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


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 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 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


Board Member & 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.

Tully Smith


Board Member              

Tully Smith has a management background based in communications and development and co-founded market research firm Edge Insights. Tully has worked in the not for profit, government and private sectors in Australia and overseas.

Tully is a founding board member of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation and is Chairman of community radio station 99.9 Voice FM. Tully was a founding Director of the Children of Phoenix charity and a former Director of youth not for profit employment organisation Jobs: A New Approach.

Tully's commitment to the community has been recognised with a Premier of Victoria's award for Voluntary Service to the Community and a Prime Minister of Australia's award for Community Service. Tully also serves as ambassador for White Ribbon Australia, Australia's campaign to end violence against women. 

Tully is a member of the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Essendon Football Club, the Victorian Tourism Industry Council, Regional Press Club, Field and Game Australia and the Ballarat Club.

Theresa Saldanha


Board Member

Theresa Saldanha is the Founder and Director of innovation and strategy consultancy WhyNot! Innovate. Theresa has spent 20-years in blue chip organisations such as Cadbury Schweppes and Coca-Cola Amatil's food division, working both in Australia and internationally and has experience across numerous FMCG sectors. 

Theresa has a degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Management. She was one of twelve managers and the only woman selected by the British Council in India in 1998 for a government scholarship to the UK. Theresa has mentored at Marketing Woman's Forum, as well as co-authored the strategy and conceptualised the executive leadership development program at NAWO, a not for profit geared to attracting, developing and retaining women in non-traditional corporate roles and sectors. Theresa is inspiring younger marketeers and brand managers as a part time Lecturer of Advanced and Global Marketing at RMIT University. Reading and learning have always been a joy and passion for Theresa, she is highly motivated to help others develop and grow.

Michael Hayja


Board Member

Michael Hayja is a Partnership Executive for Perpetual Private, the largest managers of philanthropic funds in Australia, including acting trustee for over 950 charitable trusts and endowments. Michael has expertise in commercial partnerships with the non-profit and professional sectors, covering broad disciplines in philanthropy, estate planning, investment management, trustee and fiduciary services as well as personal risk management.

Michael has had a 20-year career in both Australia and US. His passion is for philanthropic giving, assisting non-profit groups reach their funding goals and helping high net worth families enjoy their predetermined lifestyle goals in retirement. This experience has sharpened his passion for excellent corporate governance and the identification and management of risk. He understands that the delivery of good corporate governance promotes investor and donor confidence.

Michael is a Non-Executive Director of OzChild, which provides a range of services dedicated to nurturing, protecting and developing children who are disadvantaged.