Our Staff


Richard Stokes - Chief Executive Officer

Richard Stokes is the current Chief Executive Officer of ABSA.

He first worked in boarding in 1980 in Adelaide at Immanuel College as a full-time supervisor, and upon completing his BA and Dip Ed he moved to Brisbane in 1982. At St Peters Lutheran College he took on the role of Assistant Senior Boarding Master, and in subsequent years become co-ordinator of boarding at St Peters.

In 1996 he took on the new challenge of Dean of Residential Care at St Joseph’s Nudgee College, a boarding school of nearly 600 boys, and held that role until he retired from a direct boarding role at the end of 2005.

Richard has been involved in ABSA or its previous versions since 1985, holding positions including Treasurer, Secretary and President, and was appointed the first part-time Executive Director for the newly formed Australian Boarding Schools Association in 2007. The role became a full-time one in 2011.

Richard is happily married to Karen, and has two adult children who both enjoyed growing up in the boarding environment!

Thomas Dunsmore - General Manager

Thomas Dunsmore, the ABSA General Manager, started his role as Office Manager of ABSA in late April 2012, and moved into the role of Operations Manager at the conclusion of his Traineeship in April 2013, and General Manager in early 2016.

During 2012 he completed a Traineeship in Business with ABSA and has achieved a Certificate III in Business, a Diploma in Business and a Diploma in Management.

Tom has completed a Diploma of Business at Bond University and is now studying a Bachelor of Commerce at ACU. 

One of the key aspects of his role is to build partnerships with organisations who support this industry. One of his focuses is to provide support for all staff involved in boarding through providing more opportunities for professional learning through events .

Thomas finished high school in 2011 at St. Joseph's Nudgee College. After graduating he has held a few jobs including bar work, landscaping and since then has happily moved in to his role of Office Manager, Operations Manager, and General Manager.

Over Tom’s time with ABSA, he has had the opportunity to visit over 200 boarding schools and work short stints in boarding houses around Australia.

Outside of work his interest include playing basketball on a regular basis, traveling to new places, fishing and new experiences.

Jackie Dench - Office Manager

Jackie has had many years of experience in customer service and administration within manufacturing, logistics, financial services and hospitality industries.  Jackie recently started and built up a Cafe which grew into a very successful business before deciding to sell and go back into office administration.

Jackie moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1998 with her husband Barry and their three children.  She enjoys watching Rugby and spending time with her family.

Joshua Drahm - Casual

Joshua Drahm took on the full time role of Communications and Administration Trainee in April 2017, after working casually for ABSA for the previous 12 months, and once completing his traineeship took on the role of Office Manager for 2019. He has recently returned to full time study and is now working casually for ABSA.

Joshua completed High School in 2014 at St Josephs’s Nudgee College. Since graduating he has worked as a casual Lifeguard and as a kitchen hand. He has also taken part in studying primary teaching and conservation biology. He completed a Certificate III in Business during 2018.

In his time away from work Josh enjoys fishing, surfing, basketball and touch footy.