Staff Profiles

Christopher Downes
CEO, Australasia

With over 23 years experience in Fundraising, Chris has worked Internationally with clients in Canada, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and throughout Australia.  Since his return from Canada in his role as CFO of DVA Navion International, he has built a team of highly skilled experts providing strategic counsel to clients throughout Australia and New Zealand achieving exceptional results in the areas of Capital Campaigns, Major Gifts, Bequests, Donor Development and Fundraising strategy development.  

Chris has personally partnered with and guided clients who work in Welfare, Disability, the Arts, Conservation, Education, Research and Healthcare to  successful results in their fundraising objectives. He presents Internationally to conferences and workshops and provides ongoing strategic counsel to organisations in the USA.

He has been a leader in developing fundraising strategies within the professional sporting arena working with many AFL clubs and elite sporting bodies such as Cricket Australia and Golf Australia.  He is an owner and Director of DVA Navion and is a member of the FIA and AICD.
 

Wm. Edward Laity
CFRE, Partner DVA Navion Australasia

As Partner in DVA Navion Australasia, Ed brings his ongoing significant North American experience to our clients in Australia and New Zealand. His experience of well over 25 years is now shared with DVA Navion's clients during his regular visits to Australia and New Zealand each year. His strategic thinking and ability to review

progress and set future goals keeps campaigns seriously on track.

Ed has planned and managed major capital campaigns, directed feasibility studies and helped strengthen annual giving programs working with a number of clients around the world. He has extensive experience working with National and International clients including Salvation Army, American Association for the Blind.

In his career, he has directed campaigns with goals totalling more than $100 million. He is a frequent lecturer, with a background in capital campaigning, board development, direct mail, special events, planned giving, marketing and communications. He is an alumnus of Georgia State University.

 

Melita Griffin - Senior Consultant 

Melita is a visionary, inspiring, highly motivated young woman and one of Australia’s most experienced and successful young fundraisers, with being awarded the 2013 Tasmanian Telstra Young Business Women’s Award and the 2014 Fundraising Institute of Australia’s Young Fundraiser of the Year Award.

With more than 16 years’ experience in fundraising and communications, Melita has a strong track record for increasing the income and profile of a number of not-for-profits throughout Tasmania and Victoria.

Melita has extensive experience in all areas of the fundraising mix, from event management, community fundraising, raffles, direct mail, acquisition, retention, major gifts and bequests. With this breadth of experience Melita excels in the development of successful strategic fundraising plans and has the ability to inspire and influence positive change at all levels of an organisation.

Since 2006, Melita has been an active member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) and is currently the FIA Tasmanian Chair. In 2015, Melita was the Co-Chair of the Core Track at the FIA Conference, as well as a conference speaker, and is the Chair of the Giving and Partnerships Track for the 2016 Conference in Melbourne.

In addition to her volunteer work for the Fundraising Institute of Australia, she is a tutor for the Fundraising Institute of Australia, delivering both the Essentials of Fundraising and Certificate in Fundraising in Victoria and Tasmania. Furthermore, she has mentored a range of fundraisers throughout Australia, particularly assisting individuals with establishing a culture of philanthropy and major gifts fundraising.

 

Kate O’Farrell - Senior Consultant

Kate has almost 20-years experience in a wide range of sporting and non-profit organisations both here and overseas.

Most recently Kate held the position of Director Marketing, Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships at Save the Children where she helped manage the organisation through a period of significant growth and structural reform.  Prior to her role at STC, Kate was General Manager, Marketing at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation where she managed all aspects of marketing, promotions, digital, PR and media for both Formula 1 and MotoGP events.  Kate's extensive commercial operations experience includes projects for the Western Bulldogs Football Club and AFL Publishing, plus senior media and marketing roles with Johnnie Walker Golf events throughout Asia and the legendary Rugby Sevens Tournament in Hong Kong.

 

Denise Murray

With over twenty five years' experience writing direct mail fundraising appeals for the whole spectrum of our Southern hemisphere clients, Denise's forte is writing emotive copy that tells life changing stories.

She is also a master hand at creating sincere and moving 'thank you' letters, which she believes are the crucial first step in acquiring repeat gifts.

Denise has been writing for a number of our Australian and New Zealand clients producing exceptional results in both renewal 'warm' and acquisition 'cold' campaigns.

 

Richard Solomon
Creative Director

Richard is one of the Creative Directors of DMI and DVA Navion, He is responsible for developing creative strategies and appeal mailing concepts for a large range of local and international welfare organisations. He leads our team of in house and freelance copywriters and designers.

With a diploma in Journalism, Richard honed his writing and design skills as a newspaper reporter and layout artist. He provides strategic advice on creative presentation and leads a growing 'online' fundraising business which provides counsel and management of online campaigns and assessment of charitable internet sites for DVA Navion clients worldwide.