Our Board

The HSSO board members provide governance and oversight of the organisation. They bring skills and perspectives that includes representation from the human services sectors.

John Murray

RAAFA WA (Chief Executive Officer)
HSSO Board Chair

John Murray

RAAFA WA (Chief Executive Officer)
HSSO 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.

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Russell Bricknell

Baptistcare (Chief Executive Officer)
Deputy Chair

Russell Bricknell

Baptistcare (Chief Executive Officer)
Deputy Chair

Russell has an extensive background in the aged care and community services sector. 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.

Russell holds degrees in education, science and a Masters in Business Administration, and is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

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Kasy Chambers

Anglicare Australia (Executive Director)
Board member

Kasy Chambers

Anglicare Australia (Executive Director)
Board member

Kasy has extensive national experience in the government and community sectors in both Britain and Australia, with hands-on experience in policy, advocacy, government relations, service provision, community development, corporate governance, and finance.

Kasy is currently the Executive Director of Anglicare Australia a large network offering services to one in every 19 Australians and has previously held positions with UnitingCare Australia, the Department of Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the YWCA of Canberra.

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Benjamin Keast

ARC Disability Services (Chief Executive Officer)
Board member

Benjamin Keast

ARC Disability Services (Chief Executive Officer)
Board member

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 20 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 an 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.

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Liz Cohen

Cara (Chief Executive)
Board member

Liz Cohen

Cara (Chief Executive)
Board member

Transformation is key to Liz Cohen’s leadership of Cara. Liz has led Cara since 2015 as CE, in its journey from the disability service provider’s traditional block-funded, “not for profit” to an innovative, values-driven “profit for purpose” organisation. Liz has recommitted Cara to high-quality support services so customers can lead fulfilling, everyday lives with choice and control over their goals, big and small.

Liz has developed Cara’s vision, brand, business model and the promise which Cara’s staff work by every day – we find possible. Under Liz’s leadership, Cara has welcomed record numbers of staff to the organisation, employing more than 1100 people, grown revenue to turn over more than $90 million annually, and expanded into new regional areas of South Australia to support more children and adults with disability.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the disability, education and health sectors, Liz has a keen interest in the way technology can support increased independence for people with disability. Liz is the 2020 SA Telstra Businesswoman of the Year “For Purpose and Social Enterprise”, member of the SA Skills Commission and Chair of the Health, Disability, Aged Care and Community Services Industry Skills Council. She sits on the Boards of Ability First Australia and Necksafe.

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Our Team

The HSSO employs a multidisciplinary team based around Australia to deliver outcomes against our strategic objectives.

Jodi Schmidt

Chief Executive Officer

Jodi Schmidt

Chief Executive Officer

Jodi brings an impressive track record of leading successful business transformation to her role as Chief Executive Officer. Her extensive experience in the vocational, education and training sector includes work within TAFE institutes and state government, and consulting to a range of sectors including human services.

She served as the Deputy Director-General, Training and Employment with the Queensland Government, and then as the inaugural chief executive officer of TAFE Queensland, leading the reform and amalgamation of Queensland’s TAFE institutes to create a consolidated commercial entity.

Jodi 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.

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Amanda Thomas

General Manager – Strategy, Policy & Research

Amanda Thomas

General Manager – Strategy, Policy & Research

As the General Manager of Strategy, Policy and Research, Amanda leads our projects team, initiates, and guides our research, and works with the CEO and board to design and implement the strategy of the Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO).

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

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Quinn Sunderland

Director of Engagement, Marketing and Communication

Quinn Sunderland

Director of Engagement, Marketing and Communication

Quinn is an experienced communication and marketing professional, specialising in brand strategy, business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing, internal and external communication strategy, social media strategy and sponsorship. With almost a decades-worth of marketing and communication experience, Quinn knows there’s more to keeping an audience engaged with a brand than the run of the mill tactics.  It’s much more scientific, and it’s about being relevant and available when the audience needs you most.

With significant experience in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, Quinn is using his skills and knowledge to help the Human Services Skills Organisation disrupt the status quo, and venture into a new stage of VET reform.

Quinn is privileged to have led brand transformations, multi-million-dollar awareness and acquisition campaigns for brands and government, worked brand-side on major sponsorships including GC2018, and designed communication strategies for major crisis events including COVID-19.

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Amber Belindo

Board Secretary

Amber Belindo

Board Secretary

Amber brings her impressive background facilitating corporate governance processes and managing executive offices to the role of Board Secretary.

She has detailed knowledge of the vocational education and training (VET) sector from previous roles as Board Secretary at Southbank Institute of Technology and later TAFE Queensland. She was responsible for establishing the TAFE Queensland corporate office, governance processes and procedures when the Queensland Government amalgamated TAFE institutes across the state to establish a consolidated commercial entity.

Amber’s dedication to process, probity and governance makes for a solid foundation for the HSSO and the HSSO Board.

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Lee Veitch

Training and Education Specialist Advisor

Lee Veitch

Training and Education Specialist Advisor

Lee draws on her experience in workforce planning and development, the health and social assistance services sector, and the vocational education and training (VET) sector for her current work with the HSSO as Training and Education Specialist Advisor.

Lee has over 25 years’ experience working in management, workforce planning and development and quality assurance in both the VET and human services sectors.  She has previously worked with Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) as National Manager of ACSA’s Workforce & Industry Development Unit.

Lee is currently Tasmania’s representative on the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), was previously a member of the NSW Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board and the SA Health and Social Assistance Industry Skills Council and is a former member of the Enrolled Nursing and Direct Client Care and Support Industry Reference Committees (IRCs).

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Nataliia Poiarkova

Research Officer

Nataliia Poiarkova

Research Officer

Nataliia uses her impressive skills as a research analyst and data visualiser to connect complex datasets and create clear messages and resources to support decision-makers.

Nataliia’s domestic and international experience gives her unique insight into data application, and the ability to think globally.  She is responsible for taking the highly complex and extensive data sets pertinent to the vocational education and training, and human services sectors and translating them into easily understood and useful communications. Nataliia’s expertise is invaluable to the sector.  Her work with the HSSO sees her analysing market and workforce trends, modelling and advising on strategies and solutions.

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Rose Cerra

Workforce Development Project Manager

Rose Cerra

Workforce Development Project Manager

Rose has over 20 years’ experience in course management and design with public and private training organisations, including working within the aged care sector providing management of mandatory work placement and training advice to a national aged care provider in the areas of nursing, disability, and aged care.

As Workforce Development Project Manager with the HSSO Rose is responsible for the design, development and implementation of innovative workforce solutions including the aged care rapid response initiative, which helps connect employers to students and aged care workers seeking either vocational placement or work in the sector.

Rose’s in-depth experience at the intersection of training and aged care and her qualifications in education, vocational education and practice, and training and assessment means she provides a grounded and insightful delivery of this important project.

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Sarah Dyson

Senior Communications Specialist

Sarah Dyson

Senior Communications Specialist

Sarah’s work as Senior Communications Specialist provides support to the executive leadership and projects teams to ensure that stakeholders are receiving the most relevant and up-to-date information about the HSSO and its initiatives.

Sarah brings a depth of knowledge and expertise in marketing and communication. She has worked with organisations across a range of industries designing holistic communications, digital promotional activities, and campaigns, and building engagement with diverse groups across private, government and public organisations.

Her experience coupled with her qualifications in marketing, business and project management support the HSSO engagement with stakeholders to stay top-of-mind.

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Sue-Ellen Evans

Skills Development Subject Matter Specialist

Sue-Ellen Evans

Skills Development Subject Matter Specialist

With over 10 years’ experience in the aged care and disability sectors Sue-Ellen specialises in workforce development, building foundation skills and designing and implementing training solutions.

As the HSSO’s skills subject matter expert Sue-Ellen is responsible for a variety of strategic projects including the Boosting the Local Care Workforce program and CILCA 360 Leadership program.

Sue-Ellen has qualifications and experience in adult education, workforce development and stakeholder engagement across various industries in the human services sector. She has worked across the Boosting the Local Care Workforce, SkillsIQ, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), NDS,  and Training Services NSW.

She has extensive experience in Aged Care and Disability Workforce Programs and Initiatives and is a Foundation Skills Specialist and an expert Trainer and Assessor.

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Wendy Cato

RPL Specialist

Wendy Cato

RPL Specialist

Wendy works as the Human Services Skills Organisation’s (HSSO) Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Specialist.  She is currently developing an assessment toolkit and assessor related training for the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) (CHC33015) and Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) (CHC33015), which are scheduled for release and roll-out across the sector during 2022.

Wendy has over 30 years’ experience working across the private and public sectors as a specialist in vocational education and training and RPL. Her credentials include being employed as a RPL Mentor for the Council of Australian Governments RPL project in South Australia, providing RPL support and training to hundreds of private and public registered training organisations. She has worked on some of the largest recognition and workforce development projects in Australia supporting major clients including Mitsubishi and Bridgestone, and a large project through the Construction Industry Training Centre in South Australia that saw 200 scaffolders and Riggers recognised for years of work in the industry.

Wendy is internationally recognised, having been awarded second place in recognition of best practice for her “Recognition of Prior Learning Made Easy” products at the 2019 VPL Biennale.

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work. We pay our respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past, present and emerging.

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