The Highwire Group is an alliance of passionate and experienced consultants working with organisations to strengthen governance and management performance.
Established in 2009 the parent company Highwire Training and Development Pty Ltd began as a vehicle for sharing expertise with organisations challenged by maintaining corporate accountabilities as well as meeting the needs and expectations of the communities they serve.
We want to help you achieve your goals. So we will work with you to design tailored governance, workforce and organisation development projects for maximum impact.
Why choose us?
- Our consultants have a deep knowledge of governance structures, quality systems and workforce development processes
- We have developed high level cultural competence to work effectively with Aboriginal organisations
- We have history and expertise working with organisations in metro and regional areas, and we are set up to service remote communities anywhere in Australia
- We are the small to medium sized organisation experts
- We have worked with a wide range of organisations to develop governance maturity
- We make it affordable and fun!!
Meet the Team
Maree Davidson, Managing Director
Maree is passionate about working with community service organisations to improve social, employment and health outcomes. She has 30 years’ experience and has developed strong skills in leadership and management, quality frameworks, Aboriginal community engagement, project management and vocational training.
Maree has extensive knowledge of quality frameworks and is regularly contracted as an Assessment Team Leader to undertake assessments for accreditation organisations across Australia.
She has worked in metropolitan, regional and remote settings managing teams, delivering projects, leading workforce development initiatives, improving governance capability and delivering community engagement projects. She has worked with many of SA’s Community centres as a Service Excellence Accreditation Coach and is regularly invited to work with small and large Aboriginal organisations on capacity building projects.
Gill McFadyen, Community Development Consultant
Gill is passionate about people, organisations and communities having the skills and capacity to bring about positive, sustainable change. Her belief that everyone should have equal opportunity to fully participate in society, both socially and economically has driven much of her working life.
With a career in community development spanning over 30 years, Gill’s most recent role has been as CEO of Community Centres SA, the peak body for community and neighbourhood centres throughout South Australia. It was in this position over a ten-year period that she gained a wealth of experience in many areas including quality improvement systems, particularly in the Australian Service Excellence Standards, outcomes development, community-based governance, grass roots leadership development, social inclusion, collective impact, adult community education and advocacy.
Gill has learned firsthand of the benefits of building the capacity of organisations, particularly small organisations, and as a strategic thinker, can help people make tough decisions and work respectfully to bring others along. She is now keen to use the skills and experience she has gained over many years to work with organisations committed to getting the best outcomes possible for the people and communities they serve.
John Hendry, Governance and Dispute Resolution Specialist
John is a skilled and experienced former lawyer with particular interest in industrial relations and alternative dispute resolution working in numerous settings including formal, informal, corporate and NGOs, particularly in Aboriginal community-controlled health. Over his professional career as a solicitor, John gained experience and expertise in many areas of law including commercial law, litigation, family law and criminal law. As an experienced dispute resolution practitioner he has participated in many events particularly facilitation and mediation.
Both in his capacity as a lawyer and former in-house counsel with Aboriginal Health and Research Council (AH&MRC) John has provided support to many organisations and individuals for more than 20 years, working successfully with managers, chairpersons and CEOs alike. His approach to problem solving is multi-faceted involving all options, but always providing accessible, pragmatic solution-driven advice.
During his employment at the AHMRC John has built a relationship of trust with many Aboriginal community-controlled health services and assisted them with developing Board and management expertise, constitutions and general legal processes. He has dealt with both state and federal governments in relation to developing Aboriginal health policy, was a member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee from its inception and has provided advice, mentoring and support to successive Aboriginal leaders of AH&MRC.
Alice Bacon, Resilience Facilitator, Mentor and Coach
Alice has over twenty years of corporate and operational leadership experience. A skilled project manager with an emphasis on maximising human capital, she is a rare individual whose transferable skill set has led her to become highly adept at managing change; and creating environments where change is positively embraced through emotional and workplace resilience.
Her approach to emotional intelligence within the workplace, across all facets of organisations, gives revolutionary transformations to both individuals and teams.
Her results in relation to work place resilience are attributable to her ability to break down barriers of resistance and redundant thought patterns. In conjunction with this, her ability to ignite productive levels of core worth and belief drives influence and ultimately results. All this is possible via professionally planned and delivered workshops and sessions which are simple in their execution, yet powerful in results.
Alice has the ability to work with any organisation, group or individual who needs her strategic and deliverable methods to instigate simple but deep lasting changes, so that win win environments can emerge and flourish.
Cheryl Johnstone, Quality Consultant
Cheryl has a diverse background working in both the public and private sectors. She has experience in organisational governance, corporate planning, continuous improvement and risk management.
More recently Cheryl has specialised in internal auditing and supporting organisations to undertake quality accreditation, including Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) and QIC Health and Community Services Standards. Her skills and experience ensure that clients can review and report successfully against national standards and organisational outcome requirements.
With experience in writing, editing and publication, Cheryl has skills in setting up document structures and content so that the information and intended messages are both accurate and able to be understood by readers. She has many years’ experience working with organisations and individuals to enhance their written work such as in reports, research, promotional materials, resumes and job applications.
Cheryl is committed to working collaboratively with clients and has a long history of successfully supporting organisations, groups and individuals to clarify requirements and achieve their goals.
Dr Cassandra Gibson-Pope, Community Development and Management Consultant
Cassandra has a Doctorate in Philosophy, a Masters degree in Public Management and over 20 years’ experience working across the local government, university, not for profit and registered training organisation sectors. Her passion is to support community development, social inclusion initiatives and increasing accessibility and linkages between people, buildings and open spaces.
Dedicated to developing and supporting leaders, graduates and trainees, Cassandra is skilled at building relationships with individuals, communities and organisations to achieve positive outcomes. She is a passionate advocate for people with a disability and new arrivals to Australia, and is committed to creating great places for people to live, work and connect.
Cassandra is a strategic, dynamic, bold and progressive thinker with a high level of energy and an unrelenting drive to work alongside others to challenge, innovate and encourage change that leads to improved outcomes. She is skilled at developing policy and project initiatives that convert abstract ideas into successful deliverables.
Sandra Robinson, Community Development Consultant
Sandra’s deep commitment to social justice drives her passion for strengthening communities. She has over 25 years’ experience working with groups and individuals in the not for profit, local government and education sectors.
Sandra held a variety of community development roles in local government for 15 years, working with communities to facilitate connections and build capacity while developing a love for grass-roots engagement.
With a strong interest in evidence-based performance measurement and outcomes frameworks, Sandra managed the Results Based Accountability Program at Community Centres SA before taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer of Together SA which is an organisation devoted to the mobilisation of whole communities to tackle complex social problems.
Analytical, creative and strategic thinking are embedded in her approach to collaborating with diverse stakeholders to define and achieve positive outcomes. Sandra has considerable change management experience at organisational and statewide levels, influencing systems, culture and strategic intent. She also has experience in strategic planning, co-design, facilitation, training, research, stakeholder engagement and brokering partnerships.
Lisa Scully, Quality and Management Consultant
Lisa considers guiding organisations to provide high quality services to consumers to be a privilege and joy. She has worked in the commercial and not for profit sectors for three decades, and is passionate about quality service provision, particularly in the social services, disability and health sectors.
Having held a number of leadership roles in the Newcastle and Hunter regions NSW, Lisa is a proven innovator in the areas of strategic growth, grants, tenders and social enterprise. She has helped many organisations through significant change management, including preparation for registration, renewal and compliance in the disability sector.
Lisa also has extensive experience in strategic planning, co-design, facilitation, research, stakeholder engagement and brokering partnerships. She has degrees in Law and Journalism, an MBA, and qualifications in project management and auditing.
Jenaleen Downie, Quality Consultant
Jenaleen (Jen) has enjoyed a diverse career for over 30 years in both community and commercial sectors. Her empathy and passion for making a difference is what originally attracted her to a role with a not-for-profit organisation. Since then, she has held many management roles in this area and has developed strong skills in leadership, strategic development and quality management.
Jen has extensive knowledge of policy development, legislation and quality frameworks including Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES), Child Safe Standards (Office of Children’s Guardian) and NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Practice Standards. She is skilled at leading teams to prepare for audits and has achieved numerous accreditation outcomes.
Having successfully owned and managed several retail businesses during her career, Jen has gained first-hand knowledge of business development and planning, resilience, and resolution. She has a natural ability to engage with others and is committed to collaborating with organisations and individuals to achieve the best outcomes.
Jen holds a Bachelor of Education Degree and is certified as a Quality Lead Auditor and Project Manager. She is also a registered marriage celebrant which she finds enjoyable and rewarding, and a contrast to her corporate role.
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