Octapod is governed by a volunteer board which guides the organisation’s strategic direction and financial management.

Our board is made up of dedicated individuals with expertise in strategic, financial, marketing and business management, a commitment to Octapod’s values and a passion for our community cultural development work in the region.

Lauren van Katwyk



Lauren works in public galleries and is interested in developing young audiences in the arts. During 14 years in the arts sector, she interned at the Tate Modern, UK and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, launched ‘The Art Factory’ at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, and in her most recent role as Audience Development and Visitor Services Coordinator at Newcastle Art Gallery implemented several key programs including Last Fridays and the Youth Advisory Group.

Lauren moved with her young family to rural South West Victoria in March 2020 and has been Chair of the Octapod Board since February 2019. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Business Administration with the University of Adelaide.

Belinda Collins

Deputy Chair, Service Redesign Sub Committee Convener


Belinda is an experienced communicator and content strategist who finds herself drawn to transformation projects and working with teams designing exceptional customer experiences. Bringing people together, connecting ideas, unleashing creativity and guiding energy towards amazing outcomes is her passion.

After a year with the Board, it’s the perfect time to bring her unique set of strategy, design and collaboration skills to the role of Deputy Chair and help shape the next stage for the organisation. Belinda currently works with the digital transformation team at the Greater Bank and led a team designing and managing content for the NSW Education Standards Authority before that. You’ll also find her co-hosting any one of the IxDA Newcastle Meetups with local designers each month.

Joey Hespe

Secretary, Memberships Sub Committee Convener


Joey is an experienced arts programmer and freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the creative industries and with a passion for arts engagement. Joey was involved with the Art Gallery Society of NSW as Vice President of the Young Members Advisory Committee, and later as the Young Members Coordinator, where she managed the Young Members program and the Young Members Advisory Committee. She implemented programming to engage a younger demographic of arts lovers to the Art Gallery of NSW, including the successful Young Professionals Meetup series. While at the Art Gallery Society of NSW, she was given the position of Australian Young Friends Representative for the 2019 World Federation of Friends of Museums General Assembly in Montreal, Canada. She was the recipient of the 2018 Art Gallery of NSW and Art Gallery Society of NSW Annual Staff Scholarship.

Shaun Serafin



Shaun has experience in financial accounting, management accounting, outsourced CFO services and other consulting services. He also has experience in achieving commercial outcomes and implementing system improvements. Shaun is passionate about analysing drivers behind financial performance and working with businesses to create sustainable practices. He has a passion for connecting communities with new ideas and experiences, underpinned by leadership skills, strategic planning, budget management and governance. Shaun has committee experience in a range of spheres, including community, education and industry-specific.

Chris Brown

General Member, Community Engagement Sub Committee Convener


Chris is a community development professional, working in the community services industry for 9 years. His passions and skills are in not-for-profit governance, communications, human resources, training, consultation and facilitation, grant procurement and funding diversity, quality improvement and authentic community engagement. Chris has served on several community boards in the areas of community arts, permaculture, community gardens and domestic violence prevention. He is a practicing artist and photographer, a passionate supporter of the Newcastle arts community and a long-time fan of the This is Not Art festival. As an openly gay man and justice of the peace, Chris is passionate about LGBTIQA+ diversity, equity and inclusion and tackling the systemic oppression experienced disadvantage experienced by the queer community. Chris is also a massive green thumb with over 30 house plants in his tiny apartment, and keen involvement in local community gardens for over 12 years.

Zephie Cerny

General Member


Zephie is a retired dentist with BDS andPhD (University of Sydney). She has worked in private practice, public dentistry and academia and served on numerous committees in dental organisations ( local, state and Dental school). Zephie is also currently Chair of the Dental Museum at Westmead Hospital.

Keryl Collard

General Member, Policy and Procedures Sub Committee Convener


Keryl has worked for many years in local government and has a great passion for connecting communities with new ideas and experiences. She brings experience in service and program development, stakeholder relationships and partnerships in the community and cultural sectors, underpinned by committee experience in a range of community, education and industry-specific spheres.

She believes the fostering of cultural practice is intrinsically related to both personal and community growth, connecting us with meaning.

Catherine Henry

General Member, Strategic Alliances Sub Committee Convener


Catherine is the principal and owner/director of a mid sized law firm based in Newcastle’s CBD with offices in the mid north coast and Sydney. She has 35 years of experience as a solicitor and has worked in legal practice in the public and private sector. The firm’s practice areas are health and medical law, family and relationship law, estates and elder law and conveyancing. Catherine has a broad history of community and board involvement both in the Hunter and Sydney. She regularly undertakes community legal work, both for individuals and community groups, and has been involved in several important community campaigns. Catherine is a passionate supporter of heritage and the arts which she sees as essential for thriving communities.

Judith OHagan

General Member, Grants and Fundraising Sub Committee Convener

Judith is an experienced fundraising and philanthropy specialist who brings a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector to the Octapod board. Currently working in the tertiary education space, Judith has also worked for small and large healthcare organisations in Queensland and New South Wales, including a national charity that supports the healthcare needs of children from regional and remote Australia.

Having spent a number of years living in the Hunter Valley, Judith understands the challenges faced by regional communities and sees philanthropy has an exciting opportunity to try and meet these challenges.

Emily Rundle

General Member


Emily is a dynamic and highly motivated Media and Communications professional specialising in the development and implementation of proactive and strategic media. She is able to navigate politically sensitive environments and enhance the reputation of agencies and organisations, and is currently a Media Officer within the Transport for NSW media team, working across regional roads and NSW Maritime media portfolios.

Emily is a Patron of Atelier group, the young members philanthropic group within the Art Gallery of NSW and former Art Gallery NSW Society Young Members Committee member for three years.