John Howarth, Executive Director & Principal Consultant

John is a trusted advisor to senior executives and widely recognised as a leading expert in programme and project management. Highly regarded at all levels of the APS for significant contributions to transformational change and capability building.

John has demonstrated a strong strategic focus, underpinned by expertise in leading quality, outcomes-focussed client assignments which encompass significant stakeholder engagement.

He founded Tanner James in 1994, and has been ever present across the APS since then. Outside work John enjoys time with his family and has a keen interest in 4WD vehicles, both for enjoying the bush and participating in competitive events.

Jackie Park, Head of Operations

Jackie is the Finance and Operations manager for Tanner James. Her career of over 30 years has taken her from banking to computer auditing, programming and analysis, an acting EL2 in the APS through to her current role at Tanner James.

Jackie’s most treasured job though has been Mum to three boys, who she’s extremely proud of and is not looking forward to an ‘empty nest’. Jackie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, going to the cinema and walking her dog. Her future goals are to improve her very limited piano and guitar skills, attend photography classes, and explore Australia, the UK and Canada.

Sam Russell

Sam Russell, Head of Public Sector Engagement

Sam has over 25 years of experience as an Industry Engagement Manager and Capability Development Consultant.

Sam’s role is to build a close partner relationship with the Tanner James clients to ensure that their Program and Project Management training and consulting requirements are mapped to appropriate, reliable, and highly effective solutions.

He achieves this by taking a genuine, focused, and in-depth interest in the needs of our clients and by developing long-term, close, trusting relationships with them.

Yuan photo

Yuan Xue, Client Support Officer

Yuan is the Client Support Officer and is responsible for assisting with service delivery, including training courses. With a strong academic background in education and over ten years of experience in the education sector, she is passionate about learning and development, especially in helping learners overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Fluent in Mandarin, English, and Japanese, Yuan enjoys original Japanese anime (without becoming overly fixated). She finds solace in nature’s beauty, admiring the sea, the moon, the evening sky, and the starry night. Yuan also has a fondness for animals, taking delight in observing roadside ducks and bunnies and noting their changing family sizes with the seasons. Moreover, Yuan finds joy in singing and possesses a talent for it.

Ray Ahern

Ray Ahern, Principal Consultant

Ray joined Tanner James in 1999 after a successful career managing, often difficult, projects and programmes in the Australian and Tasmanian Public Services.

Ray has demonstrated a strong strategic focus and is a skilled facilitator and trainer. He has a particular gift for engagement with senior stakeholders to develop common understandings around projects and programmes. He is recognised as a leading expert in programme and project management particularly in complex environments.

In his spare time Ray is a keen handyman and has recently built his own home near Canberra. He loves spending time with his children and playing both golf and guitar quite badly.

Gerry Vassallo

Gerry Vassallo, Principal Consultant

Gerry is well credentialed and highly regarded for leading programme and project management consultancy services, primarily within the APS. He builds client relationships based on trust and delivery expertise in leading strategic-level operational, transformational and change projects.

Gerry is a key member of Tanner James team, and an effective trainer, skilled at developing the capabilities of course participants from diverse private and public sector organisations which in turn drives project and programme outcomes.

While passionate about his work, Gerry also loves life outside of work: spending time with family, including grand children, playing squash, motorcycling, dance and in the process of taking up sailing. When I’m not out and about I turn to music, though listening not playing.

David Hazlewood, Principal Consultant

David is a leading expert in the fields of portfolio management, programme management and project management, and has extensive knowledge and experience in practical application and use of these best practice frameworks.

He has over 25 years of experience in managing organisations, managing major change initiatives and providing management consultancy advise to local and multi-national organisations. He is an accomplished Portfolio, Programme and Project manager, working predominantly in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Ash Harding, Principal Consultant

Ash is a well credentialed professional, with a strong background in program and project management consultancies in Australia and the US. He is an effective manager of relationships at all organisational levels with experience in consultancy appointments spanning large and small corporate and public sector clients.

Ash is also the Head of Professional Capability at Tanner James, responsible for maintaining our Accredited Training Organisation (ATO) status.

Tren Christiansen

Tren Christiansen, Senior Consultant

Tren is an experienced trainer and coach who has worked extensively across government and the private sector. He delivers significant value to clients through services in agile, portfolio and project management, PMO management and change management.

He is skilled at analysing business performance and using results to inform improvement strategies as well as being an engaging trainer, focussed on developing the capabilities of course participants of all levels. In his spare time, Tren is the Chair of the Canberra Branch of the International Institute of Business Analysts.

Tren’s family is growing up too fast, but at every opportunity they enjoy geeking out with board games, going cycling, and adventuring or otherwise getting their hands dirty in all the wonderful things our country can provide. Tren is also very passionate about ensuring everyone gets a fair opportunity to be awesome.

Helen Heslop, Senior Consultant

Helen is a skilled project manager and adult educator with extensive experience managing complex projects in areas including information technology, corporate governance, human resources, policy and international capacity development.  Her work experience spans the APS, local government and small business. 

Helen has a passion for helping clients work through complex ideas to reach a position of clarity. For Helen, the real strength of project management is to enable people to work together on big ideas, create benefits for others and perform in a supportive and safe environment. 

Outside of work, Helen is an artist completing a sculpture degree at ANU. Art enables her to engage with social issues and think about things differently. Helen and her boys love the outdoors and are often out hiking, camping and travelling on weekends.