Matt is the Executive Director, Child and Family Services with Australia’s first charity, The Benevolent Society. Leading a large, professional workforce across several states, delivering services across a portfolio of counselling, early childhood education, mental health, violence prevention, child protection and community development and includes one of Australia’s first Social Impact Bonds, Resilient Families. Passionate about social justice, improving systems and therapeutic practice, Matt is an experienced practitioner and has held several senior executive roles at some of Australia’s leading not-for-profits. He is proud to contribute to the ongoing strength of QCOSS in its strategic objectives and to represent members across the state.
Matt is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has undergraduate qualifications in psychology and counselling, Masters in Clinical Counselling, Grad. Dip. In Strategic Leadership and is currently studying an MBA.
Nadia has served on several committees and advisory groups including the Aboriginal Suicide and Mental Health Committee at the Hunter Institute for Mental Health, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Budget Steering Committee and served as Chair, Patient Journey Working Committee for the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Law and is due to complete her Masters of Law in July 2019.
As the Operations Manager for the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP), Nadia encourages social change and transformational leadership – not only within QATSICPP, but to the broader workforce and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families. This entails ensuring the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care are heard and further represented to achieve equity and access to services.
QCOSS and QATSICPP share a common goal in ensuring the voices of those needed are heard and represented accordingly. Nadia’s interest in participating on the QCOSS Board ensures robust discussion pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social determinants as she has had previous experience in native title, stolen generation linkage, housing and health, with the ability to broaden the scope and speak generally.
Faiza El Higzi
Faiza is a general member of QCOSS with over 20 years experience in the community sector as a board member, manager and volunteer focussing on emerging African, Arab and Islamic communities. Faiza also has extensive experience working with young people and refugees. Currently Faiza is a member of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council and Metro South Health Consumer Advisory Committee. Faiza was the Human Rights Advisor for the National Council for Women and a member of the Queensland Ministerial Multicultural Committee.
Faiza has 10 years experience in government at both state and federal levels in strategic policy, research and industry development. Her experience in the NGO sector includes community development, refugee settlement and youth engagement. Faiza has several qualifications including a post graduate level in Architecture, Project Management, International Business and Education. She is currently a PHD scholar at the University for Queensland focussing on gender studies.
Richard trained as a registered nurse, and has degrees in Social Science, Counselling, and Master of Counselling. He has over 30 years experience working in several community services and non-government organisations including senior executive positions in Lifeline Community Care Qld, UnitingCare Community, and Suncare Community Services. As a community leader in regional Queensland, Richard was responsible for a wide variety of community, child safety, domestic violence, disability services, aged care, and family services.
His leadership roles spanned regions from Central Qld, Wide Bay, and Sunshine Coast. More recently Richard ventured into private consulting and home care assessment. Having spent most of his career working in regional Queensland, along with his role in providing senior leadership in community recovery activities. Richard is acutely aware of many of the issues facing individuals, families and communities throughout regional areas of Queensland.
Anita is a highly experienced senior executive, currently Executive Director of Centacare Far North Qld (FNQ), an organisation highly regarded as a long-standing provider of person centred community services across the areas of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Multicultural Services, Aged Care and Disability Support. Previously CEO for more than 20 years at ARC Disability Services, a specialist disability services provider, Anita has broad connections across the social service sector.
Passionate about working with people and community and making a difference, Anita has served as a member of several community advisory groups across the health, disability and community sectors. As chair of the FNQ Regional Disability Advisory Council, Anita also represents FNQ on the Queensland Disability Advisory Council, currently in her third term as Deputy Chair. Anita has almost 30 years community sector experience in Australia and the UK and is a strong advocate for community collaboration and partnership.
Linda is a regional member and has worked with and on boards within the not-for-profit sector for 28 years. As CEO of Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre, she has grown the centre into the lead community service provider in the area.
Linda’s passion for teaching and mentoring, having taught community services through TAFE to both senior high students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers throughout North and Far North Queensland, is evident in the success of the centre. At a strategic level, she has contributed to the development of sector training in North Queensland through the Integrated Skills Development Network hosted by the Health and Community Sector Workforce Council.
Colleen has worked in the Central Queensland (CQ) area for more than 20 years. She is devoted to leading and managing a cross section of areas and had great success leading and managing schools, education projects and now growing Roseberry Qld to a very successful not-for-profit. She has also led community service projects and fundraisers for Zonta Club of Gladstone, and worked with various service clubs. Colleen developed the Zonta Excellence and Leadership program (ZEAL) for young women, which has been celebrated by Zonta International.
Colleen has served on Management Committees such as QCSEA now Positive Employer Outcomes, Communities for Children, LiveWell CQ, Workforce Council – Industry Reference Group member, Gladstone Regional Development Committee with Gladstone Regional Council, and Vice President of Zonta Club of Gladstone. Colleen enjoys the professional learnings from each and being part of a leadership team. Colleen’s qualifications in education have served her well within the social service sector, and she is currently studying post graduate qualifications in Specialised Leadership at the University of Melbourne.