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Meet the team

The Veteran Sport Australia team

Michael Hartung

Chief Executive Officer

Michael was previously the Chief Delivery Officer for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, and a member of the 2018 Invictus Games Bid Steering Committee.

Prior to his time working on the Invictus Games, Michael spent 10 years with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), carrying out roles including Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Sport.

During his decade with the APC, he held management positions on four Paralympic Teams (including Chef de Mission in 2010 and Deputy Chef de Mission in 2012).

Department: The Team

Anne Rutlidge

Coordinator, Veteran Teams and Events

Anne has been involved in sport for most of her life. A lifelong competitor and rugby tragic, she is passionate about the benefit of sport and recreation for physical and mental wellbeing.

Anne has a Master of Athletic Administration from Central Washington University; completed while coaching the university’s nationally ranked women’s varsity Rugby team.

Anne has a range of professional experience managing teams at domestic and international competitions.

Department: The Team

Ceridwen Thomas

Coordinator, Operations & Program Services

Ceridwen possesses broad experience working in the sports industries in United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and has a Masters of Sports Administration and Bachelor of Event Management.

Most recently she performed the roles of Games Delivery Coordinator and Sports Information Manager at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, where she witnessed the positive effect sport and recreational activities can have on veterans and their families.

Department: The Team

Rachel Kerrigan

Veteran Engagement Specialist- Northern NSW (Newcastle based)

Rachel spent seven years in Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and saw active service as part of Operation Slipper in 2002.

Rachel knows firsthand the power of sport, selected as a competitor on the 2016 Australian Invictus Games Team to Orlando, and currently competes nationally in Powerlifting and Wheelchair Basketball.

Rachel’s professional experience includes electrical engineering, project management and contract administration. She is a qualified Powerlifting coach and CrossFit Instructor, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology.

Department: The Team

Vanessa Bernardo

Director of Marketing

Vanessa has enjoyed sport her entire life, as a competitor in younger years and now as a passionate participant in ocean swimming, yoga and most recently running. She believes unequivocally in the healing power of movement, particularly when combined with nature and community connection.

Vanessa has a BA in Communications and Diploma of Business Marketing specialising in Sports Marketing, and worked at the Sydney Olympic Games liaising with international broadcasters and athletes.

Having previously worked in the commercial sector, Vanessa made a deliberate shift in the past few years to For Purpose organisations, with a focus on mental health and the power of connection and sport in positively impacting wellbeing.

Department: The Team

Debbie Dimmock

Veteran Engagement Specialist- South Coast NSW (Nowra based)

Debbie was previously the ACT Centre Manager and Programs Officer with Soldier On, generating and implementing a diverse range of wellbeing activities and events, both locally and nationally for the Defence Community.

An Army spouse of 24 years means she has a good insight into all aspects of Military life. She and her family have enjoyed postings to the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and have now settled in Australia.

Debbie maintains a fit and healthy lifestyle.  Her sport is Dragon Boating, and she is always looking to recruit new paddlers and share her passion.

Department: The Team