Our Staff

Lifeline Mid Coast proudly helping Australians in need.

Catherine Vaara

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Catherine became the CEO of Lifeline Mid Coast where she has become well known for her expertise in crisis support and suicide intervention and prevention.

She has led Lifeline Mid Coast with a focus on staff development and continuous improvement of Lifeline services.

She has a BA majoring in psychology and sociology from the University of Armidale.

Catherine has continued her education in her field of expertise and has certificates in clinical supervision, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), neuro linguist programming (NLP) mental health and human resources.

Catherine has been an active participant on many Lifeline reference groups working in areas such a service development, policies and procedures.

As the CEO of a regional Lifeline Centre, Catherine regularly participates in local mental health forums and community presentations focusing on suicide prevention awareness.

Kurt Russell

Business Manager

As Business Manager, Kurt has a keen focus on overseeing Retail Management. Kurt has been instrumental in expanding the interests of Lifeline Mid Coast.

Kurt has agressively overhauled the Lifeline Shops. Refurbishing, departmentalising and opening a mega store in Forster.

Kurt is a recognised leader in the Not-For-Profit industry. He leads and manages the operations of the organisation and supervises the Marketing and Retail Operations Managers, to achieve business plans and budget goals; internal efficiency gains and improved profitability.

Patti Taylor

Office Manager

Patti is a long serving employee of Lifeline Mid Coast, starting out as an Administrative Assistant in 2007 before taking on the role of Office Manager in 2010.

Patti has extensive experience in Administration, Payroll and accounts processes. Patti is committed to our values and purpose of supporting those in crisis and works tirelessly in the community to fundraise and raise awareness for a variety of community projects.

Lisa Willows

Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator

Lisa started working at Lifeline Mid Coast in 2012.

Presenting with an extensive background in event management, publicity, advertising and marketing, Lisa's role was newly created for Lifeline Mid Coast and she has tailored a cohesive program in accordance with the future sustainability of the organisation.

Following a long career in the Australian Music Industry, Lisa enjoys the authenticity of the work of Lifeline Mid Coast and supports both the retail and services side of the organisation.

Lisa attended University of Western Sydney studying History, Politics and Philosopy, Lisa holds Certificates IV's in Workplace Training and Assessment and Business.

Di Bannister

Telephone Crisis Team and Training Manager

Di has been with Lifeline Mid Coast since 1995, training as a Volunteer Telephone Counsellor (as it was in those days) as well as a face to face counsellor, facilitator and monitor.

In 2012, Di commenced paid employment as the Manager of Training as well as the Crisis Support Team.

Di is also a casual TAFE teacher at the local Port Macquarie Campus. She has training in various modalities of counselling, Cert IV Telephone Counselling, as well as Mental Health First Aid and DV Alert. She also attended University of Western Sydney for 3 years of psychology training.

Elizabeth Rowe

Administration Assistant

Elizabeth is the Administration Assistant and welcoming face of Lifeline Mid Coast. Supporting the Administration Manager, she organises and performs office operations and procedures including supporting administrative functions to the CEO.

Kelly Saidey

Suicide Prevention and Community Engagement Manager

Kelly started out at Lifeline Mid Coast as a Volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporter and rapidly progressed to become a Supervisor and Group Facilitator.

She was employed in October 2016 as a Crisis Team Support Officer while continuing psycology study at Charles Sturt University.

In June 2018, Kelly became the Suicide Prevention and Community Engagement Manager.

Jemma McDonald

Retail Operations Coordinator

Jemma McDonald has been with Lifeline Mid Coast since 2012. Starting as a Manager for the newly open Forster Shop, she now works as the Retail coordinator for all the shops from Kempsey through to Forster.

Catherine Clarke

Crisis Support Officer

Catherine is the latest member of the Lifeline Mid Coast, Volunteer Crisis Team.

Starting out as a Telephone Crisis Supporter, Catherine commenced employment with Lifeline Mid Coast in September 2017.

Catherine wears many hats, including Roster Clerk, Volunteer Supporter, Call Coach, Telephone Crisis Supporter and In Shift Supervisor.

Veronica Godfrey

Crisis Support Officer

Trainer Assistant

Veronica has been a volunteer Crisis Supporter with Lifeline since 2012, and is now also a volunteer In-shift Supervisor and Call Coach.

Veronica assists the Training Manager and works overnight on the Telephone Crisis Support Line.

Veronica is currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work and is about to graduate from a Diploma of Community Services.

Lorraine Withers

Part Time Administration Assistant

Lorraine began with Lifeline Mid Coast in 2014, completing the Crisis Support Workplace Training in early 2015.

Lorraine also works as a casual administrative assistant in the Lifeline Mid Coast office.

Alexis Williams

Telephone Crisis Administration

Alexis is the Administration Assistant for the Telephone Crisis Support Team.

She has an extensive background in Business and Accounting.


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