Our People

People with passion

It's the passionate and skilled team at PACT – our staff, Child Witness Support Volunteers, Board, experts and partners – that make it possible for us to have the positive imPACT we do in the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Our Board

The commitment of each of PACT’s volunteer board members ensures that PACT continues to position itself firmly as a future provider of court support services to children and young people forced to navigate the complexities and uncertainties of the justice system.

Alexandra Marks, Chairperson

Alexandra was a previous committee member of NAPCAN Australia and a general Board Member of PACT. She has also worked as a committee member of the Child Protection Week Committee.

Professionally, Alexandra has been a barrister in Queensland for 13 years practising in all jurisdictions. She previously worked as a solicitor for more than 11 years in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. She is a member of the Queensland Bar Association Professional Conduct Committee and Bar Practice Course Committee and provides pro bono assistance to a number of not for profit organisations.

Alexandra is a passionate advocate for children’s rights and has volunteered as Chair of PACT for almost 8 years.

Allan Peachey, Treasurer

Allan has recently retired from paid work after a lengthy career in the banking and stock broking sectors.

Allan was a qualified Psychologist and though the formal registration has lapsed, continues to use his insights and experience to guide PACT’s strategic and operational direction. He is a trained Lifeline Counsellor and participates on a junior sporting organisation Committee.

Having worked at an executive level at Commonwealth Bank, he has held a range of Board of Director roles for over 16 years and brings to PACT experience across a range of diverse sectors. In addition, Allan is a PACT volunteer so understands the tremendous rewards, complexity and challenges that arise as a volunteer who support children through the court process.

Jan Brown, Board Member and Volunteer Liaison

Jan joined PACT as a Volunteer in June 2010 and has served in a variety of roles over the last 10 years. She supports induction training for new volunteers, is a Group Team Leader, current Board Member and represents PACT on a number of forums.

Prior to her work with PACT Jan’s background as a Social Researcher, working primarily at The University of Queensland in the Department of Social and Preventative Medicine, saw her work with sections of the community when they were at their most vulnerable.

Jan also volunteers at the historical Franciscan Friary at Brookfield, where she has served in various positions on their Advisory Committee.  She has been a long-time advocate of Children’s Rights and sees volunteering with PACT as an opportunity to play some small part.

 Melanie Mayne-Wilson, Secretary

Melanie Mayne-Wilson, GAICD, is the General Manager, Marketing and Fundraising for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern).

She was previously the Queensland State Manager for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the largest governance Institute in the world, with over 45,000 members and a mission to strengthen society through world-class governance.

Melanie is a communication, public affairs and reputational risk specialist with over twenty years of experience in senior executive roles guiding boards and executive teams through periods of significant change, to protect and enhance their corporate reputation and social license to operate.

Detective Inspector Stephen Blanchfield, General Member

Stephen has almost 30 years policing experience, with more than 20 years as an investigator.

Stephen has worked in regional two-person stations and in challenging urban areas. He commenced in the specialised field of child protection in 1991. He worked in Homicide, Child and Sexual Assault and, Fraud and Cyber Crime. He was Investigations Leader into the murder of Daniel Morcombe.

Stephen was also instrumental in implementing the QPS Investigative Interviewing Strategy, traveling to the UK in 2014 to undertake training and becoming one of the first QPS members to be an Interview Advisor. In December 2015 he was promoted to Detective Inspector, Major and Organised Crime Squad, South Eastern Region. In October 2018 he returned to child protection as Operations Manager, Child Trauma and Sexual Crime Unit, State Crime Command.

Teresa Knapp, General Member

Teresa Knapp has now retired after a background in finance and administration, working in small to Corporate size companies as well as latterly owning a successful medium size manufacturing company with her husband for 12 years.

Teresa was a Child Witness Support Volunteer and Trainer for PACT for 10 years, attending and supporting the needs of child victims traversing through the Court system whilst gaining a wealth of knowledge of the Criminal Justice System and the parties involved. Teresa joined the PACT Board in 2014 and is also a volunteer speaker for Beyond Blue. She became a Beyond Blue speaker to share her experiences of mental health conditions, with audiences as part of her commitment to encourage and offer hope to those who are afflicted by mental health conditions.

Catherine Lee, Board Member

An accomplished OHS Management Consultant, Certified Occupational Health and Safety Professional (Australian Institute of Health and Safety) and Occupational Health Nurse, Catherine assists organisations achieve their strategic objectives through cultural change and business improvement.

She holds a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety (with distinction) a Graduate Certificate in Management and is an accredited Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Auditor (Exemplar Global), Fire Safety Advisor (Queensland Fire and Emergency Service) and Licensed Private Investigator (Queensland Government).
Catherine is a full member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management Consultants and uses coaching and mentoring skills to work with senior executives and frontline managers to develop safety leadership skills, as well as coaching and mentoring junior health and safety professionals as a registered mentor with the Australian Institute of Health and Safety.

Catherine is Director and one of the founding partners of Lethbridge Piper and Associates which was established in 2014. Having led high performing, multi-disciplinary occupational health and safety teams across a diverse range of organisations and industries and worked in senior roles in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors, Catherine has established a solid reputation for risk management, leading change and business improvement.

Amanda O’Brien

Amanda is the Deputy Principal Registrar of the Supreme and District Courts in Brisbane. She holds qualifications in law and in justice administration and was admitted to practice as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2003.

Commencing her career with the Department of Justice over 30 years ago, Amanda has extensive experience in courts management, justice administration and in legal practice and procedure.

Amanda has held a variety of positions with Court Services Queensland and with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Brisbane and in regional Queensland.

Our Staff

Our highly skilled staff members come from different professional backgrounds, but all share the ambition and dedication to protecting the rights of children and young people and supporting them to have a voice. Each of our staff are passionate about the part their roles play in taking vulnerable children under a safe and supportive wing as they navigate the challenges of the legal system.

John McDiarmid, Chief Executive Officer

John has broad experience having worked in the private, government and not-for-profit sectors. Specialising in strategic planning, building stakeholder relationships and managing change from business improvement, John is using his ‘numbers brain’, people skills and technical knowledge here in PACT.

John’s early career included working as a financial analyst, economist and programmer for Thompson Reuters, before moving onto senior management roles within superannuation and financial planning companies. After a period restructuring an aged care provider and an employment services provider, John later worked in executive positions within customer services, workers compensation and corporate service areas.

Outside of work, John is an active father to two slightly spoilt girls and enjoys martial arts, gymnastics, wakeboarding, skateboarding and flowriding. John is quick to point out he doesn’t bounce like he used to though, so it might be time to start acting his age...

Tania Taylor, Volunteer Coordinator

Tania arrived in Australia in 2004 from South Africa and thought she was set to pack her suitcases away and settle in her new country.  Life had other ideas though and after 2 years she found herself back on a jet heading to Suriname, a country she knew nothing about.  After 2 years adapting, Tania's next move was on the cards and she spent 12 months in Montreal followed by 2 years in Mozambique.  Tania was very privileged to land a volunteer stint for an orphanage in Mozambique and given the difficulties surrounding the children, found herself becoming an untrained "Bob the Builder" joining a volunteer team physically building an orphanage in a 3rd world country.  Finally, she returned to Australia where her suitcases now collect dust!

Tania joined PACT in 2017 as a volunteer, progressed to the Administration Officer and has since added the title of "QLD Volunteer Coordinator" to her portfolio where now spends her days making the "business" of volunteering as smooth and easy as possible for all those invaluable volunteers who selflessly give of themselves every day.   When Tania is not coordinating volunteers, she herself is a PACT Child Witness Support Volunteer and works in the Gold Coast area.

Danielle Kershaw, Administration Officer

Danielle Kershaw (Danni) officially joined PACT in mid-2010 after working with PACT for six months in a casual, part-time capacity as an administrator.  She enjoyed the role of Office Administrator until the end of 2017 when she took on the challenge of Volunteer Coordinator for Greater Brisbane, a position she enjoyed greatly working to recruit, train and manage PACT's Child Witness Support Volunteers.

In June 2020 Danni decided to step back into the role of Administration Officer. Danielle possesses a Bachelor of Education – Primary and successfully completed a Certificate IV in Volunteer Coordination in 2016.

Her work history has included employment as a kindergarten teacher, state/primary school relief teacher, and before/after school and vacation care coordinator with the PCYC. Danielle is also a Queen’s Scout Award recipient and became a qualified Justice of the Peace in 2012.

Samantha Camilleri, Finance & Operations

Samantha has more than 20 years experience in not-for-profit finance and accounting, and over 30 years experience in accounting and HR roles.

She is passionate about working in the non-profit sector, in particular working with children and young people, which has been her focus for the majority of her career including working with residential care facilities and employment services.

Samantha enjoys the ability to manage the operational aspects of PACT, giving her contact with PACT’s volunteers. Sam joined PACT in 2013, and enjoys the varied aspects of her role.

Alicia Gutierrez Brown, Communications & Marketing Advisor

Alicia is an experienced journalist and PR/communications specialist with a background in non-profit and fundraising management. She has worked for a number of not-for-profits in Australia and the US, driving their mission through storytelling and targeted communications, marketing and fundraising. She has worked in outdoor education, directing a summer camp and facilitating ropes courses, archery, water sports, team building workshops and leadership training.

Alicia has a Master's in Creative Writing focused on social justice issues, a Bachelor of Communications in Journalism and a Cert IV in Training & Assessment. From being raised all over the world, Alicia has seen first hand the disparity which exists between those with access to resources and education and the many who don't. She is passionate about championing causes that drive social change on a fundamental level, particularly issues involving children and vulnerable groups. While new to the PACT team, she is excited to work with an organisation that aligns closely with her values and desire to Protect All Children Today.

Samantha Kelly, Administration Assistant

Sam joined PACT in 2020 and is excited to be part of an organisation that makes a meaningful difference to the lives of children and their families.

She has experience in reception and customer service, and has been involved with many not-for-profit organisations and community projects as a volunteer.

Sam has completed a Bachelor of Arts and Journalism, and a CERT III in Business Administration.

Our Child Witness Support Volunteers

Our Child Witness Support Volunteers are truly the lifeblood of PACT. Coming from various backgrounds and walks of life, the traits our volunteers share is compassion, resilience and the skillsets to build rapport with a child victim or witness to support them throughout their courtroom journey.

Requiring bucket loads of dedication to meet the emotional and time-heavy demands of the role, our Child Witness Support Volunteers are truly incredible. And since the process from initial arrest to trial can take up to two years and have unexpected delays along the way, our volunteers dedicate a significant amount of time providing impartial knowledge and support to child witnesses, ensuring they and other vulnerable young people have the ability to give their best evidence and move forward with strength and hope for the future.