RSL & Services Clubs

The Board & CEO

All categories of membership are eligible to be represented on the Board of Directors of the Association. Member Clubs receive varying voting rights on a proportional basis relative to annual subscriptions.

The Board of seven (7) directors is elected by the membership from among delegates of Categories 1, 2 and 3 Member clubs:

  • Category One members have a minimum of four Directors elected to the Board;
  • Category Two members two Directors; and
  • Category Three members one Director.

The directors are elected for a period of two years, after which they are required to stand for re-election. The Board elects the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson. The Board meets bi-monthly.

Dean Thomas
Association Chairman

Chief Executive Officer, Dean Thomas commenced employment at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club - a name synonymous within the club industry for live entertainment and great food - in 1992 and has worked towards the Club’s growth through a succession of management positions, ranging from finance to operations and through to his current position.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and Finance through the University of New South Wales, which he was completing when he first entered the club industry over 17 years ago.

Dean's passion for increasing understanding of the unique and vital role that clubs in general, and RSL Clubs in particular, play in our community. Dean has utilized his positions to advance the cause of charitable organizations, including the Variety Club of NSW and NETS (Newborn Emergency Transport Service).

Board Member since 2005
Director of KYLC Benevolent Fund

John Millar
Vice Chairman

John Millar was elected to the Board of Dubbo RSL Memorial Club in 1993, and has been Club President since 2002 and elected a Life Member this year. He was CEO of the Dubbo R.S.L. Aged Care Association for 16 years prior to retiring in 2010.

He has been Treasurer of the Dubbo RSL Sub Branch for the past 17 years, and Sub Branch Trustee since 1996.

John was a Director of Macquarie Credit Union for 9 years prior to resigning in 2013. He served in the Royal Australian Navy for nine years and saw active service in Far East Campaigns.

Board Member since 2009

Andrew Bell
Association Director

General Manager of Wagga Wagga RSL Club, Andrew Bell, was appointed as a Director of the Association on 16 June 2005 to fill a casual vacancy and was Vice-Chairman from 2009 - 2016.

Andrew has worked in the industry for 25 years, commencing at Mathoura Bowling Club and then Deniliquin RSL as Deputy General Manager and later General Manager, before moving to Wagga RSL in 1997. He is also the Riverina State Councillor on ClubsNSW, Vice President of the Southern Sports Academy, a Director of the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber and a Director of the Operation CARE Benevolent Fund.

Board Member since 2005
Director of Operation CARE Benevolent Fund

Del Gaudry
Association Director

Del Gaudry is a current serving member of the Defence Force and has been involved in both reserve and permanent roles in the Air Force. Her leadership skills and vast experience as Human Resources Manager with major organizations such as Bunzl PLC, Visy Recyling, Pacific Brands and Mobil has made Del a valuable asset to the Board of Penrith RSL Club, where she has been a Director since 2014.

Del is dedicated to community service and is involved with the Rural Fire Service at Blaxland where she is a fire fighter and assists with first aid training.

Del is a Director of the WBI of RSL NSW and is actively involved with the Homes for Heroes Program. Del is also the Sydney coordinator for Women’s Veterans Network Australia (WVNA).

Del has completed her Certificate lV in Governance as an expression of her commitment to compliance as a Director of the Board.

Board Member since 2018

Patsy Edwards
Association Director

Patsy Edwards has been a Director of Gosford RSL Club since April 2002 and was Vice-President in 2013-2017. Patsy is a Life Member of Gosford RSL.

Patsy has been either a full-time or Reserve member of the ADF for 43 years, in both Navy and Army. She is Secretary of the Gosford RSL sub-Branch, where she is active in pursuing veterans welfare and support programs. As a trained Nurse who is still working part-time at Gosford Private Hospital, Patsy has an acute awareness of the importance of good support and counselling services for veterans and their families.

Patsy Edwards has been a regular delegate at the Association’s Conferences and Regional Forums for a number of years and is well known across the membership.

Board Member since 2018

Michael Brennan
Association Director

Michael is currently General Manager of Woonona Bulli RSL Club. He began his career in clubs 21 years ago and has worked in 3 of the largest clubs in the Illawarra. Starting at the bottom while studying a commerce degree at Wollongong University he has held positions in finance, gaming and operations before becoming General Manager in 2012.

He has 7 years of industry association experience as an active Director of Leagues Clubs Australia from 2005 to 2012 before joining the RSL Association.

He has remained committed to the industry because of its diversity and the continual challenges its faces to remain relevant to the communities that support us.

Appointed to the Board from 1st January 2017.

John Rafferty
Association Director

John is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Coffs Ex Services Memorial & Sporting Club Ltd, trading as the C.ex Group a position he has held for thirteen and half years.
The C.ex Group have three premises being C.ex Coffs, C.ex Urunga and C.ex Woolgoolga, with a membership of 33,000+; 180 employees with a turnover of $30 million+ with a cash profit exceeding $5 million.

In this position John is responsible for the Strategic business direction of the Group in all areas of operation and has considerable experience in all aspects of Club Management, specialising in food, beverage and gaming management.
John has a sound background in human resource management, functions and conventions coordination, golf course management, administration, marketing, tourism and hospitality.

John has been employed in the Club Industry for 34 years and has been instrumental in the implementation of change. Through strategic research and planning processes that have a strong focus on the development of staff through training to create culture change that integral to the long-term viability and sustainability of an organisation. John has overseen major construction and development works during that time of more than $50 million.

John studied Commerce at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria and holds a Fellow in Club Administration with the Club Management Institute of Australia. John also has certificates of attainment in Corporate Governance at Southern Cross University, Gaming Machine Management, Practical Accounting, Workplace Health & Safety, Industrial Relations, Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Conduct of Gaming.

John holds Board and Committee positions with the following entities:

C.ex Foundation – Director
Federation of Workers and Sporting Clubs – Director
Clubs4Fun – Director (Chairman)
ClubsNSW Data Advisory Committee
ClubsNSW/ClubsThrive Committee
ClubsNSW/Diversity Committee
C.ex Coffs International Stadium Committee

Garrie Gibson
Association CEO

From a diverse and broad career in public affairs, Garrie came to the CEO role after working as a government relations and issues management consultant for a variety of industry associations, major corporations and community organisations. He had previously been a consultant to the club industry, working with ClubsNSW, ClubsQld and Leagues Clubs Australia, as well as a large number of clubs across NSW and the ACT on government relations, marketing, membership development and campaign management and is currently a State Councillor of ClubsNSW.

CEO/Company Secretary since August 2014
CEO/Company Secretary of KYLC Benevolent Fund
CEO/Company Secretary of Operation CARE Benevolent Fund
CEO/Company Secretary of Veterans Benevolent Fund
Deputy Chairman, Gallipoli Scholarship Fund