Our Membership elects the Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Ltd. The Board exists to ensure the organisation stays attuned to the wishes of members and the broader community. Its role is one of governance, developing policy, lobbying and ensuring the company has the right professional management team.

Interested in becoming a Board Director at the next AGM? Read our guide to Mardi Gras governance here.

Jesse Matheson

Jesse Matheson | Co-Chair


Jesse joined the Board in 2017 following ten years of volunteer work across Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras's Youth, Membership, Event Creative and Marketing working groups. During his first year as a director, he authored the Board's submission to the Senate inquiry into Marriage Equality legislation and led the successful reshaping of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras membership scheme as Chair of the Membership Committee. 

Jesse has a degree in Communications and has been published in a range of community, national and international publications such as BuzzFeed, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Associated Press. He currently studies a Masters of Public Policy and works as the Secretariat Officer for disability advocacy peak body Inclusion Australia.

Mel Schwerdt

Mel Schwerdt | Co-Chair


Mel's vision is to experience our festivals not as an exception, but as a celebration of our communities’ everyday.

Mel's CV includes a Master of Business, complementing degrees in justice administration, accountancy, law and project management, providing a basis for 25 years of accomplishments in public service and private industry, first responder engagement, stakeholder liaison and management, creative implementation of statewide and national public policy.

Alex Bouchet


Being involved in activist causes, Alex believes Mardi Gras needs more voices that represent the community ethos. Whether it be queerphobic religious freedoms bills, anti-trans education bills, or black deaths in custody, Alex believes Mardi Gras needs to take a stronger stance on these issues. 

Alex has worked in management positions in hospitality, and spent two years working doing logistics for events. More recently he has held roles as an administrative officer, which involved bookkeeping and basic accountancy.

Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco.

Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco


Giovanni has been a proud part of the LGBTIQ community since his first Mardi Gras 20 years ago - a member of the former SGLMG and founding member of the current one. His passion for direct participation had him involved with a number of organisations and initiatives over the years, including two years as the Membership Director of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association and more recently four years as the President of Queer Screen (Mardi Gras Film Festival). 

Giovanni's role as a Senior Project Manager for the last decade involves managing sensitive projects that require, beside governance, a strong focus on risks and issues management. Previous careers in theatre, events and photography make him attuned with the creative process as well.

Louis Hudson

Louis Hudson


As a long-time volunteer at SGMLG with over fifteen years' experience, Louis says he's committed to helping this organisation remain financially sustainable and strong, while staying true to its community roots and providing platforms for the age, body, cultural, gender and sexual diversity within our communities.

As the Community Manager for Parade for six years, Louis has worked collaboratively with tens of thousands of LGBTQ community members. He also has professional project management expertise and broad skillset developed working with other community festivals groups such as Tropical Fruits.

"I am committed to ensuring we maintain open dialogue with volunteers, members and the wider community, and that the Board supports staff to deliver a world-class festival that embraces and showcases our diversity."

Charlie Murphy

(They/them and she/her)

Charlie has worked in arts, events, and the LGBTQI community for the past 5 years. Charlie has previously worked for Mardi Gras for 5 years, doing seasons from 2015 - 2019. Charlie went from being the receptionist in 2015 to an event producer by 2018, producing Mardi Gras’ symposium on queer issues Queer Thinking in 2018 and co-curating Queer Thinking: Fearless Youth in 2019.

Charlie has also been a member of Trans Action Warrang since its inception in 2018, and as part of that collective helped organise the 2019 inaugural march for Trans Day of Visibility in Newtown. Trans Action Warrang is an activist collective that fights for trans rights. Charlie is fighting for a more open, democratic, and grass roots Mardi Gras. Charlie is passionate about Mardi Gras no longer answering to corporate power and status quo institutions, and centralising the voices of marginalised communities in order to properly fight for justice.

Rob Smith

Rob Smith


Rob joined the Board in May 2020 and has actively been involved in Mardi Gras events since first moving to Sydney in 2011 through his participation in supporting local organisations, community groups and other not-for-profit charities. Rob is passionate about ensuring that individuals, community and the business world work collectively to highlight a consistent and united message of inclusivity and equality without discrimination.

Rob has a degree in Business and Marketing and his CV includes a variety of international leisure and tourism roles across Europe, Asia and Australia.

Kate Wickett - Co-Chair Mardi Gras

Kate Wickett


Kate is now the CEO of Sydney WorldPride 2023. In 2016 Kate was named in the inaugural list of the Deloitte Top 50 Most Influential LGBTI Leaders in Australia. She is a lawyer by background, and her work typically involves strategic advice for large projects, transformation and general corporate advisory work.

Kate's vision for SGLMG includes the provision of an iconic, relevant and diverse creative arts festival for both emerging and established artists, while ensuring the organisation responds to, and is reflective of the LGBTI community views through leadership, advocacy and support.