Carriageworks expands board with five new members | Media Release 14 May 2021

Carriageworks today announced the addition of five new board members, Gitanjali Bhalla, Andrew Maiden and Matthew McCarron took up their positions in late 2020 with Cameron Honey and Sani Townson joining this year, expanding the board’s expertise, with particular strengths in the areas of financial management, government relations, sponsorship management, marketing, corporate networks, youth engagement and performing arts programming.  The new appointments increases the board to eight, joining existing board members Geoff Ainsworth AM, Michael Gonski and Chair Cass O’Connor.

Blair French, Carriageworks CEO, said: “We look forward to working with our experienced Carriageworks Board as we continue to build on the great successes of 2021 to date, including NO SHOW, The National: New Australian Art and a rich multi-arts program this winter.”

Cass O’Connor, Carriageworks Chair, said: “These new colleagues increase the skillset depth and diversity of the Carriageworks Board, and are already contributing to Carriageworks and Blair’s team.  Together  we anticipate expanded delivery of a diverse multi-arts program each year in our unique heritage buildings and precinct.  The expansion of the board also  demonstrates ongoing priority of building more sustainability and resilience into Carriageworks.

We also farewell John Mitchell, who has been an outstanding Board contributor for 7 years. John’s intellect, generosity and diligence regarding legal matters will be missed.”




Cass O’Connor runs her own corporate advisory firm, coming after a twenty-year career that included working in investment banking, private equity and equities research for Carnegie, Wylie & Company, Goldman Sachs (Australia) L.L.C, Turnbull & Partners and Deutsche Bank.

Cass has over 30 years’ experience as a board director and Chair of ASX listed companies, Federal and State government entities and unlisted entities.  She currently serves on the Boards of independent arts and cultural think tank A New Approach; regional television broadcaster Prime Media Group Limited (ASX:PRT); multi-award winning film and television producer Goalpost Pictures (I Am Woman, Top End WeddingHolding the ManThe Sapphires, ABC TV’s Cleverman  ) where she was an early shareholder and is Chair of global branded content and campaign generator TRIBE Group.   Cass has previously served on The Bundanon Trust, Lifetime Care and Support Authority of NSW, Motor Accidents Authority of NSW and Workcover Authority of NSW.


Geoff is a non-executive director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a past Director of the Bundanon Trust and a past Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW, where he remains a member of the Acquisitions & Loans Committee.  He has recently been appointed a Director of the NGA Foundation. He is a member of the Tate International Council and a patron of the MCA and the Royal Academy of Arts. Geoff is a past Director and Group General Manager of Aristocrat.

Geoff holds a Bachelor of Arts with honours from UNSW, a Master of Arts in Counselling from Macquarie University and a Diploma in Financial Administration from UNE.  In 2011, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the visual and performing arts through the promotion and support of contemporary art, and to the community.


Gitanjali is Chief People Officer at Seven Group Holdings and has over 20 years’ experience across global and Australian professional services firms and corporates. She holds a BA LLB (Hons) and has a Master of International Business from Melbourne University.

Gitanjali is highly experienced in transformation, human capital management, mergers & acquisitions and business services alignment.  She has delivered strategic, high-impact and pragmatic solutions in complex and fast paced environments to increase shareholder value in organisations varying in size from 100 to over 50,000 people across multiple countries.

Gitanjali is a Director of Coates Hire, WesTrac and AllightSykes.  She is an Ambassador for Good Return, a not for profit organisation committed to empowering women through microfinance. She is an active member of HBET, an organisation that awards scholarships for underprivileged children to further their education.


Michael Gonski is a Partner at global law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills.

Michael is the Chairman of the Sydney Story Factory (a not for profit creative writing organisation) and sits on the Prime Minister’s Community and Business Partnership. Michael was previously a director of Philanthropy Australia and is a director of the Gonski Foundation.


Cameron is the General Manager, Commercial at Venues NSW which is the owner, coordinator and promoter of a portfolio of publicly owned sports and entertainment venues in NSW.

Prior to joining Venues NSW, Cameron was the Chief Commercial Officer at Sydney Football Club securing several large sponsorship & digital deals. Cameron was also responsible for marketing, patron and community engagement.

Cameron holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business, both from the University of Technology, Sydney. Cameron is also trained as a lawyer and Chartered Accountant

Andrew Maiden is a leader in strategic communications, public policy, stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

He began his career as an adviser, press secretary and chief of staff to senior political figures in state and federal governments.  He later joined Telstra, where he headed group communications, before joining the media sector as chief executive officer of ASTRA. He is now director of Maiden Advisory, a consultancy that provides strategic communications counsel to business leaders.

Andrew has a long association with the not-for-profit sector. He also sits on the boards of Curious Works, an arts and media company that promotes cultural diversity, and Co-Curious, an arts company that supports writers to develop stories of contemporary Australia for main stages, festivals, television screens and cinemas.

Andrew has degrees in economics and law and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Matthew is Chief Executive Officer of Lewis Land Group, one of Australia’s oldest and largest privately owned property groups.

Prior to joining Lewis Land Group, Matthew was a Partner of KPMG where he advised a range of private businesses and their owners in relation to corporate finance, business strategy and restructuring.  He has experience working across a diversity of industries including property, media, hospitality and retail.

Matthew has a Bachelor of Commerce and Masters of Business Administration from the University of New South Wales.  He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Matthew is a former Director of Playwriting Australia, a not-for-profit entity that helps to develop new works of Australian theatre, and of The Red Room Company, the leading commissioner, publisher and promotor of Australian poetry.  In 2018, he was listed by Google and Deloitte as one of the Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders in Australia.


Sani Townson is a First Nations independent artist with bloodlines to Samu/ Koedal/ Dhoeybaw clans on Saibai Island of the Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait Islands).  As performer Sani he has worked with Bangarra Dance Theatre, Leigh Warren & Dancers, Australian Ballet, and Insite Arts.  Working closely with Gondwana Choirs he has been instrumental in forming the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir.

Sani has been an Artist in Residence at both NAISDA Dance College and the Solid Ground Program at Carriageworks  has choreographed works including Malu Ngadh Paru Kedha (NAISDA Dance College) and Lagaw Mabaygal – Ailan Ppl (Insite Arts). In 2019, Sani was the Artistic Director for NAISDA Dance College’s End of Year acclaimed Production “Ngoenakap”. Sani has also choreographed for screen and has appeared in several First Nations themed television shows such as SBS’s “Express Yourself” and “Move It Mobstyle”. In 2020 Sani returned to Bangarra Dance Theatre and is currently the Youth Programs Co-ordinator. And is currently developing his show “Lagaw Mabaygal – Ailan ppl”.

Carriageworks Board appointments are made in consultation with the NSW Minister for the Arts. Directors are strategically identified by a Board subcommittee through reference to a skills matrix that ensures that the Board has expertise across key areas of operation and strategy.

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