Powering the Logan Together collaboration takes work. That’s the role of the small but intrepid band of relentless optimists who make up the Backbone team.
Matthew Cox – Director
After chairing the working party that established the Logan Together initiative during 2014/2015, Matthew Cox was appointed its Director in July 2015. Prior to this role, Matthew spent a decade at the Australian Red Cross, heading the organisation’s human services and community and economic development program in Queensland.
Earlier Matthew had a career in local government and in communications and marketing.
Matthew is a member of the Logan City of Choice Leadership Team and is currently its co-chair.
He has four kids and has worked in Logan, Brisbane, regional, rural and remote Australia, Melbourne and London.
When I was three I wanted to be either a sea captain or a garbage bin collector – the guys who hung off the back of the garbage trucks, jumped off, ran up our front path and swung our metal bin up on their shoulder. They’d then run back to the truck and throw the bin to their mate who’d unload it into the truck and throw it back. This was before wheelie bins.
I remember talking to my grandmother – who I was very close to – about my career interests. She told me that sea captains had to go down with their ship if it sank, so by the time I’d got to kindy I settled on being a garbage bin collector.
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Sue Jankovic – Deputy Director
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Victoria Parker – Communications Lead
Victoria Parker is a nationally awarded marketing communication professional with over 18 years’ experience working in the private and public sectors, with a particular interest in the community, housing, and property development industries.
For the last two years, Victoria has been leading a behaviour change project for a government utility encouraging safe behaviours around inland waterways. This campaign was recognised by the industry, wining national and state awards over the last two years. Prior to that Victoria led the establishment of a residential housing Research Foundation. The Research Foundation initiated a rolling program of research that continues to provide critical insights into what housing solutions are needed so thriving and sustainable communities are created. Also, in this role Victoria repositioned the organisation to better reflect the critical role that development and housing plays in the lives of Queenslanders.
Victoria sits on the Board of the Lady Bowen Trust – a Queensland Government established entity that provides practical help to Queenslanders who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness to stabilise their lives and build a better future.
I had to confirm this with my mum, because I was sure I had higher aspirations at 5 years, but apparently my overriding desire was to be able to read (and it didn’t come easily or fast) and to get roller skates for my next birthday.
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Jen Kyriacou – Executive Support Officer
Jen joined the Logan Together Backbone team in 2017 with extensive experience in co-ordination and executive support within not for profit organisations.
Jen’s previous positions at the Australian Red Cross saw her undertake a number of roles, including Membership and Branch Coordinator for Queensland. Jen’s most recent position was as Community Liaison Officer for Endeavour Foundation, where she worked with families to help increase their knowledge and encourage their preparedness for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Jen’s various roles in not-for-profit organisations has seen her gain experience in governance, accountability, service provision and the importance of customer service. As a Board and founding member of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics Australia, Jen has learnt first hand the importance of volunteering and how passionate individuals can make real change to improve the lives of loved ones. Jen’s passion lies with building foundation community for children with a disability, ensuring they have the opportunity for an ordinary life.
When this photo was taken I wanted to be Italian. There was a lovely old lady who lived behind our house and I used to go down there when mum wasn’t watching and she would feed me full of spaghetti. Parental supervision was minimal in those days.
Later on in childhood, when I started Prep, I wanted to be Agnetha from ABBA. I had the ABBA Arrival album (the one with the helicopter on the front) which was my pride and joy. I performed for my parents friends and family. They were mesmerised by my talent and I’m sure never got sick of hearing me sing.
Email Jen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Dawson-Sinclair – Community Empowerment Agent Lead
With almost 25 years experiences working on the front-line in early childhood education and the social services sector, Karen Dawson-Sinclair brings a unique and rare skill set to Logan Together. Much of her professional career has been spent working with kids and families in Logan, and, after spending some time working in a volunteer capacity, Karen joined the Backbone Team in 2016 where she leads the charge on coordinating our community empowerment efforts.
Using her practical skills and knowledge of child development coupled with her love of the Harwood Institute Community Listening Framework, Karen is able to softly and distinctively work with energy in the community to determine their aspirations and help bring them to life.
When I was little, my dad’s nickname for me was “Pel” – short for pelican – because I had a big mouth and never stopped talking! I always wanted to spend time with the adults chatting.
I also loved making my two brothers play school with me – and I was ALWAYS the teacher!
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SHARON WORBOYS – COMMUNICATIONS Specialist
With more than 15 years of experience in media, communications and marketing, Sharon Worboys is passionate about story-telling, change-making, and the wonderful world of marketing.
When I was little, I had three imaginary friends called my Little Womens who lived in my pocket and who unfairly got the blame for a range of transgressions. As the youngest of five siblings, I needed to feel like the boss of someone, so the Little Womens were pretty long-suffering.
My career ambitions were shaped by seeing an ad on TV which deeply affected me: where grateful children bought box after box of chocolates as gifts for their increasingly cheerful lollipop lady. I planned to be the best lollipop lady there ever was, with the most impressive chocolate haul.
Email Sharon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindy Russell – Projects Specialist
Mindy joins the Backbone Team from The Family Place, one of Logan’s flagship community gateway programs. With a focus on strengths and relationships, The Family Place attracts more than 13000 visits each year from families across the city and beyond. Under Mindy’s leadership, The Family Place has been recognised as an innovative initiative by the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), taking out Queensland’s Play Your Part award in 2017.
Mindy is a proud mum and step-mum. A local Logan girl since childhood, Mindy brings to her role a passion for the city and all it has to offer young families. Mindy aspires that every family in Logan will have access to a “Family Place” community to support them during their parenting journey. She is excited to have the opportunity to work towards this goal, leading on Logan Together’s Community Gateways project.
When I was little, I wanted to be a pop singer like Kylie Minogue, a talk show host like Oprah, and Australia’s first female Prime Minister (not OR, but AND). Every report card I received said that I would achieve more if I didn’t talk so much, so I like to think I was just trying to work to my strengths.
Nat Millar – Community Empowerment Agent
Nat Millar is the owner and operator of Mums n’ Bubs Logan, a playgroup and online support forum with more than 18,000 members where local mothers offer advice, support, laughs and friendship to each other as they navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood.
The group began almost by accident, as Nat was seeking some fellow mums for a playdate in the park – years later, the group is the biggest of its kind in the area and Nat tirelessly monitors the group, offering a safe online space for mothers in Logan, as well as organising weekly meet-ups at venues all over the Logan area.
Through her role as a Community Empowerment Agent with the Logan Together Backbone Team, Nat offers help, support and insight on all things child and parent related in the Logan Community.
Nat is inspired by Logan Together’s total dedication to making a change for the good of the children in Logan.
When I was 4 years old I really wanted to be a school teacher when I grew up.
As I was an only child, I fondly remember setting up all my toys as “school kids” and I would be the teacher!
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Angela TuiSamoa – Community Empowerment Agent
Mother of four and grandmother of one Angela has lived in Logan since 2014, and has always had a passion for community connections and letting the voices of families be heard.
Having spent years dedicating her time to her family, she is now also turning her attention to the young families of Logan, driven by the desire to be part of a change for the better in the community.
Angela recognises that many parents are dealing with situations sometimes beyond their control, without knowing where to turn to make things better. This disempowerment is something she hopes will change in the coming years.
The value and commitment that Logan Together has placed on collecting community voice and doing something with it is what motivated Angela to become a Community Empowerment Agent. Her hope is the community will value the Logan Together mission and its authenticity as much as the community voice is valued by Logan Together.
Email Angela: firstname.lastname@example.org
Belinda Brown – Projects and Reporting Coordinator
Belinda has over 15 years experience working in program management and quality improvement roles, predominantly within the health and community services sectors, as well as experience in policing/law enforcement. She has a strong interest in governance and systemic reform, and collective capacity building to improve outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
Belinda works across a number of areas at Logan Together including project management, research and proposal writing and reporting.
Belinda’s favourite childhood pastime was fishing for crayfish and making Billy Tea and damper with her Dad. She could spend all day climbing trees – the bigger the better (although her poor mum wouldn’t agree), and loved looking for Penny Turtles in the creek with her sisters.
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Teresa de Vries – Administration Officer
Teresa joined the Logan Together Backbone team in September 2017. She comes with stacks of administration and finance experience behind her, particularly in the not-for-profit sector.
Teresa has worked throughout Corporate Services, supervising small administration teams for community service providers and spending some time working within the emergency services sector during times of crises. Teresa spent more than 10 years working for Australian Red Cross in a number of departments.
Most recently, she worked for a Medical Research Company as Administrator / Accounts Payable.
In an unusual honour, Teresa is also proud to be one of the subjects of the Dunedin Study since 1972. An award-winning multidisciplinary health and development study monitoring a large group of people from birth through adultuhood, the study is still going strong today. Teresa has also participated in the sub-studies looking at family health and parenting.
Teresa, her husband and three children have recently returned to Queensland, where she has lived for 17 years, after spending a year in Perth.
When I was a child I loved science – especially biology. Loved to dissect things. I would always walk to the local bay, catch fish and pull their eyes out.
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Professor David Hogan – Associate Backbone Team Member
Professor David Hogan completed his undergraduate education at the University of Sydney before teaching high school for three years in Sydney and completing his postgraduate work at the University of Illinois. He subsequently taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1979 – 1994 and the University of Tasmania (1994 – 2004), before taking up a series of senior research appointments at the National Institute of Education in Singapore (2004 – 2013).
As Principal Research Scientist, he designed and implemented a large multi-focus, high impact, policy aligned, mixed methods research project focused on measuring the quality of teaching and learning across the Singapore system in both primary and secondary schools. Here he was responsible for modelling the relationship between teaching and learning, reporting the results of the research and making recommendations to the senior executive group and the Minister of Education in Singapore.
He is currently an Honorary Professor in the School of Education and Fellow in the Life Course Centre in the Institute of Social Science Research at the University of Queensland.
Email David: D.Hogan@griffith.edu.a