Meet Our Team

Our dedicated teams work with you in your community to provide NDIS support coordination, specialist support coordination, psychosocial recovery coaching, and manage your NDIS payments. We are an NDIS registered provider and ACNC registered charity. We’re experts in what we do – committed to giving people with disability the information, tools and support they need to gain greater independence and be more involved in the community. Meet the people who work for us.

Executive Director

Dougie Herd

Dougie joined the team at Community Connections in July 2018.

Dougie has worked for more than 35 years in disability advocacy, disability advice and service delivery in Scotland and Australia. This includes six years leading the staff team supporting the official advisory body to Ministers of the NSW Government – the Disability Council of NSW. And for two years Dougie was a member of the senior executive leadership team of the National Disability Insurance Agency responsible for launching the NDIS in 2013. Dougie was Chair of the ACT Disability Reference Group, the ACT Government’s official advisory body on disability policy for 4 years. He was also Co-Chair of the ACT Disability Justice Strategy Reference Group. He was community Co-Chair of the ACT Health Disability Health Strategy Steering Group until late August 2023.

Dougie is a member of the independent NDIS Review Panel.

Dougie is a NDIS participant. He has been a quadriplegic wheelchair user for 39 years. He completed an Honours degree in English Literature at the Australian National University. He writes. And every Sunday morning Dougie follows the fortunes of Partick Thistle Football Club, the third and least famous football team in Glasgow. They lose more frequently than he likes.

Manager Support Services

Position Vacant

Quality, Risk and Compliance Manager

Janet Cholewick

Janet joined Community Connections in 2013 to assist in preparing the organisation for the launch of the NDIS.  She has developed processes and tools to assist the coordinators and the finance team in keeping abreast of the NDIS, as it continues to develop. She is currently managing the implementation of new IT software which will give the team quicker access to relevant and timely data.

Janet has recently acquired more spare time, giving up her volunteering roles since her sporty daughter moved interstate for university.  She is filling the time with walking her dog, running, reading and catching up with friends.

Our Coordinators

Coordinator

Kerry Bargas

Kerry has been involved in the community sector in various roles for more than 25 years. As a Community Connections coordinator, she supports people with disabilities to work towards their goals through community links and utilisation of their NDIS plans. With a Diploma in Disability Services, Kerry thoroughly enjoys connecting with individuals and their families.

When not at work, Kerry spends quality time with her dog Lilly and regularly catches up with friends and family.

Coordinator

Lauren Fitsimmons

Lauren joined Community Connections in 2016. Prior to that she worked as a case manager and speech pathologist for a brain injury rehabilitation service. Lauren loves getting to know her clients and their families. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Speech Pathology).

A creative soul, Lauren enjoys restoring furniture with chalk paint and visiting galleries around Canberra in her spare time. She also runs 5km in the local Parkrun each week.

Coordinator

Margaret Froggatt

Margaret joined Community Connections in 2015, after being a parent who was supported by Community Connections.

Margaret liked the focus, involvement and connections that Community Connections were able to offer her and her sons personally so much she wanted to join the team.

Margaret has worked previously to support young children with a disability in childcare before moving to supporting individuals with their NDIS plans.

In Margaret’s spare time she and her sons enjoying swimming, shopping and getting ready for Christmas.

Senior Support Coordinator

Lee Harrison

After emigrating from the UK in 2009, Lee joined Community Connections as part of a new career direction. As well as an NDIS coordinator, Lee was (until the recent termination of our project grant) Manager of HomeShare ACT. Lee continues to support home-sharing partnerships established before the end of funding for the project.

Lee enjoys making a tangible difference to people’s lives and wellbeing. When away from work, Lee is a keen sports fan, especially football, and has travelled the world watching it.

Coordinator

Yvonne Lucas

Yvonne has worked with Community Connections as a coordinator for more than eight years – a role she finds interesting, challenging and rewarding as she supports people to achieve their goals. This position follows a 25-year career working in the community sector in both ACT and NSW. Yvonne holds a Diploma in Community Services.

When not connecting with and supporting people, you may find Yvonne competing in a long-distance running event, taking photos or heading to the beach.

Coordinator

Robert Pedlow

Photo coming soon.

Rob joined Community Connections in 2022. Prior to that he was a coordinator with Richmond Fellowship. Rob has been an academic and a public servant. He made a career change following his own experience of mental health issues and a key focus of his work is supporting people with psychosocial disability. Rob holds a Ph.D in Psychology and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Disability Studies at the University of California Berkeley.

Outside of work Rob enjoys looking after his two beagles, Sammy and Lexie, and his two cats Allie and Trixie, as well as swimming.

Coordinator

Linjie Zhang

Lin is an Accredited Social Worker with experience working with a diverse range of people with disability. Originally from China but having resided in the ACT after she completed her master’s degree in Victoria. In the past three years, Lin has worked in a hospital, a mental health organisation and several NDIS service providers, which has equipped her with knowledge of the NDIS and health system. She is passionate in delivering high quality person-centered services with a strong focus on evidence-based practice. She is highly motivated to see those around her to reach their potential.

When Lin is not working, you can find her at the coast enjoying beautiful beaches or exploring nature scenes with her camera! She also enjoys camping, boxing, and painting.

Our finance and office team

Finance Manager

Genny Newton

Genny joined in the Community Connections team in early 2017 in the role of Finance Manager. A certified practicing accountant with a bachelor of commerce (accounting) Genny has over 20 years’ experience in both in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

Like the rest of the Finance team, Genny is constantly seeking ways in which CCI can provide outstanding financial service to all our clients/service providers.

Finance Officer

Charles Zhang

Charles joined Community Connections in October 2022 as a member of the finance team. With a background in Commerce and a deep passion for helping others, Charles discovered his true calling as a Plan Manager. He believes in the power of teamwork and continuous improvement, striving to enhance work efficiency and provide better support to our clients.

Outside of work, Charles enjoys exploring the beauty of nature and tending to his garden. He is also dedicated to furthering learning and expanding connections with the world.’

Finance Officer

Clement Liu

After finishing his Master of accounting degree in ANU, Clement joined Community Connections as a Finance Officer. Originally from Beijing and resident of Canberra for nearly five years, Clement has become more adaptive to the quiet and near-natural life in Canberra.

Clement has a positive life attitude. You can always see him hit in the gym, hike in the mountains, as well as seek various ways to improve his financial expertise to perform better in the daily services.