Board and Staff

Josey McMahon

Josey McMahon

Chairperson

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

Planning to Achieve Insurmountable Goals (CRUcial Times 48, 2015) (PDF)

From the board:  What it means to create a home (CRUcial Times 55) (PDF)

Video for CRU

From dream to reality. A new start for Cathy (YouTube video)

Podcast for CRU

CRUcial Conversations

Narissa Niesler

Narissa Niesler

Company Secretary

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)

Sherryn West

Sherryn West

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

From the Committee (CRUcial Times 51, 2017) (PDF)

From the Board (CRUcial Times 56, 2017) (PDF)

A photo of Laura Listopad smiling warmly

Laura Listopad

Director

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)

Cinnamon Morrisey smiling warmly

Cinnamon Morrissey

Director

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.

am image of Natalie smiling warmly

Natalie Palelei

Director

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.

photo of Matt Stone smiling at the camera

Matt Stone

Director
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.

CRU Staff

Margaret Rodgers

Margaret Rodgers

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.

Lisa Bridle

Lisa Bridle

Senior Consultant

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.

Portrait photograph of Catherine smiling

Catherine Laherty

Senior Consultant

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.

Portrait photo of Gina Barwell-Pickup

Gina Barwell-Pickup

Consultant

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.

Portrait photograph of Lindie smiling

Lindie Brengman

Consultant

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.

Portrait photograph of Sonia smiling

Sonia Brown-Diaz

Administration Officer

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.

Portrait photograph of Kath smiling

Kathleen Fleming

Administration Officer

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.

Portrait photo of Kelly Harrison

Kelly Harrison

Consultant

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!).

image of Kylie Harrison smiling at the camera

Kylie Harrison

Administration Officer

Kylie Harrison started working at CRU in July 2022 in a full time capacity in the Administration Team.

Kylie has worked in the Not For Profit and Disability sectors for the past 22 years as a Fundraiser and Administration/Office Manager. Kylie is passionate about the disability sector and loves the part she plays in the background supporting staff to support people with disabilities.

Outside of work, Kylie loves spending time with family, travelling, kayaking, reading, attempting crafts and being a slave to her three fur babies.

Portrait photograph of Kim smiling

Kim Jensen

Office Manager

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

Diana Kerr

Consultant

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.

Danielle Mason Smiling warmly

Danielle Mason

Consultant

Danielle Mason works in a few roles in the CRU team, including on the My Home, My Way project and on projects taken on by CRU through the Fee for Service stream.

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.

photo of Casey Northam smiling at the camera

Casey Northam

Consultant

Casey Northam

Kyla Ranger

Kyla Ranger

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

Portrait photo of Ainsley Robertson

Ainsley Robertson

Consultant

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.

jo walters smiling warmly

Jo Walters

Consultant

Jo Walters 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.

Portrait photograph of Kerrie smiling

Kerrie White

Administration Officer

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.

Casual staff

A photo of Sharon Bourke smiling warmly

Sharon Bourke

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 smiling warmly

Sue Duncan-Kemp

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.

A photo of Trish Murdoch

Trish Murdoch

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.

Tracy Pate smiling warmly

Tracy Pate

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 smiling warmly

Suellen Welch

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.