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 sits on the Board of Fortem Australia and is a passionate maternal health advocate and works with charities including Every Mother Counts, 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 Executive 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.

At CMAX Advisory, Tyson is responsible for strategy development, political analysis, political engagement and geopolitical forecasting and analysis. Tyson assists our clients to understand and navigate the political and international landscape and develop ambitious but feasible strategies to help clients achieve their objectives.

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.

Alyssa Waters

Account Director

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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.

Cameron Jones

Account Director

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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.

Kelly Dargan

Account Director — Health

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Expertise —
Health policy Strategy development and execution Stakeholder engagement
Interests —
Off-track adventuresSportsHiking
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Kelly brings to CMAX Advisory specialised health policy and strategy expertise, with experience leading and contributing to high functioning teams in private, government and non-profit sectors.

After spending over a decade working across various health and social policy issues, Kelly is skilled at connecting people, ideas, and opportunities; building synergies between stakeholders and interest groups to address complex problems and design innovative solutions.

Kelly has led strategic planning, policy development and complex stakeholder negotiations for several national health bodies and has unique insight into the medical field following several years working for peak medical bodies in Australia. She has worked intimately on issues relating to workforce, professional practice, healthcare services and technology, quality assurance and improvement, training and education and inequity.

Kelly has international experience with the World Health Organisation, and most recently supported efforts to deploy health emergency resources domestically and abroad as part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 taskforce.

Kelly holds a Master’s of International Public Health and a Bachelor of Health Science – Population Health & Aboriginal Health.

Andrew Hargrave

Account Director

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Expertise —
Defence industry policyInternational and strategic policy Government and stakeholder engagement
Interests —
AFL/St Kilda FCAustralian and international politicsWine
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Andrew’s experience spans 15 years in federal government and defence industry roles, both in Australia and the United States.

Prior to joining CMAX Advisory, Andrew was a senior executive in Australian defence industry with responsibility for leading key client engagements in addition to managing commercial, security, quality and human resources functions.

Andrew’s earlier career was in the federal government as a Defence official, ministerial advisor and diplomatic representative. He served on the Defence staff at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, as an advisor to the Minister for Defence Industry, and as an international policy officer with the Department of Defence.

Andrew’s expertise is in issues impacting on the defence professional services industry – particularly SMEs – as well as strategic and international issues management in a political context.

Andrew holds undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in International Relations and International Law from the Australian National University, and is admitted to practise law in the State of Victoria.

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

Senior 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 has experience developing, executing and supporting stakeholder engagement and government relations strategies across various sectors, including defence, aerospace, transport and health. He has a strong understanding of the political and policy considerations involved in these sectors, having analysed and reported on them extensively.

Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne. Before joining CMAX Advisory, he engaged in government relations and administrative activities in the non-profit sector.

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

Claire Woodwell

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Defence (government and industry) and national securityPolicy analysisStakeholder engagement
Interests —
Good Italian foodBouldering/Soccer’70s Music
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Claire Woodwell provides insight into defence and security from both a public and private sector perspective.

Prior to joining CMAX Advisory, Claire worked in the Australian defence industry as a senior commercial officer. Her experience included working with the Australian government on the Lead-in Fighter program, with US defence industry on Air Combat Systems support programs, and with the US government on the Australian F-35A Lightning program. In a previous life, Claire served in the Royal Australian Air Force as an Intelligence Officer.

Claire’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement and relationship development, policy analysis and strategic outcome forecasting, as well as research collation, analysis and key recommendation communication.

In 2020, Claire was selected to write an article for the annual ASEAN Australia Review on an aspect of Australian foreign policy. Claire holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Laws (majoring in Corporate, Commercial and Taxation Law) from the University of New South Wales.

Born in Sydney, Claire grew up moving around Australia – with Perth having made the longest lasting impression. Remembered as one of her most daunting and rewarding experiences, during her schooling Claire embraced the opportunity to experience living on exchange in Italy for a year.

Anthony Egeland

Senior Advisor

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Expertise —
Stakeholder engagementHealth policyRisk management
Interests —
Australian & US politicsTechTravel
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Anthony Egeland has spent a decade working across the health, community services, and policy spheres.

Anthony has extensive experience in the private and NGO sectors, often working with senior officials to find new and sustainable solutions to healthcare-related issues.  Over the course of his career he has consulted for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, served on the research and education committee of the Digital Health CRC, and been a board member of the ACT Council of Social Service.

Anthony most recently worked at the Consumer Health Forum of Australia, where he was responsible for the development of digital health policy and participated in broadening the consumer research agenda in cooperation with government and university partners.  Prior to this he was the regional manager of Anglicare’s youth and family services in the ACT, overseeing a portfolio that spanned education, healthcare, housing, and community engagement.  His interest in health was initially sparked during his time managing and expanding a network of general practices in the Canberra region.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & History and a Master of Business from the Australian National University, alongside a Master of Science in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics.

Maiya Saita

Research Assistant

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Expertise —
Policy AnalysisResearch & WritingInternational Relations
Interests —
Travel & LanguagesSkiingViolin
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As a Research Assistant at CMAX Advisory, Maiya supports the development of client products including strategic communications plans, engagement strategies, meeting briefs, policy white papers and market analyses.

She is particularly interested in national security policy, crisis management and economic development and has gained valuable experience and knowledge in these fields through her studies and work experience. In 2019, she was competitively selected to participate in a New Colombo Plan study tour around Southeast Asia, where she enjoyed learning about the security and geopolitical dynamics governing the region.

Maiya is completing her final year of studies at the Australian National University, where she is studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and a Bachelor of International Security Studies.

Born in Japan, Maiya moved to Sydney with her family in 2008. She is fluent in French and English and proficient in Spanish.

Jennifer Doggett

Senior Consultant

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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.

Davina Langton

Senior Consultant

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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 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.