Team AWESOME

Jenny Simpson

CEO/Artistic Director

Jenny joined AWESOME in 2007, bringing to the role extensive experience as a business manager, festival director, performer and teacher. Jenny has previously held several board positions including Treasurer of Canberra Arts Marketing, President of KULCHA, Multicultural Arts WA and board member for the Chamber of Arts and Culture. Jenny is currently the Musical Director of Mosman Park based choir, the Mighty Camelot. At AWESOME Jenny combines her passion for presenting high quality and innovative arts with community cultural development and working with regional communities.

Brianna Wotzko

Operations Manager

Brianna joined team AWESOME in 2015 and loves to explore the limitless potential of creativity! Brianna studied Professional Writing and Publishing and Literary Cultural Studies at Curtin University and has an Associate Diploma in Drama and Performance with the Australian Music Examination Board which qualifies her as a Speech and Drama Teacher. Brianna has a strong background in Arts Management and Education having worked at various schools and festivals in Perth. In her spare time she enjoys learning unusual information on the internet and watching dark and twisty TV shows and movies.

Nadia Bischof

Festival Admin and Artist Logistics Manager

Nadia started out at AWESOME as a festival volunteer before officially joining the team in 2016. Nadia graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Event, Sport and Recreation Management, and has worked in various event coordination and admin roles. She currently has the busy job of arranging flights and accommodation for AWESOME artists, managing the volunteer program and organising school excursions to the festival. On the weekends you can find Nadia checking out a new brunch spot and watching cheesy rom coms.

Angela Ringuet

Community Arts Officer

Angela joined team AWESOME in 2022 and is excited to be here! Angela has worked in business management and team leadership for almost 10 years. She has a strong background in client relations, scheduling, and operational administration. She is passionate about creating a positive experience for anyone collaborating with AWESOME! When she’s not in the AWESOME office you will find her studying, bingeing a podcast, or most likely thinking about what she’s going to eat next.

Tiffany Ko

Creative Learning and Education Manager

Tiffany joined AWESOME in 2024 from an arts/events management background and has worked with children within an ESL capacity. She studied English and Cultural Studies, and Chinese at the University of Western Australia, and is passionate about bringing the life-changing magic of art to children. She has returned from a year in the Pilbara and is excited to continue bringing creative programs and events to schools around WA. In her spare time, you can find her curled up on the couch with a book and Millie the cat on her lap.

Jess Gately

Marketing Coordinator

Jess joined AWESOME part-time in 2023 from a freelance publishing background. She has worked in various publishing and arts administration roles, as well as marketing and event coordination roles. She is passionate about local arts and literature and the power of words to understand our present and shape our future. On her days off, if she hasn’t got her nose in a book, you’ll find her watching anime or playing games.

Bonnie Davies

Producer

Bonnie did work experience at AWESOME when she was 15, and was hired as Office Manager when she graduated high school. Since then she’s worked for a variety of festivals, councils, arts organisations and businesses across WA and the UK. She’s come back on board as Producer over 20 years after her first role.

James Savage

Production Manager

James has worked in the arts industry for many years and has worked his way up to production manager to the stars! In recent years he has been production manager at the Fairbridge Festival, Joondalup Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in addition to touring the world over with Australian comedy act Frank Woodley and his show ‘Possessed.’ James looks forward to coming back and working on the AWESOME festival in the second half of the year.

Board

Professor Jonathan Carapetis

Patron of AWESOME Arts Australia Ltd. & Director of the Telethon Kids Institute

Jonathan is a paediatrician, researcher and Director of Telethon Kids Institute. He has been a patron of AWESOME Arts since 2015. This combination of skill and experience allows him to blend his passion for improving the health and wellbeing amongst disadvantaged kids with his interests in the arts.

During university, Jonathan was a frequent visitor to Africa where his father lived. It was in Tanzania where he saw first-hand the challenges facing many local families. Their struggle with poverty and major health crises such as HIV, malaria, pneumonia and malnutrition fuelled him through his studies and had a major influence on his future career path.

In his dim dark past, he miss-spent many years as an amateur thespian, and wonders to this day whether he should have followed his mates into professional acting. He watched them go on to become famous with Working Dog Productions, while he continued with intensive study to become a doctor… Sigh… Jonathan and his family continue to be strong supporters of the arts as well as health focused organisations who advocate for social justice and equity.

Danielle Benda

Chair

Danielle Benda grew up on a farm in a small community with a passion for amateur theatre. Her first stage appearances as a primary school kid were as a dancing fairy or naughty elf in the annual pantomime.

An avid reader, her passion for theatre was reignited at university where she was heavily involved in the dramatic society before finally abandoning any ideas of a career in the arts for a cadetship at The West Australian and a future in journalism. In addition to The West, her career has encompassed stints at ABC Radio, Curtin University, Scoop Magazine and five years as an adviser in the office of Premier Colin Barnett.

Along the way she has done a great deal of arts writing, many theatre reviews and book reviews. She worked for the Perth International Arts Festival for two years, running the Perth Writers Festival. She is now Content Director at ABC Radio and continues to pursue her interests in theatre, visual arts and literature.

 

Daniel Smith

Deputy Chair

Daniel is founder and executive director of CGM Communications, one of Western Australia’s leading strategic communications firms, specialising in community, government and media relations. As a trusted advisor to people at the most senior levels of government and industry, Daniel brings exceptional networks to the AWESOME Board. Daniel’s previous Board experience in the community arts and events sector also benefits AWESOME.

Daniel loves to do music and craft with his two young daughters. He is President of his local school’s P&C.

Daniel is excited to be a part of the AWESOME Board at a time of well-earned opportunity for the organisation.

Ellie Quinti

Secretary

Ellie is an adaptable, creative and highly experienced marketer, having worked in senior roles across many high-profile brands, including Vicinity Centres, 303 MullenLowe, IKEA, Bankwest, Red Rooster and Peters & Brownes. Currently employed by JLL, Ellie leads Customer Strategy on the Perron Group account and has a passion for human centric thinking and using it to help develop places, spaces and experiences that enrich people’s lives.

Ellie supports the belief that that exposure to the arts helps kids develop imagination, curiosity and problem-solving skills and is thrilled to be part of the AWESOME Board to support the excellent work they do in helping children access and engage with the arts.

Michael Jones

Treasurer

Michael is a Chartered Accountant and experienced corporate executive and board director. He is founder and managing partner of Atramentum Accounting & Consulting and Managing Director / CEO of OnePayPoint Pty a fintech startup launching in 2023. He is skilled in; building teams, providing critical financial reporting & commercial analysis, delivering transformation projects, and most importantly, developing and implementing corporate strategy and board governance.

Michael has a long history of working in the arts and events sector, including sitting on the Artrage board and working with Mosarts. He currently sits on the SeeSaw arts magazine board.

Michael is looking forward to working with the AWESOME Team to help define the organisations future strategic direction.

Emma Jayakumar

 

Emma is an Australian composer of opera, ballet and chamber music. Recent major commissioned works for orchestra and ensemble have included the orchestral song cycle Four Lost Songs (2022) for the Darwin Symphony Orchestra with soprano Rachelle Durkin, Our Little Inventor (2022) for West Australian Opera, the Lost Little Llama (2022) for Awesome Festival and LINK Dance, Bell Birds Suite for String Quartet (2020) for the ABC recorded by the Darlington Quartet, The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (2020) for West Australian Ballet and AWESOME Festival, and opera Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (2021) for MusicBook Stories and the City of Perth Winter Arts Festival, recently revived and restaged in January 2023 at the State Theatre Centre for Perth Fringe Festival (State of Play).

Completing a practice-led PhD in composition at WAAPA in 2018, Emma is also an award-winning singer, and an alumna of the Royal Academy of Music, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and WAAPA opera courses. She is a sought-after composer and fierce advocate of engaging and accessible works for young audiences, as well as new music celebrating diverse Australian voices.

Upcoming works in 2023/24 include a new piano quintet and voice commission Circles and Centres for the Darlington Quartet and celebrated mezzo Caitlin Hulcup, and creative development of Mary & Magdalene—a cantata for soloists and chamber choir.

Dane O’Callaghan

 

As an accomplished professional in the Property Industry, Dane brings a wealth of expertise to AWESOME, spanning strategy development, risk management, change management, project management, and day-to-day operations.

A values-driven leader committed to serving others, Dane strives to constructively contribute to board discussion fusing an entrepreneurial spirit with unwavering integrity to foster decisive decision-making and value creation.

Dane’s early exposure to the arts in a household rich in visual and performing arts influenced his initial career as an Architect and is a passion he relishes sharing with his children present day.

In terms of education, Dane holds Master’s qualifications in finance and business, supported by studies in design, architecture, property development, and project management. Recognised as a Fellow at the Australian Institute of Management, he is also a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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