Chief Executive Officer
Having a vivid imagination, as a child I used to jump off the roof thinking I could fly. Since I never broke any bones, I’ve come to believe that anything is possible – especially when it comes to humans.
Growing up the eldest child in a mixed European family, I could be naturally bossy; but in school I had a heartfelt call to stand on the margins with people who are disadvantaged and labelled.
After a false (but fun) start in a career in the Arts (mainly managing country and community arts centres), the turning point in my life was the joyful birth of my daughter. At this point I realised that my ‘career anchor’ of creating positive change for people wasn’t going to be fulfilled unless I changed course. As a result, for the last 15 years, I’ve had the great privilege of leading disability, early childhood and large multi-focus organisations.
Like most, I’ve had times of personal and professional challenges and experienced vulnerability. I’ve learnt from these experiences that when we have our ‘people’ around us -those who love, respect and know us deeply - we know we have a place that we belong, where our gifts, talents and contributions are valued.
What I love about my job is the fantastic people I get to work alongside, and the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the people that we are here to serve. I’m moved, and inspired by people who want to do something different in their lives, and have always been curious about what makes people ‘human’.
I’ve lived and worked alongside children and adults who have been labelled with disability, mental illness, poverty or drug and alcohol addiction. My experience has shown that we can’t do anything alone – either as individuals, or organisations - and the greatest risk we can take is letting people fall between the gaps in our society.
Head of Service Operations
I smile to myself when I recall the matching powder blue safari suits that my mother dressed my younger brother and I in as we criss-crossed North America during the 70s!
Growing up in a military family, relocations around Canada and the US a number of times in my early years before we eventually settled in Northern Ontario were punctuated by regular trips to Vancouver to visit my Scottish grandparents with their thick accents and Old World ways.
It was my Grade 12 school year as a Rotary Exchange Student in Esperance, however, that was life defining for me. Following another year in WA in my twenties on a working holiday visa, I immigrated to Perth permanently in 1994.
Aspects of life in Perth that drew me here in the first instance still appeal to me: an outdoor lifestyle driven by our incredible climate, beautiful beaches and wide open spaces; and fine food, coffee, wine and festivals that enhance the opportunities to connect with friends.
Moving to Australia enabled me to redefine my career trajectory and after spending more than a decade in management consulting, I had an epiphany that led me to the disability services sector. I’m extremely excited to be part of the UnitingCare West team now, focussed on delivering contemporary, individualised approaches to support people to belong and thrive in their community.
I’m grateful that the opportunities I’ve had and the decisions I’ve made in my life have led me to where I am today. Knowing that the contributions I make to my community – whichever community that may be at the time – are making a difference in someone’s life provides me with an inherent sense of fulfilment that is far more rewarding than the tangible things in life.
Executive Cultural Architect
Conceived at a beach in Bunbury, born in King Edward Memorial Hospital - a most unlikely name for a birthing place.
During my early years, the Native Welfare pursued me and my family throughout Narrogin, Williams and Brookton - towns based in the Wheat-Belt. I feared the ‘white ghosts’ who chased me as I tried to be invisible.
I am happy to say they did not capture and take me from my family, nor my country, Noongar Boodja, my people and my country that has grown me up.
My biological Mum outwitted the Native Welfare by gifting my brother and me to her eldest sister, our Old Mum, such an amazing solid and strong woman.
I am happy in my skin; I am Noongar, wife, mother, Nan, Great Nan and Great-Great Nan and a very active member of my community. I have 22 siblings and I am the fifth eldest or number 18.
My strong belief is that ‘yarning and sharing stories’ and effective use of networks has allowed the broader communities to work towards an inclusive society, challening stereotypical beliefs that prevent people living in harmony. Spiritual Values is the platform for my practice. I strive for Equity = fairness in every situation.
I was born to do this work and I love the work I do. I have been at UnitingCare West since May 2017, as Executive Cultural Architect. It’s the right place for me, at the right time.
I admire and appreciate people who are trustworthy; deep listeners; who sit in the language of silence and are transparent. I have confidence in them, they are a motivator and an ally.
Head of Support Services
Working across a wide variety of industries and sectors, I have developed a passion for bringing people together to grow their skills, create innovative solutions and make commercially sound, but values-based decisions.
I also know my way around a side of beef (and a bit more), having spent the three years prior to joining UCW as Chief Executive at the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority and 10 years as a Councillor of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australian (who run the Perth Royal Show among other things).
The early part of my career was spent in systems management, with later roles focusing on financial analysis, strategy and business improvement.
On a personal front, I emigrated with my parents from the UK as a child and I’m married with three adult daughters.
I took up commuting to work by bike about eight years ago and that snowballed to a love of bikes (I have four), cycling culture and racing. I now train most days, race regularly and have somehow managed to get to two amateur world championships.
In-between crunching numbers and peddling furiously, you can sometimes find me ‘attempting’ to learn the guitar. Fair to say, I’m more of a numbers guy!