Board and Staff
In the dropdowns below, click on each person’s name to read their profile:
Chief Executive OfficerGina Barwell
Administration OfficerKim Jensen
Office ManagerDiana Kerr
Senior ConsultantDanielle Mason
Digital Media and Information ConsultantAinsley Robertson
Administration OfficerEm Thompson
Receptionist and Administration OfficerJo Walters
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
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)
Cinnamon Morrissey is a Social Worker, mother and business owner with over sixteen years’ experience in child protection. Her youngest son William has Down Syndrome. She started her food manufacturing business after creating allergy-friendly nutrient-dense foods for William and they are now sold nationwide.
Cinnamon has been a loyal supporter of CRU and has attended workshops and events over the years. She joined the CRU board to support CRU to share her personal and professional experiences.
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.
Matt Stone has worked in the disability sector for more than 30 years, and is returning to the CRU Board after a few years away. Matt has been connected to CRU since the early 90’s and values the inspiration and information CRU workshops provide. Social Role Valorisation (SRV) has been a major influence on Matt’s work and his thinking.
Matt lives in the northern NSW town of Murwillumbah and works as a service provider in the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim areas.
Chief Executive Officer
Margaret Rodgers’ commitment to people with disabilities began in a L’Arche community in India in the early 80′s. For forty 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.
Following early roles in management, she first worked for CRU in the mid-1990's coordinating the Leadership Development program. After time in Far North Queensland planning with students leaving school; leading a project with the Mamre association assisting adults move into homes of their own using Circles of Support, and a project with the State government to further the implementation of person-centred practice, particularly for people caught in the cycle of Emergency and Crisis, Marg returned to CRU as CEO in 2009.
At CRU she leads a team whose work is underpinned by two key commitments - stimulating and supporting positive change in the lives of people with disabilities and their families in Queensland, and intentionally developing leaders to lead that change. Having seen the benefits of this work over many years, Marg is convinced that resourcing people to lead their own change through providing information, connecting them with others and offering opportunities to grow, develop, and give back is a great way to spend her time.
Marg sits on the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) Australian reference group; is a founding CEO of the National Alliance of Capacity Building Organisations and is on the national advisory group for Decision Making Possibilities, a project on supported decision making.
As one of the founding Directors of Crucial Training Options Marg is excited to play a part in resourcing, influencing and developing our emerging workforce.
Gina Barwell 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.
Sonja Elliot began working at CRU in 2022. Whilst studying to be a teacher, Sonja applied for a job as a support worker and unknowingly began a journey into learning about how people with disabilities should be supported to lead meaningful lives in their communities. She has since worked as a teacher for over twenty years, both in London and Brisbane. Most of this time has been spent supporting young people with disabilities and their families to prepare for the transition to adult life.
Sonja has been lucky along the way to continue building on her understanding of how best to support people with disabilities to live the life they choose, by first working in inclusive schools in east London and by her involvement with Partners in Policymaking UK – a leadership and advocacy training program for people with disabilities and their families.
Since returning to Australia, Sonja has continued to work with students as they transition to adult life and is also studying a Master of Education in School Guidance and Counselling, with plans to focus on Career Counselling.
Sonja is a parent and a family member of people living with disability. In her spare time, she enjoys ceramics, going to the beach with her children and catching up with friends over coffee.
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.
Trudy Ganderton started work at CRU in September 2023 as the Finance Officer. In this role, Trudy is responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the financial operations including accounts and payroll, financial reporting and budgeting.
Throughout her career, Trudy has experience in similar financial roles for small businesses, mainly in the healthcare and medicolegal industries. She is excited to bring her skills and background to CRU and is enjoying being part of an organization that has such a long history of promoting equality and inclusivity. As a parent of a young man with a disability as well as four other children, Trudy’s priority is to see them all shape and live their own good lives.
As her children have grown and are in or entering adulthood, Trudy is enjoying having time to renew her interest in gardening and sewing, travel and going to concerts and musical theatre shows.
Community Resource Facilitator
Meegan Hardaker first joined CRU as a casual Administration Assistant in 2015 when she was a student. In May 2023, Meegan took up a role with the Fee for Service team at CRU. Her role includes organising workshops such as Getting to the Heart; assisting with tendering processes; and promoting and managing requests for CRU’s Fee for Service offerings such as tailored training, individual consultations and Videos on Demand.
Meegan has a background in environmental management. In recent years she has undertaken studies in Visual Communications and is particularly interested in the role that this can play in influencing positive social and environmental change.
In her spare time (if there is any, with two young children), she enjoys going for long runs in nature and attempting to master various musical instruments.
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.
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.
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.
Digital Media and Information Facilitator
Kyla Ranger started working at CRU in mid-April 2022. Her role includes supporting staff with digital resources as well as creating, presenting, and sharing of information and stories through digital media.
She has both a degree in Human Services and Creative Industries and is currently working towards completing a master’s in social work. Kyla is passionate about social and environmental justice and believes media is a powerful tool for advocacy and positive change. Previously she worked in Community Arts facilitating workshops with people who experience disabilities, followed by a role as a caseworker in Crisis Housing and Homelessness.
When not at CRU Kyla enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, hiking, cooking, or tending to her much loved houseplants. She also spends plenty of time working on freelance film, photography or community art projects
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.
Jess Rodgers joined the CRU administration team in August 2023. She provides admin support to the Families for Inclusive Education team and the School to Work team. Jess has qualifications in Fine Art.
She brings extensive customer service and administration experience to the team, having worked in medical administration, gallery, and library environments.
She is looking forward to being a part of a community which strives for equal opportunities and inclusion. Outside of work Jess enjoys spending time drawing, making video art and gardening, alongside her husband and two small children.
Receptionist & Administration Officer
Emily Thompson joined the CRU administration team in July of 2023 following 9 years working for an education focused not-for-profit. She brings experience in literacy support for children with learning difficulties, office management and administration skills. From a very young age Em has been interested in social justice and is excited to be in a workplace that is striving for people with disability to have access to the good things in life.
She holds Certificates in Community Services and Training and Assessment and is currently studying a Bachelor of Communications and hopes to use her growing skills to support organisations like CRU that are making a difference in the world. Outside of work some of Em’s passions are queer cinema, pancakes and her dog Wooki.
Jo Walters 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.
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.
Sue Duncan-Kemp has more than 30 years’ experience in the disability sector working in roles within government and in the not-for-profit sector, including managing individualised support agencies, advocacy, workshop facilitation and planning.
Before semi-retiring, she worked in the provision of NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention Services in South West Queensland.
Sue began her working life as a Speech and Language Pathologist and from early beginnings working in large residential settings, developed an ongoing interest in what it takes to enable people with a disability of all ages to live ordinary (and extraordinary), meaningful lives in the communities of their choice.
Trish Murdoch has been passionate about people with disability living individual and inclusive lives for several decades. 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 model 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, and led to further study in disability and community.
Trish’s work in large and small organisations has included areas of direct support work; health; spirituality; church community education; workshops & resource writing; planning with families of littlies 0-6yrs; sibling and parent support; Pave The Way planning, vision and Circles of Support.
Outside of work, Trish enjoys learning to play a musical instrument; antique and op-shopping; listening to nature; and settling back in Brisbane after a few years away.