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Who We Are

The Australian Brain Cancer Foundation

Our Board

Milena Skepev - Director, Chairperson and Founder

Milena Skepev is the visionary founder behind the Australian Brain Cancer Foundation. With a background rooted in Commerce and a specialisation in Accounting, Milena’s journey has been a tapestry of diverse roles, including hotel and accounts management, wedding coordination, photography, and cake design. Since 2016, she has channeled her creativity into interior design and styling for commercial, hotel, and residential spaces. Milena’s resolute determination and philanthropic spirit led her to establish the Australian Brain Cancer Foundation, a testament to her unwavering commitment to making a difference.

A devoted mother of three, she balances her multifaceted career with her deep dedication to community and philanthropy. Milena’s exceptional project management skills and unrelenting motivation are driving forces behind the foundation’s mission, making her a true inspiration in the fight against brain cancer.

John Irvine - Director, Secretary

John, a Partner at Trinity Law, is a highly esteemed commercial property and development lawyer in Canberra. Armed with degrees in Commerce Accounting and Law (Honours) and boasting over two decades of legal experience, John seamlessly blends legal expertise with a deep commercial understanding. His counsel has been sought by clients from across Australia and around the world for navigating major commercial property transactions in Canberra and its environs. Within Trinity Law, John takes charge of the Commercial Division and has previously served as the Chair of the ACT Law Society’s Commercial Law Committee.

Hailing from South Australia, John is a fervent advocate for the culinary and viticultural riches of his home state, especially the exquisite Barossa Valley Shiraz. With his passion for the law and dedication to promoting South Australia’s treasures, John proves to be an invaluable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

Tegan Elferkh - Public Officer

Tegan is a dedicated professional fuelled by a relentless pursuit of excellence and precision. With a remarkable track record of achievements, she stands as a testament to her dedicated commitment to success. Tegan possesses a natural gift for problem-solving, effortlessly navigating complex challenges and thriving as a valuable team player. Her adept multitasking abilities allow her to juggle various responsibilities with ease, making her a versatile asset to any endeavour.

Currently serving as the Principal at Maxim Chartered Accountants, Tegan’s leadership and expertise have significantly contributed to the firm’s reputation for excellence. She thrives on collaboration, driven by a genuine desire to make a meaningful difference in every project she undertakes. Tegan’s dedication to precision and her passion for delivering outstanding results make her a standout professional in her field.

Our Advisory Committee

Mile Petrevski - Strategic Advisor

Mile is a seasoned taxation expert renowned for his exceptional ability to weigh risks and rewards. With over two decades of experience as a leading taxation advisor, Mile thrives on tackling challenges and proactively seeks win-win solutions.

Mile’s strong client relationships and industry connections have made him an invaluable team member and his deep understanding of motivations and objectives allows him to provide personalised and professional guidance. Notably, Mile is recognised for his expertise in taxation law and strategy within the property sector, often sharing his insights with the ACT Property Council.

Joining Maxim in 1999 as a Senior Manager, Mile’s rapid ascent to Partner in 2000, alongside Gerard Boundy, underscores his leadership and expertise. As a business owner, Mile’s diverse interests span property development, ownership, stakes in professional practices, and an IT service business, demonstrating his multifaceted approach to business and wealth management.

Stefanie Cordina - Strategic Advisor

Stefanie is a dedicated specialist in public policy specialising in cyber security and governance driven by a profound passion for effecting positive change. Armed with Bachelor’s degrees in Law and Economics from the Australian National University, she boasts an impressive 25-year journey encompassing both public and private sectors. Throughout her career, Stefanie has held pivotal roles within Government, navigating complex policy landscapes and operational environments.

Her distinguished track record is a testament to her acumen, consistently translating into successful outcomes. Stefanie’s strategic approach has proven instrumental in delivering tangible results that align with broader national objectives. With an unwavering commitment to her field and a deep-rooted belief in the power of policy, Stefanie’s expertise shines through as she strives to shape a better future. Her wealth of experience, honed over decades of dedicated service, positions her as a trusted and accomplished adviser.

Professor Leonie Quinn - Medical Advisory Committee Representative

Professor Leonie Quinn is a renowned scientist in the field of cancer research, with a deep focus on brain cancer and its devastating impact both on patients and families. She embarked on her academic journey in Adelaide, where she completed her PhD studies, laying the foundation for her extraordinary career. She further honed her expertise through postdoctoral research at the prestigious Peter MacCallum Centre in Melbourne.

Driven by her passion for advancing our understanding of brain cancer, Dr. Quinn established her own cutting-edge laboratory at the University of Melbourne. Today, she continues her ground-breaking work as a leading researcher at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra, where her contributions are pivotal in unravelling the complexities of brain cancer and developing innovative treatments.

With a commitment to improving lives and a track record of excellence, Dr. Professor Quinn is at the forefront of combating this devastating disease.

Professor Leonie Quinn is the leader of the Quinn Group at the Australian National University.  For more information, please visit the Quinn Group website.

Amanda Fintan - Consumer and Community Representative

Amanda Fintan is a seasoned leader with over 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector. Currently serving as Associate Director of Development at the University of Canberra, Amanda drives strategic philanthropic fundraising initiatives supporting research, student assistance, and campus development.

Previously, Amanda held key roles in the not-for-profit realm, including Business Development Manager at Cancer Council ACT, where she managed marketing, communications and fundraising. Amanda’s notable contributions extend to the brain cancer community, with six years of service at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Her roles encompassed National Events and Special Projects Manager, ACT Manager, and co-founder of Brainstorm for A Cure Charity Gala.

With expertise in strategic fundraising, relationship management, community engagement, event production, budget management, Amanda brings a wealth of experience. She is also primary caregiver to friend and long-term brain cancer survivor, Sarah Mamalai.

Amanda’s professional versatility and commitment make her a valuable asset in her field.

Our Fundraising Committee

Milena Skepev - Fundraising Committee

As the CEO of the Foundation and leader of the fundraising committee, Milena Skepev applies her experience from her time as a hotel proprietor and event organiser.

Her skills in project management, which she refined during her tenure in interior design and styling, empower her to effectively plan and lead both events and projects. Her understanding of the hospitality industry, combined with her strong commitment to philanthropy, propels successful and meaningful fundraising efforts.

Colin McCulloch - Fundraising Committee

Colin is tenacious and passionate. In 2011 he triumphed over a life-threatening brain tumour that presented with persistent headaches and sudden collapse. Doctors discovered a 6cm tumour in the centre of his brain. After enduring two gruelling brain surgeries and intense rehabilitation, Colin defied the odds, resuming full-time work just 12 months post-surgery. His harrowing experience inspired him to dedicate himself to raising funds and awareness for Brain Cancer Charities and Organizations.

Colin has channelled his personal journey into action, collaborating with no less than five Brain Cancer Charities. Working in the local Canberra Business Community for over 20 years, Colin has fostered strong relationships with corporate business clients eager to support the Brain Cancer cause. 

Colin’s unwavering commitment has played a pivotal role in raising over $8 million dollars for Brain Cancer Research and Awareness over the past decade through various events and fundraising initiatives. Colin’s story embodies resilience, hope, and the power of community rallying together against brain cancer.

Ursula Kohler - Fundraising Committee

Ursula thrives in challenging, successful environments, boasting over 30 years’ experience collaborating with some of Australia’s top-tier CEOs and renowned individuals. She’s earned a reputation for resilience and an ability to thrive under pressure. She excels at relationship-building, organisation, multitasking, and prioritisation, constantly striving to set new standards. She’s deeply passionate about empowering executive support professionals to comprehend their organizations, foster internal and external relationships, grow and evolve, and maintain a can-do solution-focused mindset.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Ursula is committed to causes including brain cancer advocacy, youth empowerment, and mental health initiatives. A native of Canberra and the youngest of six siblings, Ursula completed a Diploma of Business Management early in her career. She’s lived on the Sunshine Coast but ultimately prefers Canberra and is enthusiastic about the possibilities this region holds in the development of brain cancer cures.

Our Medical Advisory Committee

Doctor Ganes Pranavan - Medical Advisory Committee

Dr. Pranavan is a distinguished medical oncologist based at the Canberra Hospital, where he specialises in the intricate and highly involved field of neuro-oncology. His expertise lies in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers affecting the nervous system. He is involved extensively with brain cancer research both at The Canberra Hospital and ANU. He is the principal investigator for many brain tumour related clinical trials and an active member of national and international brain tumour cooperative groups including The Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO).

In addition to his clinical role, Dr. Pranavan holds the position of Clinical Lecturer at the esteemed Australian National University. He is actively engaged in the core teaching activities of the ANU medical school, where he imparts his knowledge and experience to the next generation of medical professionals.

With a commitment to advancing the field of neuro-oncology and a passion for educating future physicians, Dr. Pranavan is a respected figure in both clinical practice and academia. His dedication to improving the lives of patients with neuro-oncological conditions makes him a valuable asset to the medical community.

Associate Professor Peter Mews - Medical Advisory Committee

Dr. Mews, a highly skilled neurosurgeon, earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees in 2002. His dedication to advancing the field of neurosurgery has led him to train and operate internationally, gaining invaluable experience and expertise.

Dr. Mews possesses a profound passion for cerebrovascular neurosurgery, specializing in complex procedures involving the brain’s blood vessels. His commitment to improving patient outcomes in this critical area of neurosurgery is unwavering.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Mews is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University School of Medicine. His role includes sharing, educating and informing upcoming medical professionals of the latest methods and approaches in this extraordinary field of medicine.

Dr. Mews stands as a prominent figure in the field, dedicated to delivering cutting-edge care and contributing to medical education.

Doctor Hari Bandi - Medical Advisory Committee

Dr Hari Priya Bandi is a Canberra-based neurosurgeon who has been working at The Canberra Hospital since 2018. Dr Bandi is proud to serve in the community in which she grew up and is passionate about providing people in Canberra and the region with expert neurosurgical care.

Dr Bandi has a special interest in the treatment of brain and spine tumours and is passionate about providing excellent care for patients beyond surgery. She has contemporaneous experience from centers in Australia and is glad to provide best care for patients. 

Dr Bandi is on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons ACT Audit of Surgical Mortality and this is one example of her dedication to the Canberra surgical community working to promote surgical education, research, health advocacy and service improvement across the ACT. Dr Bandi is devoted to providing all patients with the best care available and improving systems to deliver that level of care. 

She is a keen educator and a lecturer at the ANU School of Medicine. Her dedication to excellence makes her an invaluable asset to the medical community and a source of hope for patients in need of specialised neurological care and an excellent role model for aspiring surgeons.

Most recently, Dr. Bandi etched her name into medical history when she successfully extracted a live 3-inch worm from a patient’s brain, garnering global recognition. She is committed to groundbreaking research and exceptional patient care.

Naomi Mitchell - Medical Advisory Committee

Naomi’s journey in the field of biomedical science began with the completion of her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Melbourne in 2004. Early in her career, she had the privilege of working with Dr. Quinn at the renowned Peter MacCallum Centre, where she honed her skills and deepened her passion for research.

Driven by her commitment to advancing medical knowledge, Naomi later relocated with Prof. Leonie Quinn to the prestigious John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra. Here, they set up the Brain Cancer Discovery Group, undertaking critical research to understand and develop treatments for brain cancer.

Naomi is a senior research officer and the manager of the newly established ACT Brain Cancer Biobank and her continued, dedicated pursuit of excellence in biomedical research makes her a valuable asset to the scientific community. Her collaborative spirit and dedication to furthering our understanding of complex medical issues are a testament to her commitment to improving human health, most especially in the realm of brain cancer.

Naomi is a researcher at the Quinn Group at the Australian National University.  For more information, please visit the Quinn Group website.

Doctor Kylie Jung - Medical Advisory Committee

Dr. Kylie Jung, a dedicated Radiation Oncologist, contributes actively to a multidisciplinary cancer care team. She earned her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), and Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc) degrees from the University of Melbourne in 2012. Subsequently, she completed specialist radiation oncology training in Canberra, becoming a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (FRANZCR). She actively contributes to the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) Breast and CNS Working Parties and conducts research at the Irradiation Immunity Interactive Laboratory at John Curtin School of Medical Research.

In addition, Dr. Jung serves as a clinical lecturer and examiner at the Australian National University (ANU) Medical School. She derives great satisfaction from teaching and mentoring medical students.

Her unwavering dedication to improving cancer care and her commitment to advancing research make her a valuable asset to the medical community.

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