Our Board - New Israel Fund Australia

Our Board

Our board is a diverse and experienced group, tasked with driving the strategy and growth of NIF Australia. Some have served on Jewish community and other non-profit boards, worked for organisations we support in Israel, graduated from Jewish day schools and Zionist youth movements, and all bring unique perspectives which maximise our effectiveness and impact.

We also acknowledge the important role that Steven Glass z"l played as a founding board member, and later vice-president, of NIF Australia. Without his leadership, guidance and expertise we wouldn't have achieved the successes we have.

Meet our supporters →

Ric Benjamin (chairperson)

After 25 years in business Ric transitioned from the corporate to the NGO sector in 2010. Since then has has held roles including CEO of Foodbank Victoria and leader of government engagement for technology charity Infoxchange. Other voluntary work Ric has done in the NFP sector includes as a past board member (1998-2009) and president (2000-09) of Stand Up (previously called Jewish Aid Australia) and as a mentor to various NFP boards and executive officers who are looking to transition business models and/or improve mission outcomes. Ric holds an MBA (RMIT), BA and Dip Ed (Monash University).

Ric Benjamin

Kate Rosenberg (deputy chairperson)

Kate Rosenberg grew up in the Jewish community and at her youth movement, Habonim Dror. She lived in Krakow, Poland and, after completing a BA made aliyah to Tel Aviv. She completed a degree in museum studies and an MA in NGO management at Hebrew University. She co-founded Tov Lada'at, a scholarship and support program for African asylum seekers wishing to gain higher education in Israel, and Keren Baktana, a network of giving circles for young professionals in Israel. Kate has acted as a resource development consultant for the past six years, working with innovative and progressive non-profits in Israel such as the Umm el Fahem Gallery, the Workshop for Public Knowledge and Breaking the Silence.

Kate Rosenberg

Michael Hershan (treasurer)

Michael is a lawyer based in Sydney. After a decade working at a global law firm in Melbourne, Sydney and London, Michael joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, working in ASIC's chief legal office. Michael was previously a director of New Israel Fund Australia in 2013-2014 and for the past five years has been a member of the international advisory committee of EcoPeace Middle East, a unique organisation that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmental activists.

Michael Hershan

Gideon Kowadlo

Gideon is passionate about building things that matter from algorithms to organisations for positive social impact. He has spent more than 20 years bringing emerging technologies to life in Australia and overseas, in areas from robotics to human motor control and from mobile to bio-inspired AI. He was a founding board member of Engineers Without Borders and was a madrich at Netzer. Gideon is CEO of Project AGI and a director/advisor of other deep-tech focussed startups. He holds a PhD in Robotics (Monash Uni).

Gideon Kowadlo

Karen Loblay AM

Karen is a businesswoman, founder and director of the Matana Foundation for Young People, Sapphire Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, Specialist Consultant for Chain Reaction Foundation, catalyst member of The Ethics Centre and on the leadership council of the Documentary Australia Foundation.

Karen Loblay

Ralph Pliner

Ralph was a partner for over 20 years of international law firm Baker McKenzie in Sydney, before retiring in 2004. Since then he has taken up a number of board positions of public listed and private companies, including a large life insurance company, TAL Life, as well as not-for-profits including the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, where he served as chairman for four years, and the Board of Jewish Education in Sydney. Ralph was also a lecturer in law at Melbourne University Law School and prior to that a financial journalist at the weekly financial magazine, the Financial Mail, in Johannesburg.

Ralph Pliner

Ilana Snyder

Ilana became president of NIF Australia in 2015. An emeritus professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, her research and teaching have focused on critical literacy education in the digital age. She is currently involved in a mentoring program for early career researchers and the supervision of some doctoral students. Ilana is a board member of the literary magazine, the Australian Book Review.

Ilana Snyder

Alisa Wicks

Alisa is a solicitor at Legal Aid NSW. She worked for several years in Tel Aviv at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). Alisa holds a bachelor of social work and bachelor of laws from the University of New South Wales.

Alisa Wicks