Our Team

CMAX Advisory’s team is made up of exceptional individuals who guide strategy development and execution with unwavering commitment, passion and professionalism.

Our talented team has worked across the breadth of government and business internationally, including politics, public policy, media, peak industry bodies, academia and not-for-profit organisations.

Special Counsels

Christian Taubenschlag

President & Founder

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Expertise —
Government relationsBusiness development strategyMarket positioning
Interests —
Mountain bikingSkiingInternational politics
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Christian Taubenschlag is the founder and President of CMAX Advisory.

Christian has been advising and assisting both private and public sector clients with their corporate and public affairs communication needs for more than 20 years.

Christian has worked across a range of industries and represented clients involved in areas as diverse as defence, national security, mining and resources, agriculture, infrastructure, health and media.

Christian has a wealth of government experience derived from roles heading several departmental communication units. Christian has also established himself as a trusted advisor to the federal government, having worked as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence and National Security Adviser and Director of Communications to the Minister for Home Affairs.

Christian is fluent in Spanish, has a Bachelor of Communications and prior to establishing CMAX Advisory he worked as a journalist.

Tara Taubenschlag

Managing Director

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Expertise —
Stakeholder engagement Reputation & crisis managementMedia strategy
Interests —
Global development & maternal healthEquestrianHiking
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Tara Taubenschlag has worked in government relations, communications and journalism for more than 15 years.

Prior to her career with CMAX Advisory, Tara worked as a print and television journalist both nationally and internationally, producing and presenting news and current affairs programs for Sky News and Channel Ten. During her time at CMAX Advisory, Tara has counselled clients from a range of sectors including digital, cyber, defence, agriculture and education in government relations, reputation management, corporate communications, issue management and corporate social responsibility.

Tara’s professional experiences also includes work for a variety of consultancy firms, where she supported clients in the development and execution of strategic communications campaigns, government relations strategies, stakeholder engagement plans, ASX company listings, the development and launch of company prospectuses, and campaign and media management of events.

Tara assists a number of non-profit and community organisations with their PR and communication needs on a pro bono basis. She site on the Board of Fortem Australia and is a passionate maternal health advocate and working with charities including Every Mother Counts, Send Hope Not Flowers and The Hands of Rescue to raise funds and awareness for maternal health programs in developing countries. Tara was a founding board member of Women in Media – Canberra Group, was named the 2013 Government Relations Practitioner of the Year and was a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2015. Tara helped establish the East Timor Free Press Foundation following the independence referendum in 2000, receiving an Australian Government Award in recognition for her volunteer work there.

Tara holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Queensland.

Tyson Sara

Chief Strategist & Chief Operating Officer

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Expertise —
Strategy developmentInternational relationsNational security
Interests —
HistoryAFL footballTravel
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Tyson Sara has more than 25 years’ experience in defence, international relations and government.

Tyson has served in a number of senior executive positions in the Department of Defence, managing strategic policy, capability and personnel. Tyson has also managed Defence’s international relationships, with particular expertise on the United States, South Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Tyson served in Parliament House as the Senior Adviser for Intelligence, Operations and International Affairs to the Minister for Defence and was lead adviser to the minister for the development of the 2009 Defence White Paper.

Overseas, Tyson served as the Policy Adviser to the Australian Commander in Afghanistan in Kabul. On a second tour he was seconded to the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division as Senior Adviser to the Commander of NATO Forces in Southern Afghanistan based in Kandahar, but travelling widely in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tyson grew up in rural South Australia and attended Flinders University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in International Relations. He has a Master’s in International Security and Strategy from King’s College London and is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies. Tyson has also completed the Senior Executives in National and International Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Maddie Gay

Chief Product Officer

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Expertise —
Strategic communications Advocacy & reputation managementCorporate social responsibility
Interests —
Art & designAdventure & travelHealth & fitness
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Maddie Gay has worked as a strategic communications and public affairs specialist for over a decade, in Australia and internationally.

Maddie has worked in the private sector and for both federal and state governments across the health, finance, agriculture, academic and research and not-for-profit sectors. Maddie has a wealth of experience in advocacy and influence strategies, media engagement and crisis management, brand development and creative campaigns, digital strategy, internal and external communication strategy, corporate social responsibility and high-profile event management.

Maddie is highly skilled at fostering international partnerships, mobilising coalitions and navigating complex stakeholder relationships to advance CMAX Advisory’s clients corporate objectives. Maddie successfully negotiates on behalf of CMAX Advisory’s clients to resolve and mitigate risk on issues which impact the client’s perceptions within government, in the media and across the community.

Prior to joining CMAX Advisory, Maddie was responsible for shaping public affairs strategy at the Australian High Commission in London. As Public Diplomacy Manager, Maddie developed and executed campaigns with iconic Australian brands, artists, sports people, business networks and politicians to advance the Australian government’s public engagement, policy and regional partnership priorities in the UK.

Maddie was raised on a grazing property in rural New South Wales and remains closely connected to the land. She holds a Bachelor of Communications (Advertising & Marketing) and a Diploma in Graphic Design.

Meaghan Dalgarno

Senior Consultant - Campaigns

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Expertise —
Marketing strategyInternal & external communications strategyHealth policy advice
Interests —
FamilyTravelCurrent affairs
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Meaghan Dalgarno is an internationally experienced marketing and communications leader, who is passionate about driving business growth through innovation.

Currently based in the United States, Meaghan has worked for global market leaders in medical technology, prestige beauty, logistics and retail across Australia, Ireland and the UK.

Meaghan has a special interest in developing customer focused, analytics-driven, marketing and communications strategies designed for maximum and measurable impact. Meaghan has more than 17 years’ experience in the design, development and execution of product launches, customer activations and event management, media planning, digital and content marketing, distribution, internal and external communications planning, key opinion leader (KOL) strategies and program management.

Meaghan holds a Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Queensland.

Davina Langton

Senior Consultant | Europe

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Expertise —
Government and stakeholder relationsAustralian politicsComplex policy pathways
Interests —
Fitness & healthTravelFamily
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Davina Langton has more than 20 years’ experience working at the highest levels of Australia’s state and federal governments.

Davina’s extensive knowledge of legislative processes and systems is highly valued by CMAX Advisory’s partners. For a decade, Davina has advised private sector clients on strategies to interact and engage with government at the political and departmental levels.

Before joining CMAX Advisory, Davina worked in some of the most senior political advisory roles, including with three New South Wales premiers, before serving as Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister for Defence. Davina has policy expertise across a range of economic and social policy areas and directed the New South Wales Parliamentary and Legislative agenda for seven years.

Davina specialises in providing sound and timely advice to executive leadership teams on all facets of stakeholder communication and engagement. She can formulate and develop critical public policy, forensically analyse and resolve difficult and sensitive situations, manage a diverse group of stakeholders and professionally communicate strategic messages. Having advised governments at every step of the policy process, from inception, to drafting, parliamentary and implementation stages, she is uniquely placed to navigate complex policy queries and formulate options for external stakeholders.

Now based in the Brexit-focussed UK, Davina’s experience is in strong demand as companies in the UK and Europe seek to engage more broadly with Australian markets and the political and regulatory systems.

Jennifer Doggett

Senior Consultant | Health

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Expertise —
Health policyHealth care financingGovernment relations
Interests —
ReadingCyclingBridge
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Jennifer Doggett has more than 20 years’ experience in government, working with professional, industry and consumer groups and specialising in the health sector.

Jennifer is a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development and Chair of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance. She is a contributing editor to online health publication Croakey and has worked for a broad range of consumer, industry and professional groups in the health sector.

Jennifer’s previous roles include policy officer in the Department of Health, Communications Manager for a national medical organisation and political adviser to a federal senator on health and social policy issues.

Jennifer is the author of a number of publications on health issues including: “A New Approach to Primary Care in Australia” and “Out-of-pocket: re-thinking co-payments in the health system”. She is a contributing author to books More than Luck, Pushing our Luck and Creating and Implementing Public Policy.

Cameron Jones

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Defence and national security policy adviceComplex stakeholder engagementStrategy development
Interests —
Far-flung travel destinationsGood fiction novelsNational and global politics
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Cameron Jones is a specialist in government relations, stakeholder engagement and policy analysis and development.

Cameron has experience in public and private sectors in Australia and the UK, where he has worked closely with senior leaders in industry, government and academia across diverse issues – including defence and national security, international affairs and financial services.

Cameron most recently worked in the UK at the national industry association for financial and related professional services and at Chatham House – the Royal Institute of International Affairs – managing complex relationships with a broad range of influential stakeholders. Prior to this he was a senior international policy advisor in the Department of Defence, advising the government on Australia’s defence and security engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. He developed long-term strategies to enhance engagement with Australia’s closest neighbours and managed bilateral defence cooperation programs with key security partners in the region.

Having spent his life moving between Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia, Cameron has a strong appreciation for diverse views and approaches to issues, and respect for cultural differences. He holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Western Australia.

Elyssa Comer

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Defence policyStakeholder engagement and corporate communicationsStrategic analysis
Interests —
FamilyTrail runningOutdoors and travel
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Elyssa Comer is a defence policy specialist with a strong government communications background.

In her time in the Department of Defence, Elyssa worked in several sections key to implementing the government’s defence policy objectives. This included working on a review of Defence’s counter-terrorism arrangements, industry and innovation programs, as well as social media strategy, media engagement, major events and issues management.

Elyssa has extensive ministerial liaison experience having worked in a busy parliamentary business team and as a departmental liaison for an Assistant Minister for Defence.

Elyssa holds a Bachelor of Public Relations/Bachelor of Management and a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – First Class. She brings more than a decade of public sector experience having worked in both the Department of Defence and the Department of Health and Ageing.

Kelly Dargan

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Health policyStrategy development Stakeholder engagement
Interests —
Outdoor sportsNon-fiction readingOff-track adventures
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Kelly Dargan has spent 10 years working across a wide range of public health and social policy issues in Australia and internationally.

Kelly brings broad policy and strategy expertise to CMAX Advisory, having worked in both government and non-government sectors on a variety of issues with a particular focus on health. Kelly is skilled at connecting people, ideas and opportunities to build synergies between stakeholders and interest groups and design innovative solutions to address complex problems.

Kelly has led strategic planning, policy development and complex stakeholder negotiations for several national health bodies and peak medical bodies. Kelly has worked internationally with the World Health Organisation, with a specific focus on tobacco control legislation.

Kelly has a unique insight into the health system, including specific expertise in the areas of health and medical workforce, professional practice, healthcare services and technology, quality assurance and improvement training and education, and inequity.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Population Health & Aboriginal Health) from the University of Wollongong, and completed a Master’s of Interventional Public Health at the University of Queensland in 2012.

Alyssa Waters

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Defence and national security policyGovernment and stakeholder engagementTrade and investment
Interests —
Travel and outdoor activitiesHealth and wellnessInternational affairs
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Alyssa has worked in a number of legal and public policy roles across state and federal  government departments. She brings a strong understanding of the Australian government’s defence and national security priorities, and the strategic drivers and sensitivities that frame this environment.

During her time in the Department of Defence, Alyssa worked in key defence industry and international policy sections, managing Defence’s international relationships and the implementation of defence industry and innovation programs. She has worked to strengthen government partnerships with defence industry and competitively position Australian companies for export success in foreign markets. Alyssa also has experience managing Defence’s international relationships, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Alyssa has a wealth of public sector experience in government and stakeholder engagement, having previously worked with the Attorney-General’s Department, the Federal Court of Australia and a number of New South Wales government agencies.

Alyssa grew up on the beaches of Newcastle and graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Arts/Laws, with a double major in Politics and Public Policy and French language.

Jason Staines

Publications Editor

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Expertise —
Writing Editorial production Research and analysis
Interests —
Travel Family Rugby (both flavours)
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Jason Staines has worked as a journalist and editor in Australia, the UK and India. He has also worked in economic diplomacy and policy analysis for the Australian Treasury.

Prior to joining CMAX Advisory, Jason worked for the Commonwealth Treasury as an analyst in Canberra and before that in New Delhi, where he was the senior research officer for Treasury’s post at the Australian High Commission. This economic diplomacy role combined his journalistic experience in reporting on the Indian economy with establishing and maintaining relationships with the Indian government.

Jason has a strong background in editorial production, having worked as production editor on business titles in Sydney and London, as a senior sub-editor for Australian Associated Press and as a news editor for the Age in Melbourne. While in India he was an editor for Dow Jones Newswires.

Jason was raised in Sydney, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts (Communication) from the University of Technology, Sydney and his Master of International Studies from the University of Sydney.

Patrick Doyle

Advisor

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Expertise —
Policy analysisGovernment relationsStakeholder engagement
Interests —
Punk musicEverton FCHistory
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Patrick Doyle is a research and policy analyst.

Patrick’s focus is on analysing and reporting on political and policy developments across a range of sectors. He assists the development and execution of stakeholder engagement and government relations strategies.

Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne. Before joining CMAX Advisory, he interned at Amnesty International and volunteered with Results International, where he lobbied federal politicians for foreign aid.

Patrick was born in the UK and but grew up in Melbourne.