Board and Staff
In the dropdowns below, click on each person’s name to read their profile:
Chief Executive OfficerLisa Bridle
Senior ConsultantCatherine Laherty
Senior ConsultantGina Barwell-Pickup
Administration OfficerEdde-Rose Fenson
Administration OfficerKathleen Fleming
Administration OfficerKelly Harrison
Office ManagerDiana Kerr
Information ConsultantJo Walters
Administration OfficerCasual staff
Casual staff and presenters
Josey McMahon is married and has four adult children, two adult-step children, three grandchildren, and three step grandchildren to keep her busy. Josey’s own experience of living with a disability and having a sister with disability has given her a passion for the rights of all those who are disadvantaged, particularly those who are disadvantaged due to disability.
Josey strongly believes that all people should be treated with dignity and respect and should be given the support they need to reach their potential.
During Josey’s time as Manager of Gold Coast Advocacy (GCA) she provided potent independent advocacy to people with disability who were disadvantaged and living on the fringes of society. Following her time at GCA she managed the Community Enablers project, where she worked with people with disability and their families to build their capacity to direct their own lives. Josey works as an independent consultant helping people to build great lives through planning.
Articles for CRU
Video for CRU
From dream to reality. A new start for Cathy (YouTube video)
Podcast for CRU
Gerhard Tromp has been involved in the lives of people living with disabilities since 2012 when he started as a support worker. Since then he has been working with a number of organisations including Homes West, Staffing Options, and Bespoke Lifestyles.
Through this work Gerhard has developed an interest in promoting good lives for people living with disabilities. He first came to CRU for information about Circles of Support and undertook CRU’s Facilitation Training to help with his contribution as a Circle member. He also completed the Deep Quality Through Optimal Individual Service Design (OISD) course.
Gerhard is currently doing a Master's in Occupational Therapy. In his free time, he enjoys aqua scaping (creating planted aquariums) and playing basketball.
Articles for CRU
From the board: Investing in Support Workers (CRUcial Times 53, 2017) (PDF)
Videos for CRU
Circles of Support: Circle Facilitators (YouTube video)
Chairperson of the Finance and Business Development Sub-Committees (Finance Chairperson)
Sherryn has worked for more than 16 years in the community sector in administration and finance management roles. She has worked at Micah Project Inc. since 2007 and her current role there is as Organisation Services Manager. Prior to that she was Finance Manager for the Mamre Association.
As well as being Treasurer on the CRU Board of Directors, Sherryn is the finance volunteer and treasurer at the Langri Tangpa Centre, a non-profit centre for Tibetan Buddhist meditation and teaching in Brisbane.
Along with this knowledge of community sector finance and governance, Sherryn brings her experience as older sister to Marisha. She is actively involved in holding the vision for Marisha to enjoy a full rich life in community, and supporting a model of self-directed support. In the past, Sherryn has also contributed to the Pave the Way Implementation Group, as a member of the Mamre Governance Board and has written and presented on her experience as a sister for a number of organisations including CRU, Mamre and Belonging Matters.
Articles for CRU
For the last 15 years, Laura has actively supported her sister’s and brother's journeys in establishing a life of their choosing in their own homes. In this time, Laura has experienced the importance of advocacy, community, friend, and family networks in shaping a good life.
Inspired by her sister and brother and their refusal to be limited by others' expectations, Laura's vision for the future is one where all people have the same opportunities and choices in life regardless of circumstance.
Laura has extensive experience developing strategy and policy initiatives for the conservation of built heritage places for State and local governments. She has previously worked in architectural practice, ran her consultancy, and undertaken university research resulting in published books and papers. In her spare time Laura enjoys watching sunsets and spending time with family and friends.
Videos for CRU
Julia: This is My Home (YouTube video)
Narissa Niesler (nee Wilson) is a leader, designer, manager and someone who is passionately focused and committed to inclusive communities for people with disabilities. For the past decade professionally, Narissa has led highly productive teams within the IT sector and founded a small web and graphic design business.
Having grown up in the mining town of Mount Isa, Narissa has experienced rural and remote living first-hand. She is now based on the Sunshine Coast and advocates and manages her own supports and services which she has been self-managing since 2009.
Narissa has been a member of CRU’s Leadership Development committee since 2015 and regularly writes and presents, for CRU and other agencies, about her experiences as a young professional woman with disability.
Articles for CRU
Leading my life through my vision (CRUcial Times 43, 2012) (PDF)
Reflection on Right Relationships (CRUcial Times 54, 2018) (PDF)
Natalie has been involved in disability related services since 1997 and her connection with CRU began in 2011 when she was employed as a Community Enabler by QDN. She became a definite CRU junkie and attended many of the training and workshops on offer. Natalie sees CRU as a place to strengthen her acuity to recognise opportunities and gain confidence to promote better lives for people with disability in systems that are often counter intuitive to this idea.
She has experience in education, employment and advocacy and qualifications in business and training. She also has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Disability from Griffith University. Most recently she has worked in programs addressing the development of workforce and services to meet the growth needs predicted for the NDIS.
Outside of work Natalie can be found enjoying the company of friends and family and supporting her son to play sports.
Chief Executive Officer
Margaret Rodgers’ commitment to people with disabilities began in a L’Arche community in India in the early 80′s. For thirty years, she has enjoyed working with people with a disability and their families in Queensland in a variety of organisations; many involved in family support and most in the non-government sector. She first worked for CRU in 1996, coordinating the Leadership Development program for 4 years. When her children were young and also while living in Cairns she undertook a variety of part time and short term roles.
In recent years she co-ordinated the Building of Informal Networks project with the Mamre Association where Circles of Support were used as a key strategy to assist adults move into homes of their own. In 2009, Margaret was engaged by Disability Services Queensland to further the implementation of person centred practice. During this time she became involved in the issue of improving the lives of people caught in the cycle of Emergency and Crisis. Marg returned to CRU to take up the position of Director in August 2009.
When she is not at CRU, Marg can be found at her old house in a small town outside Brisbane. Marg finds that a good book and planning the next trip away are perfect renovation-avoidance techniques.
Lisa Bridle started as a Senior Consultant at CRU in 2010, with responsibility in the area of Leadership Development. CRU has a long-standing interest in fostering leadership for social change. Lisa’s role includes the development of strategies and programs which promote and sustain leadership towards positive change in the lives of people with disability.
Lisa is a social worker who worked previously in community development and domestic violence prevention and support. She has lived in the inner southside for almost 30 years. Since the birth of her son, Sean, in 1995, Lisa has been an active member of a number of disability advocacy and family organisations. She is a “recycled” CRU team member and has also held positions at Queensland Advocacy Inc. and Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, as well as undertaking sessional teaching at University of Queensland and Griffith University. Lisa has a keen interest in bioethical issues impacting on people with disability, and in 2004, she completed her PhD, examining the ethical implications of prenatal diagnosis.
As a family member whose vision of a positive life for her own son was inspired and nurtured by attending CRU events, reading CRU materials, and by the relationships formed with others who uphold the right of people with disability to live a full rich life in community, Lisa is passionate about promoting those same opportunities to other families.
Catherine Laherty joined CRU as a Consultant in January 2015, as part of the team working on the NDIS Participant Readiness project.
Her professional background has largely been in membership-based social change organisations, working at the Services Union (the ASU) through the Queensland Pay Equity case and national Equal Pay campaign for social, community and disability services workers, and at Amnesty International Australia.
Catherine believes everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the good things in life and feels very lucky to work at places and with people that pursue this.
Catherine is a sister to three brothers, one of whom has a disability and all of whom live and work in Toowoomba.
Gina Barwell-Pickup started at CRU in August 2020 as a consultant in the ‘From School to Work’ project. Gina is the mother of two children, including a teenager with a disability.
Since studying business at university, Gina has held a broad range of roles in a variety of industries from hotels to education; in State government and small business. Additional experience in Recruitment will equip her well to assist students and their families to get ready for work.
Gina has studied Auslan (Australian sign language) and when not at work, enjoys spending time with family, travel, trying new foods, and walking the dog.
Lindie Brengman started working at CRU in 2019 as a consultant in the Families for Inclusive Education project. Lindie is an Occupational Therapist and mother of 4, including a teenager with a disability.
Lindie was a founding member of the Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE). She has written and presented from a parent perspective and on the attributes of teachers that contribute to quality inclusive educational practice. She enjoys connecting with other parents who dream big dreams for their children.
With her husband, four kids, dog, cat, fish, and chooks, Lindie can’t remember when she last read a book ‘for fun’, so luckily she finds her work fun. And hobbies…hmmm…there’s an unfinished cross stitch stashed away in the laundry that’s 17 years old.
Sonia Brown-Diaz started with CRU in July 2019 as the Administration Officer working on the Families for Inclusive Education Project. This role combines her passion for social justice with her extensive administration and project management experience.
Sonia was first introduced to CRU and its work when her now 14 year old daughter was born with a disability. Sonia recognises the value of CRU’s role in assisting and educating families, workers, organisations and the broader public.
Sonia is also a qualified Yoga Instructor, teaching marginalised community members, and specialises in teaching trauma-informed yoga. Sonia is an avid reader and enjoys practising yoga (not just teaching it) and when free time avails itself playing in nature and summer are her absolute favourite things to do.
Edde-Rose Fenson started working with CRU in December 2020 as part of the administration team. When not at CRU Edde-Rose works as a support worker. Although new to the sector, She is passionate about helping to support people with disability achieve their goals and ambitions for life. Edde-Rose places a huge importance on the power of community and feels incredibly lucky to be part of an environment where people embrace difference and acknowledge that we all have something to learn from each other.
Edde-Rose has recently come back from living overseas and loves to travel. She also loves camping, hiking, swimming and anything outdoors (especially the beach!) in her spare time she also loves to create and sew various things.
Kathleen Fleming joined the CRU team as an Administration Assistant in 2006. Working one day per week, Kath is the person behind the scenes who photocopies handouts; fills folders and makes the name tags for all the CRU workshops.
Kath is an accomplished artist and you will see some of her work on the walls at CRU as well as on the signal boxes in Yeerongpilly and Corinda. She contributed the artwork that was used for the branding for our 2016 conference: Claiming a Positive Future – The Power of Possibility.
Kath also loves dancing and going to the gym.
Kelly Harrison joined the CRU team in August 2020 as a Consultant in the Fee for Service work stream. She has over 15 years of experience in the travel and tourism sector, working in consulting, business development and leadership roles.
Kelly is passionate about helping teams and individuals reach their potential and enjoys attaching herself to organisational and cultural change projects.
Kelly has a young family of her own and is very close to her 3 sisters, one of whom lives with disability. Outside of work and spending time with loved ones, Kelly is an avid traveller and enjoys reading and swimming (with a preference for combining all three!).
Kim Jensen has been at CRU since March 2011, working 3 days per week as an Administration Officer. With a background in Environmental Health, Kim has previously worked in government and non government health services in Australia and the UK. Before coming to CRU, Kim juggled caring for young children with running a small business which makes her extremely well qualified to manage the many and varied tasks that land on the Admin Officer’s desk at CRU.
When not at work, Kim enjoys camping, travel, bushwalking and spending time with her family.
Diana Kerr joined the CRU team as a Consultant in 2020. She has a background in Business Communication working mainly in Learning and Development but has a particular interest in Leadership. Diana believes that diversity and difference is not only what makes the world amazing but should be embraced and celebrated.
Diana returned to Australia in 2017 having spent 16 years living and working in the UK and travelling as much of the world as she could. She has since been committed to her family; building a team and knowledge to support her young son with a disability.
Diana is passionate about life and gets excited about most things! She loves traveling, socialising, exercising outdoors, spending time at the beach, and has been known to have a little dance when the music takes her there.
Following studies in psychology, Danielle decided on a career in the disability field after working as a support worker in a small service that worked alongside people living in long-stay public health facilities. It was here that she was exposed to SRV theory, leading to a passion for striving for good, ordinary lives for people with disability. She is also a committee member with Values in Action Association and is learning to teach SRV.
When not at work, Danielle is busy raising her young family and tries to find time for things she enjoys like reading, sewing and baking.
Ainsley Robertson joined CRU in 2020 and is working as a consultant on the Families For Inclusive Education project. Ainsley has over 20 years’ experience as a primary school teacher and for the past five years she has worked as an education advisor (learning disabilities) and specialist teacher (literacy and numeracy) supporting students and families.
Ainsley has also navigated the education system as the parent of a primary school aged son who is autistic and a teenage daughter with specific learning needs. Ainsley’s passions include inclusive education, evidence-based teaching practice, assistive technology, and she has a keen interest in disability advocacy and peer support.
When not in the CRU office Ainsley enjoys bushwalking and stand-up paddle boarding with her family. Wherever she can Ainsley sneaks time to herself to read, Australian fiction is her favourite genre.
Hugh Rose-Miller has been the Information Consultant at CRU since January 2013. In this role Hugh is responsible for producing and sharing resources (including CRU’s videos, articles and our Podcast – CRUcial Conversations), developing websites and managing our interactive technologies. Hugh’s role is also to resource people with high quality, up-to-date, relevant and accessible information that assists people with disability to belong to and participate in community life. This includes digital resources and traditional physical resources from CRU’s resource collection.
With a background in social work, Hugh is passionate about using his tech-skills to engage people from across Queensland with the work of CRU. His work is especially relevant to those who are not able to come to our face to face workshops or conversations. It is his hope to create the means through which a broader range of people can be involved.
When not at work Hugh is a parent, eager volunteer and at the time of writing, regular swimmer.
Jo has recently joined CRU as a consultant. She first started working as a support worker in 1997 and over the past couple of decades she has worked in a range of roles alongside some incredibly strong people, their families and allies who have helped to shape her understanding of the importance of connection, belonging and community inclusion.
Most recently Jo has working as an events and volunteer coordinator with a grass roots environmental group, working as a Community Inclusion Facilitator with Belonging Matters in Melbourne and coordinating Living Distinctive Lives, a family governed group which focused on supporting people with disability to live in a home of their own in their local communities.
Jo also has firsthand experience of living with disability as a result of a chronic illness which impacts upon her physical capacity so she often spends her weekends resting. She enjoys reading, cooking, and trying to keep her growing collection of houseplants alive.
Kerrie White joins the CRU Administration Team after relocating to Brisbane from the Northern Territory. Her recent background is in Arts Administration, but Kerrie has also been in the corporate sector, and the management of a not for profit organisation. Moving to Queensland has allowed her to become more involved in the life of a family member with a disability, and better understand the importance of being able to “live a good life” for everyone.
Outside of work Kerrie enjoys drawing and painting, and hopes to set up a ceramics space and kiln when her home renovations are complete.
Sharon Bourke currently works as a Professional Development Consultant and has presented many Participant Readiness sessions for CRU.
She has worked in various roles, including managing individualised support agencies, advocacy, workshop facilitation and planning. In partnership with her youngest son Dan, Sharon has chosen to self-direct funds that support him.
Trish Murdoch has been passionate about people with disability living individual and rich lives for several decades. Firstly, Trish is a godmother, friend and aunty to loved ones who live with a disability.
Starting work as a nurse she experienced working in large, inappropriate, medical disability institutions. This led to a desire to work in areas of transformative attitudes and practice around people with disability. She discovered CRU in 1990 and soon after SRV Theory, which both inspired and informed her work.
Prior to moving away from Brisbane, Trish worked with Pave the Way, in vision, planning, and Circles of Support work. Previous areas of work in disability in Brisbane, Melbourne and Toowoomba have been: health education in special schools; spirituality and disability; leadership development with young adults with intellectual disability; church community development; resource writing; workshop presentations; and family support for inclusion of children 0-6yrs.
Trish has formal qualifications in Nursing, Health Education, Leadership, and Disability Studies. Outside of work, Trish enjoys learning to play a musical instrument; bike riding; Feldenkrais; and mind & soul nurturing.
Tracy Pate, pursued a successful career as a senior investment advisor before dedicating her time to raising her children and working in a voluntary capacity in the disability sector.
Tracy is passionate about all her children living active lives and wants Bobby to have the same opportunities as her other children. She sees that people with disability and their families must drive the pursuit of a “good ordinary life” and strives to build an inclusive society – one where all which children attend an ordinary school with their peers.
Suellen Welch focuses on promoting, strengthening and defending person centred and directed responses. Suellen has previously worked for several small community based organisations in Brisbane in team leader and key worker roles.
She has experience working as a support worker, supervising support workers, as well as engaging support workers to work with her son.