Senior Management Team

Chief Executive Officer

MARGARET BOWEN

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Psychology

Margaret joined the organisation in 1987 when it was a small disability resource centre with four employees. She has overseen The Disability Trust’s development into a major service provider catering for more than 3000 people with disabilities, employing approximately 800 people. Margaret’s strong leadership, skilled management and strategic focus have resulted in The Disability Trust becoming one of the largest and most respected disability organisations in NSW. Through this period of sustained growth Margaret has always remained committed to The Trust’s strong community focus, delivering high quality services within a framework of client rights and ethical decision-making.

Executive Manager

PENELOPE DESMAZURES

Bachelor of Applied Science in Developmental Disabilities

Penelope has devoted her career to helping people with a disability since she started working in disability/community services in 1991. She has extensive experience in service coordination, management and senior management. Penelope joined The Disability Trust in 1997, and in her current role as Executive Manager oversees Respite & Care Solutions, Residential Services and Community Services.

Executive Manager

MATTHEW MARTIN

Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma of Education, Master of Policy in Sociology

Matthew has been working in the field of disabilities and community services since 1993. He joined The Disability Trust in 1997, working initially with Workskills Illawarra and Illawarra Vocational Services where his drive and vision helped make these services leaders in the sector. In his current role he oversees Business Development, Vocational Services, Office Management and Information Technology.

Executive Manager

VIRGINIA FITZCLARENCE

Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education, Advanced Diploma in Community Management, Diploma in Disabilities and a Certificate IV in Mental Health.

Virginia was the inaugural staff member of WorkAbility in 1991 and has led the organisation to grow to provide a range of community inclusion services as well as its core business of open employment for people with disabilities across five local government areas in the South East of NSW.

Committed to the “place and train” model that focuses on person centered individualised supports, Virginia is a strong advocate for social justice.

Since merging with the Disability Trust in October 2010, Virginia values the opportunity to contribute to the larger region as an Executive Manager of The Disability Trust and broaden her contribution to the lives of people with a disability and/ or mental health condition by “creating an inclusive world”.

Executive Manager

KATHARINE CARNEY

Bachelor of Social Science, Community Welfare

Katharine joined The Disability Trust in Oct 2009. She has over 10 years experience in the provision of respite services to people with disabilities and their families. She has extensive experience in service coordination and management and is committed to ensuring delivery of high quality, efficient services. In her current role, Katharine oversees programs within the Respite and In Home Care group of The Disability Trust.

Executive Manager

EDWARD BIRT

Master of Health Sciences, Developmental Disability – M.Hlth.Sc (DD)
Bachelor or Arts, Psychology – B.A.(Psych)

Ed has 20 years’ experience in the community services sector and has held direct operational, practice quality and management positions.

Ed is passionate about person centred approaches and ensuring team processes result in positive outcomes for service participants.  Ed has strong experience in the development and implementation of policy and processes which focus on assisting services ensure support is person centred and compliant with legislation and best practice.  Ed is committed to supporting quality evidence based outcomes for service participants and contributing to the important ongoing systemic reforms in the disability sector during transition to the NDIS.

Ed is the Executive Manager across The Disability Trust’s Clinical Services and Operations in the ACT, Southern NSW and the Southern Highlands and is taking a lead role in supporting NDIS Transition.

Executive Manager, Finance

DENISE YALDA

Certified Accountant, Advanced Diploma in Accounting

Denise is a highly accomplished accountant, having worked in the accounting and finance field since the early 1980s. She has extensive experience in accounting and financial management, as a financial controller, import manager and accounts payable supervisor. Denise joined The Disability Trust in 1999 and oversees our financial and accounting systems

Senior Manager, Southern Highlands

PEG LUDWIG

Diploma in Teaching

Peg manages The Disability Trust’s services in an area stretching from Bankstown through the Southern Highlands to Queanbeyan. Peg has worked with and for people with disabilities since 1991, and is also a trained teacher who spent six years in the classroom. Peg joined The Disability Trust in 2001, as part of our merger with the Disability Accommodation Support Service (DASS) which had previously been part of The Housing Trust. While with DASS Peg was responsible for establishing the ALI program for residents of large boarding houses in the Southern Highlands.

Senior Manager, Community Services

RHONDA CONTE

Bachelor of Social Science- Habilitation- Charles Sturt University

Advanced Diploma in Management

Rhonda has worked in the disability sector for 27 years, the last 18 of which have been with The Disability Trust. She is currently the Senior Manager of Clinical Services and Day Options. Rhonda has a strong sense of social justice and a history of advocating for people with a disability, their families and carers and has a particular interest in initiating systemic changes that can benefit the larger disability community. Her current focus is on working towards improving health outcomes for all people with disabilities, siting on numerous committees and focus groups. Rhonda believes strongly in the power of partnerships and collaboration as a means to effective and sustainable changes.

Senior Manager, Respite and In-Home Care

PAM STIFF

Diploma in Project Management

Pam has worked in the Disability and Aged Care sector since 1994 in direct care and later case management, co-ordination of respite and then day and post school programs with both non-government and government organisations. She joined The Disability Trust in January 2011 and in her current role she applies her co-ordination and management experience to the overseeing and expansion of respite and in home support across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Senior Manager, Southern Sydney Trusted Care

Rhian Preston

Certificate IV in Business – Frontline Management, Advanced Diploma in Community Management, Diploma Level in Financial Management.

Rhian joined The Disability Trust as a result of the 2012 merger with Southern Sydney Trusted Care (SSTC). She manages the South East Sydney region providing respite and recreation services to the Sutherland and St George areas. Rhian joined SSTC as manager of respite and recreation in 2008 and has 12 years experience in a variety of positions in the aged care and disability sector both in the UK and here in Australia.