Meet the Parents beyond breakup 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 and Member 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. Gill also serves as President of Australian Men’s Health Forum.
Senior Project Lead – 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.
Project Manager – Philip Penfold joined PBB as Project Manager Hunter and former Dads in Distress facilitator and DIDs INC Board member from a number of years ago. Philip is a long-time elected representative within the Hunter region, and well known as an advocate for men and their needs in that region. A father of 2 boys, Philip has a background in finance and management roles in social support services via NDIS.
“Being there to lend an ear, share information, and be of support to men going through a separation is vital. I’m glad to be able to lead a team who can be present in those times of greatest need”.
Data and IT Manager- Life coach, author, dad, uncle, grandpa, IT professional, group facilitator, 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 support of our technical platforms.
Training and Development Manager – JD is still hands-on as Lead Facilitator of our largest National online DiDs group, as well as in-person groups, Helpline, all with Lived Experience as a Dad in Distress.
As the Training and Development Manager JD is responsible for strategic organisational development needs of the organisation.
JD is a professional Facilitator with more than 3 decades 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, Suicide Prevention, Suicide Intervention, Advanced Conflict Resolution, Change Management, Psychological Type, Emotional Intelligence, Child Inclusive Mediation and Counselling, and Circle of Security.
Head of Communications & Marketing – Amy joined Parents Beyond Breakup as Marketing and Communications Manager in June 2022. She has extensive experience in all disciplines of project management, communications, marketing, sales, operations, and management across a variety of industries, including not-for-profit organisations. She has a bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts and a diploma in project management. As a separated mum, and growing up in a divorced family, she understands how vital organisations such as Parents Beyond Breakup are to the lives of children, parents, and other family members.
Team Administrator / EA – Candece eagerly joined PBB in late 2021 as a Team Administrator / Executive Assistant. With quite an eclectic 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.
Project Manager – Mums In Distress (MIDs) Heather joins PBB as a Peer Mum with a wealth of experience from over 30 years of professional practice and 5 decades from the school of life” Heather brings her passion for families and community and loves to walk with people of all ages and help them to feel understood and validated. She brings both lived and professional experience as our pioneer MIDs Project Manager. Heather founded a child & family inclusive trauma-informed practice (est. 2008), which provides counselling, psychotherapy, clinical Neurofeedback, training & consultancy, case management, mental health advocacy, specialist child supervision services as well as NDIS funded supports in disability services. Heather is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).
Heather’s heart is unapologetically focussed on restoration and preservation in healing generational trauma, systemic abuse cycles and championing health & wholeness. “We all have a story. Everyone is on the journey. Dare to be remarkable. Dare to be You.
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.
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.
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.
Helpline Operator – Samantha worked in the banking and telecommunication industries for over 25 years where she developed a passion for face-to-face customer service and discovered she had a heart for people in extra need. Since then, Samantha has completed studies to become a registered Counsellor / Psychotherapist and a Mindset Coach. In addition to this Samantha has completed a Cert IV in Mental Health Gambling, is a qualified facilitator of the Prepare/Enrich relationship program, and is an EAP Counsellor for BetSafe Pty Ltd assisting staff and patrons in over 92 clubs across NSW. Samantha is a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, the Australian Counselling Association, and the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.
Lead Facilitator Frankston, VIC and Helpline Operator
Chris has been working with Parents Beyond Breakup as a Facilitator/Co Facilitator with the Dads in Distress program since late 2014.
Chris has a diploma in Community Services.
Worked in the refugee and asylum seeker sector as a caseworker and case manager in both volunteer and paid roles.
Chris has also worked over some years as case and support worker in a number of community advice and information bureaus in both paid and volunteering roles.
Helpline Operator- In his career before retiring as a consulting actuary in an international firm, Fred had an expanded role of mentoring younger employees to advance their career in a specialised professional environment. Since retiring, he has grown a passion to build on that earlier skill as a mentor into a wider focus on enabling people in crisis to find their own unique way to become the best version of themselves that they can be.
Today, his experience includes over a decade as a telephone crisis supporter with Lifeline Australia. Plus, completing a Masters Degree in Applied Buddhist Studies has helped expand his know-how in connecting with people struggling with life’s challenges in an empathic supportive way to overcome their sense of hopelessness. Superseding all of this, is the understanding he has learned from personal lived-experience of the trauma of separation as a parent, when answering the PBB Helpline.