Our Team

In 2019 Dr Bernie Curran AM was appointed MSN Patron

Dr Curran played a central role in The University of Newcastle’s community for over 40 years. He’s been a student, rugby player, academic and teacher, community leader, mentor, donor and researcher. A boy from the bush, he established Evatt House, a residential college for country students. Dr Curran was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2018 for significant service to tertiary education, particularly through higher learning opportunities for young people in rural areas. On being appointed Dr Curran said: “Scholarships for disadvantaged students and support for refugees, these are things that need financial support as well as moral support and genuine interest, and my job is to lead from the front.”

Management Team

Shayne Connell, Chair - Shayne is a community leader with a strong repertoire of experience. He is the Chief Executive of LivingWorks, a leading suicide intervention training company, and has previous experience working for the Cancer Council NSW and the City of Newcastle. Shayne holds an MBA and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Newcastle and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Chris Cull, Treasurer - Chris has worked in rural communities and run projects with Indigenous communities and has been a long-time member of Amnesty International. He also has a strong background in leadership, mediation and corporate governance. Prior to coming to Newcastle Chris lived in Armidale where he practiced as a business consultant and was a director on several boards.

Robyn White, Secretary - Robyn's career in health spans 45 years; beginning with Mental Health Nursing Certificate progressing through to senior positions in Health Service Management. Robyn has Master of Health Science and numerous other qualifications and retired from her Service Manager position in 2017. Currently Robyn is a casual academic at University of Newcastle and participates in the MSN Refugee Mentoring program.
Matt Linnert, Mentor Training - Matt, who has been mentoring since 2003, knows first-hand how beneficial mentoring can be to both mentors and mentees and is looking forward to supporting his fellow mentors to develop their skills, connections and confidence. Matt’s passion is to help people master their mind and align their activity to live a productive, peaceful and purposeful life.


Helen Doust - For 37 years Helen worked in NSW beginning as a teacher in a small rural school to outdoor education schools to appointment as Assistant Principal. With school leadership came the opportunities of consultancy positions across the Hunter providing professional learning and mentoring to schools, principals and staff. After retirement, Helen worked part time basis as a teacher mentor/ instructional leader until 2016. Her work mentoring students at a local high school led to her involvement with MSN.

Pat O’Flaherty - After a career as a chemist, Pat completed doctoral studies in education and has also been Learning and Development Manager for Thales Australia. He mentored for two years with the Smith Family, and currently provides advice to small manufacturing operations and start-up companies.


Keith Powell, Communication - Keith’s career started in journalism and developed into a wide range of experience in corporate affairs for both private companies and government instrumentalities. He has been involved with many community organisations and volunteer groups and is a member of the communication team for Mentor Support Network.

Gail Hamer, Membership - Gail has worked in catering, clerical and human resources positions. Now retired, her last career was as a teacher in a small rural school for over 20 years. She has been involved with the committees of a number of sporting and cultural community groups over the years.

Jo Martin, Communication – Jo has worked in global Communications and Change Management for over 20 years. She is a Branding Specialist and runs her own publishing company, helping people tell their stories and become best-selling authors. Jo started her career in Learning & Development, working globally with large corporates to build capability and deliver results through targeted learning initiatives.    


Annual Reports

Our 2019 Annual Report outlines our performance highlights for the last financial year.