Who are we?

We’re former senior executive public servants with a strong desire to guide public sector professionals in their pursuit of excellence.

  • We use our experience and networks to help early career public servants reach their potential.

  • We have qualifications in psychology, human geography, public policy and executive coaching.

  • We’ve worked at local, state, federal and international levels of government.

  • We’ve served Governors-General, ministers and secretaries in policy, service delivery, program design and management, corporate, at the frontline and in research.

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Melanie Fisher


Prior to establishing Schumann & Fisher, Melanie’s most recent role was as the Executive Director of the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation. This successful and innovative joint venture between the Australian Public Service and the Australian National University prepared top-talent, APS Executive-Level staff for future leadership positions.


Melanie had a long and happy career in the Australian Public Service. Almost half of it was in the Senior Executive Service. She held diverse roles across a wide range of functional areas, including:

  • Executive Officer to a secretary in a minister’s office

  • Deputy Chief Executive Officer of a regulatory agency

  • Deputy Executive Director of the Agriculture Department’s scientific research agency

  • Roles in policy, program, strategic human resources and frontline areas in several agencies.


Melanie’s original academic training was in psychology (with a thesis on performance) and anthropology. She obtained a Master of Public Policy early in her APS career. More recently, she has undertaken:


  • EdX and Coursera-verified certificates in Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change (Case Western Reserve University)

  • Digital Leadership (Boston University)

  • Agile Leadership (University of Maryland)

  • Design Thinking for the Greater Good (University of Virginia). 


She has published conference papers, reports, analyses and book chapters. She co-edited a book in the areas of public policy, social psychology, natural resource management, and political science.


Her interest in evidence-based public policy and public sector practice continues. She has held an Adjunct Professor position at the School of Government and Policy at the University of Canberra since 2011.


Melanie continues to mentor public sector staff and volunteers as a mentor for disadvantaged children.

Jo Schumann


Jo’s extensive experience in the public sector encompasses working for the ACT and Commonwealth public sectors and for the Canadian Government. Her roles have included:


  • The management of Commonwealth/State funding arrangements

  • Social policy and service delivery in the welfare, housing and community areas

  • Chief Operations Officer for several Australian Public Service agencies. 


As COO, Jo gained valuable experience and developed expertise in finance, human resources, information technology, and media and communications.


Jo currently provides talent management and review services to small APS agencies. She holds a number of non-executive director board positions in the government and community sectors, including roles as Board Chair and Treasurer. She is currently the Independent Chair of the Climate Change Authority Audit Committee and chairs a federal government committee on consultancies and services.

Jo’s academic training is in geography (Master of Arts), corporate governance (including Membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors) and public policy. She has formal qualifications as a coach and accreditation in DISC, Emotional Intelligence and Motivators assessments.


Jo continues to mentor and coach public sector staff and works as a volunteer mentor for young juvenile justice offenders.

Who we partner with

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Darren Box


Darren Box is highly experienced senior executive with over 30 years’ experience spanning national social service to national security across the Commonwealth and United Kingdom. Darren has extensive financial management, organisational reform, Governance, and Audit experience, committed to driving organisational change and building capability. In November 2020  Darren Box Pty Ltd was established, a consulting business, with a focus on Management Consulting, Independent Assurance, Professional Coaching and Facilitation.

Carly Hartas


Carly Hartas is the Founder and Director of Country to Coast EA, a premium one-stop shop for remote business support. Originally from Canberra, she is a highly qualified Executive Assistant and Executive Officer who has held roles in the Australian & British governments, as well as the private sector, including as the Executive Officer to the British High Commissioner and Executive Assistant to the British Consul-General & Deputy Trade Commissioner.


Carly started Country to Coast EA in 2020, after deciding it was time to take her senior corporate experience and apply it to businesses looking to scale up and corporates who were looking for less overheads. Carly and her team provide premium and remote business support to clients all over Australia and across a variety of industries.  


Carly is particularly passionate about mentoring Executive Assistants who are looking to further their career or build on their existing skillset, as well as educating workplaces and executives about the importance of administrative professionals within their teams.  

Kirsten Peterson

Kirsten Peterson is a performance psychologist, executive coach, and speaker.  Having worked in elite sport (US Olympic Committee and Australian Institute of Sport) for over 20 years, she knows how to help people tap into their mind’s potential to thrive in uncertainty, build better relationships, and perform with more ease and happiness.




Heidi’s experience is in customer service and client engagement in various roles, including in an ICT environment.


She provides Schumann & Fisher with consultancy services in administration and events management.

Heidi Ruhl

Program Administration

Stephanie's experience in graphic design and communication. 


She provides web design, social media, marketing, promotional content, brand identity and visual communication services for Schumann & Fisher

Stephanie Beer

Graphic Design and Communication

Emma is a multi-published author, copywriter and editor. 


She supports Schumann & Fisher with our written communications.

Emma Gray

Copywriting and Editing