Octapod welcomes new board members

Octapod welcomes Chanel Egan as Treasurer, Lauren van Katwyk and Mercedes Bullock as General Members, and returning members Jenna Blayden (Chair), Karen Stace (Deputy Chair), Zephie Cerny (Secretary), Stuart Slough (General Member), Emily Bowen (General Member), Emily Davies O’Sullivan (General Member) and Emma Levine (General Member) as the result of recent elections at its Annual General Meeting in May 2018.

The Octapod board thanks outgoing Treasurer Catherine Olivier and wishes her well in her relocation to Sydney.



New Treasurer Chanel Egan is a Project Manager at Forsythes Technology, and has prior experience in the tertiary and government sectors. With qualifications in Psychology, IT and Project Management, her work involves solving business problems and leveraging new technology to make people’s work-life easier. Chanel is also the Secretary of Hunter Young Professionals and is a keen advocate for celebrating the diverse talent that the Hunter has to offer.

New General Member Lauren van Katwyk works in public galleries and is interested in developing young audiences in the arts. During 12 years in the arts sector, she launched ‘The Art Factory’ at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, and interned at the Tate Modern, UK, working with the Tate Collective group. Since 2012, she has worked at Newcastle Art Gallery, coordinating visitor experience and audience development, and this year commenced the inaugural Youth Reference Group.

New General Member Mercedes Bullock coordinates Adamstown Arts, a creative hub and performance space. Mercedes has a background in mental health and community development. Mercedes has undertaken various research and community projects to highlight and showcase the value, skills and creative ideas developed by Newcastle’s young people. Mercedes is a dedicated supporter of live music and creative arts.

As the arts Service Organisation for the Lower Hunter region, Octapod has a mandate to provide strategic support services across the region. Each of the board members brings with them strong and diverse skills in areas critical to the advancement of the organisation, including governance, cultural planning, marketing, human resources, finances and critical thinking. The AGM was an absolute delight with each board member being clapped as their election was announced!