Menu
Log in


AIFST Governance & Board


Dr MICHAEL DEPALO

Chair of the Board & President

Michael Depalo has over 40 years’ experience in food product development, ingredient technology, and food regulation. After a distinguished career at the Arnott’s Group, most recently leading the regulatory and specifications team across APAC, Michael is now the founder of ANZ Food Innovation and Compliance Network, a consultancy established to support and advise food businesses and their stakeholders in R&D, Food Labelling and Regulations. Michael is committed to the promotion of Food Technology and the Food Industry and is a member of the AIFST Technical Advisory Committee and a mentor in the AIFST Mentor programme. Michael was also a long serving member of the Australian Food and Grocery Council Health, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs Committee serving as deputy chair for many years. Michael is a trusted advisor and has been a Board member and Trustee of several not for profit and member-based organisations and CRCs. He was awarded the 2016 Arnott’s Group “Leading with Integrity Award” for demonstrating consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. Michael has a Bachelor of Applied Science from UTS where he received the Institute Medal and a PhD in Biotechnology from UNSW. Michael has over 30 years of continuous membership with AIFST and is a Fellow of the Institute. 



MS FIONA FLEMING

Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary

Fiona is CEO of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST). She is an experienced Corporate and Regulatory Affairs professional who has been involved in leading and facilitating change and developing management strategies across a portfolio of food policy and regulation matters in global FMCG and NGO environments.

Fiona has more than 35 years’ experience in the food industry in the areas of dairy, seafood, cereal based foods, smallgoods, tea, simmer sauces and pastes, ingredients and infant formula. Fiona has previously worked for a large FMCG company in the role of Group Quality and Corporate Affairs Manager.  In this role she was responsible for providing leadership across Australia and New Zealand in the areas of food policy and regulation; consumer affairs and communication; issues and crisis management and food quality and safety.

Fiona is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology. Fiona is a member of Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia and an Associate Member of the Allergen Bureau.


MR MARC BARNES

Non-Executive Director 

Marc is highly motivated, result-driven, and internationally accomplished business leader with innate commercially acumen, he can track his success back to growing up in an entrepreneurial family in rural Tasmania.

Within that environment I was primed from a young age to manage the family business, building strong foundations as a proactive, goal-oriented professional, subsequently within the food and beverage sector, achieving tangible results and driving sustainable growth and profitability whilst managing risk for multiple enterprises throughout my career.

Outgoing and engaging, I am recognised for being passionately outcomes focussed, dedicated to delivering successful, intended outcomes, and ability to get people onboard, building momentum through inspiring individuals, teams, colleagues, and associates.

I enjoy and have a strong track record of engaging across all levels of an organisation building collaborative, high performing, multi-functional teams that exceed business targets and are aligned to a company’s values.

My 20 years of experience in food safety assurance and 8 years as managing director of BSI Group has given me a wealth of experience and knowledge. This experience has helped shape best practice standards to enable an organisation with the discipline and mechanisms for compliance and continuous improvement. 

Key to this success has been leading and coaching employees, senior leadership, and business owners to deliver beyond expectations within often complex global matrix environments, and establishing a culture committed to sales and organisational growth (organic and M&A), durable stakeholder relationships and delivery of exceptional client service.

Marc currently runs his own management consultancy Flinders Lane Advisory, is a member of the AICD and has previously held senior roles at British Standards Institute, NATA Certification Services, St Vincent’s & Mercy Private Hospital and Sheraton Hotels.


DR GREGORY HARPER

Non-Executive Director

Gregory is a biological scientist who focuses on the translation of scientific discoveries into commercial, environmental, and social benefits. He is a senior manager in the University of Melbourne and Director of Business Development in the Faculty of Science.

He is currently a member of the University’s professional staff, and he has been senior academic staff, as well as management and governance staff in other contexts. Adaptability has been a key attribute of his career. He also sees himself as an engaged global citizen.

Gregory has spent his career in the global R&D community and has expertise in management and governance of public and private R&D funds. The agrifood innovation system has been a particular focus, and this probably has its roots in his childhood, when his parents ran a suburban meat retailing business in Brisbane.

He has worked in five countries and for multiple Australian innovation system actors. His partnership building experience includes Australian R&D organisations; urban and regional universities; international universities; international public entities; and small, focused service organisations.

Gregory holds multiple Fellowships and was very proud to become a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology in 2022. His work has been recognised internationally through the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals as an RTTP.


DR HEATHER HAINES

Non-Executive Director

Heather has a strong applied science background, having spent more than 35 years as a microbiologist. She has worked in the areas of (human) diagnostic microbiology, education and training, food safety research and food safety policy. While working in the Food Safety Unit of the Victorian Department of Health, she managed projects to deliver tools for food businesses and staff to improve food hygiene, to improve the Victorian government food surveillance activities, and contribute to national initiatives on food surveillance and food safety research. Examples include the first version of the free online food safety learning tool ‘Dofoodsafely’ and a food surveillance app which is used by many local government officers in Victoria. Latterly her role, and that of her team, at the department was to analyse proposed amendments to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, then brief to and support senior officers and representatives of the Food Ministers’ Meeting in their deliberations on these amendments, with the imperative of protecting the health and safety of consumers.

Heather completed a Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Medical Laboratory Sciences) and later a Master of Applied Science (Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology – Food Stream) at RMIT. Her PhD studies were undertaken at the University of Tasmania, supported by scholarships from Meat and Livestock Australia (through Mintrac) and the (then) Department of Agriculture. She has been a longstanding Professional Member of AIFST, involving periods on both the Victorian and Tasmanian Committees, and is a member and previously a Victorian committee member of Australian Society for Microbiology. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.



DR ANGELINE ACHARIYA

Non-Executive Director

Angeline is looking forward to bringing her skills, experience and passion for the Australian food industry and sector to her board role at the AIFST where she has been supporting as thought leader and speaker at conferences and workshops including mentoring of graduates and early career food scientists.

Angeline, a global luminary in industry and commercialising innovations, currently leads as the CEO of Innovation GameChangers, Australian Chair of AgriFood Innovation and Senior Advisor at Beanstalk AgTech. With over 25 years’ experience in multinational giants such as J R Simplot, Mondelez International, Yum Brands, Fonterra, Mars Corporation and Monash University.

Angeline’s impact in AgriFood sectors has been profound when she co-founded Monash Food Innovation as a world first industry collaborative hub in Mondelez International with the Victorian Government. The hub’s continued success 11 years on and impact across the sector connecting industry, research, government enabled SMEs, Startups and Corporates to scale their innovations for sustainable growth in domestic and international markets.

Having commercialised 1200+ innovations globally in Agribusiness, FMCG, Foodservice, E-commerce, she is a trailblazer. Rooted in her agricultural upbringing, Angeline champions a sustainable agrifood system. Her advice and mentorship extend to startups, SMEs, and individuals. Beyond boardrooms, Angeline is an international speaker, influencing discussions on resilient agrifood system innovation, the future of food, and Australian exports. In 2024, LinkedIn recognised her as a global top voice for her leadership and influence.

Angeline studied food science and technology and was awarded AIFST’s Malcom Bird Award in 2000. Her commitment to creating value-added products that resonate with consumer and planetary needs, makes her a force for positive change. Angeline’s journey is an inspiration – a testament to the transformative power of collaborative passion and dedication to a connected, sustainable world.



ANNA BARLOW

Non-Executive Director

Anna is a dynamic and motivational leader with a passion for innovation in the food and agritech sector. Qualified with a PhD in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand, Anna’s career has evolved from academia through to executive roles for multi-national food and beverage companies such as Asahi Beverages, JDE Coffee, Mondelez International and Kraft Foods working from NZ, Australia, Europe, and the UK. Anna has led global corporate technology and R&D programs and led Asia Pacific-wide commercialisation programs in chocolate, coffee, biscuits, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

As Partner, Food & Agri Innovation at Startupbootcamp, Anna leads SBC’s food and agritech startup and scaleup accelerator FoodTech Tasmania and works with multiple corporate and RDC clients across the food and agritech sector.

Anna also serves as NED and Secretary at FermenTasmania, where she connects SMEs, corporates, and the academic sector, playing a crucial role in shaping the future of Tasmania’s new fermentation co-working manufacturing, R&D and learning facility. She also serves as a NED at Australia Vinegar, bringing expertise in leadership, R&D, and innovation.

Anna is highly collaborative, with strong dot-connecting and people leadership capability. Anna enjoys working with teams to maximise their strengths, leveraging her Facet5 and TeamScape accreditations in personality trait-based profiles for team building and leadership coaching.

Known for her energetic, authentic, and motivational leadership style and exceptional stakeholder management skills, Anna’s ability to nurture talent, negotiate effectively, and empower teams has made her a respected mentor and coach in the industry.

 


MELISSA PACKHAM

Non-Executive Director

Melissa Packham is an experienced strategist, communicator, and advisor with a 20-year track record spanning the corporate, SME, and startup sectors. She brings a unique blend of business strategy and brand and marketing management expertise, championing sustainable practices, systems thinking, and challenging ‘business as usual’.

Throughout her career, Melissa has managed growth for prominent household brands, including Campbell’s, Arnott’s, IceBreak and OAK. Responsible for multimillion-dollar budgets, she’s consistently delivered bottom-line results and led award-winning campaigns.

Melissa has been consulting independently since 2016 and now leads Brand-Led Business, a boutique firm aiding SMEs across sectors including food and beverages, consumer products, B2B, SaaS, and professional services.

With a double Bachelor's degree in Business (Marketing) and Arts (Humanities), and as a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she combines branding expertise and strategic acumen with a strong moral compass. As a Climate Fresk facilitator and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Certified Professional, she demonstrates her commitment to real-world sustainability and ESG risk management.

Recognised for her collaborative nature, empathy, and warmth, Melissa highly values teamwork. Beyond her professional endeavours, Melissa cherishes her role as a mother to one, and can be found indulging in her eclectic taste in music or enjoying long walks by the river in Meeanjin (Brisbane).

She recognises she owes her career to her start in food and sees the crucial role that food plays in a sustainable future. She would be honoured to contribute to supporting AIFST’s mission in supporting food industry professionals to meet future food needs.

┬ęCopyright 2024 Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology  |  Site by HighlandCreative.com.au

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software