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Ombudsman and Senior Leadership

Our work is delivered by skilled and dedicated people, led by the Ombudsman with the support of our Senior Leadership Team.

Cynthia Gebert, Ombudsman

Cynthia Gebert, Ombudsman

Cynthia Gebert commenced in the role of Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in May 2022. She is responsible for bringing to life the Board's vision for the TIO, through the implementation and delivery of the organisational strategy.

Prior to joining the TIO, Cynthia held the position of Victoria’s Energy and Water Ombudsman for ten years. She has a master’s degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Technology, Sydney and bachelor’s degrees in Law and Political Science from the University of Sydney.

Cynthia is a past Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA) and is a 2011 alumni of Leadership Victoria’s highly respected Williamson Community Leadership Program. She is also a member of Chief Executive Women.

As a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Cynthia is currently a Director of the Thriving Communities Partnership, Thriving Communities Foundation, and Eltham College Limited.

Mat Stewart

Chief Financial Officer

Mat Stewart - Chief Financial Officer

Mat leads the Finance team who are responsible for managing the financial actions of the TIO including overseeing all aspects of financial success and providing strategic leadership for corporate and financial governance. His team are accountable for providing relevant business insights to internal and external customers, ensuring the efficient and accurate processing of transactions and promoting an effective financial control environment.

Mat has worked in public practice and industry with experience across all facets of financial sustainability including reporting, planning, strategy, compliance, risk and treasury. He has experience in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations across the health, telecommunication, entertainment, and financial services sectors. Mat is a qualified Chartered Accountant and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with a Bachelor of Business in Accountancy from RMIT. 

Bernie Wise

Executive General Manager, Operational Excellence

Bernie Wise, Acting Executive General Manager, Operational Excellence

Bernie leads the Early Resolution and Dispute Resolution Group. The group is responsible for the end-to-end complaints handling process for residential consumers and small businesses that have been unable to resolve their phone or internet complaints with their telecommunications service provider. 

From her previous roles at TAL and AMP, Bernie brings a wealth of complaint-handling and operational management experience. She has a strong foundation in alternative dispute resolution methodologies, investigation techniques, decision-making, and ethics. Bernie is particularly committed to assisting vulnerable consumers.

Bernie has led teams during periods of significant change and is skilled in coaching and mentoring her team. She has also previously worked at the TIO from 1997 to 2012 and successfully helped lead the TIO through immense growth.

Freyja McCarthy

Executive General Manager, Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs and Company Secretary

Freyja McCarthy, Executive General Manager, Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs

Freyja leads the Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Group. This Group provides legal advice to the organisation, works closely with the Ombudsman on land access matters, and works with regulators, the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to drive improvements across the communications environment. The group produces systemic issue investigations and comments regularly on public consultation processes. In addition, Freyja is responsible for supporting the governance of TIO in the role of Company Secretary.

Freyja has experience in telecommunications regulatory advice, competition and consumer law, intellectual property, privacy, employment, and administrative law. She was previously a Special Counsel in the Intellectual Property, Technology and Regulatory team at Thomson Geer, and was recognised as In-House Counsel of the Year in the 2019 Law Institute Victoria awards.

Cathy Thomas

Executive General Manager, Technology, Analytics and Business Improvement

Cathy Thomas, Executive General Manager, Technology, Analytics and Business Improvement

Cathy Thomas is our Executive General Manager of the Technology, Analytics and Business Improvement group.  Cathy has over 24 years' experience working across all phases of IT planning and delivery and has held a variety of leadership roles across essential services including telecommunications, utilities, and banking. She has worked in consulting roles for well-known brands and has experience with a consulting start-up.

Cathy's passion lies in leveraging technology to drive operational excellence, enhancing customer experience and creating a culture of collaboration and innovation across her team. 

Amanda Armstrong

Executive General Manager, Culture, Capability, and Communication

Amanda Armstrong, Executive General Manager, Culture, Capability, and Communication

Amanda leads the Culture, Capability and Communications team who are accountable for ensuring our people are well, happy and flourishing; our members are connected and engaged; our reputation remains strong and our voice is heard in the community. The team work closely with the telco industry and stakeholders to ensure we are upholding best practice for our people, establish a safe work environment and responding to community needs. 

Amanda brings with her a wealth of experience from the not-for-profit and commercial sector having worked across education, health and community organisations.  Working as an executive in the public hospital system during the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector through the international student crisis and a number of global advocacy organisations, Amanda understands that people are the heart of successful organisations. She prioritises listening to people, responding to feedback, doing change well, and nurturing capability.