about us: meet our team

Elena Madden
Managing Director

Elena was born in Katherine and 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 over 10 years’ experience in strategic communication and public relations. Prior to Michels Warren Munday, Elena worked in external relations for Rio Tinto and with the West Australia Government for the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project Stage 2. Having worked for a publicly listed company she has a good understanding of investor relations and corporate governance.

Elena took over Michels Warren Munday as the new owner and Managing Director in October 2015, and oversaw the rebranding to True North Strategic Communication. Whilst with the company, she has focussed on leading sensitive community and stakeholder engagement projects and providing strategic communication advice to a range of clients.

Elena is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and the International Association for Public Participation.

Elena has a Bachelor of Communication from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Certificate of Business Administration from Flinders University.

Jane Munday
Senior Adviser

Senior Adviser Jane Munday established Michels Warren Munday in April 2004. Jane sold the business in October 2015 to current Managing Director Elena Madden. Jane remains an important part of the team, specialising in community engagement and social impact assessment.

In the past 35 years Jane has worked as Chief Police Reporter for the Melbourne Age, Media Director for Victoria Police, Director of Media and Corporate Communication for Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Director of Communication and Marketing for the Office of Territory Development in the Department of the Chief Minister and Manager of Marketing and Communication with the AustralAsia Railway Corporation.

Jane has served as President of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s Northern Territory Division and is a Fellow of PRIA. She is a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Australia and a Member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and International Association of Impact Assessment.

Jane is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), has a Masters of Business Administration (Major Marketing), a Bachelor of Arts (Majors Psychology and Indonesian), a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Executive Management, a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and a part-completed BA in Journalism. She has a Certificate of Public Participation with IAP2 and in November 2016 will complete her Advanced Certificate.  She has training in facilitation and social impact assessment.

She is a Churchill Fellow, spending four months overseas in 1991 studying crisis communication.

Hollie Young
Managing Consultant

Hollie is a seasoned communications 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 and has focussed on leading sensitive community and stakeholder engagement projects.

Prior to this, Hollie worked for the Northern Territory Government Department of Education as Assistant Director Corporate Communications 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 worked with True North for 11 years. 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.

Melanie Walker
Senior Consultant

Melanie is a specialist writer with expertise in strategic planning, and corporate communication.

Originally from Orange in Central West New South Wales, Melanie worked as an agricultural journalist for Rural Press in Sydney and Dubbo before joining GrainCorp Limited. She then stepped from agriculture to mining, working in corporate affairs for a mining and construction group until moving to Darwin in 2004.

Melanie has been with the company since late 2005 and has worked on a wide variety of projects covering government and private sector industries including hospitality, construction, transport and logistics, agriculture, mining, and education. She has excellent local knowledge and has established a strong network of business contacts across the Northern Territory.

Melanie is a specialist writer who has extensive experience producing award winning submissions, business documents, strategic plans, media materials, creative copy and a range of marketing collateral.

Melanie has a Bachelor of Arts from Charles Sturt University, with a double degree in Communications/Politics, Journalism and Marketing and has part-completed a Master of Arts in Organisational Communications.

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.

Claire has a Bachelor of International Business from Griffith University and a Graduate Diploma in Management from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Claire is a member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

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.

Jo Madin
Senior Consultant

Jo is a seasoned communications practitioner with experience in planning, policy development and communication in both the private and public sectors.

She has worked in a number of areas including Indigenous affairs, native title, mining, forestry, national parks and more recently in water, transport and infrastructure.

Originally from Melbourne, Jo has worked for or on behalf of State and local governments, private sector organisations and community groups in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Within the scope of her experience is managing complex communication programs for major construction projects, including delivering best practice community and stakeholder engagement to support the environmental approvals process.

Jo joined the company in early 2016 and has focused on community consultation with a focus on infrastructure and planning projects.

Jo has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Town Planning) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and has part completed her Master of Public Relations with the University of Southern Queensland.

Chrissy Joll
Senior Consultant

Chrissy is a Senior Consultant with widespread experience in environmental management coordination and community relations in the Defence and mining sectors.

Chrissy is a long-term Top End resident, having lived in Darwin, Katherine, Borroloola, Timber Creek and the East Kimberley, giving her a strong understanding of the region’s unique issues and strong local networks.

Since joining the team in 2018, Chrissy has been involved in implementing sensitive community and stakeholder engagement projects.

Chrissy has a Master of Management in Community Management from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Diploma of Project Management from BizNorth. She is also a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).

Bridget McCue
Associate Consultant

Bridget joined True North Strategic Communication in 2017, bringing to the team strong experience in project management, administration and stakeholder engagement from the public sector.

Bridget’s public sector experience spans multiple government agencies giving her a good understanding of government procedure and experience in preparing communication materials for different audiences.

Since joining the team, Bridget has focussed on implementing sensitive community and stakeholder engagement projects.

Bridget was born in Northern Territory and has lived and worked in Darwin her entire life, giving her a sound understanding of local issues and a wide network of local contacts.

She has a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) from Swinburne University of Technology which she completed via correspondence while working in Darwin.

Bridget is a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and is completing her IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation.

Sevasti Laouris
Associate Consultant

Sevasti is a communication consultant with experience in writing, marketing and media.

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

Sevasti has delivered great outcomes across the public and private sectors, demonstrating her flexibility in adapting to different landscapes.

As a journalist with The Mackay Telegraph and Quest Community Newspapers in Queensland, Sevasti has worked across a variety of areas including politics, business and entertainment.

Sevasti was born and bred in Darwin, grounding her with a deep understanding of local issues and strong community networks. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) from the University of Queensland.

Sevasti is a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and has 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 Defence on community and stakeholder engagement.

Bethany Thornton
Graduate Consultant

Bethany joined True North in 2018 as a Graduate Consultant. Bethany 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.

At True North, Bethany focusses on providing high-level project support, including media support to clients, assisting with consultation projects and developing innovative marketing and communication strategies.

Joy Wright
Office Manager

Joy is responsible for the smooth operation of our day to day business and provides support for the team on a wide range of projects.

Joy has an extensive background in resources, previously working in external relations for Rio Tinto.

Originally from Queensland, Joy lived in Nhulunbuy for 22 years before relocating to Darwin in 2007.

Brooke Summers
Graphic Designer, Studio B

Brooke is a qualified creative graphic designer with eight years’ industry experience, including four years with one of the Territory’s leading design studios. Her experience in design, production, creative thinking, and marketing strategy means she understands the creative process from initial concept to delivery of the final product.

As a local Territorian, Brooke thrives on helping local businesses make an impression. She enjoys working within a corporate style and adhering to existing brand guidelines, but also loves the challenge of a blank canvas.

Since launching in 2013, Brooke’s design business Studio B has celebrated phenomenal success designing and creating for high-profile organisations across the Northern Territory including the Northern Territory Government, TIO, Power and Water Corporation/Territory Generation, ERA, 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.