Strengthening Family & Community

Our People-Our Teams

Senior Executive Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Kerry Thomas

Following an early career in teaching with a focus on children with behavioural and learning difficulties, a move into the welfare and community services field seemed like a natural progression. Kerry has managed Gateway through several transition stages as the organisation expanded. Kerry is commited to solution focused work maintaining confidence in the immense value of working in the strengths framework while challenging notions of ‘a glossy positivism’ at the expense of child safety and well-being . The opportunity to ‘craft’ an organisation that in all facets of operation and service delivery demonstrates the effectiveness of ‘being’ therapeutically solution focused is both a challenge and delight.

Kerry has served on many sector committees and local collaborations and planning groups and is a founding member of both the Stronger Families Alliance,  Blue Mountains Consortium and the Penrith Child in Focus Implementation group. Kerry has also served as the Nepean/Blue Mountains District Representatiove for NSW Family Services for several terms and is President of the board of Lead Professional Development Association. 

Finance & IT Manager

Terese Klynhout

With formal qualifications in Accounting, Book-keeping and Training and Assessment and over 40 years working in business administration and financial mangagement, Terese implements and maintains the financial functions of GFS. Her expertise ensures the smooth running of the service and that financial, legal and employment accountability requirements are all met. She is also a registered BAS agent, MYOB Professional Partner and Justice of the Peace.

Terese has worked in the Not-for-profit for over 15 years and as well as providing expert financial management, she oversees all the IT requirements of the organisation. 

Practice Manager

Sonja Keller

Sonja Keller holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and a Bachelor of Music Education. Sonja has twenty years of experience working with vulnerable families, children and young people in community, government and private practice settings. Sonja utilises a strengths-based, solution-focused framework and specialises in the aetiology and treatment of complex trauma and personality disorders.

 

 

 

Evolve Team

Team Leader 

Jill Carlson-Beardall

Jill was a Community Development Worker with the Department of Education and Training for 20 years before coming to work at Gateway Family Services as a Community Hub Coordinator.  She was also a Family Support worker for a number of years before dedicating her time to the parent support programs as Team Leader.

She is passionate about early childhood and the importance of the first 3 years, and enjoys supporting parents in the challenging role of parenting. Her greatest joy was facilitating Winmalee Play and Chat and supporting the development of many babies and young children throughout their preschool years.

 

Early Childhood Mentoring Project

Ruth Myers

Ruth began her career in early childhood and then moved to working with children who had experienced trauma and or abuse and with women who had mental health issues, trauma and who were facing social challenges. Her work also led her to work for social justice organisations.  Ruth facilitated parenting groups before working as a family support worker.With a BA Hons in Humanities, Ruth continued to study and became a counsellor, specializing in loss, grief and trauma and worked in family enrichment programs and disaster recovery. Ruth is currently combining skills working as a Mentor to early childhood staff in working with vulnerable families and as a counsellor.

Play Group & Parent Support Group Co-ordinator

Jenny Hardimon

Jenny holds a Bachelor Health Sciences (Rehabilitation Counselling) and is on way to completing her Masters of Social Work. Before coming to Gateway she was employed in both the disability and Foster Care sectors for many years. Jenny began working at Gateway Family Services in 2008 as the first Penrith Family Support Worker. During her time at Gateway she has been employed in many roles including Early Intervention Family Support Worker and Group Worker. Currently Jenny facilitates several groups a week all with a focus around her passion of supporting parents through the newborn to preschool years.

 

 

Project Support Worker & Book-Keeper

Alison Smith

 

Alison brings experience as a Legal Secretary, Function Coordinator,  PA to General Managers and Book-keeper with various companies and non-profit organisations to her dual roles at Gateway. Alison commenced as our Book-keeper in 2012 and since 2016 her role has been extended to meet the growing need for project support and most recently assisting the CEO and Practice Manager across the organisation.

 

Enrich Team

Team Leader

Sophie Corbett

The Enrich Team is comprised of Counsellors, Family Support Workers and Parenting Group faciltators. The team boasts formal qualifcations in Counselling, Social work, Art & Expressive therapies; Play Therapy; Communications; Child Protection.

The team has experience working in the fields of:

  • Early childhood
  • Parenting support and education
  • Trauma recovery
  • Adolescent + family counselling
  • Health incl; mental health & Adolescent mental health  
  • Homelessness and refugee support
  • Youth work
  • Child Protection
  • Family violence
  • Disaster Recovery

Essentials Team

Key Worker- Karen Bartle

Disaster Recovery

Project Manager 

Anne Crestani

Anne Crestani is the Project Manager for the 'Walk With' program which is auspiced by Gateway Family Services in the NSW Blue Mountains.   She has worked in the community services sector for over 18 years. During this time, Anne managed the Step by Step bushfire support service which provided crisis support and assistance to over 500 households impacted by the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires.

During the bushfire recovery, Anne crafted the Step by Step 4 Quadrant Model which the Walk With program is built upon.  The Step by Step (and Walk With) approach focuses on actively engaging the capacity of people to reshape their lives after disaster. Community service organisations are experts in recognising and growing that capacity.  Walk With is designed to support the transition of that expertise into disaster response and recovery environments.

Project Coordinator

Joanna Brown

Joanna has worked in Community Development for over 20 years with experience across Local Government and the Community Sector. Joanna has degrees in in Social Ecology, Coaching and Facilitation, and specialises in working with women and authentic leadership.

Joanna is currently the Project Coordinator for the Walk With Program. She brings a commitment to community led disaster recovery and a strengths approach.

Gateway encourages, supports & respects diversity in families & communities. Our doors are open to everyone.
We acknowledge the Gundungurra and Darug people as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live and work and we pay our respects to their Elders, both past and present.

Flags
Gateway Family Services is committed to building a stronger community through helping to build stronger families.