Skip to main content

Meet Our Board

Our Board are leaders in their respective fields and dedicated to sharing their diverse skill sets to our organisation.

The Board is passionate about KYUP! Project and assists the executive in executing the organisation’s mission through leadership, governance and regulation oversight.

Mel Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

Violence Expert
KYUP! Project

Mel is a 2 x Australian Hapkido Woman of the Year, second dan black-belt, Australia Day Ambassador, speaker, writer and mother of 2 beautiful girls.

Described as ‘enigmatic’ by Business Chicks and the ‘leader of a revolution' by Cosmo Magazine.

When Mel isn’t in the dojang, she's touring schools, women’s shelters, universities and businesses - empowering leaders, young Australian’s and women and children in crisis to boost their confidence, raise their standards and break the silence on domestic violence.

Nick Edwards

Chair Person

Hamilton Locke

Nicholas Edwards is Chair of the KYUP! Project Board and a partner at Hamilton Locke in the Restructuring and Insolvency practice. Nicholas has been involved with a number of not-for-profits over the last 15 years, including acting as a director on a number of Australian charities and helping to advise on set-up, structure and corporate governance.

John Yates, QPM

Board Member

Director of Security
Scentre Group Corporate Security

John is a former police officer from the UK. His last policing role was as the country’s most senior officer leading the UK’s counter terrorism efforts before transitioning to the private sector into his current role as Director of Security for Scentre Group (Westfield). John is passionate about improving outcomes for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and led UK policing policy on rape and serious sexual offending for a number of years. About KYUP, he says: ‘KYUP is an amazing platform to help people, living in often desperate circumstances, to build their self-confidence and to believe in themselves once again. Mel Thomas is an inspirational leader and I am very proud to be a Board member and to be able to support her incredible work’.

Kate Conneely

Board Member


Kate is a Partner at KordaMentha and is a Registered Liquidator. Kate spends her days advising businesses in trouble, finding solutions to the most challenging of situations. Kate is a natural people person who works in partnership with her clients to understand their needs and utilise their expertise to create a better outcome.

Kate is passionate about women’s empowerment and helping to address the rising challenge of domestic violence in Australia. She was excited to become involved with KYUP! Project when she learnt of its unique and impactful approach in delivering violence prevention education programs in schools. Kate looks forward to working with Mel Thomas and the team to continue to create change and break the cycle of domestic violence.

Glenn Chandler

Board Member

Owner & Design Director

In 2012 I got a phone call from Mel. We hadn't spoken for a couple of years as our careers had taken different paths. Mel proceeded to tell me about her plan to help every young girl in Australia feel safe and empowered and needed some design help. I said sure, send me the brief. The brief she sent wasn't the requirements for a logo or a website. It was the story of life and what she had experienced as a young girl and teenager. Instantly I understood her motivation to help. Since that day, Mel's motivation and drive has been a constant source of inspiration for me.

When I'm not working with KYUP! I run a strategic design firm called Seek&Design. We help very large, and very small brands create meaningful relationships with customers to deliver amazing brand experiences.

Sarah McGilvray

Board Member

Radio & Podcast Host
NOVA Entertainment

Sarah McGilvray is a former radio and TV producer, turned Program Director and on air announcer. Sarah has almost 20 years’ experience in the media working across a range of mediums from 2GB’s Ray Hadley, to Kyle & Jackie O, and Channel 9’s the Today Show. She can currently be heard on Nova 96.9’s breakfast radio show with Fitzy and Wippa, and on her podcast, ‘Not Another Parenting Podcast’.

Rebecca Proudman


Johnson Winter & Slattery

Rebecca is an associate at law firm Johnson Winter and Slattery in the corporate team. By day she enjoys the rigours of solving legal problems and achieving successful outcomes for her clients. In her work with KYUP! she is able to bring that same drive and passion for her work into a different environment to be part of KYUP!’s mission to fight domestic violence at a grass roots level. Bec is inspired by Mel and the work of KYUP! and hopes that she too can help inspire and empower young women.