- JOIN US
- Contact Us
Our Members elect 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 (he/him) Co-Chair
Jesse joined the Board in 2017 following ten years of volunteer work across Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras' Youth, Membership, Event Creative and Marketing working groups. He is currently serving his third term on the Board and also sits on the Sydney WorldPride Board.
During his time with SGLMG, Jesse has developed brand building and promotional initiatives, increase membership and community stakeholder engagement and participated in community-related advocacy. 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 Graduate Certificate in Public Policy, a degree in Communications and has received training at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jesse's professional career spans across media and communications, not-for-profit organisations and government relations utilising strategic partnerships, leading teams and working on complex issues. He has been published in a range of community, national and international publications such as BuzzFeed, DNA Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Associated Press.
Mel Schwerdt (she/her)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-Carr (he/him)Director
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 (he/him)Director
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 (he/him)Director
As a long-time volunteer at SGMLG with over fifteen years experience, Louis says he 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."
Jan Hutton (she/her)Director
Jan is a well-regarded catalyst for transformation, a strategist, digital influencer and global branding specialist. As a trusted business leader, with the ability to identify and drive growth, she has a proud track record, delivering sustainable strategies that enhance competitive positioning.
Having acquired international experience in both government and private sector, as former Managing Director within the Ogilvy group, Director and board member of The Nielsen Company, CMO of South African Tourism, CMO of Deloitte Consulting Africa, CMO of Destination Gold Coast, GM Marketing for Destination NSW, and currently CEO of ATDW, Jan's career path has been a combination of senior management consulting, strategy, marketing, and event and place development. Jan has beneficial mega-event experience, having led the global marketing strategy and implementation for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and also co-led the development of the successful Vivid Sydney strategy. With specialisation in developing purpose-led organisations, Jan combines leading creative capabilities with deep travel and tourism industry knowledge, business strategy, technology experience and data-driven insights to help businesses see what’s possible. She brings a wealth of valuable experience, as well as being an Institute of Directors alumni, to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board.
“Never before has unity been more critical in the world, giving us all a sense of belonging. The Mardi Gras movement is about blending the meaning of the message, with scaled visibility.” – Jan Hutton
Charlie Murphy (they/them, she/her)Director
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 (he/him)Director
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.
Abs Osseiran (he/him)Treasurer (Board Associate)
Abs joined the Board as Treasurer in January 2021.
Whilst Abs is passionate about diversity and inclusion, having worked in senior roles in multinational companies in Australia and Europe, he also brings 15 years of experience to the Board and the Treasurer role. He is an admitted solicitor, chartered accountant, and chartered tax advisor.
Abs is also currently the Co-Chair and Treasurer of Queer Screen Limited (a role which he has held since April 2020), and is a graduating member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Charmaine Belfanti (she/her)Company Secretary
A governance specialist, Charmaine has extensive experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors improving governance systems and practice, in Australia and internationally. Driven by integrity, she is committed to best practice and aims to create the benchmark in not-for-profit governance.
Charmaine has completed a Certificate in Corporate Governance and Executive Master of Business Administration, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also a non Executive Director.