about us: meet our team

Elena Madden
Managing Director

Elena was born in Katherine and has spent most of her life in the Territory, including in Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. She has strong local networks and a good understanding of the Territory’s unique issues.

Elena has extensive experience in corporate communication, and media and community relations, with a background in mining and major projects.

Elena took over Michels Warren Munday in 2015 as owner and Managing Director and oversaw the rebranding to True North Strategic Communication. Elena enjoys developing communication strategies, leading community and stakeholder engagement projects and providing strategic advice to a diverse range of clients. Elena is passionate about advocating for the Territory through good relationships and quality communication and engagement.

Elena has a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) from the University of Queensland, a Graduate Certificate of Business Administration from Flinders University and is currently completing her Masters of Business Administration with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Elena is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and has completed
the IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation.

Jane Munday
Senior Adviser

Jane arrived in the Northern Territory from Melbourne more than 25 years ago. She spent 10 years in senior marketing and communication roles with Northern Territory Police, the AustralAsia Railway Corporation and the Department of the Chief Minister. In 2004 Jane established Michels Warren Munday with offices in Darwin and Alice Springs. She sold the business, now True North Strategic Communication, to Elena Madden in late 2015.

Jane has qualifications in journalism, psychology, marketing and business management. In 2017, she enrolled as a PhD Candidate with the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University. She has certificates in social impact assessment from the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) and an Advanced Certificate in Community Engagement from IAP2. She continues to work part-time with True North as a community engagement and social impact assessment practitioner.

Jane is on the Board of Territory Natural Resource Management, on the Community Benefits Fund and the NT Committee of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ), as well as part of an EIANZ social impact assessment working group. Jane is a past NT President and Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

Hollie Young
Managing Consultant

Hollie is a seasoned communication specialist with extensive media, public relations and management experience across a variety of industries, including education, infrastructure, transport and tourism.

Hollie joined True North Strategic Communication in 2017 as Managing Consultant to lead sensitive community and stakeholder engagement programs, with a focus on major Defence projects.

Prior to this, Hollie worked for the Northern Territory Government Department of Education as Assistant Director Corporate Communication where she developed and implemented complex communication and media strategies.

Hollie is committed to partnering with clients to achieve their communication and engagement needs. She can develop and maintain robust working relationships with clients, stakeholders and the wider community.

Hollie has a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a Graduate Certificate of Management from Monash University.

Penny Baxter
Senior Consultant

Penny is a senior communication consultant with specialist writing and consultation skills who has been with the company since 2006. Penny was born and completed her schooling in Darwin and has an extensive knowledge of local issues and networks.

She has extensive journalism experience, including four years working on rural newspapers for Rural Press in Western Australia and six years with the Northern Territory News in Darwin.

Penny has also worked as a radio producer at ABC Local Radio and as a freelance writer for magazines such as Charles Darwin University’s signature publication Origins.

Specialising in community consultation, stakeholder engagement and analysis, Penny has worked on a range of projects with a focus on infrastructure and planning.

Penny is a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and has completed the IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation and the Pathway to Advanced Engagement course.

Penny has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Murdoch University.

Claire Butler
Senior Consultant

Claire has extensive experience in marketing, community engagement and strategic writing for government, the private sector and non-profit organisations. She has worked on investment attraction marketing campaigns in the Department of the Chief Minister, as Marketing Manager for Darwin Festival and Marketing Manager for Darwin City Marketing.

Since joining the company in 2008, Claire has worked on marketing, communication and community engagement strategies for various Northern Territory clients.

Recently, Claire has co-led a number of social impact assessments for mining clients. The complex and detailed assessment makes up part of an Environmental Impact Statement which is a compulsory report for environmental approvals.

Claire has a Bachelor of International Business from Griffith University and a Graduate Diploma in Management from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Claire has completed the IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation.

Claire spent three years working remotely for Michels Warren Munday in Nhulunbuy in North-East Arnhem Land. She is now based in Cairns and provides remote strategic support to True North Strategic Communication.

Sevasti Makrylos
Senior Consultant

Sevasti began her career as a journalist at the Mackay Telegraph in Queensland and is now a communication consultant with strong experience in writing, community and stakeholder engagement, marketing and media relations.

Since joining the team in 2015, Sevasti has specialised in providing clients with media support and guidance, strategic marketing and communication campaigns and innovative community consultation programs.

Sevasti has demonstrated experience in delivering good outcomes on a range of large projects and has proven her flexibility in adapting to different landscapes, making her one of True North’s most versatile team members.

Being born and bred in Darwin has grounded Sevasti with a deep understanding of local issues and wide community networks. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) from the University of Queensland.

Sevasti has also completed her IAP2 Certification in Public Participation.

Bethany Thornton

Bethany joined True North in 2018. She grew up and completed her schooling in Darwin, before moving to Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Strategic Communication at La Trobe University.

Bethany brings strong skills in writing, publicity and social media to the team, having worked as a Publicist at Channel 7 where she managed sport coverage and promotion for major events including AFL, AFLW, swimming, tennis, horse racing and the Rugby League World Cup.

Bethany is involved across the entire client portfolio at True North, ensuring she has robust and diverse experience across the public and private sector.

Bethany has supported the implementation of sensitive stakeholder and community engagement projects, project managed rebrands for clients and helped develop innovative and creative communication and marketing strategies.

Bethany has well developed project management and writing skills and is experienced in all aspects of social media and content creation.

Bethany has also completed her IAP2 Certification in Public Participation.

Doris Baylis
Associate Consultant

Doris is a Katherine local who has lived and worked in the area for more than 10 years.

She has strong local knowledge and extensive networks stemming from her eight years’ experience in the real estate industry and long-term involvement in community activities including the Biggest Morning Tea, Katherine Netball Association and Murph’s ANZAC Choir.

Since joining the team in 2017, Doris has represented True North Strategic Communication on the ground in Katherine and has focussed on working with the Department of Defence on community and stakeholder engagement projects.

Sue Lynn
Associate Consultant

Sue began her career with the BBC as a researcher and producer for local TV and radio. Originally from the UK she comes to True North with a wealth of media experience from a journalism career spanning more than 20 years.

Sue brings expertise in verbal and written communication and has a passion for generating and developing creative ideas, sourcing contacts and contributors and writing reports and briefs.

Sue has a Bachelor degree in media and communication from the University of Wolverhampton where received the Dennis Foy award for her outstanding contribution to media.

Bianca Pinheiro
Associate Consultant

True North Strategic Communication welcomed Bianca in early 2020 as a Graduate Consultant.  She was born and raised in the Northern Territory and completed a Bachelor of Marketing and Communication at the University of South Australia.

Bianca brings strong marketing skills and relationship management to the team, having worked at Tourism Central Australia during 2019 following a return to Alice Springs upon completion of her degree.

Bianca is involved in supporting a number of projects at True North, across the public and private sectors, including developing stakeholder engagement and social media plans and assisting with the coordination of media events.

Bianca brings to the team a strong connection to Central Australia, and this has grounded her with a deep understanding of local issues.

Joy Wright
Office Manager

At True North, Joy is responsible for the smooth operation of our business and provides support for the whole team on a wide range of projects. In addition to her day to day work, Joy’s flexibility finds her doing everything from answering community hotlines we manage for clients to proof reading detailed strategies.

Originally from Queensland, Joy lived in Nhulunbuy for 22 years before relocating to Darwin in 2007. Having spent most of her life living in the Top End, Joy has good understanding of local issues and has strong local networks.

Joy has extensive background in resources having previously worked in external relations for Rio Tinto. Joy is proficient in calendar management, event organisation, records management, data entry, invoicing and expense management.

Brooke Summers
Graphic Designer, Studio B

True North is proud to partner with Territory-owned graphic design agency Studio B Designs to bolster visual communication tools meeting our clients’ design and branding needs.

With ten years of local industry experience, Brooke has extensive knowledge of the Territory, and has worked with a diverse range of clients.

As well as being proficient in designing consultation support materials, Brooke’s diverse offering also includes logo design, brand development, annual reports, flyers, corporate communication, merchandise, signage, advertisements and more.

Since launching in 2013, Studio B Designs has celebrated exceptional success designing and creating for high-profile organisations across the Territory including the Northern Territory Government, TIO, Power and Water Corporation/Territory Generation, Energy Resources of Australia, City of Darwin, NT Major Events, the Darwin Turf Club and Darwin Waterfront Corporation.

Brooke has a Certificate IV in Graphic Design from Shillington College, and was proudly selected as a semi-finalist in the 2016 NT Young Achiever of the Year Awards in the Small Business Achievement category.