Our Team
Jodi Schmidt
Jodi Schmidt
Chief Executive Officer

Jodi is an experienced CEO with extensive knowledge of the vocational education and training (VET) sector, experience consulting to the human services sectors, and an impressive track record leading successful business transformation.   

She is a former Queensland Government Deputy Director-General, Training and Employment, and was the inaugural CEO of TAFE Queensland, leading the reform and amalgamation of TAFE institutes across the state to establish a consolidated commercial entity.  

She also served as the Chair of the National Education and Foundation Skills Industry Reference Committee (IRC), and has been a member of several national review boards and expert panels. 

Amanda Thomas
Amanda Thomas
General Manager – Strategy, Policy & Research

Amanda is an experienced executive with unparalleled knowledge of Australian and international VET systems across the entire skills pipeline.  

She recently led embedded teams at the Department of Health providing advisory, technical and project management expertise across a range of programs including the COVID-19 Aged Care Taskforce, Aged Care Royal Commission Taskforce, and the Future Care at Home Reform program. 

Amanda was also instrumental in the design, implementation and evaluation of the Australian Government’s Skills Organisation pilots, supported the Department of Health’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, and led the business transformation from Industry Skills Council to Skills Service Organisation for Transport and Logistics following Australian VET reform.   

Kate Rush
Kate Rush
General Manager – Stakeholder Engagement and Communication

Kate brings to the HSSO extensive senior management experience across the human services sector in policy development, operations and stakeholder engagement.

Kate has guided transformational change across complex systems including implementation of the National Affordable Housing Agreement, initiating the ‘Connect Effect’ to drive collaborative effort around entrenched social and economic disadvantage, and achieving significant business growth through engagement with the NDIS.

Kate’s expertise has been sought after in the development of international academic material with a particular focus on leadership in the human services sector. She is an awarded public speaker and holds a Bachelor of Social Science and Graduate Diploma in Communications, is a Fellow of the Governors Leadership Foundation, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Amber Belindo
Amber Belindo
Board Secretary

Amber is a board secretary with extensive experience facilitating corporate governance processes and managing executive offices. 

She also has detailed knowledge of the vocational education and training (VET) sector through her role as Board Secretary at Southbank Institute of Technology and then TAFE Queensland when the Queensland Government amalgamated TAFE institutes across the state to establish a consolidated commercial entity. Amber was responsible for establishing the TAFE Queensland company office, governance processes and procedures. 

Rebecca Worton
Rebecca Worton
Executive Assistant

Rebecca is an experienced executive assistant, operations manager and program manager whose skills and experience were recognised by the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (Qld) in 2012 when she was awarded the Young Office Professional of the Year Award.  

Our Board
John Murray
John Murray
RAAF WA (CEO)
Board Chair

John has been the CEO of the Royal Australian Air Force Association WA since 2013. He comes with extensive experience in health, aged care and retirement living with senior management experience spanning 25 years. John commenced his career as a Registered Nurse specialising in mental health. RAAFA has gone through a major transformation over the past six years, now employing 750 staff, with 450 aged care beds, 1440 retirement units, community-based services and DVA services.

John was previously the Chair of Aged Care and Community Services WA, and a Director of ACSA National. He continues to be Chair of the Audit, Financial and Risk Committee. ACSA represents not-for-profit providers across Australia.

He holds a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Leadership, is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Russell Bricknell
Russell Bricknell
Baptistcare (CEO)
Deputy Chair

Russell has an extensive background in the aged care and community services sector, holds degrees in education, science and a masters in business administration, is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

He was previously the Chief Executive of Aged Care Channel, overseeing operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. Prior to this role, Russell was Chief Operating Officer of Australian Home Care, a leading provider of home based care to people with disabilities in NSW and Victoria, a General Manager of BaptistCare NSW and ACT, and Executive Director of Churches of Christ Care in Queensland.

Kasy Chambers
Kasy Chambers
Anglicare Australia (Executive Director)

With extensive national experience in the government and community sector, Kasy Chambers has hands-on experience in policy, advocacy, government relations, service provision, community development, corporate governance and finance.

Currently Executive Director of Anglicare Australia, she has also held positions with UnitingCare Australia, the Department of Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the YWCA of Canberra.

Benjamin Keast
Benjamin Keast
ARC Disability Services (CEO)

Benjamin Keast has been the CEO of ARC since April 2016. Prior to this he has held many roles at all levels within the organisation over his 18 years in the industry. Ben has always held a passion for the skills development within the Disability sector since his engagement on the Disability Sector Training Coalition (2008 -2012).

Ben was a member of the Far North Queensland’s Regional Disability Advisory Committee; and is currently a member within the Premiers Regional Forums. Ben has his MBA and has been on a number of not for profit boards within advocacy services; arts; and community housing organisations. Ben is currently the Chair of the Far North Queensland’s Disability Provider Network, as well as the Chair of the Disability Support Industry Reference Committee.

Liz Cohen
Liz Cohen
Cara (Chief Executive)

Liz Cohen has led Cara through a period of significant change, transformation and celebrated organisational milestones since joining Cara in 2015.

Under Liz's leadership, Cara has transformed from a block funded ‘Not for Profit’ to a values driven, commercially thinking ‘Profit for Purpose’ that is committed to providing high-quality services so that people with disabilities can lead fulfilling, everyday lives.

Liz has more than 30 years’ experience in the disability, education and health sectors. She is the Deputy Chair of the Health, Disability, Aged Care and Community Services Industry Skills Council. Liz has been elected to the board of Ability First Australia, which is a strategic alliance of leading disability service providers, and she is on the board of the YMCA of South Australia. Liz is also a member of the SA State Committee of National Disability Services (NDS).