The Foundation Team

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Support Office, North Melbourne

Jessica Redwood, Chief Executive Officer

Jessica Redwood commenced her role as CEO for Children First Foundation in November 2021. Prior to Children First Foundation, she was the Head of the Foundation for Surgery at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where she supported global and Indigenous health and grew the organisation to be the second-largest funder of surgical education and research worldwide.

She has also worked in senior roles with International Social Service Australia, Marie Stopes International, Amnesty International, Save the Children Fiji, UNICEF and others. Jessica has an MBA, has studied disruptive strategy at Harvard Business School and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jessica will bring deep-rooted experience in leadership, business development and the international not-for-profit sector to Children First Foundation. She is looking forward to leading the Foundation through our next critical phase of growth.

Catherine Camilleri, Finance Manager

I am a qualified Accountant with a background working for not-for-profit organisations within the government sector. I have always believed that every child should have access to proper health care and education to allow them the opportunities they so rightly deserve. I am absolutely honoured to be able to use the skills I have gained in Accounting and Finance to play a small part in assisting the Foundation to help children from overseas access medical care that they would otherwise not be able to. Seeing what the Foundation achieves and the generosity of donors, volunteers and the medical teams who offer their time, gives so much more meaning to my work.

Treaisa Rowe, Supporter Relationships, Events and Philanthropy Manager

I’ve worked in the not-for-project sector for over 15 years designing and implementing programs and more recently focusing on organisational growth and development. Having worked mainly in international settings I have often witnessed first-hand how inequality and disadvantage impacts people in their everyday lives. After spending a year living and working in Indonesia I knew that when I came back to Australia I wanted to work for an organisation where I could clearly see the difference my work was making to people – not figures and reports but real people, experiencing real change.  The children that we help at Children First don’t feel like “beneficiaries” or “program outcomes” and being able to help them have a better chance in life motivates me every working day.

Marina Te Maro, Program Operations and Development Manager

I joined Children First in 2010 to manage the medical evacuation of our children to Australia.  I previously worked in the corporate sector as a Business Development Manager and brought my skills in project management, relationship development and sales to this role.  Each time a plea for help for a child with a medical condition is placed in front of me, I am reminded how fortunate we are to live in a country where every child has access to excellent medical care.  I gain immense satisfaction from working with the surgeons and the hospitals to secure their support for each child. Watching the children progress through their surgery and recovery and return home to their family happy and healthy is pure joy.

Maria, Program and Business Support Assistant

Maria is a super-organised administrative and communications all-rounder with a background working in the community and arts sectors. She has worked as Venue and Event Coordinator and as Executive Assistant in non-for-profit organisations that run programs for people with disabilities. She joined Children First Foundation because she’s passionate about social justice, and thrilled to play a small part in a team effort to change the lives of children who don’t have access to  quality medical care.

Children First Foundation Retreat, Kilmore

Debbie Pickering, Miracle sMiles Program Manager

I’m a Registered Division One Nurse and trained hypnotherapist.  I’m also a mother with two daughters, one of them still in secondary school.  I’ve been nursing all my life in a number of specialties, including child and adolescent mental health and orthopaedics.  I bring experience with different cultures to my role at Children First Foundation, having worked with children and families from Iraq and Vietnam, in a medical capacity and as a volunteer.  I’ve always had a passion for helping people and strive for the best outcomes for the children in our care.  I feel blessed in my position of Retreat Manager, working closely with such dedicated staff and generous volunteers.

Miracle sMiles Program Coordinators

The Miracle sMiles Program Manager is supported by an enthusiastic group of coordinators providing 24/7 care for the children at The Retreat.  As well as a passion and commitment for the children, they bring nursing, first aid and cross cultural experience to their roles.

Grace Bucci

Susan Whitehead

Tania Peperkamp 

Sue LaGalle