Management Committee

The Blue Roo Management Committee comprises of members who share a diverse range of professional skills. Committee members have been deliberately recruited with a focus on gathering skills and expertise in drama, governance, risk management, HR management, legal, financial management, strategic planning and program management and have a passion for enabling people. This is a committee of volunteers dedicated to our community.

DEBORAH WALKER

President

BSoc Wk, BA

With experience in Queensland’s vocational education and training sector, Deborah trained in her youth in speech and drama. Her strengths with people, change and program management, corporate governance and policy implementation are recognised within the public sector where she held senior and executive level positions.

A move to the private sector in 2017 provided Deborah with new challenges and opportunities while meeting her passion of delivering authentic and quality products and services.

This passion has carried over in her commitment to the success of Blue Roo Theatre Company where she is overseeing processes essential to the future stability and growth potential within Blue Roo.

DALE JOHNSON

Secretary

BEd Stud, Dip Teach, Cert IV Train & Assess, JP (Qual)

Dale has three passions in life with firm commitments to live theatre; music and comedy; excellence in teaching and advocacy for her husband’s  courage, ability and independence after suffering a severe stroke.

She is dedicated to supporting the day-to-day resilience of the families of stroke and brain injury sufferers.

Dale has taught drama and theatre to children and young adults, literacy, numeracy and communication skills to adults and is a nationally published researcher.

Dale brings a diverse range of skills, experience and networks to Blue Roo. She cites her greatest achievement in life as being able to ‘laugh loudly on a whim’ most days.

JOHN THURGOOD

Treasurer

John is a management consultant, former executive director of the Australian Institute of Training and Development and business consultant to a range of small and medium businesses. 

John established his own business consultancy in the late 1980s focussing on business systems, finance and strategy for small and medium business, not-for-profits, professional practices and Local Government. 

He has now bought his extensive experience as a business manager, financial manager and researcher for community, state and national not-for-profit organisations to Blue Roo. John feels that Blue Roo offers him an opportunity to broaden his community contribution from specific individuals into the wider community.

CHERYL-ANNE LAIRD

Committee Member

BA (Psych,  Hon), GDip IR, MBA, B Law (Hon)

Cheryl-Anne has an enviable reputation as a leading human resources and industrial relations consultant to clients in both the private and public sectors. She has built her success on forming long term partnerships with her clients and becoming a trusted expert in her field.

Cheryl-Anne has a somewhat unique mix of tertiary qualifications including law and psychology which has allowed her to develop a specialist expertise in assisting clients navigate the myriad of challenges which arise when employment and mental health issues combine.

It was for these skills and experience as well as her commitment to and passion for social justice issues which lead to Cheryl-Anne’s inclusion as a committee member.

STEWART THOMPSON

Committee Member

Dip Arts (Disability)

Stewart represents our partner, Centacare. He has been employed by them for more than 30 years. He currently is the Director Client Services.

Stewart has extensive experience within the disability sector which has allowed him to take a strong advocacy role with significant experience in lobbying at all levels of government and in the community to influence change and policy decisions.

He continues to focus on ensuring that people have choice, independence and receive the care and support they need to enable them to maximize opportunities and participate in community life.

LIEZEL BUCKENHAM

Committee Member

Ad.Dip in Applied Fashion Design &Technology

Liezel is a very experienced costume designer, costume maker, costumer worker and respected disability support worker.

Liezel has worked with the Expressions Dance Company, the Queensland Theatre Company and was the costume designer and costume maker for Blue Roo’s ‘Bulimba Opera’ (2104), the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games production ‘Sea’ and the Commedia Del Arte street theatre tour to Far North Queensland Aboriginal Communities (2019).

Liezel loves to share her creative passion for fabric design. In mid 2021, Liezel joined the Committee and created the new Blue Roo Costumes and Props Department where she teaches, mentors and manages two costume makers with disability who are employed part time for Blue Roo productions.

GENEVIEVE WELLS

Committee Member

BSoc Wk

Genevieve’s true passion lies with the community sector, working with people living with severe and persistent mental illness.

Her current role includes supporting people to navigate and gain access to the NDIS system, advocating for those deemed ineligible to receive support packages and assisting individuals to implement their NDIS plans.

Her area of interest is in personality disorders and dissociative identity disorders. Genevieve recognises that she is privileged to work to bring out positive change in people’s lives. She draws inspiration for the people with whom she works who are resilient and persevering, often in the face of enormous obstacles.