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About Us



The American Australian Association was established in New York City in 1948 to promote cooperation and understanding between the United States and Australia.  For over 65 years, it has provided an important forum for exchange between political and business leaders across the United States and Australia. Every Australian Prime Minister who has served since 1950 and the chief executives of leading companies across the United States and Australia have been among the many individuals hosted by the Association.


The Association’s gala event, the Annual Benefit Dinner, honors prominent corporate American and Australian leaders and raises proceeds for the Association and its Education Fund, which supports post-graduate study and research between Australia and the United States.  The Fund is the largest source of privately funded educational Fellowships between the two countries. Since its launch in 2002, the Education Fund has granted awards to more than 200 Fellows, totaling over $5.5 million. 


The other marquee event is the Australia Day Black Tie Gala which is held to commemorate Australia Day and to celebrate the Australian American partnership.


The Association has a long and impressive history of serving the relationship between the United States and Australia and our corporate membership includes many of the most prominent commercial and financial institutions engaged in business between the United States and Australia.

The Association is headquartered in New York City and has small regional operations in Los Angeles and Boston.  It is closely affiliated with the American Australian Association Ltd, in Sydney, the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and the Perth US Asia Centre at the University of Western Australia. 



The American Australian Association's purpose is to broaden, strengthen and encourage ties across the Pacific through corporate, educational, economic, social and cultural activities, and people to people exchange.



The Association largely owes its inspiration to the late Sir Keith Murdoch. Following the end of World War II, Sir Keith recognized the importance of maintaining the strong relationship that had begun to develop between Australia and the United States throughout the war. His intention was to encourage American governmental and business interests in Australia through the establishment of an association devoted to American Australian relations.


The American Australian Association was incorporated in 1948 as a Chamber of Commerce with the primary objective of providing a forum for the political and business leaders of America and Australia to meet and to encourage the development of new commerce and investment.  In 1996 it merged with the Australia Society and became a non-profit organization.



The American Australian Association delivers a wide range of programs and events to further its mission of promoting international understanding and communication; and developing a strong and robust relationship between America and Australia.


  • Corporate & Government 
  • Social & Cultural 
  • Education Fund 
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
  • Philanthropic
  • California Region
  •  New England Region



Contact Us




American Australian Association

50 Broadway, Suite 2003

New York, NY 10004


Telephone (212) 338-6860

Fax (212) 338-6864

Email information@aaanyc.org


The Team


Frances Cassidy I President

Frances has been CEO of Meat and Livestock Australia, Ltd., since 1990 and a Director of the Association since 1997. Frances is an accomplished Australian who has had a distinguished career in business and government which has focused on the development of American – Australian trade and business relationships. She was the First Assistant Secretary with the Department of Primary Industry in Canberra. She has spent the last 18 years in the United States, first as Minister-Counselor for Agriculture at the Australian Embassy in Washington, and then, as CEO with Meat and Livestock Australia. Frances received a BA from the Australian National University in Economics and Political Science. Ms. Cassidy joined the Association as President in 2002.


Diane Sinclair I Vice President


Diane leads the Association’s Education Fund, Fundraising and Communications initiatives. She has spearheaded business development, marketing and technology for the Association. Through Diane’s efforts the Association has raised over $13 million for their education fund. In a past project Diane was able to secure a $25 million grant from the Australian Government for the United States Studies Center. Diane holds a Masters of Law from Georgetown University, is a member of the New York Bar, and is an accomplished corporate lawyer. Diane’s greatest strengths include her resourcefulness, leadership and drive.  


Debbie Chappel I Director, Corporate, Government, Social & Cultural Programs

Debbie joined the Association in March 2008, after moving to New York with her husband in November 2007. Prior to arriving in New York, Debbie lived and worked in Australia and the Russian Federation. Debbie has held positions in the offices of senior Australian Cabinet Ministers, including the former Federal Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello and former Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Alexander Downer. Most recently Debbie worked on strategy development and policy formulation for a national liaison network within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Debbie holds a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Political Science from the Australian National University and a Bachelors degree in Government and Public Policy from the University of Queensland.


Sherita Rankins I Director, Finance and Operations

Sherita joined the Association in February 2008. Prior to becoming the Finance Director at the Association, she worked for The Telx Group, Inc. in New York. Sherita also worked in Human Resources at Abercrombie and Fitch. Before moving to New York in 2006, Sherita studied Finance and International Business at Loyola University Chicago.


Louisa Teo I Regional Director, New England

Born and raised in Sydney, Louisa has previously held marketing and communications positions at Sherman Galleries, Sydney Symphony, Biennale of Sydney, Macquarie Bank and MLC, the wealth management division of the National Australia Bank. Since graduating from the MS-MBA program at Boston University in Fall 2006, she founded Hire Purpose LLC, providing client companies, including Akamai Technologies, AT&T, BearingPoint, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, with tools to recruit and engage leadership talent. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Commerce from Sydney University and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from Melbourne University.


Lucy Harel I Regional Manager, California

Lucy organizes events, develops strategic partnerships, and recruits and manages membership in California. She is passionate about connecting Australia and the U.S. and has over 20 years marketing experience in both countries. Lucy has worked for UCLA Extension, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Microsoft, and event and public relations agencies in Sydney, Boston and New York. She is a board member and newsletter editor for the Sydney University Graduates Union North America. Lucy holds a master’s degree in marketing and a bachelor’s degree in economics. She lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles.


Jhelum Bagchi I Manager, Education

Jhelum has a background in Sustainable Development with a Master of Science in Global Affairs from New York University. Previously, Jhelum was with the United Nations Development Program in New York. As the Education Manager, Jhelum manages and administers the Association’s Education Fund programs. 


Amalia Ridwan I Events and Membership Manager



Brooke Rajcich I Development Manager

Brooke joined the Association in April, 2015 and plays a integral role in the Annual Benefit Dinner. As a skillful leader, she has over ten years experience in management, marketing and events. Brooke excels at creating marketing strategies, fundraising, and managing teams. Brooke has managed and developed high profile events for  numerous companies including Nike, LAIKA, Widmer, The Humane Society and Widen+Kennedy. Brooke holds an MBA from Fordham University and volunteers with The World Science Festival and Red Hook Boaters.


Rollette Lusanta I Technology Associate



Melanie Chiew I Events and Membership Associate




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