The WOW Family

 
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Meet our board

These expert minds are the passionate leadership team that make up the Waves of Wellness Board of Directors…

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ADAM BARRINGER
Chairman

Adam has been hooked on surfing since catching his first wave as an English tourist over 15 years ago, and it became one of the reasons he settled here in Australia. He would tell you that he was doing surf therapy before he realised it was a ‘thing’, using his love of the ocean to balance his professional commitments as a Senior Partner at Deloitte, where he is known as a champion for mental health, diversity of thought, and leadership development. Adam loves a dawn longboard session and talking up his ability to nose-ride.

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CASSANDRA VUJOVICH-DUNN
Co-Founder/Director

Cass co-founded WOW in 2016 in response to her passion for social equality. Cass is a Public Health researcher in adolescent health, and a Scientia PhD scholar at the Kirby Institute, UNSW. She holds a MPH from the University of Sydney, and MIS from the University of Queensland. She has over a decade of experience in community based social and health programs, and public health research. Cass fell in love with surfing 10 years ago while in Costa Rica, and describes the art of surfing as pure freedom. In her free time, she likes to watch cake decorating videos on Facebook.

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SARAH PATEL
Director

Sarah is a Registered Psychologist, with experience in HR, Leadership Development and Change Management. As an Executive Manager at Westpac and mum of 2 daughters, Sarah uses mediation, yoga, and hiking to help keep her mind, body and spirit balanced. Sarah became part of the Waves of Wellness tribe through her passion for helping others be the best version of themselves, and her belief in the power of nature to heal and inspire. Sarah says there’s nothing more grounding than sand between your toes and a deep breath of salt air…before you get dunked by the next wave.

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FRANCES FREY
Director

As a 'PR Maven' turned Developmental Leadership Coach, Frances says it was love at first sight when she came across WOW as the charity aligned with three of her passions; people, mental health and the healing power of the ocean. Residing between Bondi Beach & Byron Bay, Frances helps people get clarity on what they’re truly about and how to communicate this gift to the world, working with leaders to develop their authentic influence from the 'inside-out'.

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PHILIP WARD
Director

Phil is a clinical neuroscientist and UNSW professor of psychiatry who has always loved body surfing. Since working with Joel Pilgrim in 2013, Phil has been blown away by the positive outcomes that surf therapy can achieve for people living with mental health challenges. Phil is a passionate advocate for building the evidence base for this novel therapy and is inspired by the positive vibe that surrounds WOW and the people who support it.

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NATASHA SMALE
CFO/ Board Advisor

Natasha is a trained chartered accountant with experience in leading finance and consulting teams globally. She’s currently a Director in the Deloitte Assurance practice. With first-hand experience with her own mental health journey, Natasha has become an advocate for early intervention. She loves being near the water and finds her zen through yoga (because she is not a runner!). Natasha loves to strike up conversations with strangers on the street, so if you see her, remember to say hi!

Meet OUr Team

These are the passionate people working tirelessly to make the magic happen at Waves of Wellness …

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JOEL PILGRIM
Founder/CEO

Joel is a keen surfer of 20+ years, who is known to get webbed feet at times from excess time in the big blue. If he could sleep in the ocean, he would. Joel is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist, in the past working primarily with young people experiencing First Episode Psychosis. He’s extremely passionate about changing the mental health landscape, and talks surf therapy in his sleep. Our little secret – Joel loves musicals!

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MARK MICELLI
Program Coordinator

Mark studied his Masters of Social Work (MSW) University of Windsor, Canada. Growing up Mark would spend all summer in the lakes of Canada and decided to move to Australia to be in the water year round. Now he does whatever he can to get into the ocean. Whether its surfing, kiteboarding, paddle boarding, or just swimming, the ocean is where Mark feels most at home. Mark secretly loves to hula hoop…only it’s not a secret.

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ROHAN MOORE
Facilitator Sydney

Rohan has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy). Rohan is an Occupational Therapist with experience working in mental health. Rohan began surfing at an early age and soon became enthralled with the activity and ocean. Outside of work Rohan dedicates a majority of his time to finding waves and you’ll often find him riding a small board on a fun looking right hander. He’s always got a big smile on his face, and keen to lend a hand, just don’t ask him to touch his own bellybutton.

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DAVE KELLY
Lead Facilitator Newcastle

Dave studied a Bachelor of Nursing at Southern Cross University and graduated in 2006 – He’s been working as a Registered Nurse in mental health for 8 years. He grew up in the Clarence Valley where he spent his time surfing around Minnie Water and Yamba. He loves the personal challenges and self-expression that exists in surfing, plus it’s easy on his old bones. Dave loves the odd childish dad joke.

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BENJAMIN KEMP
Facilitator Newcastle

Ben has studied a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at the University of Newcastle. Ben is an Occupational Therapist whose passion is helping others improve their mental wellbeing. Ben began surfing in Newcastle when his dad dragged him out the back as a young boy and was instantly hooked. The ocean is where Ben loves to kick-back, make new friends and keep healthy. He’s never been more stoked than when he gets to share that love with everyone at WOW. Despite trying to maintain his cool ‘surfer boy’ facade, Ben admits that he’s a giant nerd who is totally obsessed with board games, and hopes to one-day turn pro…in board gaming!

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TIFFANY


Facilitator Newcastle

A coffee enthusiast and self-proclaimed barrister, Tiffany won’t be seen at a surf-check without a coffee in hand. Tiffany learnt to surf with her dad at age 11 and hasn’t got out of the ocean since. Tiffany has experience as a residential Youth Worker, and more recently as a School Counsellor, working in the prevention and early intervention of mental health conditions. She is particularly passionate about facilitating conversations about wellbeing and coping strategies with children and adolescents. Tiffany is a dog person and a lover of all things coastline and salt water.

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MIKAYLA ATKINS
Surf Instructor Newcastle

She’s super passionate about mental health and keen to make a big impact in surf therapy. When not surf instructing, Mikayla is a whiz with all things interior design, working with one of newcastle’s top design firms. In-between, you’ll find Mikayla on a vanlife adventure on the road less taken searching for perfect waves.

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NICOLE
Lead Facilitator Sunshine Coast

Nicole is an Occupational Therapist who has worked promoting mental health for the last 12 years. She is extremely passionate about using activity to support quality of life. She strives to create a space where people can share vulnerability in order to feel less alone. The ocean is Nicole’s happy place; she loves seeing how much joy participants of WOW get learning to surf. Nicole is known for occasionally pulling out entertainment to get a laugh, she may have been seen doing the caterpillar from time to time.

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WILL


Facilitator Sunshine Coast

Will’s background is in high school PE teaching and he’s a Level 2 Surf coach with 20 years of surfing behind him. He has travelled the world surf coaching and teaching, and loves the positivity and perspective surfing can bring into people's lives. Will lives by the motto "If in doubt, paddle out" and draws inspiration daily from his two biggest heroes; Mary Poppins and Kanye West.

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KARA
Surf Instructor Sunshine Coast

Kara is passionate surfer and a full-time ocean lover – more often than not, you’ll find her on a surfboard or with a snorkel and a pair of flippers. Kara is currently a first year university student studying Sports and Exercise Science, with aspirations to pursue a career that allows her to assist others to be active and live their best lives. Kara has been surf coaching since she was 14 and has helped people of all ages experience the thrill of standing up on a surfboard, whether they were 4 or 64!

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CHRIS


Lead Facilitator Melbourne

Chris recently completed his doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at Deakin University. He lives in Melbourne and is an avid surfer who spends most of his weekends on the Mornington Peninsula. Chris learned to surf at age 15 at Pambula Beach and he’s been obsessed ever since. He has worked across a range of mental health settings and is passionate about helping young people form meaningful relationships with others. Fun fact, Chris used to be a community DJ.. now that’s some funky business!

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KATHERINE


Corporate Partnerships Melbourne

Katherine’s interests lie in both the fields of mental health and neurorehabilitation. She currently works as an Occupational Therapist in youth mental health and is undertaking her PhD in neuro rehab with a focus on post-stroke depression. Katherine loves being a part of Waves of Wellness because of our innovative ways of promoting wellbeing and changing the way we address mental health. She also enjoys conspiracy theories, anything in a miniature version of itself, and all things sport & outdoor activities.

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STACEY WOOLLAMS
Administration / Marketing

Stacey holds a Bachelor in Business from Southern Cross University, and enjoys all things marketing and sponsorship. She has previous experience working in roles with the Newcastle Jets, Football Federation Australia, and Surfest. Stacey loves the instant calming effect of the ocean and the awesome feeling of that first dive under the waves! She also spends an embarrassing amount of her spare time looking at Golden Retrievers on Instagram.

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Sue Ternen
Executive Assistant

Sue has spent her career in the corporate world in a client facing / sales capacity. Her passion for mental health is evident through Sue's love for interacting with people, and her "can-do" attitude. Sue is a mean Barista and loves animals of all shapes and sizes.

 

See yourself here?

If you’d like to explore the idea of joining the WOW team we’d love to hear from you.


 

You might be interested in

 

The Partners

Surf Therapy