TIA Australia

Our Management Committee

Our TIA Australia family is governed by our fanTIAstic committee who contribute their time, expertise, and skills to not only ensure sound governance of TIA as an Incorporated Association but also to raise awareness and ensure we have sustainable strategies in place to help make TIA’s mission a reality.


Lakshmi Narayan – Treasurer


Lakshmi is a Chartered Accountant with 20+ years of experieince in the field of finance, accounting, risk management, compliance etc with over 10 years in leadership roles. However, the key aspect of the leadershio role which he really enjoys is mentoring and enabling young team members to be the best they can be. He has been fortunate to work with large and diverse teams and understand the importance of respecting every individual for what they are, instead of viewing them through “resource” angle alone. He has been an invaluable member of TIA’s committee since August 2017.



Laura Yazbeck – Secretary


Laura is a Registered Psychologist who is passionate about working with individuals, teams and organisations to help them reach their full potential. She is highly experienced in all facets of organisational psychology consulting including but not limited to vocational guidance, psychological appraisal, coaching, therapy, project management, mental health strategy development, culture measurement and change and training. Laura uses evidence-based practical strategies grounded in the latest research in human resources, psychology, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, adjustment to change principles, personality, culture, conflict mediation and team dynamics. She is also engaged for her expertise as a mediator, with extensive experience in industrial law, performance management, diversity and inclusion and bullying and harassment. A member of TIA’s Management Committee since August 2017, she has been a vital part of the family and added a lot of energy and motivation into everything she does with us!


Robert Spurr – Committee Member

IMG_20180318_152005Rob has more than 25 years of experience in senior finance and commercial positions across Australia, South East Asia and South America. His last posting was to Santiago Chile where he was based from 2005-2009 with Pacific Hydro. Rob is a CPA and Graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He currently resides in Melbourne with his wife Tara and their young family and has been on the Management Committee of TIA since 2015.




Alex Catalan-Flores – Committee Member

Alex FotoOne of TIA’s newest committee members, joining in February 2019, Alex uses his experience as Chair of the Board of Editors of ANU Student media and a board member of International NGO ‘Abundant Water’, as well as his background as a lawyer and and his experience in Organisational Improvement as a consultant with Grosvenor Performance Group, to assist TIA in achieving our strategic objectives and ensuring compliance with governance and regulatory requirements.




Tessa Henwood-Mitchell – International Director


Tessa is our inspirational Founder. She is now working with and guiding our TIA Bolivia Team. Read more about how Tessa founded TIA here and background about her and our other amazing members of the TIA Bolivia Team here.





Vanesa Duran Racero – General Manager

Vanesa PhotoVanesa joined TIA as General Manager in January 2019. She comes to TIA with over 10 years of experience in the Higher Education sector in a variety of roles including leadership, international education, research and student services. Experienced in policy analysis, research, operations management, continuous improvement, student welfare and the development of student-centred engagement programs, Vanesa is a committed and passionate General Manager of TIA. A native Spanish speaker, Vanesa is able to connect with our team in Bolivia and communicate regularly between Australia and Bolivia to ensure the smooth operation of TIA’s projects in collaboration with TIA’s International Director.


Barry Mitchell – Manager: Grants and Funding


Barry was appointed as Executive Director in January 2016 but has been an important member of the TIA team since the NGOs inception. He moved into his current role as Manager: Grants and Funding, in January 2019. Previously Barry was the Head of Production at ABC International and Manager of Industry Programs at the South Australian Film Corporation. Currently, he hosts a program on Radio Adelaide focused on Climate Change called ‘Barometer’ and has just completed a short film called Legacy that has been selected for three film festivals and counting. He has also been lucky enough to visit Bolivia twice in the last three years.