At QCOSS, we believe that every person in Queensland – regardless of where they come from, who they pray to, their gender, who they love, how or where they live – deserves to live a life of equality, opportunity and wellbeing.
This coming week marks International Women’s Day 2020 (8 March), with the theme ‘Generation Equality’. It is also Queensland Women’s Week (6 – 15 March), which celebrates our diverse community of strong women, like the women in our social services sector who make up 80 per cent of the workforce. The week celebrates the contributions women make in Queensland.
We want to draw attention to our own strong women leaders at QCOSS who work hard to create positive change through our work in advocacy, policy development, engaging and empowering our members, the social service sector and communities.
Meet the accomplished women leaders from QCOSS, who all have experience working in our social services sector…
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh
Aimee is a strong advocate for equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all Queenslanders. 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.
Senior Manager – Policy, Advocacy and Capacity Laura Barnes
Laura leads the Policy, Advocacy and Capacity team to deliver the range of projects QCOSS has in community, policy and with the sector.
“While for many of us, life is okay – we have food, shelter, education, jobs, family and support. For many others, the systems that guide our world are failing them,” she says.
“We need to set a vision of how we can be the best we can be – and then engage and support all people to be part of this future.”
An eternal optimist and seasoned world traveller, Laura believes the world should and can be much better than it is.
“QCOSS is an organisation that is committed to a better world – to equality, opportunity and wellbeing,” she says. “And I want to be a part of that.”
Senior Manager – Corporate Services Annette Schoone
Annette brings more than 20 years of senior management experience to QCOSS. Having worked in local government roles in both Australia and New Zealand she has provided 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.
QCOSS board member Colleen Tribe
Colleen is the General Manager of Roseberry Qld, delivering programs in housing and tenancy, youth shelters, early intervention mental health, youth and family services, education and employment pathways.
Having worked in the Central Queensland area for more than 20 years, Colleen has achieved success leading and managing a cross section of areas in schools, education projects and is now devoted to growing Roseberry Qld, and ensuring regional areas are serviced adequately. Colleen has qualifications in education and business.
QCOSS board member Faiza El-Higzi OAM
Faiza has extensive experience in the community sector and in government. Her work focuses on social justice with a focus on gender, multicultural communities and refugees.
She has 10 years’ experience in government at both state and federal levels in international development and economic development. She has several qualifications including a post graduate level in Architecture, Project Management, International Business and Education and is currently a PHD scholar at the University for Queensland focussing on gender studies.
Faiza was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day 2020 Honours for service to the community through social welfare organisations.
QCOSS board member Rachelle Patterson
Rachelle is Chief Operating Officer, Human & Community Services with Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Limited. She believes every person should have the same opportunities regardless of background, education or challenges faced.
Rachelle has held a number of executive roles across out-of-home-care, mental health, research and human services. She has worked in urban, regional and remote settings across the Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra and Western Australia.
Rachelle holds a Bachelor of Psychology, Master of Suicidology and Master of Health Promotion.
QCOSS board member Linda McClelland
Linda is a regional member and has worked with and on boards within the not-for-profit sector for almost 30 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 over many years through the former Integrated Skills Development Network hosted by the Health and Community Sector Workforce.