The Executive Board of Management (EBM) ensures the transition of Council directives through to the business plans of AIATSIS programs. The Council appointed Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the organisation’s performance and advises the Council on all operational matters. Executive staff assist the Council, liaise with AIATSIS membership and develop the organisation’s public profile.
- Craig Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer
- Letitia Hope, Deputy Chief Executive Officer / Chief Operating Officer
- Lyndall Osborne, Executive Director, Collections
- Lisa Strelein, Executive Director, Research
- Marie Ferris, Director, Communication and Engagement
- Narelle Rivers, Leadership development program
- Thaarramali Pearson, Leadership development program
- Rachel Ippoliti, Director (a/g), Aboriginal Studies Press
- Shane Hoffman, National Project Manager
Craig Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer
Craig Ritchie is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunghutti and Biripi nations and is the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Prior to coming to AIATSIS he was Branch Manager, International Mobility in the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. In this role he was the senior departmental executive responsible for the Australian Government’s Endeavour Awards, which support international student and researcher mobility, and policy leadership on qualifications recognition. He was the Departmental lead on the Australian Government’s education relationships in America, the Middle East and Africa, along with APEC and UNESCO.
From late 2011 to mid-2015 he was the Branch Manager of the Access and Participation Branch in the Higher Education Reform Group, of the Department of Education where he led two major systemic reform initiatives in higher education: the first in reframing the national approach to widening participation policy and programs in higher education; the second in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education through the implementation of the findings of the landmark Review of Access and Outcomes in Higher Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (the Behrendt Review).
Born and raised in rural New South Wales he was the first in his family to go to University. From 1984-88 he was a student at the University of Newcastle where he studied Classics, History and English with Education and Drama thrown in! After graduation he taught secondary English and History in Gosford for seven years before joining the staff of the AWABAKAL Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative in April 1996.
At AWABAKAL Craig led a process of organisational development issuing in the development of AWABAKAL first Corporate Plan. He was responsible for the operations of the AWABAKAL Aboriginal Medical Service that provided comprehensive primary health care, in a community-controlled model, to Aboriginal communities from Murrurundi to Wyong and north to Nelson Bay. It was under Craig’s leadership that the first Hunter Area Aboriginal Health Partnership Agreement was negotiated between the Aboriginal Medical Service and the Hunter Area Health Service.
From 1999-2002 Craig was Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) - the peak advocacy body for Aboriginal community controlled health services. In late 2002 he moved from the community sector to the public service as Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Policy for ACT Health where he established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit and led the development of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Family Wellbeing Plan, a blue print for wellbeing focussed whole of Government action in the ACT. In February 2010 he took up the position of Assistant Secretary, Remote Health Services Development Branch in the Department of Health and Ageing where he was responsible of a program of primary health care reform for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
As a senior Public Servant Craig has had responsibility for major systemic reform initiatives including remote primary health care service delivery, place-based community development through the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership. He is one of a small cohort of Indigenous public servants who provide significant leadership in the broader whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs particularly as a member of the Commonwealth Indigenous Reform Group.
Craig was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2006 to research models Indigenous of leadership in the USA and Canada. He has post-graduate qualifications in Management and is a PhD scholar at the University of Sydney where he is researching the implications of Aboriginal culture for public policy development and implementation. He holds adjunct appointments at the University of Sydney (Health Sciences) and the University of Technology Sydney (Indigenous Research).
Letitia Hope, Deputy Chief Executive Officer / Chief Operating Officer
Letitia Hope is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer / Chief Operation Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
Letitia formerly held the position of Assistant Secretary, Health & Community Service Programmes in the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). In this role Letitia was responsible for the programme development, delivery and management of $5.6b worth of health & community services to the veteran community nationally.
Letitia’s family share a proud lineage of service in the Defence Force with her father, grandfather, and great grandfather all serving the Nation in various theatres and she is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander with kin ties to the Torres Strait Island of Mer (Murray Island) and Bundjalung country (northern coast NSW).
Letitia started her career in 1994 as a trainee APS1 at AIATSIS. In 1996, she moved to the NSW Department of Housing to work on strategic and specialist housing programs and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office in 1998.
She re-joined the Commonwealth in 2001, taking up a position in Centrelink where she worked across various portfolios including Indigenous Services, Rural & Remote Services, Third Party Partnerships and e-Services. During her time in Centrelink, Letitia was involved in several taskforces including the Northern Territory Emergency Response and formative work for the recent round of Human Services Service Delivery Reforms.
Letitia was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in the APS in January 2010 where she took on the role as Assistant Secretary Primary Health Care in DVA. In this role she was responsible for the successful purchasing and provision of all health service delivery to the veteran community. Letitia has undertaken various acting SES Band 2 roles in DVA including First Assistant Secretary Health & Community Services Division, Deputy Commissioner NSW & Deputy Commissioner WA.
Over the past 23 years, Letitia has had a varied career working across Commonwealth and State government in both mainstream and specialised social policy development, human service delivery, and more recently the health environment. She has undertaken policy development, program implementation and service delivery transformation roles and has been formally recognised across jurisdictions for her work.
Letitia holds an Executive Masters of Public Administration through the Australian National University (ANU) and a Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) through the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
She shares a keen interest in sports with husband Mathew and three daughters Nicola, Amy-Lee and Alyssa and when she is not working she enjoys playing music, singing, CrossFit and travelling with her family.
Lyndall Osborne, Executive Director, Collections
Lyndall has worked extensively as an executive manager in local government in Queensland and Victoria in the fields of community, arts and cultural development and services, libraries and corporate services. She is also a qualified librarian with years of experience in this field, especially at management level. The last four years she has been travelling, living and working overseas, primarily in Egypt as owner and part of the management team of a Class A tourism company, assisting clients from all over the world to enjoy the unique attractions of Egypt. Lyndall also works with Youth Impact Ethiopia, a local Ethiopian NGO based in Addis Ababa, assisting with strategic and financial planning and the development of a youth library.
Joining AIATSIS as the Library Director, Lyndall has special interests in strengthening access to the library's collections for all clients through online services and collections and in engendering increased support for the Institute and its collections through the opportunities offered by the digital world and social media.
Lisa Strelein, Executive Director, Research
Lisa is Director of Research Strategic Engagement. Lisa's research and publications have focused on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state, and the role of the courts in defining Indigenous peoples' rights. She has made a significant contribution to academic debate on native title in Australia, including her recent book Compromised Jurisprudence: Native Title Cases since Mabo, which was heralded by members of the judiciary and Indigenous community alike.
Lisa also writes for a wide variety of audiences and has worked with teams in creating a catalogue for a native title art exhibition and an award winning multimedia package on native title.
She maintains strong networks within the native title system, conducting research projects in partnership with or in response to the needs of native title representative bodies and claimants as well as government departments.
Lisa is the convenor of the annual National Native Title Conference, which remains the leading annual Indigenous policy conference in Australia. She has degrees in Commerce and Law and was awarded a PhD, for her thesis examining Indigenous sovereignty and the common law, from the ANU Research School of Social Sciences in 1998.
Marie Ferris, Director, Public Engagement
Marie has considerable communications and media production experience and has worked in Indigenous Communications for the past 17 years.
Marie came to AIATSIS from the Department of Environment, where she was responsible for Indigenous Communications. She is an accomplished film producer and director, producing numerous broadcast documentaries about, and with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in communities across Australia. She commenced her career in 1996, as a public affairs officer with the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and then as a senior producer with ATSIC TV.
Marie brings passion and commitment to the role at AIATSIS, leading a communications and media team to promote and strengthen the important place of AIATSIS.
Narelle Rivers, Leadership development program
Narelle is the Manager of the Family History Unit, which works with Link-Up organisations and the general public to support their Indigenous family history research. Narelle has worked across the ACT Government for eleven years as a case manager, project manager and a practice leader. Prior to this, Narelle worked in the ACT community sector for seven years. Narelle holds a number of qualifications which include an undergraduate degree in justice studies and a post graduate qualification in community counselling. Narelle also holds qualifications in training and assessment, project management, family history research and community development.
Narelle grew up in Sydney and is a Darug woman, she has lived in Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country for 20 years.
Thaarramali Pearson, Leadership development program
Thaarramali joined AIATSIS in February 2016, and is now working as a Research Officer within Native Title, Land and Water.
Thaarramali grew up in Cairns and Hopevale, in Far North Queensland. Thaarramali is a Bama Bagarrmuguwarra from the Kalpowar, Jeanie River and Lakefield National Park area and has family and cultural ties to Guugu Yimidhirr and Kuku Yalanji. Thaarramali is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts.
Rachel Ippoliti, Director (a/g), Aboriginal Studies Press
Rachel is the Acting Director of Publishing at Aboriginal Studies Press where she has worked for the past fifteen years. Initially working in graphic design and production management roles, Rachel’s experience has traversed journals, magazine and book publishing.
Prior to joining AIATSIS, Rachel spent many years working in academic journal publishing before moving into magazine publishing for industry associations. She has spent the past fifteen years working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and communities to create books that showcase the richness and diversity of Australia’s first peoples.
Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators and content has been, and continues to be, a space in which she never stops learning.
Shane Hoffman, National Project Manager, Constitutional Recognition Indigenous Consultations
Shane Hoffman is National Project Manager of the Constitutional Recognition Indigenous Consultations Team. This team was established in May 2016 to organise the Indigenous consultations on constitutional recognition for the Referendum Council.
Shane proudly identifies as a Yiman man from Central Queensland and has family connections in Mount Morgan and Rockhampton.
He retired from the Australian Public Service (APS) in June 2015 after a long period (1992-2015) engaged in senior executive positions with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), the Department of Education (DEETYA), and the Department of Human Services (DHS).
In his various senior executive roles with the APS, Shane managed either a branch or division with responsibility for strategic policy development and coordination, (ATSIC, DEST, PM&C, DEEWR), and development and implementation of an Indigenous servicing strategy aimed at improving services to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people (DHS).
Between 2000 and 2002, Shane headed up a small team at ATSIC with responsibility for consulting with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people about a treaty. For 18 months over 1999-2000, he was engaged by FAIRA as an International Officer whose primary task was to facilitate lobbying by Australian Indigenous NGOs of the UN Human Rights Committees, particularly with regard to the amendments to the Native Title Act following the High Court’s Wik Decision and the lack of action to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.