Dr Dianne Jackson – CEO
Dianne is passionate about early childhood development. She has dedicated her life and career to that passion, gaining deep experience across a range of roles in this space.
These roles include: CEO, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), a national organisation in Canberra linking research, policy and practice; Connect Child and Family Services, a major service provider in Western Sydney focused on child, family and community engagement in early childhood education and social care; and Australian Country Coordinator for the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA).
Dianne has also spent many years teaching children, many of whom were disadvantaged and marginalised. Dianne holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood), a first class honours degree in Social Science and a PhD that crosses both disciplines.
Dianne is a mother of five children who continue to be her inspiration everyday.
Tara Kleine – Director, Innovation, Capability and Development
For the past fifteen years Tara has been helping organisations facing significant change, complexity and ambiguity build their capability.
Tara’s focus is on building capability to work within an increasingly complex world where creative designing, innovating and continuously learning helps create solutions to existing and emergent adaptive challenges. She believes that actively collaborating and sharing innovative ways of work does create real impact.
Throughout her career Tara has worked in a variety of organisations, ranging from small NFP’s to multi-national corporations in global roles with a span of 35 countries across six continents. Throughout her career, Tara has had a particular passion for and focus on the areas of leadership and organisational development. Throughout her work, Tara has incorporated her studies in business, commerce, education and psychology to create innovative solutions.
In her role as Director, Innovation, Capability and Development, Tara’s goal is to bring a different lens to the work of social innovation, and to support the capability development needed to deliver sustainable, measurable impacts for early childhood development.
Tara is based in Brisbane and is happy to be in her home town after working in (or commuting to) roles in other parts of Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Wendy Mason – Director of Strategy and Operations
Wendy has held significant roles as the Head of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation, General Manager of the Western Research Institute and most recently with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.
Wendy brings extensive management and business development experience to Opportunity Child, as well as excellent networks and a track record in stakeholder relations across the government, financial and not-for-profit sectors.
She has responsibility for the oversight of Opportunity Child’s strategy and operational execution, as well as providing strategic input into the policy and service landscape.
Joyce Teo – Operations Manager
Joyce supports the executives and stakeholders at Opportunity Child, playing an anchor role in the office and in its wider operations.
Joyce brings unique skills and experience, as an Executive Assistant and Project Manager in dynamic, start-up environments. She has managed projects and stakeholders at all levels, across multiple disciplines, sectors, and cultures.
Joyce is driven by opportunities to make positive change. She is from Singapore and currently based in Melbourne.
Louisa Whettam – Cultural Practice Advisor
Louisa brings rich cultural understanding and life experience to Opportunity Child. She is responsible for embedding the Uluru statement into the organisation’s DNA, helping the Opportunity Child team to apply a cultural lens throughout its work and supporting cultural practice within Opportunity Child’s partner communities.
Louisa worked with Mununjali Development in Beaudesert with Indigenous families under the PACE Program (parents and community engagement), supporting parents’ engagement with their kids’ education. In that role, she became increasingly involved in the community’s local child safety service centre, serving as an important bridge for community and services.
As a respected representative of the Gunya Meta Organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Louisa is passionate about systemic change and how it impacts First Nations people. She was involved in the Family and Child Connect reform for the QLD Department of Communities and worked closely with child safety NGO’s under the reforms.
Louisa has held a number of Local Level Alliance roles in communities, bringing together government and non-government organisations in health, education around the referral pathway for vulnerable families. She was focused on creating alliances and removing barriers to cooperation and accessing support services for families in a timely matter. Shared successes have included establishing an alternative school in less than six months and the creation of domestic violence kits for police to distribute to victims.
Louisa also sits on two committees and boards; the Child and Family Chapter of Logan Together, Warrill Yari-Gu (Rivers Yarning Together) and is Treasurer of the Gunya Meta Corporation and Board Director on ‘Strong Women Talking’. Louisa also advocates for local families within the different service arenas.
Kiran King – Community Network Senior Advisor
Kiran engages with communities to support backbone leaders and their teams for the purpose of learning and sharing via Opportunity Child’s network. She plays a key role in supporting social innovation and accelerating success of purposeful projects, to enable better outcomes for communities and their children.
Kiran King was the collective impact leader with the Mid Murray Family Connections Network in rural South Australia. Kiran led this initiative for the last three years. This role involved coordinating a community response to childhood vulnerability highlighted by the Australian Early Development Census. Kiran was also the State Coordinator for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY).
Prior to these roles, Kiran worked as a clinical Social Worker across the alternative care, homelessness, mental health and domestic violence sectors, both nationally and internationally. Kiran holds a Bachelor of Marketing degree and a Masters of Social Work degree.
Kiran is committed to the principles of social justice and equity. She is based in South Australia, working from home with her beautiful boy who is starting Kindy.