Mr Simon Finn

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Simon Finn is Chief Executive Officer and has extensive experience in strategy development, policy and management.

Simon has held positions at senior levels of government and in public sector leadership, including serving as an MP and Minister in Queensland. He joined COPHE in 2016 to lead it in the next phase of its journey.

Simon launched his career in student service delivery at Victoria and James Cook Universities and after his political career, returned to higher education as Chief Executive Officer of Chifley Business School. His roles as Executive Officer of Professionals Australia and Non-Executive Director of Glentworth, a management company, have also informed his understanding of strategic planning in challenging times.

Dr Sally Burt

Policy and Research Officer

Dr Sally Burt received her PhD from the Australian National University in 2011 and is published in the area of US diplomatic history and the development of its foreign policy in Asia.

Sally has taught at ANU, Monash University and UNSW (Canberra) and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Florida and West Point Military Academy in New York.  She worked as a Research Assistant in international relations, history, education and the VET sector.  In addition, Sally has undertaken consultancy work for organisations writing historical accounts.

Sally and a colleague have co-edited two volumes.  In 2013, Global Perspectives on US Foreign Policy and in 2016, Global Perspectives on US Democratisation Efforts.  She has also published other journal articles and a sole-authored monograph At the President’s Pleasure: FDR’s Leadership of Wartime Sino-US Relations.  

Sally is an active member of the Anglican Church in Melbourne, is a General Synod representative, a member of Archbishop-in-Council, the Social Responsibilities Committee and its Disability Inclusion Steering Group and has twice represented the Australian Church at the Council of the Church of East Asia Full Assembly.

Mr Scott Clayton

Operations Manager

Scott has extensive experience in business operations and has held roles in a number of industries including management consulting, IT, finance and HR.  Scott also understands the unique concerns of the independent higher education sector, having worked as Chief Operations Officer for an independent provider.

Scott’s sound knowledge of HR policies and procedures, financial management and business administration has enabled him to bring innovative and efficient systems to COPHE’s operations.

Scott is a keen Hawthorn supporter and enjoys listening to live music.

Ms Melissa Cross

Communications Officer

Knowing what motivates and drives people fascinates Mel, which has led her to 15 years in communication roles across the government, not-for-profit and corporate sectors.

With an Honours Degree in Politics and a Masters of Communication and Media Studies, Mel understands the complexities of communicating to different audiences. Early in her career, Mel worked in state and federal government, holding roles with high-profile ministers and working directly on election campaigns at a grass-roots and central level.

Mel spent the last ten years in the automotive industry managing stakeholder relations, issues and brand reputation, product promotion events in Australia and overseas, acted as company spokesperson to the media and developed content for traditional, social and online channels.

In her spare time, Mel runs her own Yoga teaching business and is the volunteer media and communications representative for an animal rescue charity.

Mr Paul O’Halloran

International Student Advisor

Paul is part time International Advisor for COPHE, and represents COPHE on the Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) and other Government consultation forums and working parties on international education policy.

Previous positions include:

  • Manager International Business Development, University of Wollongong (UOW)
  • Regulatory Affairs Manager, Government Relations, UOW and UOW Enterprises
  • Director, UOW College, delivering sub-degree and pathway programs to domestic and international students
  • Academic Director, Foundation Studies Program, UNSW
  • Academic staff, School of Physics UNSW and Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay

He was Foundation Convenor of the Pathways Network in the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), and received the IEAA Excellence Award in International Education for 2011.