Our People

We take pride in the diverse backgrounds of our team which reflect the communities in which we work. We operate ethically and are guided by a volunteer Board of Directors who ensure strong and transparent governance. Travellers Aid’s workforce consists of 75% dedicated volunteers and 25% committed staff who are motivated by creating real outcomes for the people we serve.

Senior Management Team

Elias Lebbos

Chief Executive Officer

Elias joined Travellers Aid as Operations Manager in 2007 and took on the role of CEO in 2014. Prior to this, over a period of 18 years, he held a number of different roles at state level within the Australian Red Cross. This included overseeing Business Development, Volunteer Development and Community Development.

Elias uses his expert knowledge of the transport sector together with innovative thinking and a real understanding of community needs to lead the organisation into its second century of operation.

Elias is particularly adept at strategic planning, identifying new opportunities and focusing on the big picture as Travellers Aid continues to experience significant growth in response to customer and service user needs in an ever changing marketplace.

Maria Groner

Operations Manager

Maria joined Travellers Aid as the Emergency Relief Coordinator in 2007. She was the organisation’s Social Policy Advisor for two years before taking on the role of Operations Manager in 2013, a significant role during a time of rapid change within the organisation.

A social worker by training, Maria has more than 20 years experience in the not-for-profit sector, both in Australia and in her home country of Germany. Maria’s experience gained in frontline roles through to senior management positions have benefited from her deep commitment to social justice and her passion for improving the lives of those most disadvantaged in our society.

Maria is a conceptual thinker with strong analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving that ensures Travellers Aids services are of the highest standard and delivered with dignity and respect.

Elaine Shallue

Corporate Services Manager​

Elaine joined Travellers Aid in 2016, initially as the Finance Manager before taking on the additional role of Business Development Manager. She also oversees the technology needs of the organisation.

A qualified accountant and adult trainer, Elaine has 15 years experience in the not-for-profit sector in Australia, having held a range of positions in finance, administration, adult training and project management at senior levels. She believes strongly in the ability of small organisations to deliver customer focused services with compassion, integrity and to the highest level of professionalism.

Elaine is a lateral thinker who is guided by the Travellers Aid’s Strategic Plan 2018-2028 to achieve organisational growth by focusing on expanding existing services whilst also identifying further opportunities in response to the age-related mobility needs of the wider community.

Arnie Bax

Service and Innovation Manager

Arnie brings a broad range of skills and experience to his role in Travellers Aid. He holds a Master of International and Community Development and Master of Business Administration, and he has worked in the non-profit/community development sector incl. disability service providers, and the corporate sector for many years.

A true professional and an innovative thinker with a can-do attitude. He thrives on seeing a project through from design to implementation. Arnie works hard to lead engaged teams who are aligned to our organisational purpose, so ensuring the best possible outcomes for our clients and service users.

Sara McDonald

Sara McDonald

Service Development Manager

Sara joined Travellers Aid in 2019 as Operations Coordinator and took on the role of Service Innovation Manager in 2020.  After a short break, Sara returned to Travellers Aid in the role of Service Development Manager in 2023.

Sara holds a Bachelor of Business Management and held a range of positions in the banking and finance sector before a secondment with a disability services organisation saw her experience and skills transferred into the not-for-profit sector. Committed to  understanding the sector from the ground up, she has held roles in frontline care and case management.

Sara is a critical thinker with an eye for improving productivity and efficiency. Inspired by the success of others, she looks forward to building on Travellers Aid’s foundations of dignity and respect to deliver real outcomes for people facing mobility challenges.

Our Board

Travellers Aid Australia is governed by a Board of five to nine elected directors. Directors bring expertise and experience from the financial, commercial, corporate, marketing and legal sectors.

Each director contributes their time to Travellers Aid Australia in a voluntary capacity without remuneration. The Board provides strategic guidance and commercial oversight of Travellers Aid Australia’s business, operations and services.

Directors are mindful of the needs and interests of our clients and stakeholders.


Our Current Board of Directors are:

Peter Gluskie

BEng MBA CPPD GAICD
Chair of Board
Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Peter joined the Board of Travellers Aid in October 2014. He is a senior executive with wide ranging experience in implementing major business transformation programs across many industries.

Peter is also an experienced non-executive director with a long history of providing governance and strategic insight to organisations across the Not-for-Profit, health and sports sectors.

Paddy Oliver

LL.B., M.Litt., MBA, GAICD
Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Paddy joined the Board of Travellers Aid in October 2014. He is Managing Director of AML Experts, a legal practice and consultancy focusing on governance, risk and compliance in the financial services and professional services sectors.

Paddy is a solicitor by qualification, having worked for many years in private practice before a move to management consultancy.

He has previously been on the Law Institute of Victoria Legal Practice Management Committee and the Board of the Australasian Association of Certified AML Specialists.

Philip Cornish

FCHSM, GAICD
Member of the People and Services Committee

Philip joined the Board of Travellers Aid in October 2014. He is an experienced health and community services executive and management consultant with over 25 years of experience in the sector.

Philip is an executive all-rounder with substantial service responsibilities in finance, human resource and capital. He has a particular interest in the needs of people with disabilities having worked with and assisted people with spinal cord and acquired brain injuries.

David Hanrahan

B Bus, MBA
Member of the Business Development Committee

David joined the Board of Travellers Aid in October 2017. He is a senior marketing and strategy executive with 20 years experience across the financial services, resources, energy and private health insurance sectors.

David was previously Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Strategy & Growth for GE in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, working across GE’s businesses in the region.

Jantine Eddelbuttel

FAICD, B.AS, Grad Dip Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations
Member of People and Services Committee

Jantine is a senior human resource professional with over 25 years of broad executive and business experience across a range of industries including not-for-profit, disability, aged care, health, insurance, telecommunications, and entertainment.

Jantine is the current Director Human Resources for Zoos Victoria and prior to this spent 8 years in the disability sector in the role of General Manager, Human Resources for the Tipping foundation. She is a contemporary leader in her field and drives strategic and operational excellence to achieve organisational mission and sustainability for the future.

Nicola Edwards

Grad Dip PR, BA Arts

Member of the Business Development Committee

Nicola joined the Board of Travellers Aid in February 2018. She is an experienced marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience in senior marketing and communications roles in not-for-profit and government organisations.

Nicola has a strong background in reputation, brand management and strategic communications and her experience in the not-for-profit sector has included leading communications functions at the Stroke Foundation and The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. She is currently Executive Manager, Communications at Amaze. She served as a Board Director of the Dear Dyslexic Foundation since its inception until May 2018 and brings to Travellers Aid her passion for clear communications and skills in building awareness of causes and issues.

Melita Ryan

MBA BSc OT FACHSM CHE GAICD

Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Melita Ryan joined the board in 2023, having participated on the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee since 2022. Melita has over 20 years experience in the healthcare and disability sector and is a practicing Occupational Therapist.

Melita brings her extensive experience in management consulting, currently working as a Senior Manager at EY. She is also a Board Director of a rural Victorian health service.  Melita is passionate about improving the community’s access to and participation in the vibrant City of Melbourne.

Arunesh Choubey

BEng, MEng MBA

Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Arunesh joined the TAA board in 2022, having been on the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee since 2019. Arunesh is a seasoned board member and business leader with capability honed from decades of corporate leadership, enterprise scale-up, and management consulting in global markets.

He has partnered with energy, technology and manufacturing businesses transforming their business operations in line with board-mandated objectives. Currently, he serves on two other boards and has previously served on boards of disability support services, arts, media and refugee integration NFPs. He is a published author and blogger.

Bruce Heron

B.Comm, CA ANZ, F Fin, GAICD

Treasurer and Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Bruce joined the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee (“FARM”) of Travellers Aid in April 2018. On the retirement of Sandy Bell, Bruce was appointed to the Board as the organisation’s Treasurer and Chair of the FARM sub-committee, effective from 30th April 2023.

Currently as Treasurer and Head of Credit of ASX-listed McMillan Shakespeare Limited, and with prior global experience across over 15 countries as Regional Finance Director for one of the world’s largest vehicle leasing companies, Bruce brings deep financial and commercial insights to Travellers Aid.

Bruce is a Chartered Accountant by qualification, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.