Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari are now open again! Here’s what you need to know for your next visit. Find out more

David Sanders

Board member

David Sanders is a partner in the Adelaide Assurance practice, Ernst & Young and is a qualified chartered accountant and registered company auditor.   With over 20 years of auditing experience, David has had exposure to a wide range of industries and organisations ranging from small businesses to large corporates.  David has been a board member since 2012 and brings his valuable experience to Zoos SA’s Finance and Audit Committee and Risk and Governance Committee.

David is proud to be an active member of the community, supporting a number of other organisations including the Operations Flinders Foundation, the Believe Foundation, Prince Alfred College and Moo Premium Foods Pty Ltd.  David has been the Operation Flinders Foundation Treasurer for eight years and also holds the role of deputy Chairman.  David is also currently the Treasurer for Prince Alfred College and the Believe Foundation, as well as Chairman of Moo Premium Foods Pty Ltd.  He was previously a director and deputy chairman of Eldercare for 11 years.

As a child, David enjoyed many visits to the zoo with his own parents and later as a member now enjoys the zoo with his wife, Dallas and four young boys.  David joined the board hoping his business background would help guide the zoo’s finances.


Carol Tilt

Board Member

Carol is a Professor of Accounting at the University of South Australia, and previously held the position of Director of Research at the Australian Institute of Business.  She is an adjunct Professor, and former Dean, at Flinders Business School, Flinders University, where she worked for 20 years. Carol is a Fellow of CPA Australia, has experience serving on numerous academic committees, was a Director of a Credit Union, and was formerly on the Board of the Don Dunstan Foundation.

Carol is passionate about conservation, doing her PhD and subsequent research on environmental disclosure and policies of Australian companies. Her research attempts to bring together the often disparate worlds of business and the environment, focussing in the areas of environmental, triple bottom line, and sustainability reporting.

Since the 1980s Carol has been a member of environmental and animal welfare groups, including Greenpeace, the RSPCA, WWF and IFAW. She has been a volunteer Guide and Children’s Zoo volunteer since 2011, during which time she has gained important knowledge about our Zoo by working with the dedicated keepers and volunteers.


Julieann Riedstra


Julieann is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development. Julieann has over 25 years experience in the South Australian public sector in finance, corporate services and infrastructure roles.  Julieann holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.  Julieann also served as a Director of a Credit Union for over 10 years and is on a number of government boards and Committees. Julieann is currently the Deputy Chair of Nature Play SA. Julieann has been a Zoos SA board member since 2013 and has been a Life Member since 2008.

With her extensive experience in master planning and strategic budget and asset management Julieann looks forward to bringing her experience to the Zoos SA Board and is committed to a successful and sustainable future for Zoos SA.


Kate Thiele

Board Member

Kate has over ten years board and executive experience with a Top 100 public listed company, in the private sector including two of Australia’s leading not-for-profits.  She has wide-ranging experience across diverse industries including not for profits, community services, health, retail, disability and manufacturing. She is also a member of Zoos SA Risk and Governance Committee.  Kate joined the board as a co-opted member in 2012.

Kate is also a board member of Minda Incorporated and the University of South Australia’s MBA Advisory Board. Her previous board appointments include the Vocational Education, Employment and Training Board, Deputy Board Member of the Training and Skills Commission and member of the Training Regulation Reference subcommittee.

Qualified with a Master of Business Administration and the Company Directors course and a passion for marketing Kate brings valuable expertise to the Zoos SA Board.  She looks forward to using her experience in leadership, cultural change, strategy development and stakeholder engagement to help Zoos SA continue to achieve our aspiration of becoming a leading conservation organisation.


Kate Hartwig

Board Secretary/Public Officer

Secretary/Public Officer

Kate has had a long career in not-for-profit organisations having been CEO of a range of industry, professional and charitable organisations in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.  She was appointed as the Zoos SA Board Secretary and Public Officer in 2013.

Kate started her career as an Association Executive with the South Australian Employer’s Federation, multi-managing a range of industry and professional organisations.  She moved to Sydney in 1987 and was appointed CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association, then Executive Director of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and CEO of the Australian Video Retailers Association.  She moved to Melbourne in 1999 and took on roles with Software Engineering Australia and as CEO of the Retirement Village Association.  She moved back to Adelaide in 2005 and into the charity sector as CEO of the AIDS Council of SA and Cystic Fibrosis SA.

Kate has been a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1992 and was a Governor of the AIDS Trust of Australia.  She was National President of the Australasian Society of Association Executives and was awarded a Life Membership of this organisation in 2013.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Laws and an MBA and has now launched her own consultancy, providing advice, training and assistance to the not-for-profit sector.


Dennis Mutton JP

Vice President

Dennis Mutton is an independent consultant in the fields of natural resources management, primary industries, regional growth initiatives, leadership development and government-business relations. He also holds a range of board directorships in government, business and not for profit organisations at State and National levels. His full time work career included executive management roles in both the private and public sectors culminating in 15 years as CEO of a number of State Government agencies including the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions. Dennis was appointed by the Governor as a Board Member of Zoos SA from 1994 to 1998 during the time of the establishment of Monarto Safari Park.

Dennis has an honors degree in science and post graduate qualifications in business management. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

He is strongly committed to contributing to the achievement of sustainable communities and landscapes and delivering outcomes that make a real difference. Zoos SA along with other research and conservation organisations have and continue to be a key part of his interest, focus and support. Dennis is also a member of Zoos SA’s Finance and Audit Committee. The role that Zoos SA plays in education, research and connecting people with nature strongly aligns with his values and where he expends time and energy.


Rod Buchecker

Board member

Rod is Chair of TEC 30 for The Executive Connection, the world’s largest CEO network. He is a recognised executive mentor and business coach, specialising in leadership development and helping companies find the focus they need to succeed.

Through his Adelaide based consulting practice, Rod works with a wide variety of private and public clients in Australia and New Zealand.  With over 30 years experience delivering sustainable, strategic and creative solutions on high profile brands all over the world, he is known as one of Australia’s most accomplished marketing communications professionals.

He is also an advisory board member of Torque Control Specialists Ltd, a member of Saint Ignatius College Council and sits on the Strategic Fundraising Committee for Cancer Council SA (CCSA). Prior to joining the Zoos SA board Rod was a director of CCSA for 10 years, Clemenger BBDO Adelaide for 15 years and also Regional Development Australia – Metropolitan Adelaide.

He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Strategic Marketing Management in Boston and the prestigious Y@R Ad Skills Programme in New York. He is also an Ambassador for Thought Leaders Global and a founding member of the Faculty of Thought Leaders Business School, a Sydney and Melbourne based learning institution changing the way clever people think.

Rod Buchecker

Susie Robinson

Board Member

Dr Robinson is the Chief Executive Officer of Higher Education Consulting Group. Within this specialist strategy consultancy, servicing the university, research and innovation sector, she is also the Practice Lead – Industry Strategy and Positioning.

A former Director, International and Industry Engagement for the Australian Technology Network of Universities, with prior experience as a lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University (Australia), Cambridge University (UK) and the University of South Australia, she was also a long-standing former member of the Governing Council of the University of Adelaide. Susie additionally brings further corporate governance experience, having sat on the Board of major SA charity, Novita Children’s Services, for 5 years.

Dr Robinson has a depth of experience working at senior and executive level in the UK and South Australian Governments. Public sector portfolios include innovation; research and development; higher education; skills and employment; treasury and finance; and public sector performance.

Trained in the sciences and business management, she holds a PhD from Cambridge University, UK.

A mother to young children, her family has enjoyed many years’ zoo membership. Her family have a passion for the zoo as an institution of great importance to both the local community and visitors.

Bill Spurr AO

Board Member

Bill Spurr has had an extensive career in the tourism, hospitality and event industries in South Australia. A former Chief Executive Officer of the S.A. Tourism Commission Bill currently chairs the board of Adelaide Venue Management Corporation ( responsible for the operations of the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Hindmarsh Football Stadium) and is a member of the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council.

Bill is an adjunct Professor of Tourism at Flinders University and was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015 for “distinguished service to the tourism, to education, particularly through international marketing, to the arts and sports as an administrator of institutions and events, and to the community of South Australia”

Kristofer Helgen

Board Member

Kris Helgen, an expert on mammal evolution and conservation, is Chief Scientist of the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Originally from Minnesota, Kris received an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard, and later a PhD in zoology from the University of Adelaide, working under Professor Tim Flannery. After this, Kris was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian, working at the National Museum of Natural History and National Zoo.

From 2008-2017 Kris served as the Smithsonian’s Curator-in-Charge of Mammals. He has worked in more than 50 countries (especially Asia-Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Americas) and is renowned worldwide for his work as a zoologist and conservationist. Kris has published hundreds of scientific papers about mammals, appears regularly on television and radio, and is well known for discovering and naming many species of mammals new to science.

Kris returned to Adelaide in 2017, where he held a professorship at the University of Adelaide, before recently moving to take up the position of Chief Scientist of the Australian Museum in Sydney. He holds honorary positions at the South Australian Museum and many other institutions, including the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), and the National Geographic Society. He has served on various international and institutional boards. He has deep respect for zoos as educational, conservation, and research organizations, and regularly works on research projects with zoos around the world (London, Smithsonian, San Diego). Kris, his wife Lauren, and their 4-year-old son, are Zoos South Australia members and remain regular visitors. Kris has visited Adelaide/Monarto Safari Parks for more than 20 years.

#MonartoSafariPark's African Lion pride grows to ten after the adorable introduction of the male lions to our cubs…

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

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