As a community lawyer and human rights advocate, Aimee led the successful campaign for a Human Rights Act for Queensland.
Aimee has qualifications in communications and law, attaining a Master of Laws (International and Public Law) from the University of Melbourne. Her work as a lawyer focussed on human rights and discrimination, guardianship, estate planning, child protection and domestic violence.
Prior to joining QCOSS, she worked in various senior and advisory roles, including at the Disability Royal Commission, Disability Law Queensland and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advocacy Service.
Aimee has been engaged by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples as a gender advisor, and has worked with a number of non-profit organisations in Queensland, including during the Child Abuse Royal Commission.
She was also a state finalist for the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards, and a finalist for the 2019 Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal.
Annette brings more than 20 years of senior management experience to QCOSS, having worked in local government roles in both Australia and New Zealand providing leadership in a diverse range of business areas – including events, community development, libraries, performing arts, social planning and research, marketing, media, governance and business support.
“I am proud of the corporate services team – although small in numbers they look for inspiration and innovation, are gutsy, ambitious always willing to go the extra mile,” she says.
After travelling and volunteering in Cambodia in 2016, in 2017 Annette returned to work in the not-for-profit sector, initially for an organisation providing humanitarian and refugee settlement support. She joined QCOSS in March 2018.
“I love to travel,” she says. “There’s nothing better than appreciating life, and your own life, exploring new places and having new adventures and experiences… creating new memories, connecting with many diverse people and cultures, and understanding history – including the good, the bad, and the sad!”
“(Here at QCOSS) there are a range of key projects currently being progressed by a small but committed and enthusiastic team,” she says, which include a new HR and payroll system, intranet refresh, and investigating other enabling technologies – amongst many other things.
“(We’re also) developing a physical co-location project with a number of other Peaks.”
“I enjoy working at QCOSS as it is a trusted leader in the community services sector,” she says. “(Because of) its agility and flexibility to respond to opportunities, challenges and change – and the ability to work on a range of projects.”
She says a significant piece of work is also putting a bigger focus on organisational culture and staff engagement, ensuring staff share a sense of direction, and are strengthened by unity.
“(It’s important) that every single employee feels that they are valued, belong and are contributing to their own and the success of the organisation.”
David heads up the Members and Partners team, championing the QCOSS brand, vision and values, and ensuring consistency and impact of communications externally.
He has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications across local and international markets, and has spent the past 16 years specialising in senior roles within not-for-profit organisations.
“QCOSS is an extraordinary organisation, with so many talented and passionate individuals – all dedicated to ensuring that all Queenslanders can live the best life possible,” he says. “Seeing the impact that we make in people’s lives is truly a wonderful thing.”
A little-known fact about David is that he is an avid apiarist – otherwise known as a beekeeper to you or I. He says tough weather conditions are severely affecting bees and their keepers across the country as drought conditions to drag on.
Research and Advice
Wendy is a Senior Policy Officer working in the policy areas of energy and climate change. At the core of this work, she says, is achieving equitable, affordable, and universal energy access for all.
“Energy enables quality of life, wellbeing, and is an essential service,” she says, adding that the industry is going through a major transition towards decarbonisation and decentralisation.
Wendy says the technological innovations are introducing many new opportunities.
“It is a very big transition that affects most people… It means looking in detail at regulatory processes and identifying important ways to keep energy prices as low as possible, designing in new structures and ways of managing the energy system so that it benefits everyone, and ensuring protections for those who become or are vulnerable, are robust.”
Wendy not only talks nature, but walks it too – having hiked through Patagonia, the Andes, Croatia, and New Zealand.
“Walking through wild, changing landscapes and being in wonder and awe of nature’s biodiversity, and also its scale – it connects me to myself and to nature.”
Wendy brings a diverse background to QCOSS having worked in small, people-based organisations, through to the very large in strategy, planning, and climate management roles.
“I love the QCOSS vision, which is about painting a picture of the world we believe all people will prosper in,” she says.
Carly’s team is currently focussed on cost of living issues, and it’s an area she’s passionate about.
Having just returned from parental leave, it was full speed ahead during her first week with an appearance at a Senate Inquiry into credit and financial services targeted towards Australians at risk of financial hardship. She says it was an amazing opportunity to get some movement around policy in that space.
“When people are unable to cover the cost of essentials, they often either go without, or get trapped in a debt cycle – both of which can have a significant impact on their health, their relationships and community connectedness,” she says.
“In regional areas it is especially tough because everything costs more and there can be issues with access to affordable transport, healthcare and employment as well.”
Carly has been with QCOSS for five years, and brought with her a wealth of experience in renewable energy projects and policy development from her previous work with the Queensland Government. She says there’s never been an opportunity to get bored.
“Everyone is hugely passionate, and our scope of work is so broad that there is always something or someone to energise you.”
Sector and Community
Julie is a Senior Sector Capacity Officer working on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Training and Skills Support Strategy (NTSSS).
A strong social justice advocate, Julie says culturally competent organisations are essential if the NDIS is to address current levels of underservicing to, and overrepresentation by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.
“I firmly believe in equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person in every community,” she says.
Julie recently joined the QCOSS team, bringing with her more than 40 years of career experience in the health and community services sector. Throughout her career she has maintained a strong focus on First Nations people’s health and wellbeing concerns.
“This is a workplace that supports staff to feel valued and we are all encouraged to make a contribution to QCOSS’s voice.”
Julie says she has a deep connection and a healthy relationship with nature, family, and self – which she reflects on with this piece of advice: “You should sit in nature for twenty minutes a day – unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
“Some of my hobbies include the study of traditional healing methods, reading biographies, and writing my own biography,” she says. “I am continually learning in both the personal and professional domains.”
Ryan is a Senior Project Officer working on the Energy Savvy Families project. A keen camper and bushwalker, Ryan brings a background of caring for others to QCOSS.
Ryan is a qualified social worker and started his career in the disability sector before moving into a homelessness organisation providing support for people to access crisis, medium, and long-term housing.
“My most recent role was in mental health as a support coordinator and then team leader, where I was able to work at a strategic level within the organisation,” he says.
Ryan joined QCOSS in 2017 to manage the Sunny Savers program, supporting Department of Housing tenants to access rooftop solar in Cairns and Rockhampton. He says QCOSS adds great value to the community services across Queensland, combining voices on issues and policies – something which is vital to his current project.
“The Energy Savvy Families program works with local community organisations across the state to support low-income households with their energy consumption,” he says.
“Electricity is an essential service and increases in prices have put major pressures on low-income households. Local community organisations play a key role in supporting people to access support, understand their energy use, and link in with other social supports.”
Ryan says one of his proudest moments at QCOSS was bringing the Sunny Savers Tenancy Engagement Officers to Brisbane to meet with the QCOSS team.
“Their insights from being on the ground and stories of meeting with households was really powerful, and you could see the effect it had on QCOSS staff understanding the impact of the project,” he says.
“Far more inspiring than the data we had, or the reports I had been writing!”
Donna is a passionate advocate of social and economic inclusion and brings her appreciation of the strength and complexities of communities to the community capacity work of QCOSS.
Donna strives to facilitate connections and opportunities to strengthen community and overcome isolation and disadvantage through an understanding of empowered interdependence, the potential for communities to provide everyone with the opportunity to connect, contribute and belong.
“Initially trained in journalism, I understand the power and value of good communication and most importantly listening. To find the story and to build on individual and community strengths requires intentional listening and reflection.”
Corporate Services Team
Internal Accountant Dennis Forman oversees QCOSS’ financial responsibilities with an ease born of rich life experience.
Originally an auto-electrician, Dennis was Bundaberg’s go-to man for any issues with prime movers and refrigerated transport.
Changing times demanded computer know-how, which led Dennis to software programming and the field of accounting, where he has built two successful businesses.
As the resident QCOSS tech guru, Dietmar makes sure the technology is working and aligns with the business.
“QCOSS is just a great org to work for,” he says. “People have common goals and work towards them in a humble manner.”
He says it’s crucial to enable the organisation and staff to do their work as efficiently as possible.
“When we migrated successfully to Office 365 and implemented SharePoint, QCOSS was been one of the first orgs to take advantage of Microsoft’s non-profit pricing a couple of years ago, saving the organisation heaps of money,” he says, adding the tight financials in the non-profit space sometimes require a creative approach.
Dietmar previously worked with Deutsche Telekom as an IT Systems Electrician before coming to Australia as an international student to finish his degree in Business Information Systems at Griffith University.
He is currently working on implementing a digital timesheet and rostering system, as well as investigating intranet improvements, including the collaboration tool Microsoft teams, and a more flexible and future-proofed Cloud Telephony solution.
One of his proudest moments with QCOSS, he says, was being able to apply successfully for the Community Benefit Fund grant on two occasions during his nine years with the organisation. On both occasions the money facilitated major equipment upgrades which would not have otherwise been possible.
Shelly is an Internal Auditor and Account Officer working on the online integration of timesheet keeping, leave forms, and modernising other areas of in-house operations.
“I love the mission and values of the work QCOSS is doing,” she says.
Fluent in Indonesian, Mandarin and English, tri-lingual Shelly holds an economics degree which has allowed her to live and work in Jakarta, Taiwan and New Zealand. She joined the QCOSS team more than seven years ago.
Shelly also enjoys travelling, reading, and cracking puzzles.
A proud Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi descendent from the Mount Isa and Cloncurry area in North West Queensland, Lacreicha recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting.
“I have been working at QCOSS for 9 years,” she says. “I started off doing a 12-month traineeship at QCOSS and then went on to be a Project Support Officer, Receptionist, and now a Finance and HR Officer.”
“The work of Corporate Services is important as I believe it is the heart of the organisation and contributes to helping the rest of the organisation achieve what they are setting out to do.”
“At the moment the Corporate Services Team is working on enhancing all of our Human Resources (HR) and Finance processes while introducing some new systems to help and to put a focus on employee wellbeing,” she says.
Lacreicha says she loves that QCOSS is committed to making a positive change for people who do not have a voice, “or the platform to have a voice”.
Michael really is a jack of all trades. His primary role might be as Project Support Officer for the Sunny Savers Solar Project Team. However he is just as capable working in reception, finance, events, IT, or HR. And he will always make himself available to help out in any way he can.
“I have worked for QCOSS for nearly two years now and working here has really opened my eyes to the real struggles experience by the disadvantaged and I feel privileged to be working for an organisation that does great ground work towards its vision of a Queensland free of poverty and disadvantage.”
Kaisi recently joined the QCOSS team as a Business Administration Trainee.
“To be given the opportunity to work here is great,” she says.
“The passion and investment I hear from staff while talking about their projects (is inspiring),” she says.
Kaisi says having the Brisbane River alongside the offices provides a “beautiful backyard” to do this work, and the culture of QCOSS encourages personal growth as well as professional.
“At the axe throwing event we did after our staff planning day – (I was) surprised I got 4 out of 5 on the target board!”
Outside of work you’ll find Kaisi listening to good music. “It heals the soul,” she says.
Members and Partners
Sam is a Communication and Media Officer focussing on content and digital media production.
Sam’s role is varied, using his many years of IT and technology skills to provide technical support to the Marketing and Communications team across WordPress and CiviCRM platforms, as well as contributing to the everyday operation and content generation for Community Door.
He enjoys working for QCOSS because we “aren’t afraid to get out there and bat for people who aren’t being heard, and passionately advocate around the real issues real people are facing in our communities.”
Additionally, his work has allowed him to combine his passions in writing, technology and photography and “put them to use professionally in a way I never expected.”
In a former life prior to working with QCOSS, you might have found Sam pouring your drink on a Friday afternoon in Samford Valley. After completing his Bachelor of Journalism degree at QUT in 2016, Sam moved onto “greener pastures” when he started as Graduate Communications Officer in 2018, eventually moving into his current position.
In his spare time, you might find Sam tinkering in his garage restoring arcade machines, or listening to one of his vinyls in his ever-increasing collection. Either that, or out and about shooting with his 35mm film camera just for fun.
Stacey De Calmer, Senior Officer, Community and Capacity
Stacey De Calmer is a Senior Community Capacity Officer focussing on place-based work and Human Services Quality Framework support.
“Place-based work is a great way to invite the participation of communities into shaping their own future, and to take hold of power,” she says.
“I think it’s incredibly important for communities to model this participation for our youngest citizens – those who will be making decisions in the future.”
The launch of the place-based guide and toolkit was one of her proudest moments during her two years with QCOSS.
“So much combined effort went into the creation of this document and toolkit, and to hear feedback that it’s useful has been great,“ she says.
Stacey has spent most of her working life in non-profit organisations, supporting the Community Services workforce through the coordination and delivery of professional development and network facilitation, and providing quality framework and leadership support to early childhood education and care services.
Raised in Central Queensland, Stacey says she has a soft spot for regional communities and often finds herself back there doing bits and pieces of work.
“Supporting services to work in alignment with the Human Services Quality Framework gives QCOSS an opportunity to work with services on the ground to be quality services, but it also allows for us to fulfil our role as a conduit back to government about issues or challenges services are encountering, and how we might be able to work together to strengthen the sector.”