Our skilled leadership team ensures the continued success of Access.

Rachel Whitford APM
Rachel Whitford APM
Chairman of the Board
bio

Rachel has been a serving Police officer since 1991 in the South Australia and Queensland Police Services since graduating from the Queensland Police Service Academy. In her 25 years she has largely been stationed within the South Eastern District, starting at the Logan Police Station before moving to Beenleigh Police Station and later moving to specialist areas. After serving as a General Duties Police Officer she moved into the Logan District Crime Prevention Unit as a coordinator and later became the Branch Manager of the Logan Police Citizens Youth Club.

In 2012, Rachel was awarded the Australia Police Medal for her work with the community, as part of the Queens Birthday Awards.

Gayle Mann
Gayle Mann
Treasurer
bio

Gayle Mann is a Full Registered Secondary teacher with the Board of Teacher Registration, Queensland and holds a Certificate in Teaching, a Bachelor of Arts (majors in Mathematics & Economics) and a Graduate Certificate Education (Adult Literacy). Gayle has worked for Non-Governmental organisations for a number of years and is familiar with the processes of these organisations particularly the funding and delivery of programs for the community. Gayle is currently on the Executive Board of the Schizophrenia Fellowship Queensland (SFQ) and President of the Management Committee of the South Side Branch of SFQ. Gayle has served on the Board of Access for 8 years.

Elena Gosse
Elena Gosse
Director
bio

Elena Gosse is a trail-blazing entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of one of Australia’s most innovative companies, Australian Innovative Systems (AIS). The 100% owned and operated Australian business has prospered under Elena’s leadership. From humble beginnings it has become a multi-award winning, multi-million dollar, successful Queensland based business which is recognised as a leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators and water disinfection technology. 

With over 20 years industry experience and a reputation for continuous innovation, AIS remains one of Australia’s most trusted water disinfection companies. It exports its technology to over 55 countries worldwide.

Elena’s experience as a Russian immigrant has helped to refine her business and personal vision and inspired her to assist other immigrants by encouraging and embracing cultural diversity in the AIS workplace as well as supporting her local community.

Ivan Frkovic
Ivan Frkovic
Director
bio

Ivan is Aftercare’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Operations and has more than 20 years of experience in mental health in Queensland, where he has occupied senior management and policy positions in the Queensland Government.  During this time, he has led and shaped some of the major mental health reforms occurring in Queensland. 

Ivan was Director of the Community Mental Health Branch in the Department of Communities where he led the development of a strategic plan for the growth and development of the mental health community sector. During this time he also oversaw the development of a range of innovative community based mental health services with the goal to support those people with mental illness to be able to integrate and live meaningful lives in the community.   

With a strong commitment to consumer and carer led and driven services, Ivan believes recovery is possible and people can live meaningful lives with their illness within the community. This is supported by Ivan’s strong passion for growth and development within the community mental health sector. 

In addition to his primary training as a social worker, Ivan holds a Masters of Social Welfare, Administration and Planning. Since 2003, Ivan has participated in a number of international study tours comparing mental health systems in Australia to New Zealand, USA, England, Italy, Canada and Holland.

Ivan has recently worked on the development of the Queensland Mental Health Commission, and previously in the multicultural non-government sector and the Commonwealth income maintenance sector.’

Michael Pearson APM
Michael Pearson APM
Director
bio

Mike is a 37 year policing veteran with the Queensland Police Service(QPS) with the last 20 years performing duty in Logan Police District and as the Officer in Charge of Logan Central Station. For the last 2.5 years Mike has been working with the Public Safety Business Agency on a project to procure a rostering, time and attendance and payroll solution for the QPS. Mike has an active history of community and government partnership engagement within Logan at Federal and State levels and particularly with Local Government, focussing in the areas of employment, housing, education, social infrastructure and safety. He is driven from a belief and commitment to community empowerment and leadership. Mike’s governance experience has been in the area of education and service to a number of community based committees including ACCESS Community Services Board. Mike has also served extensively in rural Queensland centres engaging in indigenous and multicultural communities. Mike is also the only person to have been award the Bravery Medal (BM), Australian Police Medal (APM), Commendation for Brave Conduct and Group Bravery Citation under the Australian Honours System.

Gail Ker OAM
Gail Ker OAM
Chief Executive Officer
bio

Over the past 20 years, Gail Ker OAM's vast industry experience and arguably unrivalled expertise in the Australian multicultural, humanitarian and community sectors has seen her change countless lives for the better.

A nationally lauded and award winning visionary, Gail is the CEO of Access Community Services Ltd where, with humility, compassion and a tireless work ethic, she leads her nearly 300 staff in pursuit of their organisational vision; to create social, cultural and economic experiences and opportunities that transform the lives of individuals and communities globally.

Renowned for her expertise in innovative service solutions for newly arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants, Gail is a recognised thought leader in needs-based community planning, innovative business models, social cohesion, strategic partnerships, employment pathways, funding opportunities and strategic direction. Under her tutelage and leadership, Access has grown from a one room youth employment service in Logan City into one of Australia’s leading organisations in the provision of settlement, employment, training, youth support, housing and social enterprise services for migrants, refugees and Australian born clients with an annual over turn over in excess of twenty million dollars.

Her often quoted mantra is “Every Client Counts”.

Informed and working at the cutting edge of policy and sector engagement, Gail’s knowledge is actively sought by politicians, industry leaders and research bodies alike, both nationally and internationally. For the past eight years she has attended the UNHCR’s annual consultations with NGO’s in Geneva. She has several prestigious board appointments including;

  • Settlement Services Advisory Council (SSAC) – Deputy Chair
  • SBS – Member Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
  • NAATI – Professional Reference Group (PRG) – Chair
  • Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA)- Qld Representative on the Executive
  • Migration Council Australia (MCA)
  • Netball Australia – One Netball Advisory Group
  • South Brisbane Primary Health Network (SBPHN) – Community Representative on the Regional Clinical Council (RCC)
  • Logan Leadership Team – Community Representative
  • Interim Multicultural Community Reference Group – Member
  • Humanitarian Settlement Planning and Outcomes Group - Member

Former board appointments have included:

  • Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC)
  • Australian Multicultural Council (AMC) – Deputy Chair
  • Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) – former roles as Chair, Secretary and Qld Rep
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Qld (ECCQ) – Board Member
  • Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast (MCCGC) – Deputy Chair
  • Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) Logan – Board Member

Her standing has been recognised with the following honours: 

  • 2008 MAQ Award – Winner of the Individual Category for Community Development
  • 2010 Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her work in Multiculturalism in Queensland
  • 2012 Paul Harris Fellow -Rotary Foundation of Rotary International “for tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world”
  • 2015 Australian Human Resources Institute “CEO Diversity Champion Award”
  • 2016 Women’s Federation of World Peace – Ambassador for Peace
  • 2016 United Nations Association of Australia – Queensland Community Award for Recognition of Valuable Community Service
  • 2017 Australian Migration and Settlement Awards – Winner of the Empowering Women Award
Cecil Fernandes
Cecil Fernandes
Executive Director, Business Disruption
bio

Versatile Human Resources Professional Executive with extensive leadership experience in Retail, Wholesale and Distribution in top FMCG Companies offering years of generalist experience, leading organisational development and human resources initiatives and linking human capital to strategic business results. A young, energetic, resourceful and well-rounded team player who is able to connect well with people at all levels in the organization, influencing and bringing diverse viewpoints to a productive consensus. Skilled Project Manager with a knack for turning low morale operations into harmonious and productive sites

Dr. Derek Lundberg
Dr. Derek Lundberg
Group CFO, Access Group International
bio

Dr. Derek Lundberg is the Group CFO of Access Group International. With over thirty years’ experience in large, complex organisations, including executive positions across a diverse range of industries, Derek’s extensive career has been typified by leading major industry, business, cultural and organisational change.

His range of experience is considerable, having held leadership positions in general management, finance, logistics, marketing and IT roles within large ASX and NYSE companies. Passionate about improving the lives of individuals and developing the capacity and sustainability of those organisations that serve individuals and communities, he currently holds a number of board positions on various family-owned businesses, commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

As the founder and Managing Director of Executive Mind & Co and Innovate Coaching, Derek has developed high-performing executives and executive teams that have gone on to achieve great things. As well as coaching and mentoring senior managers, executives, business owners, and boards, Derek advises a number of boards on strategy, commercial matters, governance and change.

Derek is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the MGSM Alumni.

With a Master of Business Administration from Macquarie Graduate School of Management, he has extensively researched strategic decision-making, attaining his Doctor of Business Administration in 2009. He continues to research business strategy, competition and decision-making with unique applications of contemporary neuroscience for the development of the high performance executive.

 

 

Dr Mary Asic-Kobe
Dr Mary Asic-Kobe
Director of Social Services at Access Community Services Limited
bio

Dr Mary Asic-Kobe BBSC (Hons), DPsych (Clin), MAPS, MCCLP, STAP

Dr Asic-Kobe is the Executive Manager of Client Services at Access Community Services Limited. Her expertise in refugee resettlement spans 14 years and is complemented by almost two decades of career experience as a Clinical Psychologist and clinic Director. Overseeing client service delivery and operations of multiple Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Seeker programs, Dr Asic-Kobe’s management style takes a performance-based approach informed by her clinical practice, available evidence, research engagement and government policy.

Dr. Asic-Kobe’s career achievements are extensive and can be linked to early ambitions to bolster the physical and psychological quality of life of refugees, a focus she has maintained with interest, in enhancing the quality and integration of health services available to people of refugee backgrounds. Her Clinical Doctorate focused on Quality of Life and facilitated the development of a Trauma Counselling Service for resettled refugees and an evaluation study of trauma therapy outcomes - the first of its kind. Her commitment to evidence-based practice, is seen in her ongoing research engagement with universities and industry to advance sector development and overall improve the quality of life for clients. This focus has enabled Dr. Asic-Kobe, to successfully challenge traditional service delivery models through the development of close working relationships with resettlement services, and the delivery of client directed workshops. Dr Asic-Kobe was recognised as a finalist in the 2016 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards for her extensive work in improving the psychological health for refugees.

Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry
Director, Community Enterprises and Employment
bio

Matthew Perry is the Director of Community Enterprises and Employment. He is responsible for managing Access Community Employment Service, Access Education and Skills Development and various social enterprise businesses, including AES Building and Maintenance Solutions, Driver Training School, The Yarrabilba Exchange and Access’ interpreting services.

Matthew has over 15 years’ experience within the Employment Services Industry of Australia and the United Kingdom. He has been nominated, shortlisted and won many industry awards, due to his ability to transform underperforming business operations into high-performing service delivery operations within a competitive marketplace.

Matthew holds a Diploma of Business and Management, as well as a Diploma of Employment Services and Retail. He also holds a Training and Assessment qualification and is a qualified Justice of the Peace.

 

John Perry
John Perry
bio

John has a long history of innovation, strategic development and activation of services in the employment, social enterprise, training and education sectors. A significant part of his experience has been in developing successful services for disadvantaged people as well as working with large companies, particularly Tier 1 construction and development companies, to maximise their social impact and implement their Indigenous action plans.

He is a strong advocate for inclusion of all people into Australian society and believes that work is one of the primary pathways to this as well as to economic independence and wellbeing.

John currently provides advice and support to Access Community Enterprises Limited in the continued growth and integration of their social enterprise and employment strategies.

He is part of Jobs Queensland Limited, and manages their ParentsNext program, a Federally funded initiative for people on parenting payment preparing to enter the workforce.

For 20 years from 1996, John established the “work as welfare” concept for yourtown (formerly BoysTown), first in Queensland and then in four other States across Australia, including a remote Indigenous community. These services continue to assist thousands of young people each year.

Prior to 1996, John was a senior officer in the Federal Government Department of Employment, Education and Training.

John holds a number of Board and governance positions including:

  • Chair and Director of the Australian Training Company, a group training company and registered training organisation employing 600 apprentices and trainees.
  • Director, National Employment Services Assn (NESA), the peak body for Federally funded employment providers.
  • Director, Fair Go Australia, an organisation established to provide mentoring support to disadvantaged people.
  • Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Previously a Council member of several TAFE Qld Institutes.
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