrative functions.

Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam PhD

Director
Gayatri Kembhavi-Tam, PhD, is a researcher with expertise in the area of childhood disability, disability and international development, research design and implementation with a focus on qualitative and mixed methods research, and research with vulnerable populations. With a background in physical therapy, she has over 20 years’ experience as a clinician, educator and researcher. She has a passion for research that examines the inclusion and participation of children and youth with disabilities in their communities, the transition from childhood to young adulthood for people with disabilities, improving evidence-based care delivery, and facilitating clinically-relevant research in order to improve the utilisation of evidence in practice.

In her role with CEI, Gayatri will use her expertise in research design and methodology, particularly qualitative methods and participatory research methods to produce better outcomes for children and families

Maryanna Abdo

Managing Director

Maryanna Abdo is the Managing Director of CEI. Mary has lived in Asia since 2012, supporting organisations to develop strategies and capture innovations that maximise impact across more than 25 countries. Her clients have included governments, foundations, impact investors, non-profits, multilateral donors, and educational institutions.

Previously, Mary was with global strategy house L.E.K. Consulting, where she was a Senior Manager and founding member of the firm’s global education practice. She was previously Vice President at EY-Parthenon. In both institutions she led the education team’s work with public and social impact clients, while also developing thought leadership initiatives, authoring major reports for USAID, DFID, World Bank Group, Qatar Foundation, and Jacobs Foundation, among others.

Before joining Parthenon in Mumbai in 2012, Mary was a manager at the Young Foundation, a social innovation think-and-do-tank in London. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Pforzheimer Fellow in Non-Profit Management, and a Master from the College of Europe, which she attended as a Fulbright Fellow. She has a Bachelor degree summa cum laude from the University of Southern California, which she attended as a Trustee Scholar.

In her role with CEI, Mary supports clients to maximise the impact of the programs they fund. She leads strategic projects within CEI that enable the organisation’s growth and impact.

Marlyna Melita Binte Mochtar

Research Assistant
Marlyna graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. She was a research assistant in various projects in NIE, among them looking at the preschool impact on child outcomes. At the same time, she has experience working with children with special needs, as a psychologist (associate) in a school for children with mild intellectual disability and volunteering with children with cerebral palsy.

At CEI, she is providing research support in evaluating the outcome of the KidSTART program in Singapore.

Nawaz Kareem Sudhakaran

Research Assistant
Nawaz is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. His desire is to create lasting changes in lives, a reflection from his prior community-based engagements, including his work supporting MINDS with their efforts to mitigate against wrongful incarceration of the intellectually disabled (Appropriate Adult program). He is also a volunteer with the Lions Club, a non-profit organisation which empowers the vulnerable elderly.

Drawn by the integration of research and social practice in CEI, Nawaz now provides full-time research support on the outcome evaluation of the KidStart program in Singapore.

Joel Koh Jun Kai

Advisor
Joel is qualitative researcher with a background in Geography and Social Policy. In his prior work, he contributed to research projects around the fields of public health, community development and the non-profit/giving space at large. Through these projects he has accumulated numerous experiences in qualitative research and research design. Joel is passionate about using these skills and experiences to encourage organisations to emphasise intentionality and evidence-driven planning in their programmes and initiatives.

Joel hopes to use this passion and his experience to support the work at CEI, helping organisations uncover and implement effective interventions for the individuals they serve.

Evelyn Tan PhD

Advisor
Evelyn Tan, PhD, is a psychologist and researcher with expertise in the area of child development and parenting. She has over 10 years’ experience working in research in the field of developmental psychology, with a focus on both epidemiological predictors of parenting and early child development, as well as translation of such research into service delivery for prevention and intervention. Evelyn has managed teams and projects tapping into her extensive experience with the gold-standard measure for infant and preschool attachment assessment, the Strange Situation Procedure. Evelyn is familiar with psychological assessments and has provided psychotherapy to vulnerable families across both public and private sectors.

In her role at CEI, Evelyn will be conducting evaluation studies, systematic reviews, applying evidence in intervention design and improvement and providing implementation support to service agencies to improve outcomes for young children and their families.

Bao Yi Tan

Research Assistant
Bao Yi Tan graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons). Her interests lie in developmental and social psychology. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health from King’s College London. She also actively volunteers to teach children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

At CEI, Bao Yi is now involved in providing research support in evaluating the outcome of the KidSTART initiative in Singapore.

Sally Ng

HR and Admin Coordinator
Sally Ng has more than 10 years’ of experience in Human Resources and administrative support roles in global MNC’s, SME’s and non-profit Organisation in Asia. She has also rolled up Human Resources Information System in her past employments.

Sally’s role in CEI involves supporting the leadership team on administrative functions inclusive HR and administrative coordination and support to Singapore and other global offices.

Esther Goh

Advisor
Esther Goh is an Early Childhood Development specialist with a breadth of experience across education, policymaking and philanthropy.

Over the past ten years, Esther has taught kindergarten, worked for the government of Singapore and also supported the strategic development of early childhood policy and programmes from within an international philanthropic foundation. She has led the coordination and provision of technical assistance to government and strategic partners globally, through her role as a knowledge broker, bringing best practice to large scale policies and programmes. Beyond these roles, Esther has co-produced and directed a short film highlighting the work of maternal mental health paracounsellors within the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh.

In her role as Advisor at CEI, Esther will be supporting the work of the Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD), applying evidence in intervention design, contextualising elements of best practices and providing implementation support to service agencies to improve outcomes for young children and their families. She holds a Master’s degree in International Comparative Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York and a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Melbourne.

United Kingdom Office

Jane Lewis

Director
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Becca Dean

Research Assistant
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Ludvig Bjørndal

Research Assistant
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Ellie Ott PhD

Senior Advisor
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Georgina Mann

Research Assistant
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Jane Lewis

Director
Jane Lewis has been a key user of and advocate for evidence and implementation science in the UK for a number of years. She was previously Head of UK Programme Development & Quality with Save The Children UK, leading on innovation, programme development, implementation, evaluation and scale-up strategies for SCUK’s UK programmes which focus on narrowing the gap in early years outcomes for children growing up in poverty. Before joining SCUK she was Director of Implementation Support at the Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation, working with national and local governments and NGOs. Prior to that she ran Research in Practice, supporting evidence-informed practice in local government and NGOs. Her background is in research and evaluation: she led a research department at NatCen Social Research (one of the premier social policy research and evaluation centres in the UK) for many years, and then ran the research centre at the National Children’s Bureau (one of the UK’s leading NGOs in child and family services).

As a member of CEI’s leadership team, Jane is now establishing our work programme and team in the UK as well as supporting our work in Australia and Singapore.

Becca Dean

Research Assistant
Becca graduated with a MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Manchester. Her previous role was with the NHS as a Clinical Research Coordinator, responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio of studies focusing on mental health and neurodegenerative conditions.

Becca has a strong understanding of different methodological approaches, having coordinated large-scale RCTs of pharmacological and psychological interventions, observational cohort studies, systematic reviews, qualitative interviews and surveys. She has extensive experience of study setup, research recruitment and delivery, and engaging stakeholders through Public & Patient Involvement groups and activities.

Becca is based in the London branch of CEI, providing research support across many projects.

Ludvig Bjørndal

Research Assistant
Ludvig is a master’s level student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oslo. He has research experience from various fields, including health services research, social psychology, evidence-based practice, epidemiology and clinical psychology. Ludvig has worked with various research methodologies and methods of data analysis. He has research experience from several academic institutions, including the University of Oslo and the University of Cambridge.

In his role at CEI, Ludvig supports the process for extracting, interpreting and synthesising data and assessing the quality of evidence.

Ellie Ott PhD

Senior Advisor
Dr Ellie Ott brings over a decade of experience leading research to improve the lives of children and families facing adversity across academia, government, and nonprofit organisations, She is also a research methodologist focused on evidence synthesis and systematic reviews, mixed-methods research, and impact evaluations.

Previously, Ellie managed research, knowledge exchange, impact evaluations, and systematic reviews around children’s social care at the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford and led the Humanitarian Evidence Programme at Oxfam. She has a doctorate from the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention at the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Dr Ott also holds an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. Ellie has been a consultant to the UN Refugee Agency and previously worked as a research analyst and Truman-Albright Fellow in the US Department of Health and Human Services improving research on children and families.

At CEI, Ellie is based in the London branch and is responsible for a portfolio of evaluation, research, and evidence synthesis projects, including those that seek to improve services and the lives of children with a social worker and separated migrant children.

Georgina Mann

Research Assistant
Georgina has a multi-disciplinary academic background in the social sciences, with an MSc in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh, an MA in Global Health from the Sciences Po, Paris and a BA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Georgina has a long-standing interest in the use of evidence to inform better social policy and intervention and has worked in research across global health, mental health and education sectors. In her previous role, she was involved in the development of outcome monitoring and data systems in a national NHS child and adolescent mental health service. Prior to this, working in the international development sector she gained extensive experience in qualitative research, facilitating interviews and in promoting the uptake of research findings among practitioners and policy makers.

In her role with CEI in London Georgina provides research support across many projects.