Study Cairns Management Committee

Office Bearers

Samara Dever, Peace Lutheran College


Having joined Peace Lutheran in May 2021 as a Strategic Marketing Consultant, she was appointed to her current role within the College Executive Leadership Team in January 2022. With 23 years of experience in sales and marketing in the FMCG sector, as well as being the Managing Director of her own consulting business, Samara brings a fresh perspective to school enrolment marketing. Over the last two years, she has focused on enhancing the parent and student experience for both internal and external interactions and has crafted targeted engagement plans to enhance the school decision-making process both locally and internationally.

Furthermore, her recent work within the PLC leadership team when formulating a three-year Strategic Plan, focuses on providing a unique and rewarding school offering for international students, while fostering sustainable partnerships with education organizations and agencies.

Danielle Carey

Danielle Carey, FNQ Employment

Vice President

Danielle Carey returned to Cairns in 2015 to address skills gaps affecting regional growth in Far North Queensland for the Department of Education and Training. Before returning to North Queensland, Danielle managed Study Brisbane, developing initiatives to increase Brisbane’s international student enrolment numbers and improve the international student experience. More recently, Danielle promoted long term economic and social growth as CEO of Regional Development Australia Tropical North and addressed the challenges to economic growth and industry diversification for Advance Cairns.

Danielle is currently delivering programs to help the region’s unemployed into jobs as a representative of the Federal Government’s Local Jobs Program. She is a member of the AICD and a previous Study Cairns Executive Board member.

Frank Lanza

Sophie Costi, TAFE Queensland


Sophie has extensive experience in vocational education and customer service delivery having spent the last 11 years working for TAFE Queensland, one of the largest Private VET institutions in Australia. Sophie’s current role is working as an International Student Engagement & Support Officer with an emphasis on developing student engagement and wellbeing initiatives to enhance the International Student experience and outcomes across multiple campuses in North Queensland. Sophie is passionate about providing opportunities for students to enhance their skills and develop meaningful connections within their communities. A key focus is maintaining an understanding of challenges pertinent to international students and providing advocacy to the students in order to encourage growth of the global education market across North Queensland.

Janine Bowmaker, Banora International Group


Janine is the Managing Director of Banora International Group (BIG), an Australia-wide business with its Head Office based in Cairns. BIG centres around the International Student market providing various service orientated divisions including homestay, farmstay, study tours, edutourism, volunteering and traineeships.

Janine has been a member of Study Cairns for 14 years, a member of the Study Cairns Management Committee for 12 years and held the role as President for 3 years. She also sits on several tourism boards.

Janine is extremely passionate about tourism and the international education sector and committed to growing this industry for the Cairns region.

Committee Members

Sarah Mort, MiHaven

Sarah is co-founder and Director of MiHaven Pty Ltd. MiHaven is a social enterprise established in Cairns and has been operating since 2011. The company’s operations include construction, property development and training. In early 2017 MiHaven identified a gap in the market for high quality purpose built student accommodation in Cairns and now has three student accommodation facilities for international students studying in Cairns.

Sarah has had an expansive career in the property development industry with an Hons Bachelor degree in Town and Regional Planning (Melbourne University), post graduate degree in Urban Economics (UTS) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s. Sarah has extensive industry experience on both company and government Boards in Australia.

Joy Jenkins, CQUniversity

Joy is the Academic Operations Officer on the Cairns Campus, CQUniversity.  She joined CQUniversity 5 years ago after spending 20+ years at James Cook University.  She has extensive experience in higher education, and has broad knowledge of student service delivery. She was instrumental in developing many of the student services that currently exist today on the Cairns Campus, and has expanded her interests into academic operations at CQUniversity.

Joy’s background has primarily been in the Learning and Teaching arena and she is passionate about educational opportunities for all students.  This passion is shared with developing educational opportunities in the far northern region and as such is committed to supporting the growth of international education in this region.

Jodie Duignan-George, CQUniversity

Jodie is the Associate Vice-Chancellor, Cairns and Far North Region, at CQUniversity. Jodie joined CQUniversity five years ago and with a background in Social Science and close to 20 years of experience working in higher education, she has a broad knowledge of issues facing the sector.

Jodie has a keen interest in community development with particular expertise in business development. She is a member of a number of local and national boards and is deeply committed to the growth of International Education in the Cairns region

Michelle Bottrall

Michelle has for the past 20 years worked in the education section. First with Study GoldCoast and was a part of the transition from a ‘Members Supported Only’ Not for Profit to a Local and State funded one. She has worked within EIM Training and EIM international Training for over 10 years. During that time Michelle has created strategic marketing plans, and pivoted the market. She oversees 15 valuable employees spread over four campuses. Whilst Michelle’s base is the Gold Coast, Michelle is actively in
Cairns trying to strengthen the destination as a preferred study location. Michelle has a strong sales and marketing background, leadership, and passion to ensure whatever she puts her hands at is done at 110%

Mateja Rautner

Mateja Rautner, Director and Principal of Migration Plus in Cairns brings over two decades of expertise in migration law and international education. As a qualified education agent, Mateja is dedicated to supporting international students and navigating the complexities of migration legislation. With a background in International Trade, Finance, and Business, Mateja is wellversed in handling intricate migration matters. Formerly a lecturer in Migration Law at the Australian National University, Mateja is an accredited CPD Educator with the Migration Institute of Australia. Mateja holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and International Trade, along with a Graduate Certificate in Migration Law and Practice. Actively engaged in the Cairns and FNQ business community, Mateja is a member of various chambers of commerce, trade organizations, and community associations. Currently serving on the executive committee of the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Mateja isdedicated to advancing international education in Cairns throughcollaboration with Study Cairns.

Carlie Sage

Carlie Sage is an experienced professional in the international education sector, with over 15 years of expertise across roles at institutions including IDP, Hobsons, and the University of Melbourne. Presently, she leads international marketing for James Cook University. Carlie is deeply committed to nurturing the aspirations of international students and enjoys collaborating with colleagues to facilitate educational journeys. Her dedication to the field extends to the sharing of her knowledge and skills, contributing to the continuous improvement of the international education sector.

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