Caroline Jane Knight

Our Founder & Chair

Caroline Jane Knight

Caroline Jane Knight is the fifth great niece of legendary author Jane Austen and is the last of the Austen descendants to be raised in the family's ancestral home in Chawton, England, where Jane herself lived and wrote her most famous works.

Until she was 18 years old, Caroline lived in the Great House in Chawton, the country manor belonging to Jane's brother Edward, which has been passed from one generation to the next since 1588. Following a childhood steeped in centuries of tradition and her great Aunt Jane's legacy, Caroline was determined to be independent and became a successful businesswoman. 

Caroline was Co-Founder of Blueprint Group, the largest independent international field marketing group and was appointed CEO of DemoPlus in Australia in 2009. She has sat on the boards of Life Education Victoria and the Australian Institute of Management, and in 2012 Caroline was nominated as a finalist in the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Awards. In 2015 Caroline was Chair of the Australian Institute of Management National Excellence Awards' judging panel (not for profit).

Caroline has unique insight into the life, works and family of a literary icon. The worldwide celebrations of the 200-year anniversary of Pride & Prejudice in 2013 inspired Caroline to establish the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation to harness the passion for Jane Austen and support the practice of literacy across the world, in honour of Jane. 

Learn more about Caroline's incredible story →

The Board

Mercia Chapman

MERCIA CHAPMAN 

Deputy Chair

Mercia Chapman is a lawyer specialising in the areas of wills and deceased estates, trusts and charity law. Mercia holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney and Bachelor of Law from the University of Melbourne and is Senior Legal Counsel for Equities Trustees Limited.

Mercia has had a lifelong interest in the works of Jane Austen and is President of the Jane Austen Society of Melbourne, which meets regularly to celebrate and discuss all aspects of Jane's life, works and legacy.

Her other activities include Chairman of the Victorian Branch of the International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Mercia is a founding member of the board of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation and is very excited about the opportunity to support programs to increase literacy among the disadvantaged members of our global community.

 
Amanda Bailey

AMANDA BAILEY 

Secretary

Amanda is the National Manager of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at Secondbite, a not for profit organisation that rescues and redistributes food to those in need across Australia. Amanda manages major and high value donors, trusts and foundations, corporate sponsorship and bequests and developing innovative means for both corporate and community donations. Amanda builds strategic relationships which, together with her organisational and communication skills, have the ability to connect and progress to create a 'good fit' with new supporters. 

Amanda has also worked in fundraising roles for the International Women's Development agency and the National Stroke Foundation.

Amanda believes that those of us, privileged to be educated and living in secure environments have the skills to empower and strengthen those less fortunate outlooks to achieve such transformational change.

 
Cheryl di Florio

CHERYL DI FLORIO

Treasurer

Cheryl di Florio is a Partner in the accountancy firm Hamilton Morello, where she has been working since 1993. In keeping with Hamilton Morello's motto, "Right advice at the right time," Cheryl can often be found at clients' business premises and farms throughout Melbourne and country Victoria assisting clients with the growth of their businesses and personal wealth.

More recently, Cheryl and others at Hamilton Morello have embarked on a program of education on personal finance matters for women. This program has involved presenting at various workplaces and running an evening for women where various financial matters are discussed.

Over time Cheryl has been involved as Treasurer at various community and sporting organisations, also taking up the reins to run Milo: Have A Go programs at a local cricket club for 5-years.

 
Amanda Mortensen

AMANDA MORTENSEN 

Co-Founder

Amanda Mortensen has had a distinguished career in FMCG marketing, having previously worked for global brands and multinationals including Unilever, PZ Cussons, Pacific Brands and Simplot. In 2012 Amanda became Group Marketing Manager at NCI Packaging, the number one supplier of paint and coatings packaging in Australia.

In 2011 Amanda was awarded the Australian Marketing Institute's first prize for Marketing Program of the Year. Amanda has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Melbourne and was President of the Janet Clarke Hall Student Club in 1991. She is also co-founder of start-up incubator DSG & Co., which was founded on the basis of Charitable Commerce.

Amanda grew up in country Victoria and has experienced first hand the benefits a good education can bring. She is self declared bookworm and is passionate about supporting young women in their careers and has been a guest speaker and mentor for Marketing Women Victoria.