For over 25 years, ConnectAbility Australia has been supporting people throughout the Hunter, focusing on the strengths and abilities of individuals and connecting people with their communities.
We recognise the importance of choice and control over decision making in ensuring your life is your own, and promote and respect your wishes, aspirations and goals.
ConnectAbility Australia has a strong focus on governance. We are led by a Board made up of volunteer members from the community who each bring a particular skill set and breadth of experience to the Board. Meeting bi-monthly, the Board work to ensure that not only does ConnectAbility Australia remain a vibrant, viable organisation delivering quality disability services, aged care support, family counselling but that the organisation looks at continuously improving all aspects of the service so that we stay abreast of current trends and community expectations.
The board is further supported by a series of sub committees where subcommittee members provide specialist advice in the areas of Finance and Risk, People and Culture, Fundraising and Marketing.
Bernie Garrett has over 25 years of corporate leadership and sales management roles in Australia and 10 years working and living in China. Today, Bernie focuses on developing professional teams through his leadership principles and making a difference in their business and personal lives. His vision is to be recognized as an Inspiration Speaker for Leadership growth, to individuals, teams, organisations and educational institutions.
David is the founding director of CINCH Finance & Operations, Non-Profit Business Transformation Specialists. David has been involved with ConnectAbility as a consultant since 2015 and has presented alongside David Carey at a number of NDIS conferences assisting other NDIS providers learn from the ConnectAbility experience, transition to the NDIS.
David focuses on supporting NDIS providers through a 10 phase process involving Business Review, Culture, Reporting and Continuous Improvement. This process helps understand the key performance drivers and numbers so we have clarity when making decisions. David has worked with NDIS providers since 2014 as a qualified accountant/CFO with over 20 years experience in the field including a stint in Europe. David believes in using the skills and knowledge he has gained to build strength within the NFP sector to better support customers
Craig describes his strengths as being highly driven, self-motivated and highly resourceful with a proven ability to develop and manage high value relationships and projects, guide teams through organisational change and engage successfully with stakeholders at all levels. He believes in implementing and delivering business strategies that improve productivity, profitability and customer service. Craig holds a Bachelor of Economics (Majors in Economics, Psychology and Industrial Relations) – University of Newcastle and Marketing Principles Program – University of Sydney. Craig has held senior positions within large corporations and also consulted utilizing his strengths in bringing about cultural change that focuses on customer outcomes. Craig sees an opportunity to utilize his business background and people and culture expertise to support ConnectAbility as the organisation grows to ensure that staff, customers and all stakeholders are part of a quality organisation.
Joan joined the CoM in November 2008 and is our customer representative Board member. Joan has an adult son with a disability and volunteers with the service to assist in his support. Joan has always been an active member of her community.. Joan’s advice and support is vital in ensuring customer and family needs are at the forefront of our supports.
David brings with him a strong background in in supporting people to achieve having worked in the areas of disability services, aged care support, family counselling and children’s services for over 30 years. “The most valuable resource of any organisation are its people” David said “Whether you are talking about our customers, families or staff. Each individual presents a unique opportunity to achieve a goal either personally or professionally that together support ConnectAbility to remain a leader within the sector.”
It has almost been 20 years since Scott first walked through the door of ConnectAbility as a very green volunteer. Over this long association with the organisation Scott has fulfilled many roles from providing community supports to customers, developing programs and resources to his current role as Operations Manager for ConnectAbility. Scott has an Arts Degree specializing in Psychology, Cert 4 in Workplace Training & Assessment and Cert 4 in Frontline Management.
Scott says of his role: “Each and every day poses a new challenge, but I am very proud to have been part of the organisations journey. It is these challenges which drive my motivation to inspire change and the opportunity for greater community participation, inclusion and opportunity for people living with a disability. I continually ask myself “what have I done to improve the quality of someone’s life today”?
Over many years I have made many long-standing relationships with customers, their families and many staff. These are very important to me and drive my motivation “to do better” every day. My passion has always been to ensure a positive approach to support is provided without focusing on an individual’s limitations and ensuring we have a skilled and knowledgeable workforce to deliver the best outcomes to people using the disability services, aged care support, family counselling. I have a strong belief in human rights and equity for all. We must look at each person’s vision to maximize their independence and social and economic participation as the benefits for the people using ConnectAbility and their families/careers are huge if we get it right.”
Kathryn commenced with ConnectAbility in November 2016 with the scope to build and develop the Aged Care division of the organisation. Kathryn has a Bachelor of Health, Ageing and Community Services, Diploma of Management and Cert IV in Mental Health and over 16 years experience working in a variety of roles within the Aged Care sector from Support Worker, Case Manager, and then moving into Management and Senior Management positions.
With the Ageing population high on the Government’s agenda there has been and will continue to be many changes to the Aged Care system. Advising our customers on a daily basis on what is available and how to access services is a key component of our day to day practice. Kathryn has a commitment to ensuring our aged care community have opportunities to maintain their independence, community connections and to stay in their homes for as long as they are able.
Brenda has 34 years experience in Supported Accommodation in the public sector.
In 2016 she took a 12 months secondment to work with a Support for Decision Making project which was a joint project between FACS and St Vincent De Paul Society.
Brenda is passionate about making a difference in the lives of the people we support and ensuring our workforce has the drive and commitment to making the transition from Public sector to Private sector a success.
She currently manages 20 SIL models of accommodation support.
The challenges of the NDIS have provided a steep learning curve for all of us but our focus is on working through the challenges, facing them head on and getting the best outcomes we can for the people we support.
It is an exciting time for the sector and I am happy to be part of the ConnectAbility family.
Helga is an accomplished and pro-active senior leader with a strong humanistic and quality orientation. Over 20 years of varied international experience in Strategy, Operations and HR across For-Profit and For-Purpose (NFP) sectors. Helga has an Honours bachelors in Industrial sociology, cert IV in training and assessment, advanced diploma in community sector management, diploma in quality auditing with a NDIS focus and also graduate of Australian institute of company directors.
Helga started her career in South Africa in HR & Training and then moved to the United Arab Emirates to continue in this field for various international organisations before settling in Australia. She has lead major community sector projects with a strong focus on people with disabilities.
Helga is responsible for driving growth with fiscal responsibility and emphasis on corporate governance whilst empowering employees and local community. Helga is passionate about assisting customers to realise their goals of independence in moving towards living independently within a variety of accommodation models.