Helping children to reach their full potential.

Meet Our Board

Mr Paul Laxon OAM – Chairman

Paul is the former Managing Partner of EY in Queensland and their former Oceania Energy and Infrastructure Tax Leader. Paul retired from EY at 30 June 2018.

Paul was also a former member of the EY Board of Partners in Oceania and a former member of the EY Asia Pacific Board of Partners. Paul joined the Board of Hear and Say in 1999 and was elected Chair in 2010.

Dr Jane Black – Deputy Chairman

Jane is a clinical specialist social worker with extensive experience in paediatric deafness, parent support and parental relationships. After 20 years supervising a specialist otological surgical practice, Jane graduated from The University of Queensland with first class honours. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies examining prognostic factors in paediatric cochlear implantation. Jane was previously the Chairperson of Hear and Say from 1996 to 2008, and continues to Chair Hear and Say’s Medical and Education Committee, as well as lead surgical coordination for the Queensland Cochlear Implant Program and Hear and Say’s Paediatric Cochlear Implant Program. Jane was also a Director of Attune Hearing, a leading Queensland medical audiology company from 2006 to 2008 and has acted in many capacities in both for-profit and not-for profit organisations.

Dr Dimity Dornan AO – Board Director, Exective Director and Founder

Dimity is a speech pathologist, entrepreneur, bionics activist and researcher. In 1992 she established Hear and Say as a leading not-for-profit for deaf children learning to listen and speak, particularly with surgically implantable hearing technology like the bionic ear. She is currently sharing her experience for the benefit of the stakeholders in the bionics industry. She has created an alliance called Human Bionics Interface which seeks to bring new bionics solutions to market to help patients with formerly untreatable medical problems. These include visual, neurological, limb and organ conditions. Dimity is now working to bring the legendary outcomes for people for the bionic ear to other new spinoff devices, such as the bionic eye, deep brain stimulation and bionic organ and limb replacements.

Mr Matthew Ames – Board Director

Matthew has a unique mix of professional and personal experience, with an in-depth understanding of strategy, risk and cultural change. With a grounding of almost 20 years in the energy and resources industry, he has found innovative ways to apply his knowledge after what started as a sore throat resulted in the loss of all four of his limbs in 2012. Through collaboration across numerous sectors, both domestically and internationally, he has found new ways to achieve independence, including the first application of bilateral mind controlled bionic arms in the world. Matthew is involved in a variety of endeavours in the health sector, including as a board member of Hear and Say and a member of steering committees for Queensland Health, the Australian Digital Health Agency and Bionics Queensland.

Mr Andrew Fraser – Board Director

After a career in public office in which he held the position of Treasurer of Queensland from 2007-2012, Andrew now serves on diverse a range of boards. He is an independent Director of Sunsuper, a top ten Australian superannuation fund with more than one million members. He serves as the Chair of the Investment Committee for the fund’s $45 billion portfolio. After serving in a full-time executive role at the NRL as Head of Strategy and Investment, Andrew now serves on a range of boards in rugby league. He is a director of the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Ltd, New Zealand Rugby League and the Gold Coast Titans. Previously he served on the Australian Sports Commission. Andrew is also an independent member of Griffith University’s Finance, Risk and Resources Committee and has recently been appointed to serve on the University Council.  He graduated from Griffith with degrees in law and commerce, in which he achieved First Class Honours and won the University Medal.

Dr Peter Riddles – Board Director

Peter seeks to contribute to sustainable development through realising and applying the benefits of innovation from science. He is presently the Chair of Griffith Enterprise, a Director of the Australian Stem Cell Centre, Chair of Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre, and strategic advisor to a number of private firms. He is a member of the Alberta Research and Innovation Authority (Canada), a Fellow of the California Technology Council and a Board Member of the CSIRO. Peter is also the inaugural Chair and President of Life Sciences Queensland, building on his experience as a Founder and inaugural President of AusBiotech and the last Chair of the Queensland Biotechnology Advisory Council. Peter was made an adjunct professor at The University of Queensland from 1998 to 2000; Fellow of the Australian Institute for Company Directors (2001); Honorary Life Member of AusBiotech (2004) and was awarded the Queensland Life Sciences Industry Excellence Award in 2010.

Mr Rod Solomons – Board Director

Educated in Australia and France, Rod has held several senior international roles, including Managing Director of the leasing arm of a major international bank based in the Netherlands (ABN Amro); head of a major division (Software) of one of the world’s leading IT companies (IBM) across many geographies; and Australian Trade Commissioner, based in India and responsible for the South Asia region. Rod has lived and worked in several countries, including Australia, France, UK, USA, China and India. Since returning to Australia, Rod has been a non-executive Director on several boards, including being Chair of two India-based international IT organisations, a Director of a medical not-for profit organisation, a Director and Advisory Board member of an international vocational education company, a Director of an international packaging company and a Director of an international mining equipment company. Rod also consults in the area of exports to Asia, work pro bono as a business mentor through Business Mentoring (Noosa), and is involved with Tennis Australia.

Dr Margaret Steinberg AM – Board Director

Margaret brings to the Board expertise in ethical decision-making as a clinician, academic and administrator. A former Commissioner, including of the Criminal Justice (CJC) and Crime and Misconduct (CMC) Commissions, Margaret currently sits on several Boards and Tribunals, and was previously on the MetroNorth Hospital and Health Services Board. Awards include a Churchill Fellowship (disability and early intervention), NHMRC Traveling Fellowship (Telemedicine) and WHO Study (HIV/AIDS). She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 in recognition of her work in public health, discrimination, ageing, HIV/AIDS and social justice.

Maia’s Story

At 9.10pm on 24 October 2013 our beautiful daughter Maia was born. 

The moment of elation was short-lived as we immediately noticed her left ear was missing. I frantically looked to the medical team around me for answers but received none.

Panic set in as we waited 4 days in hospital for an ENT to explain her condition, by which point we already had all the answers from Simone, who runs the Microtia and Atresia Program at Hear and Say.

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