National Careers Institute Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board guides and supports our strategic direction by providing independent and expert advice when needed, helping us to achieve our purpose and objectives.

On this page:

Our Board members have expertise and capability in the following areas:

  • career navigation and support
  • education, skills and training
  • employment and industry
  • market insights, research and innovation
  • targeted communications, advocacy and analysis
  • data and digital delivery.

The responsibilities of our Board are described in the NCI Charter and the Board’s Terms of Reference.

The NCI and the Board meets regularly. The latest update from this meeting can be found below:

Marie Persson, Chair

Marie Persson is the current Chair of the National Careers Institute Advisory Board. Recently, Marie completed a seven-year period as a member of the NSW Skills Board where she chaired its Industry Reference Group. Marie has held senior executive positions in the Australian public sector at the federal and state levels for over 20 years. Previously she was a member of the Australian Government's Skills Australia Board, which became the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, and head of the NSW TAFE and Community Education.

Sarah Agboola

Sarah Agboola is the founder and CEO of mtime, a business dedicated to providing support networks to busy parents by matching them with family assistants. Sarah is also a member of Australia Post's Stakeholder Council.  Sarah was the 2017 Australian Sherpa for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, a member of the Foundation for Young Australians Board and was an honouree of SmartCompany's Smart 30 under 30.

David Carney

David Carney is the Executive Director of the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA). David has over 20 years’ experience working in the career development industry and is recognised nationally and internationally for the knowledge and expertise he brings to the field. He is an active contributor to a range of government and corporate consultative and advisory bodies in the areas of career development, employment and workforce development.

Fiona McDonald

Fiona McDonald is the Director of Tradeswomen Australia. Beginning her career as a light vehicle apprentice, she noticed a lack of support and promotion opportunities for women in the industry. This inspired Fiona to start a networking group for women in trades. By building relationships and establishing partnerships with business and industry, Fiona implements strategies to increase the participation of women in the industry. She also works to remove unlawful behaviours such as harassment and discrimination.

Zoe McKenzie

Zoe McKenzie is Principal of Trade and Investment Advisory, a firm advising Australian and international entities on their market expansion into Australia or into one of Australia’s current or future Free Trade Agreement partners. She has held senior roles at KPMG and Freehills, and as a policy adviser in the policy areas of education, trade and culture. Zoe is also a board member of the NBN, Australia Council for the Arts and University of Melbourne Humanities Foundation.

Saxon Phipps

Saxon Phipps is the Founder and Managing Director of Year13, Australia’s largest EduTech platform for high school leavers. Saxon and the team at Year13 have been able to apply this process to develop several youth engagement strategies for various departments in the NSW, ACT and SA governments. 

Adam Boyton, ex-officio member

Adam Boyton is the inaugural National Skills Commissioner and has played a crucial role in establishing the Commission. Adam was the Chief Economist at the Business Council of Australia and a Managing Director and the Australian Chief Economist at Deutsche Bank prior to this current appointment. He was a member of the NSW Skills Board from 2013 to 2019 and was involved in the development of the pricing, funding and costing models for VET in NSW.

Tiffany Blight, ex-officio member

Tiffany Blight is the Executive Director of the National Careers Institute and a First Assistant Secretary within the Department of Education Skills and Employment. She has held various senior leadership positions across the APS including leading the corporate strategy and governance functions for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and delivering the Australian Border Force’s new national Career Management program to build capability and address integrity risks at the border. Tiffany is an Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) Certified HR Practitioner and a member of the AHRI ACT State Council.