Learn about us

dads in distress
Tony Miller OAM
Founder 'Dads in Distress', Fathers Day 1999

History

We started out as Dads in Distress, on Father’s Day 1999. Our founder was Tony Miller OAM. Back then, we operated one dads group that met periodically on a veranda in Coffs Harbour, NSW.

Tony kicked off the group after he could not find any support that he needed as a recently separated and highly distressed dad; in fact it led him to contemplate taking his own life more than once. Others heard about his work and they volunteered to set up their own local groups.

Over the years, mums too started to come to our groups for support, so we widened our work to include mum support and, in 2017, we rebranded to Parents Beyond Breakup. We continue to operate a front line support service called Dads in Distress (alongside one called Mums in Distress) but our focus is where the greater lack of national support continues to exist – that is with separated dads.

Two decades on and we’ve expanded our services to include a telephone helpline, LiveChat helpline, online forum and local ‘one to one’ mentors.

Our core ethos remains today as strongly as it did back in 1999, to provide support free and to utilise where possible only peer volunteers all of whom have been through it themselves. This makes all the difference when you’re all out of money, and trust. Although we are in small part funded by government, we continue to operate on very limited funds and rely heavily on the generosity of the public, trusts and corporate donors.

dads in distress

Parents Beyond Breakup

PBB is a registered charity

Donations are tax deductible

Our focus is the prevention of suicide in separating parents

Our tagline is keeping parents alive, and in their kids lives

We are non ideological, non political, gender neutral and gender inclusive.

We do not do ‘activism’.

We are often asked to provide policy makers high quality and unbiased factual information that they need to make better decisions about the areas in which we operate.

dads in distress

Our Board

Brendan Blomeley MBA, FAICD, FIML

Chairperson (Joined 2019) is CEO of the Tasmanian Racing Club and has Lived Experience as a Dad in Distress. He is also an Alderman on the Clarence City Council and is a former Federal and State Ministerial Adviser and Chief of Staff to the Chief Government Whip in the Senate. Brendan offers PBB the benefit of his experience at all three levels of Government, with extensive proven success in Corporate and Government Relations. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Institute of Managers and Leaders. Brendan also holds an MBA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Ross Arriola

Deputy Chair (Joined 2016) is the current Lead Facilitator at the DIDs Sydney CBD group and has Lived Experience as a Dad in Distress. Associated with PBB since 2015, Ross was appointed to the Board in 2016 and served as Chairperson in 2017.  Outside of his volunteer role with PBB, Ross is an experienced technology professional of 25 years having held sales & management roles in the ICT industry for companies such as IBM, HPE and Telstra. Ross works for Infosys as a Practice Engagement Manager focused on some of the largest public sector projects within Australia.  Ross has tertiary and technical qualifications in Business and IT and is currently completing his Executive MBA with the AGSM, University of New South Wales.

Campbell Lennox

Treasurer (Joined 2018) has been Lead Facilitator at the Dads in Distress Hornsby group in Sydney since 2016. Campbell was appointed to the Board of PBB in 2018 and has served as Treasurer before taking over as Interim CEO in October 2020 through to April 2021. Campbell is the former Managing Director of Toys R Us Australia and has over 25 years of experience in Retail. During his career Campbell has held executive level positions for some of Australia’s top retail organisations including Shell Australia, Woolworths, Coles Group and Harvey Norman. His qualifications include an MBA (Southern Cross University) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Campbell is also a Global Goodwill Ambassador.

Glen Poole

Board Member (Joined 2017) has more than 20 years experience working with men and boys in the UK and Australia. He is CEO of the Australian Men’s Health Forum and is now serving his second term on the PBB Board. Glen is the founder of Stop Male Suicide, a suicide prevention training company and is a current member of the Expert Advisory Panel working with Christine Morgan, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Suicide Prevention.

Josie Sinnamon MSW, Grad Dip Counselling, BHSc (Honours)

Board Member (Joined 2021) is a current facilitator of PBB’s Mum’s In  Distress (MIDs) group. Josie has worked in public health supporting suicide prevention in rural and remote health regions, particularly for men experiencing farming distress. Josie has also worked on parenting programs in support of young mothers, post-natal depression groups, positive parenting skills and worked with children with trauma backgrounds. Josie is also passionate about supporting families, child and youth mental health and a specialised interest in domestic and family violence, divorce, separation and parental alienation.

Josie’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Health Science (Public Health), Master of Social Work and a Graduate Diploma in child, youth and family counselling. Josie has also held prior Chair positions for regional Physical Activity and Health Working group and Chair of the Colorectal Cancer Steering committee.

Robin DeLucia 

Board Member (Joined 2021)  has more than 20 years in leadership and director roles working for Blue Chip companies such as Bank of America, American Express and IBM. She also held a Corporate Services Director role for an Australian telco leading HR, Facilities and OH&S.  Robin is an accredited Gallup Strengths Coach and she now runs her own business as a Career Coach, helping people achieve careers they will love.  

Robin is passionate about supporting mums and dads during breakup, having gone through her own lived experience as a child, parent and step-parent touched by divorce. Robin contributes to other not-for-profit organisations, providing HR advice, career workshops, resume and interview skills, to help skilled migrants and youth succeed in their careers.

Our Team

Gillian Hunt BA Comms, GAICD 

Chief Executive Officer – Gillian joined Parents Beyond Breakup as CEO in April 2021.  She has previously held senior executive positions across various ASX listed organisations including Asciano,  Arrium and the  John Holland Group.  She has extensive corporate, management and NFP director experience including deputy Chair of Habitat for Humanity Australia. Gillian is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds degrees in Communications and Anthropology, has post graduate qualifications in Marketing, Economics and Management, and has twice been acknowledged in the Salt and Shein Top 50 report as one of Australia’s most influential corporate affairs professionals. Gillian is a passionate advocate of suicide prevention and mental health, having Lived Experience of the suicide of a close family member. 

Pete Nicholls 

Regional Manager SW Sydney – Pete has an electronics and engineering degree and a background of design in the defence aviation sector. An interest in data analysis led to retraining in Organisational Psychology and a pivot into corporate research and consulting; there he has held international leadership roles within IBM, Mercer and HayGroup. In 2013, Pete volunteered as a DIDs group facilitator. With a passion for suicide prevention, he has since made PBB his main occupation and retains a handful of part time ASX100 consulting clients. Pete’s roles within PBB include two terms on the board (2014-17) and as CEO (2017-20). As a separated dad, he has 21 years experience of parental separation and has acted as a McKenzie Friend. 

Candece Baker

Team Administrator / EA – Candece eagerly joined PBB in late 2021 as a Team Administrator / Executive Assistant. With quite an electric background, she brings a variety of skills to the organisation such as a high regard for customer service, data entry, strong attention to detail, while also maintaining a personable manner. Candece has always had an interest in people, and, having three young children herself, she has a strong passion for helping others, especially families and children.

Tania Karshagen

Executive Assistant – Tania joined PBB in October 2019 as an assistant and has experience working in a range of business environments requiring a high level of customer service, data capturing, problem solving and attention to detail, Tania has a hospitality higher diploma and had worked in a number of hotels and ran her wedding venue for 6 years. Tania is very passionate about people, service and creating a positive environment for others.

Glenn Hodgson

Operations Manager (North) – Glenn is a dad with a Degree in Psychology and Masters in Social Work and has worked in community services with children and families for 17 years. He has supported children in out of home care, provided case management for families with complex needs and currently runs a family support and group facilitation program for families with an emphasis on prevention and early support. He has been involved with DIDS as a group facilitator since 2013 and team member since 2019.

Phil Lamport

Operations Manager (South) – Life Coach, Author, Dad, Uncle, Grandpa, IT professional, advocate for “playful parenting” and student of psychology
In addition to PBB, Phil has volunteered in community support programmes in Cambodia, and has been a volunteer in providing ASD support services for pre-school children. 
Involved with PBB since 2010, Phil has been facilitating our parent peer-support groups since 2014.
Currently responsible for day-to-day support of our volunteer base and technical platforms.

Alan Valja

Helpline Operator – One of the foundation members of this amazing movement!
Alan has been on the helpline for 8 years and was running the Coffs Harbour group for about 8 years.
He has also been on the board and was the National Volunteer Coordinator for 4 years. 

Tim Kay

Helpline Operator – Tim has a background in Youth Work and Case Management, dealing with a range of issues including behavioural, mental health, homelessness, drug & alcohol.

Tim first became involved with PBB as a dad in distress in 2005.
He has been a lead facilitator for five years and over the last four years has served the role of Helpline operator on the PBB national support line and referral service.

JD Knight

Helpline Operator – JD is Lead Facilitator of our largest National online DiDs group, Helpline Operator and has Lived Experience as a Dad in Distress. As a professional Facilitator with more than 25 years experience in men’s work, as well as global corporate expertise in Behavioural and Organisational Change, JD has been accredited in Psychological First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, Advanced Conflict Resolution, Change Management, Psychological Type, Emotional Intelligence, Child Inclusive Mediation and Counselling, and Evidence Based Parenting

Chris Cheeseman

Social Media Consultant – Chris has a degree in business specialising in both Marketing and Sports Management and has worked across numerous organisations that has required him to ensure a standard of customer service, organisation, and time management are met.

Involved with PBB since late of 2021, Chris aims to connect with the PBB team and community to ensure a message that resonates with us all: Empowering Families – creating futures!

Bernie Liversidge

Helpline Operator – Bernie has been working with Parents Beyond Breakup as a Facilitator/Co Facilitator with the Dads in Distress program since 2015. Now as a phone counsellor, Bernie brings with him a great deal of life experience and maybe a different perspective to the role. He has been involved in a good marriage for forty one years, riding the big dipper of life, many times holding on for dear life believing the chains holding the carts were going to snap.

Bernie has a diploma in counselling as well as qualifications and experience in phone counselling with Griefline, he has had experience with working with socially disadvantaged youth, long termed unemployed, people under court orders, mentally disadvantaged, asylum seekers, drug affected and international students. He is a father of two beautiful daughters and a kelpie, he prides himself in having a highly developed degree of empathy and has a passionate interest in men’s issues and people’s general well-being.

 

The Heroes (Our volunteers!)

  • Dozens of dedicated volunteer peers

  • Separated mums, dads, grandparents and just great humans who want to make a positive difference to those most in need and most at risk

The Empty Chair (Passed)

Our Vision, Our Mission

Our Family Values

One big family

  • We are family centric, client focussed and cognisant of children’s needs

  • We model the PBB behaviours; demonstrate camaraderie, warmth and we each help to develop others around us

  • Our ethos is to facilitate peer to peer connection, support and care

Sleep well at night

  • We are accountable, responsible, ethical, respectful, caring, compassionate and empathic

  • We believe in equality and act in an egalitarian manner

Open heart, open mind

  • Our nature is to be determined, driven, passionate, inclusive, sensitive

  • We act urgently, influence and nurture whilst demonstrating humility

  • We use emotional and social intelligence

If not us, who?

  • We believe in empowering, growing and inspiring leaders

  • We value talent, innovation and communication

  • We make a dent in the universe and choose the road less travelled

Rock solid

  • We are dependable, trustworthy experts

  • We value teamwork, expertise and knowledge

  • Playing by the rules is what makes us successful

Do more with less

  • We are pragmatic, resourceful, frugal and proactive

  • We see no barriers, accept all challenges and do not postpone

  • Think different whilst keeping it simple

Parents Beyond Breakup not only supports parents experiencing trauma through family breakdown and separation but also acknowledges the specific issue of parent-child contact and custody battles commonly termed ‘parental alienation’, a factor closely linked to stress, anxiety, depression, isolation and suicide in Australia.

Every child deserves to have a relationship with both of their parents …. ….