Our people

Anita Kumar

Chief Executive Officer

Anita is a passionate advocate for the rights of children and families, especially those dealing with complex life issues or living in vulnerable circumstances. She has a strong track record of forging impactful strategic partnerships across government, corporate, philanthropic, agency and sector organisations as a means to build a sustainable social enterprise.

Staff portrait

Senior Professor Anthony Okely

Research Director

Anthony is a NHMRC Leadership Fellow. His research focuses on movement behaviours in children. In 2019 he was recognised on the ISI Highly Cited Researchers list. He is ranked by Scopus lifetime metrics as #6 in the world for ‘physical activity and children’. Anthony has led the development of national and global guidelines and standards. He is currently leading an international surveillance study of movement behaviours in the early years (called SUNRISE) which involves 35 countries, 60% of which are low or middle-income.

Staff Portrait

Professor Marc de Rosnay

Academic Director

Marc leads transformational early childhood initiatives with the goal of improving developmental, educational, and social opportunities for vulnerable children in regional, rural and remote contexts. Marc works to translate current evidence on child development and early learning into the everyday care of children and professional practices. His research focuses on how children become socially and emotionally competent.

Staff portrait

Leanne Gibbs

Senior Manager, Engagement and Translation

Leanne leads the work of the Early Start Engagement Team along with initiatives for translating research into practice. As an early childhood education professional she has led programs and organisations to advocate for children’s rights and to create opportunities for high quality early childhood experiences. She is an author, podcaster and researcher investigating the emergence and development of leadership in early childhood education.

Martha Johnson

Manager, Discovery Space Education and Experience

Martha is passionate about making learning experiences fun, engaging and meaningful for children, whilst also finding creative ways to include adults in learning. Martha has over a decade of experience educating children and adults in various roles and is committed to working collaboratively across disciplines to share knowledge and provide learning experiences that are based on best practice and research.

Early Start Advisory Board and Committee Directors

Learn more
building external shot