Our Board

Our Board

Rachel Samuel.  Founder and CEO

Rachel qualified as a medical practitioner and has worked with disadvantaged individuals in the public mental health system. She has a strong interest in community projects that help break the cycle of homelessness and disadvantage. She also has a keen interest in environmental issues including sustainability and waste reduction through community recycling programs.




Leonard Samuel

Leonard Samuel is an Engineer and Lawyer, and after a number of years in private legal practice became involved as a director and shareholder in a number of companies related to the Building Industry. He has also been a delegate member to Standards Australia as well has having a number of previous and current volunteer roles in community organisations.

He has an interest in reducing waste, and promoting efficiency in not only commercial transactions but also in the charity sector, and sees DonateDirect as a perfect vehicle to achieve this.



Daniel Steen

Daniel Steen is a financial professional who has worked around the world for a number of major financial institutions before returning back to Australia a few years ago. He has a Honours in Economics and number other financial certifications, and is highly experienced in risk management and investment.

He has a strong interest in efficiency and financial accountability, and has been involved with DonateDirect since its inception in an advisory capacity.




Bridget Ward

Bridget Ward is a Physiotherapist who has worked in both Public and Private Health settings for over 20 years.  She is passionate about social justice and community involvement. Throughout the past 25 years she has coordinated and/or been involved in projects involving Sustainability, Education, Fundraising, and Community Recycling.





Susie Teschner

A native New Yorker, Susie migrated to Australia in 2002 after spending five years living and working in Jerusalem. Susie spent her first five years post university working in not-for-profits in both the US and Israel before shifting into the technology sector. For the last 20 years Susie worked in the online space in a wide variety of organizations; small to large, start up to scale up, Software as a Service, VoIP, graphic design platforms, classifieds and more. 

Focusing on Product Management, Susie has been a hands on Product Manager as well as Product Director where she has managed teams of Product Managers and User Experience (UX) specialists. Her experience is quite broad ranging from building teams and creating collaborative environments, working closely with engineers UXers, doing everything from setting high level product strategy and roadmaps to customer research, analytics and the day-to-day development of new and existing products.

Susie is currently taking a sabbatical and enjoying the opportunity to lend her skills, experience and network to organizations and causes she is passionate about.


Steven Merriel

Steven Merriel is a Software Engineer with many years experience in the information technology sector. Currently Steven works as a director and senior engineer for a number of corporations advising and assisting them in building high quality software. He holds degrees in Environmental Science and Accounting; these have helped him foster a passion for the environment, social justice and efficiency, which he brings to his work in the charity sector.

Steven has founded or been a contributor to a number of community organisations and projects across Sustainability, Political Activism, Fundraising, The Arts and Environment.


Jon Cina

Jon Cina brings a strong commitment to sustainable living and social justice. He has spent 20 years working on modernising and reforming justice systems in Australia and overseas, using law and legal institutions to address inequality, disadvantage and power imbalances in communities. He currently oversees Victoria Legal Aid's public legal assistance helpline, webchat and community legal information services as well as its work to put client views and experiences at the centre of justice system service design and delivery.


Upeksha Merchant

Upeksha is a Chartered Accountant with 15 years of experience across managing Finance and Accounting Functions from multinational corporations to Start Ups.

She has volunteered at multiple charity events and associations - Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Halal Food Bank and Peter Mac. She is passionate about extending her expertise to organisations that create positive Social, Economic and Environmental impact.