New Chair welcomed to The Benevolent Society
The Sector > Workforce > Personnel Appointments > New Chair welcomed to The Benevolent Society

New Chair welcomed to The Benevolent Society

by Freya Lucas

November 30, 2023

Ken Smith AO has been announced as new Chair of The Benevolent Society following the charity’s recent Annual General Meeting. Mr Smith, who joined the Board of Directors in October this year, brings extensive executive human services leadership experience to his new role.


“I’m thrilled to be stepping into the role of Chair with an organisation that has been helping Australians since 1813,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the Board and the Executive team to continue The Benevolent Society’s long history of influencing and leading positive social change.”


In the early childhood education and care (ECEC) space, The Benevolent Society provides a number of learning and development opportunities to support children and families including: 


  • Child development support via the Early Childhood Approach Scheme for prevention, early intervention, literacy support, referral to specialist support, case management and home visits. 


  • Early years centres that are free to attend for any child aged between 0-8 years with a parent, guardian or family member. Free services provided in the early years centres, ranging from infant health checks and supported playgroups to immunisation clinics and more.


  • ECEC centres consisting of a long day care centre including a kindergarten program and two sessional kindergartens. 


  • Intensive case management provides a range of family support services to help make families safer and make positive changes in their lives.


Former Chairman Tim Beresford, who commenced his tenure on the Board in February 2013, described his five-year term as Chair as extremely rewarding and enriching. 


“I would like to thank our Board for their support and commitment and welcome our Incoming Chair, Ken Smith,” Mr Beresford said.


“I would like to acknowledge our CEO, Lin Hatfield Dodds, for her inspiring leadership over the past two years. As my chapter in history for this organisation closes, I look back with a huge sense of pride on our collective achievements. Over the years, I have enjoyed travelling across New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia to meet our teams. I have always been struck by their professionalism, commitment, and dedication to deliver positive social outcomes for their communities.”


Ms Hatfield Dodds extended her deep appreciation to Mr Beresford and a warm welcome to Mr Smith AO. 


“Tim’s focus on excellence, and his belief in our staff have been evident in every conversation I’ve had with him since I became CEO,” she said. “His leadership has been characterised by insight, integrity, and wisdom.


“I welcome Ken, with his extensive leadership experience and deep expertise in public policy, as our Incoming Chair as we look ahead to 2024 and beyond to deliver our vision of a just society where everyone can live their best lives. The depth of experience and expertise of our Board will continue to drive The Benevolent Society forward.”


Mr Smith is currently a Professor of Practice at Queensland University of Technology and does sessional work with University of Queensland. He has worked on many national policy issues over the past three decades, including housing and urban affairs, social welfare and education. In 2021, he was recognised for his distinguished service to public administration and to public leadership and education with an AO (Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia).


Professor Lorraine Sheppard also joined the Board of Directors in October this year. She is a professor of physiotherapy and healthcare management and an experienced Non-Executive Director (NED) and Chair in clinical governance across several industry bodies and the not-for-profit sector.


Through her leadership and service delivery in allied health, clinical and aged care services, Professor Sheppard is familiar with the changing nature of aged care, government reforms and responding to the needs of people who seek care.


“I have a strong interest in driving support for vulnerable people and was drawn to The Benevolent Society’s values,” she said. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the important work they do and value the opportunity to contribute my clinical governance experience and understanding.”


Learn more about the work of The Benevolent Society here

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