Julia Bowen – Business Operations Manager

Julia comes to ABV having been, until COVID-19 struck, the General Manager of a small charity working with bereaved dads – Pillars of Strength.  About 5 years ago, she decided to give up the corporate life for work in the ‘for purpose’ sector, bringing with her years of hard-earned experience in the corporate and government sectors.  Julia has worked as a senior executive, non-executive director, program manager, sales, operations, marketing and general dogsbody.  She served in the British Army before coming to Australia in the mid 80’s.  Julia’s experience covers almost every industry you can imagine, and this makes her both a useful generalist and a ‘know-it-all’.

Julia is taking responsibility for all the operational areas of ABV, freeing up Liz to continue to grow our reach and impact throughout Australia and the Pacific.  If it’s not about a client or assignment, you can contact Julia and she will try her best to help you out.

Rick Steele – International Programs & Partnership Specialists

Rick has been working in international development for the past 18 years. Ten of those years have been spent in Papua New Guinea, working as country director for three NGOs – Anglicare PNG, WaterAid and AVI. He has also worked as country director for ChildFund in Kiribati, an English-language adviser in Palestinian refugee schools in Lebanon and director of studies for a TAFE program in China.

Prior to living overseas, Rick worked for a number of years in NSW’s correctional system as a probation and parole officer, trainer and program review and then taught at TAFE as an English language and literacy teacher. Also, he worked on a Labor premier’s personal staff as executive officer and later in the performing arts, primarily with Opera Australia – but strictly as an artists manager, not a performer!

Rick says, “There is a thread of continuity across my working life not that there has to be, I hasten to add. Working in prisons, classroomstheatres or political backrooms seems to have been as good as any preparation for me for working in the complex world of development!” 


Betty Komes – Senior Project Officer (ABH Lihir)

Betty is currently engaged with ABVs  FMMP  Program & New Ireland Rural Electrification Project  under Senior Program Manager, Henry Ume-Taule before heading on to Lihir Island to work at the Apeketon Business Hub, Newcrest Mine later this month.

Betty has previous experience with MSME Business Start Up, SME Compliance & SME Procurement & Project Management, in Lorengau, Manus, PNG. From 2000-2012, Betty was a Senior Policy Research Analyst, SME Policy Related Reviews at the Department of Commerce, Trade & Industry in Port Moresby, PNG.

Hail from Manus & East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea!

Jessie Fisher – International Programs & Partnership Specialists

Jessie Fisher is an international development and gender specialist with ten years’ experience in the sector. Having lived and worked across several developing contexts in the Asia Pacific region, Jessie has a deep understanding of the complexities in designing, implementing and evaluating impactful community development programs in both remote and urban environments. With a strong focus on social inclusion and women’s economic empowerment, human-centred design and sustainability, Jessie has led financial inclusion projects for multilaterals including Asian Development Bank and provided technical assistance to financial institutions including the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, commercial banks and microfinance institutions.

Previously, Jessie served as the Pacific Regional Manager for the Australian Aid accredited NGO Good Return, building team capacity, leading program strategy and research, and fostering strong relationships with local partners and communities. Jessie led the development of Good Return’s Impact Investment Program and gender analysis tools supporting Pacific social enterprises as well as their skilled overseas volunteer ‘Field Support Officer’ program. Jessie holds an Honours degree in International Studies from Monash University where she graduated top of her class! 


Australian Business Volunteers