Caritas Australia CEO Kirsty Robertson on a monitoring trip to the Deaf Development Program in Cambodia. Photo: Nicole Clements/Caritas Australia.

Our Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team are dedicated professionals who are passionate about creating a more safe and just world for all. They bring a wealth of experience to provide strategic oversight and leadership for the agency.

Chief Executive Officer: Kirsty Robertson 

Kirsty Robertson was appointed as the CEO of Caritas Australia in September 2019. As CEO she works alongside the Board of Directors to support the staff, volunteers and partners of Caritas Australia to deliver the Agency’s mission. In her role she enjoys connecting with people, whether they be farmers in Cambodia, mothers in Timor-Leste or Caritas Australia staff in the office.

Kirsty previously held various positions at Caritas Australia including Pacific Programs Coordinator and Communications Group Leader. She was CEO at Mary MacKillop Today and held numerous leadership roles in other faith-based aid and development organisations. Kirsty has a Graduate Certificate in Catholic Culture and Leadership from Australian Catholic University, a Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Sydney.

In May 2023, Kirsty was elected as the new Vice President of Caritas Internationalis, to serve the Confederation over the next four years across 162 national Caritas member organisations. 

Advancement Director: Richard Landels

Richard Landels is our Advancement Director. In this role he manages the fundraising, community engagement, supporter care, marketing and communications functions of the Agency.

Previously, he ran his own communications and publishing agency for 15 years. His background is in publishing, marketing and business management. Richard now enjoys bringing his extensive experience in communication and marketing to the non-profit sector.

Mission Director: Michael McGirr

Michael McGirr is our Mission Director. He is a writer, reviewer and educator who has published books on philosophy, literature, spirituality and ethics, as well as hundreds of articles, essays and stories, in publications including The New York Times and The Tablet. He has reviewed many books for publications such as The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times, and he was previously the fiction editor of Meanjin and publisher at Eureka Street.  

Prior to joining Caritas Australia, Michael was a teacher and most recently worked as Dean of Faith at St Kevin's College in Melbourne. He also worked on faith formation with the boards and staff of schools and other organisations. Through all his work, he is motivated to connect faith, culture and community, and to champion an expression of a faith that encourages justice.


People Director: Alicia Benardos 

Alicia Benardos is our People Director at Caritas Australia. She is an energetic and resourceful People and Culture leader with substantial global HR experience in people-centred organisations. She is a purpose-driven and values-led, with extensive experience operating as a senior human resources leader, building and delivering practices that drive engagement and high performance and build strong organisational cultures.

Alicia is passionate about creating amazing spaces where people can bring their best self to work and achieve great things. She is motivated by making a difference and enjoys leading cultural change, supporting growth and developing authentic relationships. Prior to Caritas Australia, Alicia worked as the Head of People and Culture with Weight Watchers, and has worked in strategic and operational HR roles in a variety of industries.

Programs Director: Dan Skehan

Dan was appointed as Programs Director in October 2021. He leads our Programs team to implement our development programs and humanitarian responses overseas, and develops and executes strategy for our Australia and country offices. Dan spent his early career working in sustainable agriculture and brings his technical experience to his work in international development and humanitarian aid.

He was previously the Director of Programs at Transform Aid International (TAI) (known in Australia as Baptist World Aid Australia) where he successfully implemented the TAI International Programs Strategy and led their Programs team, helping them navigate the global COVID response. Dan has a Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Leadership and a Master of International Community Development from Deakin University, as well as Bachelor of Agriculture Science and Master of Environmental Management from the University of Queensland. Dan is passionate about social justice and developing impactful partnerships. He volunteers as a lifesaver in his free time.

Impact Associate Director: Sophie Jenkins

Sophie Jenkins is our Impact Associate Director. She leads a dedicated team responsible for helping Caritas Australia to measure, communicate and deepen the impact of our work. Sophie is passionate about storytelling and principles-driven approaches to impact measurement.

With a diverse background spanning program management, partnership brokerage, organisational learning, and development effectiveness, Sophie first joined Caritas Australia in 2020 as the Caritas Oceania Regional Accompaniment Coordinator. Throughout her career and in various volunteer roles, Sophie has contributed her skills and expertise to initiatives across the Pacific, Australia, Latin America, and Asia. Sophie holds a Master of International Development (Forced Migration and Refugee Studies) and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales, and has a particular passion for gender equity, disability, and social inclusion.