Our

People

Committee
of Management

Wendy
Gillett

CHAIR

 

Wendy Gillett has had a diverse career working across education, health, community services and sport and recreation, however the themes across all settings has been to deliver system change and improve outcomes.

She has worked at senior executive levels both within Government and the not-for-profit sector and won both public sector and industry awards for her work.

She is a strong advocate for women and girls, and is passionate about the transformative power of the arts, sport, and recreation.

Wendy currently runs her own management consultancy in addition to CommitteeOf Management and Advisory roles with Kids Thrive, Special Advisor for Oceania for The Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA), Board member Women’s International Stone Alliance, and advisor to  Bluearth Foundation.

Dr Victor
Del Rio

TREASURER

 

Dr Del Rio is a Global Science, Education and Business Consultant. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management (Melbourne University), a Master’s in Public Administration (Policy and Planning) and the Diploma and Certificate IV in TAE (Box Hill TAFE, Holmesglen TAFE and Victoria University).

He is currently Director of CBTS Latin America, a company that offers consulting, advice, training and other related services to government and education institutions in Australia and internationally. Dr Del Rio is also President of the Australia, New Zealand and Mexico Chamber of Commerce (ANZMEX), and the lead strategist for the construction of the first synchrotron in México (a $500 million dollar initiative).

He has been a consultant for the World Bank and the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF). He has worked as a Senior Executive/Manager for a number of private (Ecos Corporation), public (Anti-discrimination Board, Privacy Commission of NSW, Melbourne City Council, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, Victoria University, Latrobe University and SBS Radio) and community organizations (Community Aid Abroad-Oxfam and the Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre). He is a Senior Industrial fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), member of the Ethics Research Committee and honorary at Latrobe University and research fellow at the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS) at at the same University. He has been a member of a number of other boards, research committees and councils. Dr. Del Rio is also the Australian President of the Global Red of Mexicans living overseas (RGM). This network has 40 chapters and 4000 members around the world.

He is qualified and experienced in working at the conceptual and implementation level of Vocational Education and Training (VET) competency based models.

Dr Andrea
Lemon

SECRETARY

 

Dr Andrea (Ande) Lemon is the Co-Founder CEO and Creative Director of Kids Thrive, Victoria’s leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led community change. 

Andrea is at heart a story-maker and director in her roles as playwright, theatre director and community cultural development artist, working with communities throughout Australia, and touring professional productions through Australia, Britain, Europe and the US; and as an ethnographer, historian, dramaturge, curator and author.  

 Her talent to write and direct stories is what drives the creation and success of Kids Thrive as a ‘new cultural work’ being written and directed in the creative gaps of hybrid, cross-sector, co-design space.  She has built Kids Thrive from an initial, disruptive concept to a resilient, innovative and robust organisation. She leads Kids Thrive as a creative strategist, bringing together people, ideas and approaches from the arts, health, social welfare, education, community development, philanthropy and social justice sectors to find new solutions for old problems. 

Andrea has been a freelance Writer, Director and Dramaturge developing and touring award-winning performance projects across Australia and internationally. She was Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Women’s Circus – for women who identify as survivors of sexual abuse or assault. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centenary Federation Medal for Services to Society through her contribution to the Arts; Third Sector Board Director of the Year Award (Finalist 2017); VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award (Kids Thrive 2017); NAB Schools First – Schools and Community Partnerships Awards (2014 and 2015); plus gold and silver awards from the Australian Writers’ Guild (Theatre and Film), Victorian Green Room (Theatre) and Edinburgh Fringe (performance).  

She was recipient of a multi-year Australia Council Senior Artist Fellowship; and nominated for the University of Melbourne Chancellor’s Award for her doctoral thesis: Tough as Buggery – Traditional Australian Circus, Community and Belonging. Her research, including oral histories and photographic portraits with elderly circus performers throughout Australia, formed the basis for a major exhibition, The Circus Diaries at The Arts Centre, Melbourne. 

Fred
Clarke

 

Fred has been a Victorian school principal for more than twenty-five years and served for five years as a Senior Education Officer. He has been a head teacher of small rural primary schools, a leading teacher in a large metropolitan school and principal of medium and large primary schools.

In 2019 Fred retired as College Principal of Northern Bay P-12 College, a large multi campus school in Geelong. It was during this time at that he became associated with Kids Thrive, through the Geelong Kids as Catalyst program.

Fred is currently a school reviewer for Monash University, an Intern Facilitator for the Bastow Unlocking Potential program and a principal mentor under the DET Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy. He is also an accredited GROWTH Coaching International coach, working with secondary school teachers under the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support initiative.

John Paul
Fischbach

 

John Paul brings extensive experience and skills in arts management to the Board. John Paul, better known as JP, was a well known theatre director in Canada before moving to Australia in 2004. As the CEO and co-founder of Auspicious Arts Incubator, John Paul travels extensively around Australia as well as the US and Canada, helping independent artists, organisations, and venues make more money by learning to use value-based language for their marketing and communications. He has a long history of producing and directing theatre, film, festivals, and site specific events, from the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles to the International Puppet Carnival in Melbourne.
In 2014, he launched the Artists Transformation School, an online resource that teaches artists everything they need to know about how to turn their creative passion into a business. Additionally, he launched the Artist’s Mojo to help artists get out of their own way and find greater success. Throughout his career, he has worked with more than 4,000 artists, arts organisations, local and state governments, and art centres.
He has transformed the lives and careers of individuals in a wide range of disciplines, including those in visual art, ceramics, music, jewellery, photography, writing, acting, dance, illustration, filmmaking, and animation. John Paul’s professional associations include the Canadian Actors Equity, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Americans for the Arts, the Creative Skills Training Council, and the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society. He has travelled and worked all over Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bali, Costa Rica, Mexico, Denmark, Hawaii, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Botswana, Greece, and Turkey. John Paul Fischbach is the author of ‘No More Starving Artists’, a guide written by an artist for artists, and lives in Victoria, Australia.

Andrea
Rieniets

 

Andrea Rieniets is the Co-Founder, Programs Director  /Lead Artists  of Kids Thrive, Victorias leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led community change.  A singer, songwriter, composer, musical director and community development artist, Andrea leads development and delivery of arts for social change programs and approaches with, for and by young children. 

She was the first Australian composer to be an Australian Antarctic Fellow; is a recipient of the Centenary Federation Medal for Services to Society in Theatre, and was awarded the Australian Arts Business Foundation Community Award for Good Practice in Partnership. In her music performance role Andrea was drummer for Templedance, and in her solo persona was one of the first Anglo Australian artists to acknowledge the traditional caretakers at the beginning of each performance and to hold smoke-free gigs to mainstream music audiences. Her performance was a mix of Atari computer on an Art Deco stand with live all women band.

Andrea was founding Director of Adelaides Before You Were Blonde contemporary community choir, and Guest Director of Sing It Up Big Australian Indigenous Choir.  

Her compositional works and concerts have featured in the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide festivals, ABC radio and television, Opera SA and The Finnish National Opera. She has created recordings for solo, stage and film works, and is founder of Gorgeous Girl Records, Cha Cha Sam music for big-spirited kids and their grownups, as well as  Kids Thrive. Andrea performs for adults under her own name, and for children as Cha Cha Sam. 

Staff

Dr Andrea
(Ande)
Lemon

CEO / CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Dr Andrea (Ande) Lemon is the Co-Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Kids Thrive, Victoria’s leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led community change. 

 Andrea is at heart a story-maker and director in her roles as playwright, theatre director and community cultural development artist, working with communities throughout Australia, and touring professional productions through Australia, Britain, Europe and the US; and as an ethnographer, historian, dramaturge, curator and author.  

Her talent to write and direct stories is what drives the creation and success of Kids Thrive as a ‘new cultural work’ being written and directed in the creative gaps of hybrid, cross-sector, co-design space.  She has built Kids Thrive from an initial, disruptive concept to a resilient, innovative and robust organisation. She leads Kids Thrive as a creative strategist, bringing together people, ideas and approaches from the arts, health, social welfare, education, community development, philanthropy and social justice sectors to find new solutions for old problems. 

 Andrea has been a freelance Writer, Director and Dramaturge developing and touring award-winning performance projects across Australia and internationally. She was Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Women’s Circus – for women who identify as survivors of sexual abuse or assault. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centenary Federation Medal for Services to Society through her contribution to the Arts; Third Sector Board Director of the Year Award (Finalist 2017); VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award (Kids Thrive 2017); NAB Schools First – Schools and Community Partnerships Awards (2014 and 2015); plus gold and silver awards from the Australian Writers’ Guild (Theatre and Film), Victorian Green Room (Theatre) and Edinburgh Fringe (performance).  

 She was recipient of a multi-year Australia Council Senior Artist Fellowship; and nominated for the University of Melbourne Chancellor’s Award for her doctoral thesis: Tough as Buggery – Traditional Australian Circus, Community and Belonging. Her research, including oral histories and photographic portraits with elderly circus performers throughout Australia, formed the basis for a major exhibition, The Circus Diaries at The Arts Centre, Melbourne. 

Andrea
Rieniets

PROGRAM DIRECTOR / LEAD ARTIST

 

Andrea Rieniets is the Co-Founder, Programs Director  /Lead Artists  of Kids Thrive, Victorias leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led community change.  A singer, songwriter, composer, musical director and community development artist, Andrea leads development and delivery of arts for social change programs and approaches with, for and by young children. 

She was the first Australian composer to be an Australian Antarctic Fellow; is a recipient of the Centenary Federation Medal for Services to Society in Theatre, and was awarded the Australian Arts Business Foundation Community Award for Good Practice in Partnership. In her music performance role Andrea was drummer for Templedance, and in her solo persona was one of the first Anglo Australian artists to acknowledge the traditional caretakers at the beginning of each performance and to hold smoke-free gigs to mainstream music audiences. Her performance was a mix of Atari computer on an Art Deco stand with live all women band.

Andrea was founding Director of Adelaides Before You Were Blonde contemporary community choir, and Guest Director of Sing It Up Big Australian Indigenous Choir.  

Her compositional works and concerts have featured in the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide festivals, ABC radio and television, Opera SA and The Finnish National Opera. She has created recordings for solo, stage and film works, and is founder of Gorgeous Girl Records, Cha Cha Sam music for big-spirited kids and their grownups, as well as  Kids Thrive. Andrea performs for adults under her own name, and for children as Cha Cha Sam. 

Alison
Bradfield

COMPANY  MANAGER

 

Alison is an experienced Developer and Manager of creative projects in the commercial and not for profit sectors. A graduate from RMIT with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, Alison has worked on projects from creative conception through to delivery, developing a skill set that she has utilised in successfully managing various products and programs across a range of industries.

Alison joined Kids Thrive in 2018 following an extensive career in the wholesale fashion industry which afforded her the opportunity to work in the UK, Europe and throughout Asia.

As Acting General Manager at Kids Thrive, Alison’s strength in working with a wide variety of stakeholders, both internal and external, is central to her role in effectively supporting the management of these projects as well as running the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

As a mother, Alison is passionate about building and fostering children’s confidence and self-esteem. She cherishes taking an active role in her local school and community programs that encourage growth through challenge.

Nathan
Taiaroa

FINANCE MANAGER

 

Nate Taiaroa is an experienced Chartered Accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for finding innovative ways to make the world a better place.

Nate has more than 15 years’ experience as a social entrepreneur and as a not-for-profit finance advisor, including 8 years as a manager in Ernst & Young’s Brisbane office. Nate is active on a number of local and international not-for-profit boards, most notably acting as the Treasurer for the Mirror of Hope C.B.O. in Kenya (2015 – 2020) and as Chairman for Mwembe Foundation Australia (2021 – current).

Since joining Kids Thrive in 2021, Nate has contributed to improving Kids Thrive’s financial processes & policies, budgeting, cashflow management and board reporting. He has also spent a considerable amount of time upskilling our team to ensure Kids Thrive can make better, more timely and more educated financial decisions. In the process, becoming a more financially resilient and sustainable organisation.

Yolley
Thomas
-Kalos

ACCOUNTANT

 

Yolley has a military background and a Bachelor’s Degree in International relations coupled with multilinguistic skills. She was expected to work with the government but instead went to work in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, California as an actress and an administrator.

Yolley was a production accountant with Vin Di Bona Productions on the TV show “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, aired by ABC Studios. and then went on to be a Business/Finance manager working with several ‘A-list actors’, top executives and their production companies.

Fourteen years later, Yolley and her family moved to Australia where she works as a finance manager in the not-for-profit sector. Yolley is a qualified U.S CPA, holds a master’s degree in Business, post-graduate degree in Accounting, is a registered licensed U.S. Tax Agent and an Australian BAS agent.

Sabrina
Matthaus

PROGRAMS CO-ORDINATOR

 

Sabrina is a professional creative with experience in the entertainment industry on an international scale, with a focus on film, events, and the social sector.

Her work experience includes managing a co-working space, overseeing the program for Pause Festival and coordinating production in film, TV and commercials.

Sabrina is a lover of socialising, expert in adapting, and passionate creator. She has lived and worked in seven countries before finally settling down in Melbourne for good.

In her free time, Sabrina sits on the board for Moreland Community Gardens and has spent time volunteering at a lodge in Africa and researching permaculture in Hong Kong.

Anna
Manuel

CREATIVE EDUCATION FACILITATOR

 

Anna Manuel is an educator, children’s storyteller, and entrepreneur. She has worked in education in different roles from preschool to college – as a reading teacher, outdoor school educator, programs consultant, and professional trainer. Constantly on the lookout for ways to make an impact, she found how storytelling can combine her experience in education, with her passion for performing and inspiring a reading culture among families and schools.

As a professional children’s storyteller, she has seen how children are naturally drawn to well-told stories. The act of coming together, telling, and listening to stories, is so powerful it fills our need for positive human connections. With her stories, she creates impressions, shifts, and wonder in children and adults alike.

Having lived in the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, she has worked with highly diverse audiences in local and international schools, libraries, the community and arts sectors, and corporate organisations. She continues to coach other creatives who use stories in their work with children to be deeply connected with themselves, their creative work, and their audience. This fulfills one of Anna’s deepest joys – to create more spaces and opportunities for children to experience the power of stories to connect with and thrive with other human beings.

Kids Thrive Ambassadors

Janine
Mahoney

 

Specialising in organisational and community resilience, Janine works to bridge the gap between innovation, people and purpose to create a lasting difference. She has three decades of experience in designing and delivering innovative solutions that focus on building positive experiences and strengthening people’s connection to family, community and culture.

Having held governance and leadership roles within government, corporate and community sectors, Janine is a thought leader with an unquestionable commitment to human rights and social justice. Janine was founder and CEO of the Safe Futures Foundation, one of Victoria’s largest and most innovative family violence services. She also served for six years as the Board Chair of Domestic Violence Victoria. Janine currently holds the position of Impact Architecture Program Director (Asia Pacific) for IPP Consulting.

Janine is a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne and Vice President of the International Rotary Action Group for Family Safety. She was selected as the 2017 Australian Family Violence Rotary Exchange representative and spent three weeks in New Orleans, Louisiana participating in a global knowledge exchange.

Janine has presented at the United Nations, national and international conferences and was an expert witness at the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. She was recently announced as one of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence and was also a finalist in the 2015 Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards and 2016 Telstra Business Awards.

Kids Thrive.