JDRF Australia announces changes to the Board

November 23, 2023

JDRF Australia, the leading organisation for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, advocacy, and community support, is pleased to announce three additions to its Board of Directors, while at the same time farewelling two long-serving and highly valued current Directors.

With a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit, insurance and investment management sectors, the three new appointees bring years of knowledge and senior business leadership experience to the Board. Each appointee also has a close connection to T1D, with a personal commitment to JDRF’s vision of a world without T1D.

The new members are Dion Werbeloff, CEO and Executive Director of Gandel Group; Jacqui Lennon, Head of Retail Life Insurance at Zurich; and Phil Gardner, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN).

Dion Werbeloff has over 30 years of investment banking and property industry experience within Australia and the US, including as Managing Director and COO at Goldman Sachs. He also has a son who lives with T1D and has been a JDRF Australia Board Funding Committee Member for over six years.

Dion says, “I strongly value JDRF’s vision for a world without type 1 diabetes, recognising that advancements made by JDRF benefit the entire community, including our son. This has led to my involvement over a number of years with JDRF in various volunteer and Committee roles. Joining the Board is a natural progression of my commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those with type 1 diabetes and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute in a new way.”

Jacqui Lennon joins the Board with over two decades of financial services experience, including positions at Allianz Retire+, IRESS and Macquarie Bank prior to Zurich. She has a long history of involvement with JDRF Australia as her 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with T1D at the age of two.

“I am thrilled to be joining the JDRF Australia Board, in the good company of so many senior business leaders from across the country,” Jacqui says.

“I was introduced to JDRF Australia after my daughter’s diagnosis some time ago, so I know and understand the importance of the work they do. After years of direct involvement across fundraising and volunteering roles I’m excited to apply my professional expertise as a Board Member and look forward to helping the organisation achieve its ambitious goals for the future.”

Philip Gardner brings expertise from across the finance, public and the not-for-profit sectors to the Board. He began his career in the finance sector, including stints at Macquarie Bank and Goldman Sachs followed by a period in the public sector with NSW Treasury, before moving to ABCN, a not-for-profit organisation that supports educational and career outcomes for students in low socioeconomic schools across Australia.

Phil has three young adult children, and his youngest was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 14.

Phil says, “I hope that the combination of my passion and experience will help support JDRF Australia to continue to drive research progress towards a cure and improve lives for the T1D community.

“I have already seen fantastic progress over my years of involvement with the Board Funding Committee, and I am excited about this next chapter. For my son, and for the countless Australians living with type 1 diabetes, I am committed to pushing advancements forward.”

Chairman of JDRF Australia, Ian Narev, has welcomed the appointees.

“This is an exciting day for JDRF Australia, welcoming three new Members of such diverse calibre to our Board. We know that Dion, Jacqui and Phil’s great expertise will bring fresh perspectives to the organisation, providing both professional capability and personal conviction to move us closer to a world without type 1 diabetes.”

This announcement comes as JDRF Australia farewells Paul Heath and Jeff Browne from the Board, with a shared 20 years of Board leadership between them.

JDRF Australia Chief Executive officer, Mike Wilson OAM, has thanked Paul and Jeff for their enduring commitment to the organisation and the many successes they have helped deliver.

“Paul and Jeff have been remarkable forces as Board Members with JDRF Australia for many years, helping drive countless advancements for the T1D community. JDRF is now markedly different to what it was like when they joined, both in terms of recent achievements and future ambitions, which is testament to their fantastic guidance.

“We thank them for their unwavering dedication to JDRF and know that they leave the organisation and Board in good shape for the next stage of our growth.”

You can read more about JDRF Australia’s Board of Directors here.