The Senior Executive Board (SEB) ensures the transition of Council directives through to the business plans of AIATSIS programs. The Council appointed Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the organisation’s performance and advises the Council on all operational matters. Executive staff assist the Council, liaise with AIATSIS membership and develop the organisation’s public profile.


Craig Ritchie

Craig Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer

Craig Ritchie is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunghutti and Biripi nations and is the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Prior to coming to AIATSIS he was Branch Manager, International Mobility in the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. In this role he was the senior departmental executive responsible for the Australian Government’s Endeavour Awards, which support international student and researcher mobility, and policy leadership on qualifications recognition. He was the Departmental lead on the Australian Government’s education relationships in America, the Middle East and Africa, along with APEC and UNESCO.

From late 2011 to mid-2015 he was the Branch Manager of the Access and Participation Branch in the Higher Education Reform Group, of the Department of Education where he led two major systemic reform initiatives in higher education: the first in reframing the national approach to widening participation policy and programs in higher education; the second in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education through the implementation of the findings of the landmark Review of Access and Outcomes in Higher Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (the Behrendt Review).

Born and raised in rural New South Wales he was the first in his family to go to University. From 1984-88 he was a student at the University of Newcastle where he studied Classics, History and English with Education and Drama thrown in! After graduation he taught secondary English and History in Gosford for seven years before joining the staff of the AWABAKAL Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative in April 1996.

At AWABAKAL Craig led a process of organisational development issuing in the development of AWABAKAL first Corporate Plan. He was responsible for the operations of the AWABAKAL Aboriginal Medical Service that provided comprehensive primary health care, in a community-controlled model, to Aboriginal communities from Murrurundi to Wyong and north to Nelson Bay. It was under Craig’s leadership that the first Hunter Area Aboriginal Health Partnership Agreement was negotiated between the Aboriginal Medical Service and the Hunter Area Health Service.

From 1999-2002 Craig was Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) - the peak advocacy body for Aboriginal community controlled health services. In late 2002 he moved from the community sector to the public service as Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Policy for ACT Health where he established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit and led the development of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Family Wellbeing Plan, a blue print for wellbeing focussed whole of Government action in the ACT. In February 2010 he took up the position of Assistant Secretary, Remote Health Services Development Branch in the Department of Health and Ageing where he was responsible of a program of primary health care reform for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

As a senior Public Servant Craig has had responsibility for major systemic reform initiatives including remote primary health care service delivery, place-based community development through the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership. He is one of a small cohort of Indigenous public servants who provide significant leadership in the broader whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs particularly as a member of the Commonwealth Indigenous Reform Group.

Craig was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2006 to research models Indigenous of leadership in the USA and Canada.  He has post-graduate qualifications in Management and is a PhD scholar at the University of Sydney where he is researching the implications of Aboriginal culture for public policy development and implementation. He holds adjunct appointments at the University of Sydney (Health Sciences) and the University of Technology Sydney (Indigenous Research).

Michael Ramalli

Michael Ramalli, Deputy Chief Executive Officer / Chief Operating Officer

Michael Ramalli is a Gamilaroi man originally from Mungindi (QLD/NSW border) and is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer (DCEO/COO) at AIATSIS. Prior to commencing at AIATSIS, Michael was the Regional Manager, Western New South Wales, Indigenous Affairs Group, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 

Michael has held various senior roles in the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments and is an experienced executive with a strong background in Indigenous Affairs, with a particular focus on community engagement at a regional level. Michael has been involved in the creation, development and management of a number of Aboriginal organisations, including as a Board Member of Koobara Kindergarten, Ti Tree Housing and Kurbingui Youth Development. 

As DCEO and COO, Michael is responsible for AIATSIS human resources, information technology and management, finance, communications, property and security management. 

Leonard Hill

Leonard Hill, Executive Director, Collections

Leonard is a descendent of the Ngemba and Murawarri people from North West NSW. His mother was one of 10 Children, born and raised on the Aboriginal Mission at Brewarrina, NSW. Leonard has spent almost 25 years working in Indigenous Affairs in a number of roles within the Commonwealth and NSW State Governments, as well as local Aboriginal Community Organisations. Leonard has spent the last 14 years working in the Australian Public Service (APS) in the former DEST, OIPC, FAHCSIA, DSS and for the past 3 years with PM&C as the Assistant Secretary, Culture Branch. In September 2018 Leonard moved into the role of Executive Director Collections at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Lyndall Osborne

Lyndall Ley, Executive Director, Cultural Heritage Project

Lyndall has worked extensively as an executive manager in local government in Queensland and Victoria in the fields of community, arts and cultural development and services, libraries and corporate services. She is also a qualified librarian with years of experience in this field, especially at management level. The last four years she has been travelling, living and working overseas, primarily in Egypt as owner and part of the management team of a Class A tourism company, assisting clients from all over the world to enjoy the unique attractions of Egypt. Lyndall also works with Youth Impact Ethiopia, a local Ethiopian NGO based in Addis Ababa, assisting with strategic and financial planning and the development of a youth library.

Joining AIATSIS as the Library Director, Lyndall has special interests in strengthening access to the library's collections for all clients through online services and collections and in engendering increased support for the Institute and its collections through the opportunities offered by the digital world and social media.

Dr Lisa Strelein

Lisa Strelein, Executive Director, Research

Lisa is Director of Research Strategic Engagement. Lisa's research and publications have focused on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state, and the role of the courts in defining Indigenous peoples' rights. She has made a significant contribution to academic debate on native title in Australia, including her recent book Compromised Jurisprudence: Native Title Cases since Mabo, which was heralded by members of the judiciary and Indigenous community alike.

Lisa also writes for a wide variety of audiences and has worked with teams in creating a catalogue for a native title art exhibition and an award winning multimedia package on native title.

She maintains strong networks within the native title system, conducting research projects in partnership with or in response to the needs of native title representative bodies and claimants as well as government departments.

Lisa is the convenor of the annual National Native Title Conference, which remains the leading annual Indigenous policy conference in Australia. She has degrees in Commerce and Law and was awarded a PhD, for her thesis examining Indigenous sovereignty and the common law, from the ANU Research School of Social Sciences in 1998.

Last reviewed: 6 Mar 2020