Governance

ConnectAbility – Meet the team

For over 20 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 & 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 Committee of Management (CoM) made up of volunteer members from the community who each bring a particular skill set and breadth of experience to the Committee. Meeting bi-monthly the Committee of Management work to ensure that not only does ConnectAbility remain a vibrant, viable organisation delivering quality services 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 CoM 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.

Nathan Franks - Chair

Nathan joined the CoM in 2015 to support ConnectAbility through sharing his ICT skills. He has expertise in cloud computing, information technology and managed services, Nathan is constantly seeking new ways to bring the future of ICT to ConnectAbility. Nathan has a strong commitment to the community and has been integral in developing strategic measures to allow advances in the way that ConnectAbility works as an organisation.

Bernie Garrett - Deputy Chair

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 recognised as an Inspiration Speaker for Leadership growth, to individuals, teams, organisations and educational institutions.

Scott Brooks - Treasurer

Scott Brooks has over 15 years of experience in the accounting and financial services industries, including 7 years working in London, returning to Newcastle in 2014. Scott is currently with Maxim Accounting & Business Advisors and is also a director of the Hunter Business Chamber.

With family using similar service organisations within NSW, Scott is a keen supporter of the industry and committed to ensuring ConnectAbility continues to provide valuable services to the local community.

Scott Brooks - Treasurer

Scott Brooks has over 15 years of experience in the accounting and financial services industries, including 7 years working in London, returning to Newcastle in 2014. Scott is currently with Maxim Accounting & Business Advisors and is also a director of the Hunter Business Chamber.

With family using similar service organisations within NSW, Scott is a keen supporter of the industry and committed to ensuring ConnectAbility continues to provide valuable services to the local community.

Kate Grob

Kate’s early career was spent in banking, small business administration and management. This background has provided her with a strong commercial acumen and a sound understanding of the challenges facing small business. Kate has spent the last 22 years in recruitment working as a consultant for National and International companies in the local recruitment market.  She has a Diploma in Management, is an active committee member with the Newcastle Business Club and becoming a board member of ConnectAbility provides her with an opportunity to donate back to the community.

Joan Gatt

Joan joined the CoM in November 2008 and is one of two Participant representatives. Joan has a 28 year old son with a disability and volunteers with the service to assist in his support. Joan is an active member of the Jewells school community, assisting with student banking and other activities.

Holly Martin

Holly Martin's professional career has spanned more than 12 years in in-house capacities as well as within consultancies. In 2012 she launched her own boutique consultancy, Just Holly | Marketing, PR, Communication.

Anna Bailey

Anna Bailey is a Senior Solicitor at Harris Wheeler Lawyers with over 9 years’experience in the legal industry including time spent in both the United Kingdom and Europe. Anna’s experience extends to property law, commercial law and estate planning. She acts for some of the Hunters major institutions and private clients including the McCloy Group, Hunter Development Corporation and Port Stephens Council. Anna is also on the committee of the Newcastle Business Club.

Management Team

David Carey - CEO

David brings with him a strong background in in supporting people to achieve having worked in the areas of disabilities and children’s services for over ten years. “The most valuable resource of any organisation are its people” David said “Whether you are talking about our participants, 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.”

Scott Harvey - Operations Manager Hamilton

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 participants, developing programs and resources to his current role as Operations Manager for ConnectAbility. Scott has an Arts Degree specialising 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 participants, 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 service. I have a strong belief in human rights and equity for all. We must look at each person’s vision to maximise their independence and social and economic participation as the benefits for the people using ConnectAbility and their families/carers are huge if we get it right.”

Bridget Noonan - Manager Jesmond

Bridget Noonan has been the Manager of Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre for 3.5 years. She has a social science degree and a Certificate 4 in Frontline Management. She has a history of working in community development for the past 10 years and has managed two community centres.

Bridget provided the following insights into her role:

“Initially I was attracted to working in Jesmond because of the high number of migrants and refugee’s. My previous work history was in Western Sydney where the main client group is refugee and migrant populations. As this is my area of speciality the Jesmond community was a good fit. I enjoy my work at Jesmond as our programs bring isolated residents together and allow them to form new friendships and practice new skills. I am motivated by a deep belief in social justice and this is aligned with the community development approach that Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre takes. I believe those who are marginalised or disadvantaged need a foot up to realise their dreams and goals. At Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre we work with those who are on the margins of society and help them create better networks and develop new skills to better meet their needs. We start with people’s strengths and build on them to create enriching programs that foster relationships and new skills.”