Meet Our Team

Our dedicated teams work with you in your community to provide NDIS support coordination, manage NDIS payments, provide flexible family support and support HomeShare partnerships. 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 30 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 is Chair of the ACT Disability Reference Group, the ACT Government’s official advisory body on disability policy. He is also Co-Chair of the ACT Disability Justice Strategy Reference Group.

Dougie is a NDIS participant. He has been a quadriplegic wheelchair user for 36 years. He recently 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. More often than not, they lose.

Manager Support Services

Debra Hogg

After joining Community Connections to run a pilot program in 2012, Debra now manages the team of coordinators to provide quality support services for NDIS participants.

A qualified Occupational Therapist with a Graduate Diploma in Community Development, Debra has worked extensively in Victoria, the UK and the ACT. Debra loves to share in the lives of people who show strength and determination to build better lives for themselves and their family members. She’s also excited at the expansion of opportunities for people with disabilities, meaning everyone will be accepted as part of a local community.

In her spare time, Debra enjoys bike riding and travelling – often in combination – playing tennis, and spending time with her three adult children (all of whom have ‘flown the coop’). She is a keen volunteer and promoter of volunteering as a way of making a contribution and building friendships.

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.

NDIS 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

Jenny Adams

Jenny has worked alongside people with disability for the past five years. During that time, she has had many roles ranging from Support Worker through to Manager, which has given her a broad knowledge of the sector. Jenny began her working life as a Primary School teacher in Victoria, before leaving Victoria to travel, work in a family business, and then to raise a family. Since beginning working with people with disability, Jenny has discovered a passion for supporting people to understand the options they have in order to live the life they choose. Jenny believes that successfully negotiating the often-complex paths of the NDIA can give people options they may not have thought of before. This can make the world a bigger and brighter place!

Jenny loves spending time with her family, the beach, movies, reading, cooking (and eating!) good food.

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

Linjie Zhang

Bio & photo coming soon.

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.

Coordinator

Yvonne Lucas

Yvonne has worked with Community Connections as a coordinator for more than five 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.

HOMESHARE ACT

HOMESHARE PROJECT MANAGER

Lee Harrison

After emigrating from the UK in 2009, Lee joined Community Connections as part of a new career direction. As well as senior coordinator, Lee is the Community Connections HomeShare Manager – connecting people with disability with housemates who can provide basic support.

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.

Our finance and office team

Finance Officer

Nicole Cameron

Nicole has been working at Community Connections Inc since 2005 as Finance Officer. She has Certificates in Business and with a combined background in Management in both the Retail and Hospitality Industries has brought these skills to her position. She has seen a lot of change over the years in the sector and has grabbed every opportunity to learn new skills and new systems along the way.  Nicole loves working in the Community Sector and meeting new suppliers and working in the Finance Team at Community Connections.

In her spare time, she previously was a Volunteer Fire Fighter which she will return to soon.  She loves spending time camping with her family and attending Dog Shows as her family Show and Breed dogs.

Finance Officer

Ella Li

Ella is sincere and friendly. As a finance officer in Community Connections, she actively responds to solve participants’ finance inquires and provides professional advice. Ella connects participants with agencies and assists them to build solid relationships on a financial level. With the help of her Bachelor degree in Commence, Ella is always ready to help and she enjoys the connection with the community.

In her spare time, Ella enjoys further study to gain more professional knowledge and spending time travelling with family and friends.

Participation Facilitator and Office Manager

Stuart Poole

Stuart joined Community Connections in 2013 as a coordinator. He started as an employee in the Community Sector in January 1999 after moving away from the motor trade. Stuart has worked in many roles in the community sector, including homelessness, mental health, disability and Housing ACT positions. He obtained a Certificate III in Community Services and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Stuart moved to the role of Office Manager in 2016, and is most likely the voice you will hear on the phone when you call Community Connections.

In his spare time, Stuart enjoys cycling, gym and camping, but his true love is motor cars, particularly Minis. Stuart competes in a variety of club level motor sport events.