Our Staff

 The English Australia Secretariat operates out of the English Australia head office in Sydney NSW.

Team Photo 



 Brett Blacker

Brett Blacker - Chief Executive Officer

After completing his Bachelor in Management and Marketing, Brett focused his professional career in international education through the completion of his Master in Leadership and Management in Education at the University of Newcastle and starting a marketing role with university’s International Development Office.

Brett has held a range of senior roles in international education including Director, International, Residential Services, Alumni, Careers and Employment Office, Murdoch University, and Director, International Office, the University of Newcastle. He gained experience in the commercial sector as National Business Development Manager and subsequently General Manager: Health, OSHC Worldcare, Mondial Assistance (Allianz) working with cross-sector institutions nationally.

He was a long-standing Board member and immediate past President of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA). He has served on the Board of Perth Education City (PEC) and as part of the executive group of Australian Universities International Directors Forum (AUIDF). Brett is currently the Chair of the Agent Quality Assurance project being coordinated by IEAA and recently invited as a member of the International Education Council. 


 Sophie O'Keefe

Sophie O'Keefe -  Professional Development Manager

As Professional Support & Development Officer, Sophie's role is to drive the development of professional standards for English Australia Member Colleges and the ELICOS industry. She manages a range of specific projects in this area including the English Australia Conference; the English Australia Journal; professional development in state/territory branches; the English Australia/Cambridge ESOL Action Research in ELICOS Program; and the English Australia Guides to Best Practice in ELICOS.

Sophie has been working in the ELICOS sector in Australia and Brazil for over 10 years. Previously, she held a Senior Teacher position at Navitas Sydney, where she developed an interest in staff professional development and growth. She holds a CELTA and a Master of Education (TESOL) from the University of NSW.



Mandy Cooper - Profiling & Promotions Officer

Mandy was appointed to this position in September 2010. The Profiling & Promotions Officer has a particular focus on the strategic goal of the association relating to ensuring market growth and diversification for English Australia Member Colleges.  The position drives initiatives that add value to members’ marketing activities and leverage benefits to members from government and other stakeholder activity in the area of profiling and promotions.

Mandy has over 15 years experience in marketing roles (including 5 years at management level) in a professional services (B2B) environment. Qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Honours in Psychology), Graduate Certificate of Business (Marketing), and completion of numerous marketing training programs. Experience has been obtained both in Australia and overseas with a focus on career progression in strategic planning, campaign management and communications.




Laura Nicholas - Finance Manager

Laura joined English Australia as Finance Manager in October 2015. Laura is a Chartered Accountant with a career spanning 15 years across Banking, Insurance and the Health Industry, with her last role as Finance Manager for one of Australia’s largest hospitals.

Laura brings extensive experience across all facets of finance and governance functions to the role of Finance Manager.