Our Team

Jackie Lauff – Co-founder and CEO


sport matters team member jackie lauffJackie is passionate about creating opportunities for people in developing countries sparked during a University placement to Fiji in 1999 whilst studying Occupational Therapy and an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) placement to Fiji for the Suva 2003 South Pacific Games. Since then she has sought out sport and development roles around the world and combined post-graduate studies with diverse professional experiences, including working with the International Council for Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) delivering Sport in Post-Disaster Intervention seminars, and also working with the Organising Committees of a host of international multi-sport games. More recently, Jackie worked as an Inclusion Officer with Basketball Australia, creating sporting opportunities for people with disabilities across Australia and for indigenous women in remote Northern Territory. Together with Sport Matters co-founder Liesl Tesch, Jackie has delivered sport and development programs in Alice Springs, Timor-Leste and South Africa. In her spare time Jackie has conquered a half marathon, and regularly enjoys women's rugby, triathlon sprints and open water swimming.


Click here to see Jackie Lauff's Board Member profile.


Liesl Tesch – Co-founder


sport matters team member liesl teschLiesl is a six-time Paralympian and co-founder of Sport Matters who is passionate about disability inclusion. Liesl has represented Australia at six Paralympic Games – five in wheelchair basketball and she is a gold medallist in Sailing from the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Liesl and sailing partner, Dan Fitzgibbon remain undefeated in World and Paralympic Championships and have qualified to compete in the Rio 2016 Games.

Learn more about Liesl Tesch’s Road to Rio in 2016. MORE http://www.australiansailing.org/team-members/liesl-tesch/  

Click here to see Liesl Tesch's Board Member profile.



Our Champions


Liesl Tesch (see above)  


Petero Civoniceva 

sport matters team member jill scanlon Petero is one of the most respected men in rugby league in Australia and Fiji. He has played for Canberra Raiders & Penrith Panthers, has 30 Queensland State of Origin appearances and 45 games for Australia to his credit. He also captained the Fiji team at the Rugby League World Championships. In 2015, Petero hosted a sports carnival in Suva to raise funds for diabetes prevention in Fiji.
Learn more about Petero Civoniceva’s activities in Fiji using rugby league to promote education and health.

MORE: http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=314972

Pat Farmer 

sport matters team member jill scanlon Pat is an ultra-marathon runner and former Member of Parliament and an advocate for peace. In 2014 Pat ran the equivalent of two marathons a day for 20 days on his Middle East Peace Run to raise awareness and promote tolerance, peace and understanding through sport. In 2016 Pat ran 4600km from the south to the north of India on the Spirit of India Run raising awareness and funds to support girl’s education in India.
Learn more about Pat Farmer’s efforts using running as a platform for development. 

MORE: http://www.patfarmer.com.au/


Luke Ablett 

sport matters team member jill scanlon Luke is a former AFL player with the Sydney Swans and a returned Australian Volunteer for International Development in Vanuatu. Luke is a strong advocate for gender equality and spoke on the power of sport to address gender-based violence at our Power of Sport breakfast at Parliament House.
Learn more about Luke’s advocacy for gender equality in and through sport.

MORE: http://www.ourwatch.org.au/News-media/Latest-news/Luke-Ablett-You-don%E2%80%99t-have-to-be-the-big,-tough,-a


Sally Shiphard

sport matters team member jill scanlon Sally is one of the most recognisable faces in women’s football in Australia after making her international and Olympic debut at 16 years of age. She then became a full member of Australia’s Women’s Football team and made her FIFA Women’s World Cup debut at 18. In 2015 Sally was a commentator with SBS for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Learn more about Sally’s journey through footbal.

MORE: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/matildas-star-sally-shipard-calls-time-on-her-magnificent-football-career-20140502-zr316.html


Hannah Davis

sport matters team member ryan murphy Hannah is a dual Olympian and Olympic Bronze medallist who has represented Australia in the sport of Flatwater Kayak at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. Hannah is passionate about the cause of Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and in 2014 Hannah was the recipient of an ‘Athlete’s in Excellence’ award from The Foundation for Global Sports Development. 
Learn more about Hannah’s work with Indigenous Australians.

MORE: http://ncie.org.au/news/11813/a-place-where-excellence-happens


Sport Matters Volunteer Network


Jill Scanlon

sport matters team member jill scanlon Jill is a sport for development advocate, a sport journalist, commentator and strong supporter of all things around Women in Sport. Currently working with Sport Matters as Media Adviser, she is a Media and Communications consultant in the Development field with a particular interest and strength in S4D advocacy and Development Partnerships. She is a freelance sports journalist currently working for among others Cricket Australia, SBSZela, UR7s (covering international Rugby Sevens), recently worked as the Sports Editor for the Huffington Post Australia having worked for ABC International for many years. She is also currently undertaking a Masters Degree in International and Community Development. In a nutshell -- loves development work and sport!

Ryan Murphy

sport matters team member ryan murphy Ryan is a human and animal rights activist, who is currently supporting Sport Matters in the role of Procurement & Policy Manager. He has completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and Sociology from Saint Mary’s University as well as a Master of Human Rights from the University of Sydney. He also recently competed a certificate in Ethical Procurement and Supply. It goes without saying that one of Ryan’s favourite pastimes is volunteering. Since arriving in Australia in 2014, he has gained experience with numerous local organisations including: ChildFund Australia, National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, White Ribbon Australia, BirdLife Australia, Choose Cruelty Free Ltd. and Ethical Consumers Australia. Growing up in Canada Ryan participated in a variety of sports including; softball, badminton, volleyball and downhill skiing. He is also a fan of the National Hockey League supporting the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks. He has seen firsthand how sport can change lives and believes that sport is one of the most inclusive tools that can be used to combat human rights issues.  

Curtis Palmer

sport matters team member curtis palmer Curtis is a Gold medal winning Paralympic athlete, motivational speaker, safety education officer, ambassador and all round good guy. A dedicated adventure junkie, scuba diver, wheelchair rugby veteran Curtis has travelled the globe and is now taking all of his life experiences into schools and companies to inspire others to “smash it” the way he has. Passionate about helping others Curtis has been involved in workshops with the National Disability Service, The Rite Journey and works as a safety education officer for Youthsafe. With an insatiable appetite for travel and adventure Curtis is an ambassador for the youth leadership course, Horizons Week, in Fiji and he has crewed for Unleashed Schoolies on Mana Island, visited orphanages in Bali, volunteered with Right To Play in Ethiopia and worked as a TV host for a show in New Zealand called Attitude. With Rio 2016 in his sights Curtis is dedicating the next 4 years to achieving his ultimate goal of another Gold medal. Watch this ginger go!


Kerry Tavrou


sport matters team member kerry tavrouKerry has always loved and participated in sport. He is currently an Inclusion Officer at Gymnastics Victoria responsible for developing inclusive pathways and programs to enable people with disabilities to participate in gymnastics across Victoria. Prior to this role, Kerry was part of the community Inclusion and Development team at Scope Victoria supporting people with a disability to be involved in their communities of choice. During that role Kerry set up a balloon football league (Aussie Rules football for wheelchair users), gymnastics classes and gym groups. Kerry has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science – Majoring in Disabilities at Deakin University and an honours degree with a thesis titled 'The effects of community-based fitness centres on the physical, psychological and social health of people with multiple or profound disabilities'. Kerry has a firm belief that sport brings communities together on an equal playing field of respect and provides individuals with social opportunities and connectedness to their local community.


Sophia Gerakios


sport matters team member Sophia GerakiosSophia is a lawyer specialising in Employment Safety and People at a Sydney law firm. With a Bachelor of Economics, and a Bachelor of Law majoring in Government and International Relations, Sophia has a passion for human rights and equal opportunity to employment. Following those passions, Sophia helped found the Oxfam Australia Group at Sydney University, studied Chinese Law in Shanghai and completed an internship with Amnesty International Australia. Sophia's other great interest is media and journalism, having worked as a digital producer for Sky News Australia. Aside from her full-time work as a lawyer, Sophia is a volunteer solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre in Sydney. Beyond work, Sophia is passionate about her favourite sports, snowboarding and yoga, and enthusiastic about the prospect of using sport as a vehicle of improving quality of life and providing employment opportunities for people in developing communities.