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The Board of Gridiron Australia

The Board of Gridiron Australia is committed to the realisation of the true potential for American Football in Australia.  The mission of Gridiron Australia is to provide a strong inclusive framework for the development and growth of the game in Australia. The Board is responsible for setting a clear strategic direction, displaying transparent decision making and providing strong leadership and management. Individuals are elected each year at Gridiron Australia’s Annual General Meeting. In recent years, the Board has also established a National Coaching Director role, formalised national coaching appointments and strengthened junior development.

Darrin Mitchell

Darrin Mitchell, Chairman

Darrin Mitchell was appointed to the Gridiron Australia Board as a director in March 2011.  In June 2014, Darrin was elected as the Gridiron Australia Chairman. Darrin is the Gridiron Australia Member Protection Information Officer.

With involvement in the sport of gridiron in Australia starting in 1985 as a player, Darrin had multiple caps as a State representative.  After playing, Darrin turned to coaching at club level and also was a positional coach of his State team that won two National Championships and the National Men’s team in four campaigns.  Currently Darrin is the Head Coach of a women’s team in his State’s competition.

In 2007 Darrin moved to officiating, rising to a level 3 grade official.  Darrin officiated club games on a weekly basis until the 2013 season and has been on the officiating crew at both the junior and senior National Championships.

Internationally, Darrin is Chairman of the International Federation of American Football’s Appeals Committee and attends IFAF’s annual Congress representing Gridiron Australia.

Darrin is admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Victoria as well as the High Court of Australia and has been in private practice for over 20 years bringing his education and experience to the benefit of the Gridiron Australia Board.

Sean Dove

Shaun Dove, 

Shaun Dove joined the Gridiron Australia Board in 2013.

Shaun started his football career in 1990 with the Northern Territory Gridiron League, initially as a player before becoming one of the founding members of the officiating staff. After a short stint living and officiating in NSW Shaun now resides in ACT and continues to officiate at the state, national, and international level.

Shaun is a software developer and runs his own business producing web software as well as consulting on identity access management and security.

On the board Shaun is currently Secretary and Deputy Chairman, leads the ongoing governance reform of GA, and oversees officiating. Shaun took the leading role in reuniting GV with GA.

Shaun holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and numerous IT industry certifications.

Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson, Director of Football Operations / Vice Chairman

Kevin Wilson joined the Gridiron Australia Board in 2016.

Kevin has an extensive gridiron career spanning over 30 years and 3 states and includes both state and national honours as both a player and coach.

Kevin was recently inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame, despite now residing in Western Australia, as a testament to his contribution to the sport.

Away from football Kevin is an accomplished executive level manager working with such companies as B&D garage doors, The Laminex Group and Suez Environmental and most recently The Crommelin Group.

He also serves on several corporate and non-profit boards across a number of industries 

Kevin’s has recently moved to the portfolio of football operations encompassing suppliers, national teams, national competitions, officials and coaching 

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing, IT Management), an MBA in strategic leadership and a Masters of Professional Accounting and is also a Graduate of the Austrailian Institute of Company Directors.

Chris Hennessy

Kelvin Howsan, Emerging Programs Director

Kevin Howsan joined the Gridiron Australia Board in 2019

Kevin has an extensive gridiron career spanning over 19 years and includes both state and national honours as both a player and coach.

Kelvin is one of the founding members of QLD’s newest Gridiron club Griffith University Gridiron FC which was formed in 2016. Kelvin’s main goal was to create a profession football program which has already produced a State Championship and multi grand final appearances in the last 4 seasons. 

Away from football Kelvin is executive level sales manager who has worked across many industries from FMCG, Animal Care, to his recent role in the blinds and awning industry for The Shann Group as their National Frigerio and Urban Track sale Manager. 

Kevin’s has recently taken over the portfolio of Youth Development Director looking at introducing programs like Tackle Bar, and specialised equipment like Tech Pads and Watchgamefilm. 

Chris Hennessy

Stacey Speer, Communications Director

Stacey Speer was appointed to the Gridiron Australia board in 2019 in the role of Communications Director.

Her involvement in the sport started in 2013 as a player with the introduction of the Gridiron New South Wales Women’s league. She spent several years on the Gridiron NSW board in the Marketing and Sponsorship portfolio. 

In 2014, Stacey took over the Womens Gridiron Leagues of Australia digital media platforms and in 2017 contributed to the inaugural Women’s World Cup campaign as a journalist and film analyst travelling to Canada producing video highlights and written content. 

Stacey is one of the founding members of the Sydney University Lions Women’s team, leading them to an Opal Bowl Championship in their inaugural year. 

Away from football, Stacey is an active advocate for women in sport acting as an MC for Sport NSW ‘Girls Get Active’ events along with managing sportscontent.org, a sports marketing and content production company for grassroots sports clubs and organisations.

She has worked with many sporting organisations across many areas of business. From sports technology with Hudl/Sportscode to governance and leadership with SportsCommunity, digital content with Touch Football Australia and girls program development with Totem Skateboarding.  

Stacey has a postgraduate degree in Sports Media from UTS, and was apart of the Australian Womensport & Recreation Mentorship program.

Chris Hennessy

Megan J. Lavender, Governance Director

Megan J. Lavender is a transformational leader of organisations – with a focus on stakeholder engagement – and has served as a Director of Gridiron Australia since 2018.

An experienced public company director and government board member, she is also peer recognised as one of the Asia Pacific’s best third sector CEOs – having held senior executive roles in the corporate, government and third sectors.

Megan presently serves as a federal government appointed board member of the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service and a state government appointed board member of the NSW Ministry of Health Centre for Health Record Linkage and has been commissioned by the NSW Minister for Lands as deputy chairman of the 107-year-old Gosford Showground Crown Lands Trust.

In addition to these three government board appointments, she also currently serves on a further thirteen boards, including as national chairman of Road Sense Australia, independent chairman of the University of Sydney Union Finance Committee, as the first female treasurer of the 116-year-old Royal Automobile Club of Australia, as company secretary of Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and a director of Special Olympics Australia, Children’s Book Council of Australia, Mainly Music International, Australian Ice Racing, Anywhere Theatre Festival, Swimming NSW Aquatic Management, Friends of First Government House Site and the Bankstown Harness Racing Club.

Megan has served as an independent board member of the NSW Government appointed racing industry controlling body, as chairman of the Victorian based sporting social enterprises, Boots For All and Sport For All, and as a director of multiple public and private companies, associations and charities, including Comtax Credit Union, Co-Op Bookshop, Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Research, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Pathology Awareness Australia, Sport NSW, Women Sport Australia, Independent Living Centre NSW, Five Dock Leisure Centre, Macquarie University Union, Cancer Council Relay for Life, Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW and the Australia Indonesia Association.

She currently operates her own management and strategic consultancy business and has previously served in several senior executive roles.  Megan has also served as an elected city councillor on the City of Canada Bay Council and as ministerial advisor to the Australian Minister for Sport, Minister for Tourism and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Sydney 2000 Games.

Megan is peer recognised as one of the Asia Pacific’s best third sector chief executives and among a select few people conferred with a full fellowship by the Australasian Society of Association Executives – the professional industry association where she previously served as state chairman.

She is an arts, education, speech and drama graduate of Macquarie University and Trinity College, London.

Chris Hennessy

Chris Hennessy, Finance Director

Chris Hennessy joined the Gridiron Australia Board in 2017.

Chris started playing gridiron in Tasmania in 2014 as an offensive lineman and has since moved into a vice president and treasury role in his local club and also sits as treasurer in Gridiron Tasmania following a year as the state vice president.

Chris has also obtained coaching and officiating certifications to assist with growth and development of the sport wherever possible.

Chris works as an auditor in a local accounting firm following three years working at Deloitte and five years as sales and accounts prior with a client base ranging from small not-for-profit associations to large national companies.

Chris places strong focus on producing and providing financial information to the board in order to guide decision making as well as performing tax and accounting duties and preparing accounts for audit.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Accounting and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

Shawnee Wilson, Administration Officer