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 over 20 years.
Christian has worked across a range of industries and represented clients involved in areas as diverse as defence, mining and resources, agriculture, infrastructure, health, media and sports.
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 a senior advisor to the Minister for Home Affairs.
Christian has a Bachelor of Communications and prior to establishing CMAX Advisory he worked as a journalist.
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 prospectus’, 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 is a passionate maternal health advocate and has worked 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.
Tyson Sara has over 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 South East 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 Masters 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.
Paula Benson joined CMAX Advisory as Special Counsel in March 2019.
Paula has almost twenty years’ experience in financial services, media, resources, infrastructure, education and non-profit sectors. Paula is Non-Executive Director of the Victorian Funds Management Corporation; Director of Care Australia; and, a Trustee of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
She is the former chair of Ovarian Cancer Australia and former director of the Port of Melbourne Corporation, the Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation and Regional Arts Victoria.
Paula has held senior roles in business and the media including, Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs at National Australia Bank (NAB); General Manager, Corporate Responsibility at NAB; General Manager Corporate Affairs at Alcoa of Australia; Manager Public Affairs at RMIT University; and Producer of Channel Nine’s A Current Affair.
Paula holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales.
Neil Hart AM joined CMAX Advisory as Special Counsel in August 2018.
Neil also serves as a Strategic Defence Advisor to the Minister and Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Industry and Planning in Queensland, with a focus on the Aviation and Space industry. He was also recently appointed as a Professor at Deakin University and Chair in Defence Technologies for the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation.
Neil remains active in the Australian Defence Force though the Air Force Reserves, principally through work in ADF Airworthiness Boards. His previous senior command appointments and positions with the ADF include Deputy Chief of Air Force, Head One Defence Implementation, Head Force Structure Review, Head Joint Capability Coordination Division, Commander Air Combat Group, Director of the US Central Command Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and Director-General Capability Planning in Air Force.
Neil is a fighter pilot and flying instructor with over 3000 fast-jet hours, including time on the F/A-18 Hornet, the Mirage IIIO and the Macchi MB326H. He graduated with distinction from the Royal Australian Air Force Academy and was awarded a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. He is also a graduate of both the USAF Command and Staff College Course (Alabama) and the Royal College of Defence Studies (London).
Neil has served on flying squadrons operating throughout Australia and South-East Asia, culminating as Commanding Officer of Number 3 Fighter Squadron, including leading the squadron on an operational deployment. Other key previous appointments include Director Special Operations Development in Special Operations Command, Director of the ADF Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency, and Deputy Director in the New Air Combat Capability project team.
Maddie Gay has worked as strategic communications and public affairs specialist for 10 years in Australia and internationally.
Maddie has worked for both federal and state governments and across the arts, agriculture, academic and research, public health, finance and not-for-profit sectors.
Prior to joining CMAX Advisory in September 2017, Maddie worked in the United Kingdom managing high-profile public affairs strategies as Public Diplomacy Manager at the Australian High Commission in London; and at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College London.
Maddie has a wealth of experience in brand development and creative campaigns; digital engagement; internal and external communication strategy; corporate social responsibility and advocacy; high-profile event management and media relations. Throughout her career Maddie has fostered and managed relationships with influential individuals and a full range of critical stakeholders across government, business, media, peak bodies and community groups.
Maddie was raised on a grazing property in rural NSW and remains closely connected to the land. She holds a Bachelor of Communications (Advertising & Marketing) and a Diploma in Graphic Design.
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 NSW 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 inception, 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 United Kingdom, 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.
Mitch O’Dwyer is a defence and national security professional with more than 15 years’ experience.
Mitch previously served as an officer in the Australian Army, and is a veteran of Afghanistan, Iraq, and several of Australia’s domestic and international counter-terrorism efforts. Mitch has extensive experience working with Australia’s strategic national security agencies. Prior to his time in the Australian Army, Mitch worked in the Australian Parliament as member of staff to a Shadow Minister. He also has experience as a researcher at a leading Australian foreign policy think-tank.
Mitch holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce.
David Johnston has over 15 years global banking experience, specialising in extractive industries and commodity trading.
David has a deep understanding of capital markets, private debt markets, global markets derivative and inventory products, structured trade and working capital solutions. David has advised multi-national conglomerates, listed and unlisted diversified mid-caps and private enterprises across key sub-sectors of the natural resources industry: mining and metals, oil and gas, commodity traders, service companies and related infrastructure.
David has worked across Australia and Europe with many different cultures, and has extensive experience managing and understanding various cultural sensitivities and cross border relationships.
David was educated at the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School with qualifications in Commerce (Accounting) and Fintech.
Jennifer Doggett has over twenty 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 organization 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 joined CMAX Advisory in May 2018 and 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 for 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 joined CMAX Advisory in January 2019 and 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 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.
Patrick Doyle joined CMAX Advisory in February 2018, and works as a Research and Policy Associate.
Patrick’s focus is on analysing and reporting on political and defence developments. He also assists with stakeholder engagement and government relations.
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.
Sophie Goddard joined CMAX Advisory in December 2018, and works as a communications advisor across our portfolio of clients.
Sophie has a keen eye for detail and in-depth understanding of digital strategy development, media engagement and analysis, event management and public relations campaigns. She assists with the development and implementation of public affairs and communication strategies for our clients.
In 2018 Sophie graduated from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Communications (Media & Public Affairs). Throughout the duration of her studies Sophie developed communications expertise specifically in the not for profit sector. Sophie completed internship with Amnesty International and the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education, assisting with development and execution of a national campaign and media development.
Sophie was born and raised in Canberra, and brings with her a natural political knack and interest in how Australia’s government hub operates.