Meet Our Directors


Fiona Webster – President

President AWLA, CEO Lort Smith Animal Hospital

Fiona Webster

Fiona Webster has been CEO of Lort Smith since 2018. Lort Smith is Australia’s busiest animal hospital as well as providing adoption services, pet therapy and community services.

Fiona has more than 10 years of leadership as an executive in the public hospital system as well as leadership roles in the public and private sectors.

Fiona’s family includes Teddy, a two year old German Shepherd who was surrendered to Lort Smith and Cookie, a 13 year old tortoise shell cat.

Megan Alessandrini

Vice-President, AWLA
Tasmanian delegate

Megan has a keen and long-standing interest in animal ethics.

She assisted in the development of AWLA’s Positive Ageing in the Company of Animals Project and represented AWLA at the 2015 Roundtable on Animal Welfare in Canberra.

Megan has been a board member of the Dogs’ Home of Tasmania for 12 years and a member of the AWLA Board since 2010.

She lives in Hobart and works as a senior lecturer in politics and policy at the University of Tasmania.

Denise Bradley

Vice-President, AWLA
Queensland delegate
CEO, Animal Welfare League of Queensland

Denise’s commitment to enhancing the lives of animals is unwavering.

She has worked and volunteered within the animal welfare industry for more than two decades, bringing a wealth of knowledge to her position as the chief executive officer of Animal Welfare League of Qld Inc (AWLQ).

Denise has developed successful partnerships with a number of councils, achieving some of the highest rehoming and lowest euthanasia rates of dogs and cats in Australia.

She has been a member of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Animal Ethics Committee (Animal Welfare Representative) and is actively involved in several not-for-profit organisations.

Barbara Pesel

Honorary Secretary, Victorian delegate

Barbara is committed to providing a voice for animals and the people who care for them. She has served on the board of Lort Smith since September 2011 and is currently its vice-president. She was appointed to the board of AWLA in July 2015.

Barbara is founder and managing director of Pesel & Carr, an award-winning, independent communications firm established in 1997. A life-long animal lover, she relishes any opportunity to work with organisations committed to protecting and strengthening the human-animal bond.

Michael Sertori

CEO Dogs' Homes Tasmania

Michael Sertori has been CEO of the Dogs’s Homes Tasmania since 2018 having held CEO and Directorial positions in the Community and Health Sectors.

After many years as an industrial relations practitioner and university lecturer, Michael elected to work in the community sector across Australia and overseas, in pursuit of his interest of social justice particually in the disability sector.

His love of animals attracted him to the Dogs’Homes of Tasmania and in this capacity has been a Director of AWLA for the past 2 years.

Stuart Paine

CEO Sydney Dogs and Cats Homes

Stuart has been at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home for over 2 years and is fortunate enough to have his dream job.

Stuart has strong backgrounds in executive leadership, strategy and marketing. He is proud to lead his team and be a highly engaged board member for AWLA.

Stuart believes the values and principles guiding AWLA are a perfect fit for his team of staff, volunteers, supporters and members.

We are very excited to contribute to real positive improvements in the area of responsible pet ownership at both a national and local level.

Sue Spencer

Queensland delegate

Sue has been involved with the Animal Welfare League of Queensland as a volunteer for more than 10 years and an AWLQ board member since 2013. She is currently President of the AWLQ board.

Sue is a strong advocate for rescue greyhounds and is involved in the AWLQ Going Grey rehoming and ongoing support program. Sue is also the rescue co-ordinator for Qld Whippet Rescue. Both her whippets are rescues.

Prior to becoming involved with AWLQ, Sue held a number of positions as an executive assistant in the corporate world. She brings this experience along with her passion for animal welfare to the team.

Sue Hedley

West Australian delegate
Founder of SAFE (Saving Animals From Euthanasia)

Prior to starting SAFE, Sue worked primarily in the human services area, with occasional forays into hospitality work. From there, it wasn’t too big a move from caring for people to caring for animals. Having worked towards deinstitutionalising care in the human welfare sector, it was a natural progression to champion the foster care model in the animal welfare sector.

Sue worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics for six years, interviewing people in their homes all over the north west of Western Australia. During this time she became aware of the enormous number of animals who were homeless and in need of temporary care while a permanent home was sought.

Sue established SAFE Karratha in 2003 and the organisation has now grown to a large network of SAFE Branches, volunteers and supporters across Western Australia. Sue is committed to the foster care model as the best means to achieve zero euthanasia for rehomable pets.