Marie has a degree in Business (Operations, Administration and Hospitality Management), is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is currently studying a Master’s degree in Not for Profit and Social Enterprise Management at University of Technology, Sydney.
With over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality and event industry, she has been CEO and owner of restaurants in Sydney and is a highly respected industry consultant. Director and Founder of Creative Buzz Events for 10 years, she has coordinated and planned high profile corporate and charity fundraisers, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, and other major special events.
She has served two years as Chair of the 2015/16 Wenona Capital Appeal, four years as President of the Wenona Alumnae and four years President of the Armenian Saturday School Board.
Marie is currently Chair, Board of Directors for Wenona Foundation Limited, and Director of the Armenian Missionary Association. A fundraising and philanthropy consultant for a number of not for profit organisations, she is the Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury Event Ambassador for the annual Sapphire Gala Ball and is currently a member on the committee.
Marie’s passion for fundraising began 10 years ago on a visit to Armenia to an orphanage she visited in Dilijan. Since then, funds have been raised for a van to transport the children, as well as providing basic amenities such as clothes, toiletries, sheets and books.
Communications and media
Stephanie McCann is currently the Operations and Procurement Coordinator for World Wide Fund for Nature Australia (WWF).
Her experience spans a range of industry sectors including secondary education, medical, and a number of not-for-profits such as the Asia Pacific Youth Organisation, Young United Nations Women Australia, and the NSW State Emergency Service.
She has always had a passion to 'do some good', and with the help of her friends, mentors, and some steep learning curves, she now works doing the things she loves, making a contribution to environmental sustainability, and humanitarian development, through her work at WWF.
Steph holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (2010) from Macquarie University, and a Master's Degree in International Relations (2013) from the Australian National University.
Vanouhi is a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years experience working at PwC and Not for Profits and has volunteered for Not for Profit organisations for over 20 years. She is an experienced professional who specialises in recommending and implementing client-focussed, evidence based strategies to improve financial performance and outcomes for stakeholders.
While Scout Leader at the Denistone East (Ararat) Scout Group, she realised many of the skills she had gained in her professional life could be used to help Not for Profits better manage their resources. In 2011 she joined the Not For Profit Sector as a state finance manager at Mission Australia, while also working in a number of volunteer roles, including auditor of Shared Reading NSW Inc, and committee member of Ararat Nairi Investments Inc (NSW).
Vanouhi is now growing her startup, Kindershare, and where possible applies lean startup methodology to the not for profits she works with. She holds a Masters of Accounting, and is currently completing a Masters in Not for Profit and Social Enterprise Management at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Agnes Panosian is no stranger to Data and Artificial Intelligence, having spent 28 years in the industry working in the domain of Data, Business Intelligence, Advanced Analytics & Artificial Intelligence.
Currently, Leading the Data and AI business for Microsoft Australia, helping organizations draw greater insights and transform their business through Advanced Analytics and Cognitive Services.
Agnes is member of several advisory boards in the Education sector and non-for profit, a regular presenter at industry and analyst events - a thought leader and evangelist for data driven culture.
Agnes has a Degree in Computer Science (Software Engineering) and Masters in Business Administration along with a strong background in enterprise software engineering & information management systems allows her to have both business and deep technical conversations.
Gayane was born in Yerevan, Armenia and has lived there for over 25 years before moving to Sydney, Australia. She has studied marketing media in Russia and currently works as a real estate sales executive at Hyecorp Property Group.
Gayane travels to Armenia at least once or twice a year and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to visit her homeland so frequently. Gayane has also spent the last few years visiting parts of rural Armenia. These experiences shook her emotionally as she witnessed the tremendous poverty and low living conditions within these villages, as they lack the basic necessities such as electricity and water supply.
The idea to help her people, especially children, grew with each journey to Armenia and finally took shape in 2016 when she visited Gandzak – a village only a few kilometres away from the small town of Gavar in the province of Geghakunik.
Soon after, she founded Huysi Luys, her own initiative which allowed her to undertake her first fundraising project, by building amenities and renovating facilities of the village school and its Cultural Centre in Gandzak.
This project has been completed for almost two years now, which has allowed over 100 kids, including some from neighboring villages to use these facilities.
In 2017, she also undertook another project in the same village, this time building new toilets in their primary school. In the same year, she also built a brand new child care centre in the village of Zorakan in the Tavush region.
This village didn‘t have a child care centre for over 20 years, and thus the kids had no dedicated place for early learning education. This childcare is now operating successfully since late 2017, with 30 children aged between two to five now having the opportunity to learn the basics.
”I always supervise my projects in Armenia. Most of the time works are happening while I am physically there. It gives me the confidence by monitoring all expenses as well as overseeing the choice and quality of building materials and obviously making sure the work is done on time and on budget.”
We are incredibly blessed and excited to have Gayane as our on the ground support, with her long-term aim being to actively contribute to improving the living conditions of the children in Armenian villages.
By dedicating her time to The Children of Armenia Fund, Gayane is able to continue to achieve her goals in helping to provide these impoverished children with the educational, cultural and sporting support and facilities that they deserve.