Our People

The Team

Lauren Solomon
CEO

Lauren was appointed Chief Executive Officer of CPRC in May 2017. Lauren has worked in a range of policy roles across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors, most recently as Manager of Consumer Policy and Programs at AGL Energy. She has previously worked in senior policy roles in the New South Wales Government and as a non-executive Director of the Energy Efficiency Council.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Resource Economics (Hons) from the University of Sydney. Taking a strong interest in the people side of markets, Lauren has pursued further postgraduate studies in behavioural economics at the London School of Economics, and is currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Monash University. She is passionate about cross-sectoral collaboration, interdisciplinary research and diversity of thought and experience when tackling complex policy issues.

Steven Curry
Senior Research and Policy Officer

Steve joined us in May, 2018. In a diverse career he was a research fellow with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics specialising in organisational and professional ethics, and integrity system design. He then worked for Victoria Police delivering ethics education and people systems change, and at the Australian Red Cross Society. For the last few years he has been active in the digital startup scene as co-founder of an HR software company. What unites all these roles is Steve’s love of using multi-disciplinary research to make complex systems simpler, fairer, better connected to driving principles, and better for people.

Steve holds a PhD from Monash University, and a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.

Phuong Nguyen
Senior Research and Policy Officer

Phuong is a Senior Research and Policy Officer. Prior to joining CPRC, Phuong worked for nine years in the area of Public Health, undertaking health promotion and research projects. She has worked at Burnet Institute, Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health, and Family Planning Victoria, researching population health risks and access to services. Phuong is passionate about addressing consumer needs particularly among vulnerable communities who may experience inequitable access to goods and services.

Phuong holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours) from Monash University.

Ben Martin Hobbs
Research and Policy Officer

Ben joined CUAC from Chancellery Operations at the University of Melbourne, where he worked closely with the Vice Chancellor and senior chancellery staff on communications and research projects. Ben also has experience working for the research-based strategy consultancy Andrews Group, and was policy intern at Goodstart Early Learning.

During his Masters studies, Ben developed a particular interest in behavioural economics – the field exploring why individuals make seemingly irrational decisions –  and the implications of this for policymakers. Outside work Ben is a keen musician, enjoys smoking brisket, getting outdoors and travelling whenever possible.

Ben holds a Master of Public Policy and Management and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.

Claire Rizzo
Administration Manager

Claire is our Administration Manager. Claire has 8 years of administration experience across a variety of industries and roles including Local Government, Recruitment, RTO’s, Marketing, Medical Indemnity and the Energy Industry. Prior to joining CPRC in July 2017, Claire dealt with customer complaints at AGL. Claire is passionate about social justice and helping those less fortunate. She is enrolled to study a Diploma in Project Management.

Lingam Palam
Communications Manager

Lingam joined the CPRC in Dec 2017 as Communications Manager. Having most recently worked in Change and Communications at the Victorian Department of Education and Training, he brings almost two decades of external and internal communications experience gained across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. Previously, Lingam worked in communications roles at ANZ, the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Department of Justice. Lingam holds a Master of Finance and Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies), both from RMIT University, and has a keen interest in framing and behavioural-intervention designs that drive pro-social change.

 

The Board

The Board is made up of longstanding Directors with diverse skills and experience. The Board has been integral to the management of CUAC and the smooth transition from CUAC to CPRC.

Catherine Wolthuizen
Chair

Catherine Wolthuizen brings her considerable experience as a consumer advocate and ombudsman to the role of Chair of the CPRC. She is the Independent Customer Advocate at NAB, where her role includes making decisions about complex and sensitive complaints and advising on how to improve complaints handling and the customer experience. She is also an Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the UK, where she has made decisions in around 2,500 cases, and an independent consumer representative to the Financial Ombudsman Service in Australia. She was also previously Head of Market Affairs at FOS UK, leading external engagement for that organisation . She has had senior roles in two Australian consumer organisations, and is a former chair of the Consumer Federation of Australia. As well as running a human rights legal NGO and the UK’s whistleblower NGO, she was a member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel in England and has recently been appointed to the Legal Services Board in Victoria. Catherine lives in Bayside Melbourne with her husband Philip and two children.

Dr. David Cousins AM
Deputy Chair

David is an economist with an extensive background in consumer policy and regulation through university studies and teaching, government and regulatory positions and consulting. As Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria (2002-2008), David strongly promoted the importance of soundly-based consumer policy research. He is an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Law at Monash University and is involved in ethical investment as Chair of the Board of Directors of UCA Funds Management. In 2009 David was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his services to consumer policy and its administration in Australia.

Helen Dickinson

Helen Dickinson is Associate Professor Public Service Research and Director of the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra.  Her expertise is in public services, particularly in relation to topics such as governance, leadership, commissioning and priority setting and decision-making.  Helen has published sixteen books and over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics and is also a frequent commentator within the mainstream media.  She is co-editor of the Journal of Health, Organization and Management and Australian Journal of Public Administration. In 2015 Helen was made a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and she has worked with a range of different levels of government, community organisations and private organisations in Australia, UK, New Zealand and Europe on research and consultancy programmes.

Petrina Dorrington

Petrina Dorrington brings extensive experience in not-for-profit leadership roles to CPRC’s Board and the Acting Director role.  Petrina was Executive Director of Kids Under Cover for 10years and served on their board for a further six.  She also has been CEO of the Inland Queensland Tourism and Development Board and General manager of the Melbourne International Film Festival.  Petrina is currently a Board member of the Royal Children’s Hospital, and volunteers as a mentor for the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy program.

Maree Davidson AM

Maree runs a communication and strategic planning consultancy.  Her background is in education, community development, health promotion and marketing.  Maree is an Executive Member of the National Centre Against Bullying, Founding Member and Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Fellowship for Indigenous leadership, Board member of Fitted for Work, National Board Member for the YMCA and Director of YMCA – Youth Community Fund.

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