Meet the executive team
Melissa Lipsett, CEO

Melissa is an experienced executive with a wealth of experience in the Christian not-for-profit space. Her skills in leading and managing diverse teams and complex organisations were developed in the Australian military, refined in executive leadership within the contemporary church context, and further developed in the Christian for purpose sector. She has extensive cross-cultural experience and a deep appreciation and respect for working alongside First Nations people.

Melissa is a strong professional and servant leader, playing active roles in governance across the church and for purpose Christian sector. She holds a Bachelor of Ministry and a Bachelor of Applied Science, and is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Melissa is passionate about helping people know – and reflect – the love of Jesus. She is ordained in the Uniting Church but has extensive cross denominational experience. She is a sought after public speaker who brings together her passions of excellent leadership, advocacy, pastoral and practical theology. Melissa believes that ending poverty IS possible and is determined to work toward and inspire others so that together we can make a better world for all.

Natasha Headshot
Natasha Gerhardt, CFO & Company Secretary

Having moved to the not-for-profit sector from a senior corporate career within finance and governance, Natasha is committed to making a difference as a senior executive working for a Christian organisation. A mature and committed Christian, Natasha has a passion for justice and a desire to see vulnerable people flourish, both of which fuel her desire to work as an executive in the not-for-profit area. Natasha has strong commercial acumen, strategic development and engagement skills and has direct experience in international development across Africa, India and South East Asia.

Natasha holds a Bachelor of Commence and a Graduate Diploma in Finance and Investment. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and is ACID qualified. Natasha’s experience also includes serving on and chairing not-for-profit boards and committees. Natasha is currently studying a Master of Laws.

Fiona Smith, Director Of International Programs

Fiona has been with Baptist World Aid for over two years, and in that time has become a well-respected leader within the Programs team and across the organisation. Fiona has 10 years of experience in child-focused community development, advocacy, and NGO leadership across four countries. Prior to joining Baptist World Aid, Fiona served in a start-up company seeking to apply data and new technology towards sustainable development. She holds a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Oxford, and degrees in Law and Arts (Communications) from the University of Technology Sydney.

Bec Oates, Director Of National Engagement

Bec joined Baptist World Aid in 2018. She is passionate about mobilising Australian Christians towards a healthy relationship with people living in poverty. Her primary expertise is in business and brand development. As a business owner for over 20 years and a finalist in the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year awards, she brings an entrepreneurial lens to fundraising, partnerships and ending global poverty. Bec now draws on her business skills to oversee over forty staff in working toward ending poverty.


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