The Board

The Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria (the Board) is a statutory authority established by the Royal Botanic Gardens Act 1991.

The Board has seven members, appointed by the Governor-in-Council.

Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria Members

Ms Chris Trotman B.Bus (Acc), Grad Dip Ed (Health) MoE, GAICD
Chairperson – Appointed April 2020   
Appointed to the Board April 2020  

Chris has over 20 years of executive experience, most recently as CEO of a public hospital in Gippsland. She has extensive experience serving as Chairperson and member of a range of Boards and committees. A former registered nurse, Chris holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in accounting and business and has expertise in finance, corporate governance and strategic planning. Living on a farm, Chris has a keen interest in agriculture and is committed to public health, public land management and conservation.  

Mrs Penny  Fowler GAICD, BBus 
Deputy Chairperson – Appointed April 2016, reappointed April 2020                
Appointed to the Board April 2014, reappointed April 2020

Penny has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a CEW member. Penny has also been a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria since 2014 and is currently the deputy chairperson. She is also chair of both the Herald and Weekly Times and the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. In addition, she is a director of the Australian Ballet, The National Portrait Gallery, Tourism Australia and is on the Advisory Boards of Visy and the Bank of Melbourne.   

Professor Tony  Bacic FAA
Appointed to the Board December 2013, reappointed April 2020

Tony is a highly respected plant scientist. Previously he was director of the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute at The University of Melbourne, deputy director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls and was a long serving member of the Maud Gibson Trust Advisory Committee. He is currently the director of the La Trobe Institute for Agriculture and Food at La Trobe University and ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub in Medicinal Agriculture. His primary focus is on understanding plant growth and development to secure a sustainable food supply with optimal nutritional and health benefits. Tony has been a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria since 2013.   

Gillian  Hund OAM
Appointed to the Board April 2020   

Gillian is a graduate of Sydney University (Bach. of Ed), University of London (Grad Dip Teaching of ESN Children) and Swinburne University (Master in Social Investment and Philanthropy). She began her career in teaching, before co-founding and publishing a national magazine group. She currently holds several roles in the philanthropic sector, including Co-Founder of Melbourne Women’s Fund, and Foundation Officer at the Jack Brockhoff Foundation. Gillian is also a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors and Philanthropy Australia and received an Order of Australia medal in 2020 for service to charitable organisations. She is currently Chair of the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation Victoria, and has served on the Foundation for the past seven years.   

Mr Timothy Jacobs    
Appointed to the Board April 2020

Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours.) He has contributed in senior management roles to a variety of high-profile cultural organisations over the past 35 years. He was previously director of Visual Arts, Craft and Design at the Australia Council, director of Arts Victoria, and chief executive of both the Sydney Opera House and the Victorian Arts Centre. He recently served as executive director of Melbourne Festival, as a trustee of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, and as a director of The Myer Foundation. He is currently director of Red Stitch Actors Theatre.  

Ms Traci  Williams  
Appointed to the Board April 2020

Traci holds a business degree from the University of Melbourne, an MA in International Relations (Deakin) and an MA in Social Investment and Philanthropy (Swinburne). Traci is a past Churchill Fellow, British Council Chevening Scholar and Wolfson College Press Fellow, Cambridge University. Traci is a former Australian diplomat and ABC TV News journalist. She has operated her own consultancy since 2011, following three years in a senior role in Corporate Affairs at Qantas, delivering on the company’s community investment and Indigenous affairs functions. Traci’s expertise lies in policy, strategy, communications and social impact. Currently, she is a member of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust. Traci volunteers with the Red Cross and her local community advocacy committee in the Surf Coast Shire. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Philanthropy at Swinburne University.

Ms Susanne  Williamson GAICD
Appointed to the Board April 2016, reappointed April 2020 

Susanne has been a senior executive and fundraising professional, advising leading organisations in the not-for-profit sector for more than 25 years. Winner of multiple awards for her work in the non-profit and commercial sectors, she was formerly head of fundraising at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, where she raised over $39 million in major gifts within five years. Susanne is currently senior director, development, Monash University, supporting a $500 million fundraising campaign. She joined the board of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in 2016. Susanne has a Graduate Diploma of Business, Marketing, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Certified Change Management Practitioner (APMG International).