Meet the Members

The Rockhampton Museum of Art Philanthropy Group plays a strategic leadership role in the development and delivery of philanthropic actions and campaigns to help advance the Rockhampton Museum of Art’s quest to achieve its cultural vision for the Rockhampton Region.

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Dr Leonie Gray

Leonie has been involved with the Rockhampton Art Gallery from the early 1980s. Her interest and appreciation of art was fostered by her parents’ strong love of art. Leonie has supported local artists by collecting their work over the years. She is also a regular donor, as were her family. Leonie has been an Art Gallery Trustee since 2001 and from 2017 Chair of the Rockhampton Art Philanthropy Board, now Rockhampton Museum of Art Philanthropy Group. Leonie is very excited about the future of Rockhampton Museum of Art and bringing the gallery to the community. Her aim is to continue to grow the magnificent local collection with the help of philanthropists and to help the community make the museum their own. Leonie is a long-term past resident of Rockhampton only recently moving to Emu Park. She is passionate about the benefits of living regionally, loves travelling and being active.

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Maria Harms

Maria Harms is a Chartered Accountant who works with her husband in their local property business. Born in Rockhampton, Maria loves this region and believes that people living regionally should have access to great art. Maria has been on the Rockhampton Museum of Art Philanthropy Group and its predecessor Trust for 9 years.

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 Zac Garven

Zac Garven is an energetic and engaging tourism thought leader focused on the growth and promotion of the Rockhampton region through storytelling, product development, collaboration and showcasing authentic and innovative experiences to increase the region’s visitor economy. He grew up in Rockhampton, but has had a diverse career in the tourism and business development sectors, as well as working for Australia’s largest media and marketing companies in regional areas, metro cities and internationally in the USA. Zac has been a board member since 2018 and has also held positions with the Queensland Government’s Young Tourism Leaders, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council Young Professionals Mentoring Program and Tourism and Events Queensland’s Southern Great Barrier Reef Destination Leaders Program.

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Emeritus Professor Debbie Clayton AM

Debbie Clayton has worked in both university and government sectors, and as a consultant and director of Clayton International, a private education consulting company. Her recent consulting activities include international education strategic planning and business development projects, strategic, governance and operational reviews, quality audits, accreditation activity, development of quality systems, feasibility studies and professional development workshops. She particularly focuses on quality, international education and transnational education and works with public and private institutions, as well as onshore and offshore governments.

For 28 years she was a teaching and research academic, an academic manager, and a manager and leader in international education development at Central Queensland University.

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Robert Rooney

Robert Rooney is a partner at Swanwick Murray Roche, a legal firm based in Rockhampton.

Robert is a leader of the commercial law, property, wills and estates division and is committed to providing superior service and delivering results.  He is an active member of the Central Queensland Law Association and holds board positions with the Finance Council for the Roman Catholic Trust Corporation for the Diocese of Rockhampton, Central Queensland University Rockhampton Regional Engagement Committee, End Loneliness Inc, all while maintaining an interest in an array of other organisations.

Robert comes from the Blackall-Barcaldine area in Central Western Queensland where he grew up in the family business of mustering, droving, fencing and yard building.   Robert has a strong passion for his local community trusting that, in the country way, if everyone pitches in – a stronger community will be forged.  With such a local focus, Robert relates to people all over Central Queensland and Central Western Queensland, understanding the unique obstacles and benefits associated with this part of the world.

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Brent Giles

Brent Giles is a Director at Kennas, a leading chartered accountant, tax agent and financial planning firm based in Rockhampton, where he is responsible for the development and delivery of innovative and individually tailored financial planning, specialising in rural, health, and high net worth clients, as well as working with many small business owners. Brent is also one of the few local Accredited Aged Care Professionals and is able to offer specialist advice and strategies for the best outcomes. Brent’s entrepreneurial skills in providing high level strategic advice, financial review and guidance across the full spectrum of financial planning and wealth management have been developed over a decade of providing financial advice and service to Central Queenslanders. 

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Shelia Houston

Shelia Houston was born in the USA. Following her university study, she travelled the world extensively and emigrated to Australia. She has a broad business background in international businesses in both public and private sectors, including having worked for a Fortune 500 company and currently on the Council of CQ University. Shelia was an executive director and co-founder of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, an international education organization which, over a 24 year period, sent more than 28,000 students abroad in 120 different programs. Passionate, hard-working and goal-oriented, Shelia is also actively philanthropic, helping students in need through her Foundation for Global Scholars.

Shelia is Director of Cross Cultural Encounters who facilitate meaningful, cultural, short term custom faculty led programs in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. They offer a hands on, consultative approach and a great deal of flexibility to plan and build cost effective, safe, high quality customised programs tailored to suit the needs of the faculty.

Shelia is passionate about the advancement and support of the Central Queensland region and has been actively involved in philanthropy for over 25 years.

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Rick Palmer

Rick became interested in the Rockhampton Museum of Art and its predecessor Rockhampton Art Gallery after experiencing the national significance of its collection first hand.  The long-term Rockhampton Region resident has been an active member of the Philanthropy Group since February 2023.  He previously worked in economic development for Rockhampton Regional and City Councils for 21 years after being the Event Manager at Beef 2000 and Beef 97.