Our Team

We are committed to developing others to reach their goals.

Our team bring extensive experience from careers in research, communications, marketing, organisational development and human resources. We have worked in large complex organisations from top ASX listed companies to large government departments and national NFPs, consulted to global iconic businesses and sat on multiple advisory boards. We have led teams, sat at the executive table and implemented high-impact strategic initiatives to ensure we bring real-life experience alongside extensive leadership development specialist expertise.

As certified facilitators, accredited organisational coaches, and Hogan coaches we love what we do and seeing the difference it makes.

Sophie McCarthy

Chief Executive Officer

Sophie McCarthy is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Mentoring, a Sydney based consulting group that works globally with organisations to inspire and develop their emerging and current leaders.  Established in 1998, it offers a suite of mentoring, coaching and leadership programs for senior executives and high potential employees. Partnering with leading companies across the corporate, government and not for profit sectors, it designs programs that drive change, engage people and develop leaders. Success is measured in terms of retention, engagement and the promotion of participants.

Full Bio

Over the past decade Sophie has overseen the company’s growth and expansion into regional markets to meet the needs of global clients. She works closely with CEOs and HR Directors in diverse industries including power and energy, museums and performing arts and mental health services to plan and deliver mentoring and leadership programs for their executive teams and future leaders.

Sophie is a coach and mentor and has a strong commitment to diversity and the community.  McCarthy Mentoring has developed many successful Women’s Leadership programs at Qantas, Allens Linklaters, Calibre, AWE Ltd and with the Council of Australasian Museum Directors where up to 60% of participants are promoted within a year.  In addition, she has established partnerships with schools and community groups assisting them in a pro bono capacity to establish mentoring programs for students, graduates, refugees and newly arrived Australians.

Prior to this Sophie worked for a decade in communications and project management roles with the NSW Ministry of Science and Medical Research, consulting firms and overseas aid& development agency, Plan International. In this role she worked and travelled to India, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines. Her first career was in research and policy in museums and then in public health.


  • Chair, McCarthy Mentoring, 2012 – present
  • Advisory Committee Member, Sydney Community Foundation & Sydney Women’s Fund, 2017 – present
  • Non – Executive Director, Parry Street Garage, Newcastle 2015 – present
  • Ambassador, Get Flexible Campaign, Diversity Council of Australia. 2012
  • Deputy Chair, Griffin Theatre Company 2009 – 2016
  • President, Family Planning Association of NSW Foundation 1999 – 2008

Qualifications & Awards

  • Accredited Organisational Coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership, IECL 2020
  • Hogan Leadership Assessment Certification 2017
  • Fellowship, Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Program, 1999 Master of Public Health, University of Sydney, 1993
  • Bachelor of Arts (politics and history), ANU 1989


  • One2One: Power, Politics and My Career, Australian Executive Mentoring Stories, 2012
  • Women’s Leadership in Science, ARC and NSW Ministry of Science & Medical Research, 2008
  • Shattered Lives: Report on Domestic Violence Services for Non-English-speaking women in Queanbeyan, Southern Area Health Service, NSW, 1997
  • Report on Postnatal Depression Services for Non-English-Speaking Women in NSW, NSW Dept Health, 1996.
  • Risks of HIV Testing for the low risk population, Department of Public Health, University of Sydney, 1993 Technical Report on the World War Two Shipwrecks in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory Museum of Arts & Sciences, 1992.


  • The McCarthy Mentoring Executive Scholarship established in 2013 funds an annual program for a community leader.
  • Sydney Opera House Idealist  –  Member of the Atelier Group, Art Gallery of NSW  – Griffin Theatre Studio Supporter – Sydney Women’s Fund.

Arancha Alvarez

Director, Talent & Organisational Development Programs

Arancha Alvarez works closely with CEO’s, Executives and HR Directors across the corporate, government and not for profit sectors to design leadership development programs for their executive teams and future leaders. Arancha is passionate about enhancing effectiveness and performance through behavioural and cultural interventions that enable a business to reach its goals. She designs and manages leadership, talent and diversity programs that drive change, engage people and develop leaders. Arancha has extensive experience in Organisational Development and HR working in some of Australia’s largest and complex businesses in finance, retail, FMCG, engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Full Bio

As the Head of Leadership, Talent & OD Programs at McCarthy Mentoring, Arancha oversees design and delivery of leadership and diversity and inclusion programs. She brings particular expertise in strategic organisational development initiatives and succession planning. Arancha has led a number of leadership development and mentoring programs across energy, insurance, health and finance sectors which have delivered strong results in performance, engagement and culture.

Prior to joining McCarthy Mentoring, Arancha worked within Woolworths Group’s Talent Development Centre of Expertise. Arancha developed and implemented group-wide organisational development strategies and programs for close to 200,000 employees across a number of portfolios including early careers, diversity & inclusion, leadership development, onboarding & induction and blended learning.

Prior to Woolworths Arancha held an Organisational Development Consultant role with Boral Limited where she managed leadership, succession planning and talent programs for 14,000 people across Australia, Asia and the US. She has also worked for NAB Private Wealth as a  People & Capability Advisor where she designed and implemented the development and capability plan.

Arancha is currently an Advisory Committee Member for the University of Southern Queensland’s Masters in Applied Leadership. She is a Macquarie University graduate with a Bachelor of Strategic Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Arts Psychology. She is also a member of the invitation-only Golden Key Society that recognises the top 5% of university students.

Arancha is an accredited Organisational Coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership (IECL) and holds certification in several leadership assessments including the Hogan 360 & Leadership Forecast Assessment and the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire. She also has qualifications in Project Management Fundamentals from the Australian College of Project Management.

Tessa Sexton

Director, Communications & Leadership Programs

Tessa Sexton designs and delivers leadership development programs that enable change and improve performance. She works closely with CEOs and HR Directors across the corporate, government and not for profit sectors to develop and support executive teams and talented staff to become agile, effective leaders. Tessa is an organisational coach, a trained facilitator and has demonstrated expertise in all aspects of executive mentoring and leadership development. She is also a communications specialist and is responsible for McCarthy Mentoring’s brand and marketing, drawing on her extensive experience in stakeholder communications, brand strategy, business development and issues management.

Full Bio

Tessa has worked at the executive level within organisations and consulted for more than 20 years across sector As a marketing executive, communications strategist and professional development advisor with cross- sector experience, Tessa started her career in government at Tourism New South Wales in Sydney before moving to London to work across the UK and European markets. She then took on an advisory role at a global PR firm consulting on crisis communication, reputation management, change strategies and stakeholder relations. Clients included Caltex, AMP, NSW Police, PwC and British Airways at which she was the media lead for the airline in this region.

Tessa left consulting to move into the NFP sector in the role of General Manager, Marketing at The Leukaemia Foundation of Australia. In this role she successfully rolled out the multi-stakeholder communication strategy on the federation restructure, developed a suite of new communication tools for national implementation and led the marketing team that delivered the most successful fundraising campaign to date raising $10M+. Tessa’s most recent role within marketing and communications strategy was a senior public relations advisor to leading advertising and marketing firms with publicly listed STW Group.

Tessa holds a Bachelor of Arts (Tourism Marketing) from the University of Technology, Sydney, is an accredited Organisational Coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership (IECL), and holds certification in the Hogan 360 & Leadership Forecast Assessment Tool.

Ilaria Faranda

Office & Administration Manager

Ilaria oversees all office and administration for McCarthy Mentoring clients and business. She has experience in the management and delivery of large and small-scale events, workshops and training.

Full Bio

Ilaria brings a wealth of expertise from her former management roles within the retail sector and also running her own freelance creative design business. She has key strengths in building and maintaining strong relationships, exceptional organisation skills, strong analytical and problem-solving capability with a great attention to detail.

Ilaria holds a Bachelor of Design Studies (Visual Communications) and a Certificate IV in Frontline Management.