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 strong 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 leading community and stakeholder engagement projects whilst also 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 and a Graduate Certificate of Business Administration from Flinders University.

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

Over the past 40 years Senior Advisor Jane Munday has worked as a journalist, including Chief Police Reporter for the Melbourne Age, as 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. She established Michels Warren Munday, now True North Strategic Communication, in April 2004 and 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.

Jane has served as President of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) Northern Territory Division and is a Fellow of PRIA. She is a Member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) and is a former Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Australia. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), has a Masters of Business Administration (Marketing), a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Indonesian), a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Executive Management, a Certificate IV in Workplace Training, a part-completed BA in Journalism, an Advanced Certificate in Public Participation with IAP2 and Certificates in Social Impact Assessment and Human Rights in Impact Assessment with IAIA. She is a PhD Candidate at the Northern Institute of Charles Darwin University, researching participative approaches to social and cultural impact assessment in Northern Australia.

Jane spent four months overseas as a Churchill Fellow 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 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.

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 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. Melanie is currently completing a Bachelor of Education.

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.

Sevasti Laouris

Sevasti is 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.

Sevasti was born and bred in Darwin, grounding her 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 and began her career as a journalist at the Mackay Telegraph in Queensland.

Sevasti is a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and has completed her IAP2 Certification in Public Participation.

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 has completed her IAP2 Certificate 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.

Bethany is a member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and has completed her IAP2 Certification in Public Participation.

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 nine 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, 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.