Judith PrestonFounding Board Member
Judith is a solicitor admitted to practice in New South Wales and the Northern Territory since 1982. She has a distinguished background in representing Aboriginal Traditional owners in land claims across the areas of the Northern Land Council. She was instrumental in establishing the first public interest environmental law centre, the Environmental Defender’s Office in NSW.
She has taught at a range of educational institutions, including Macquarie University, and is also currently undertaking a PhD at Western Sydney University, researching the question of how Indigenous knowledge can be effectively integrated into environmental decision-making.
Dr Sarah Pritchard SCBoard Member
Dr Sarah Pritchard SC has been at the Sydney Bar since 1999, and is a former director of the Australian Human Rights Centre at UNSW. Between 1992 and 2013, she was a director of the Diplomacy Training Program, established at UNSW in 1989 by East Timorese Nobel Laureate and former President Jose Ramos Horta. She is currently chairperson of the Law Council of Australia’s Human Rights Committee, member of the Law Council’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, and co-chair of the NSW Bar Association’s Joint Working Party on the Over-representation of Indigenous people in the NSW Criminal Justice System.
Sarah heard Deng Adut deliver the 2016 Australia Day Lecture and was affected by his remarkable life story, and that of his brother John Mac. She commends the exceptionally valuable work of the John Mac Foundation in supporting people from refugee backgrounds in pursuing higher education.
Nick WillettsBoard Member
Nick is a senior commercial lawyer providing in house legal services and solutions to a variety of organisations. At their first encounter, Deng said “Where have you been hiding?”.
This spurred Nick into becoming involved with JMF. He was CEO from 2017 – 2019 and was appointed to the Board in 2020. “Working with Deng and the JMF family is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done professionally and personally,” Nick said. “JMF is making a real difference to young lives – it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Nicola is a lawyer working for Australian Red Cross. From a young age she has been passionate about reducing social inequality and is a firm believer in the importance of access to education.
Nicola read Deng's book in early 2017 and was moved by Deng's life and the challenges that he and his brother faced, including the challenges that they faced when they came to Australia. She decided to volunteer with the John Mac Foundation to help with the Foundation's mission to improve access to education to people from refugee backgrounds and assist them in their chosen career paths. She loves being part of the John Mac family, especially meeting John Mac's scholarship recipients. She became CEO in April 2019.
Passionate about enabling opportunity for others to lead their best lives, Deen currently acts as the Chief Financial Officer for the John Mac Foundation. Having previously worked with Macquarie Bank in their wealth management operations, Deen has recently joined PwC Australia as a Consultant with their Private Clients team. He has studied a Bachelor of Applied Finance/Bachelor of Economics at Macquarie University and is a current candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program.
Beyond the John Mac Foundation, Deen is highly involved in our community, being named the current Central Coast Youth of the Year, winning the Australia Day Award for his contributions to Youth Leadership over the past decade.
Anna PertierraScholarships Director
Dr Anna Cristina Pertierra is an Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. An anthropologist by training, her research focuses on media and consumer culture, especially among low income communities in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Anna's story with the Foundation started around 19 years ago, when one of her first University jobs led her to teach John Mac in the first year of his degree. Having always remembered John as an inspirational figure, Anna works for the Foundation in his memory, in the hope that today's students can better unlock opportunities in their graduate careers.
Hugh RimintonPrevious Board Member
Hugh is a familiar face to millions of Australians, a trusted nightly news broadcaster and a renowned journalist of many year’s experience. His long history of fearless reporting in Africa, including covering catastrophic events in South Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda, led Hugh to develop close ties with the Sudanese community in Sydney.
This was how Hugh came to meet John Mac, and the two formed a friendship which would last until John’s death. Hugh still thinks of John every day. You can read his eloquent obituary here.
Hugh was a founding board member of the John Mac Foundation and contributed hugely to the success of the Foundation during his 4 years on the board. Hugh remains a close friend of the Foundation and the Foundation wishes to honour and thank Hugh for his significant contribution to the work of the Foundation.
Deng is a Sydney-based criminal lawyer, and the younger brother of John Mac.
Deng is considered one of the leaders of Sydney’s South Sudanese community. Deng is also known for giving the 2016 Australia Day address and for appearing in Western Sydney’s powerful recruitment campaign.
Deng holds a Bachelor of Laws from Western Sydney University and a Master of Laws (Criminal Practice) from the University of Wollongong. Deng was a child soldier in the conflict in his homeland Sudan, taken when we was six, and rescued at age twelve by his older brother John Mac, who smuggled him out of the country.
The John Mac Foundation aims to address some of the problems that help John back during his life. Through our scholarship fund, we assist people from refugee backgrounds make a successful transition from education into meaningful employment.Donate now