Meet the People Who Make Things Happen

Amb. John Berry (Ret.)

President

The American Australian Association President comes to the job well prepared after serving as the 25th US Ambassador and President Obama’s personal representative to Australia. Prior to that, John served in multiple senior government positions, earning three unanimous Senate confirmations, including: the head of “HR” for the Federal government as Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the “COO” of the Department of Interior as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget; the head of 40% of Federal law enforcement as Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement at the Treasury Department; and Legislative Director for Rep. Steny Hoyer. John has also been a leader in the non-profit sector, serving as the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoo; The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Government Relations for the Smithsonian Institution. John has accomplished many firsts, most notably, the first openly LGBT US Ambassador to a G20 country and while at OPM, he was the highest ranking LGBT executive official in US history. He has stood atop both poles – north and south, visited all of the world’s continents, as well as all of the states of both the USA and Australia. His most favorite recognitions of the many received have been Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, a lion named “John” in his honor and a mountain in Antarctica called the “Berry Bastion.” He is married to his partner of over 20 years, Curtis Yee.

Debbie Chappel

Chief Operating Officer

Debbie, as COO of the American Australian Association, oversees fundraising and development for the Association’s Education and Veterans’ Funds and management of the annual Benefit Dinner and the ANZAC Day and Veterans’ Lunch; with additional management responsibility for regional office and operations. In her current role she successfully managed and executed the largest and most profitable event in the Association’s distinguished 70-year history, hosting the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Australia and generating a record breaking $3.3 million in fundraising revenue.

Debbie joined the Association in 2008, and prior to assuming her current COO role in early 2017, served as Director of Corporate and Government Affairs. In her previous role, Debbie had primary responsibility for corporate membership and business program development, as well as fundraising for the annual Australia Day Black Tie Gala.

Prior to joining the Association in New York, Debbie lived and worked in Australia and the Russian Federation, holding positions in the offices of senior Australian Cabinet Ministers, including the Federal Treasurer and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. She also worked as a consultant with Austrade in Moscow.

Rollette Lusanta

Director of Operations and Technology

Rollette joined the Association in July of 2010. His responsibility includes managing the office vendors, company and staff insurance and benefits as well as the office technology infrastructure. Rollette is also responsible for managing the Association’s Student Exchange Visitors Program of the Department of State. He has held multiple backup roles inside the Association, such as Events, Finance, and Education and has been very flexible in helping out the Team. Before joining the Association, he worked as a Systems Manager, managing the IT system of the company's multiple sites in the US and in the Philippines. Rollette has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Melanie Chiew

Events and Communications Manager

Melanie joined the American Australian Association in June 2014 and is currently the Events & Communications Manager.  Her responsibilities include managing the social and cultural events calendar and individual membership program, assisting with the Association's major fundraising events, web and graphic design, social media and email marketing.  She is also the treasurer for the Australian Women in New York (AWNY), a committee of the Association.  Melanie holds a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing from RMIT University in Melbourne.  She is based at the Association's headquarters in New York City.

Nancy Chapman

Finance Manager

Nancy Chapman is a NY based Accounting and Finance Professional that is a dual citizen of Australia and America. After earning a Degree in Finance and a Degree in Accounting from Tulane University, Nancy started her career in NYC in 2005 at KPMG. While travelling, Nancy fell in love with the country of Australia and ended up living there for 10 years building her Career and her family. She has been working at the American Australian Association since she returned to New York in 2017.

Libbi Swan

Events and Communications Associate

Libbi joined the American Australian Association in October 2018 as Events & Communications Associate of the Business Council. In this role Libbi has helped to grow the membership of the business council and produce a variety of events including business roundtables, networking receptions and the annual Business Council CEO Summit in Washington DC. Her work experience spans a variety of sectors including government, legal, communications and the arts. Libbi holds a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Media & Communication from the Queensland University of Technology and a Bachelor of Musical Theatre from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Libbi is based at the AAA headquarters in New York City.

Charlotte Barstow

Events and Scheduling Associate

Charlotte recently joined the American Australian Association in the role of Events and Scheduling Associate. While supporting the President, she also works closely with the COO and Director of Business and the Arts to implement the Association’s annual events program and communications strategy. Charlotte came to the AAA headquarters in New York City after two years at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC. Prior to that, she studied and worked with the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Charlottesville, VA, promoting Indigenous Australian Art in the USA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Studio Art from the University of Virginia.

Louisa Teo

Regional Director, New England

Based in Cambridge, MA, Louisa Teo oversees the American Australian Association's programs in New England, including the ANZAC Day commemorative service and reception and the Association's annual Boston dinner. She is a graduate of the Boston University Questrom School of Business and Sydney University. She joined the American Australian Association in 2008 and since 2015 has also served as Secretary of the Australian Independent Schools USA Foundation.