Our Team

Our team


Michael Pailthorpe

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Pailthorpe joined EdConnect Australia in April 2023.

He is an experienced business leader in organisations including housing, overseas aid, sport and recreation, children and youth services, mental health and wellbeing and brings a wealth of both professional and interpersonal attributes to lead EdConnect Australia into the future.

Before joining EdConnect Australia, Michael held Executive leadership positions with five organisations over the last two decades, most recently as national CEO for Sports Chaplaincy Australia and previously as CEO with Variety WA. Michael’s early life was spent in the dairy industry before commencing a marketing career that took him to Sydney with World Vision. While in Sydney, he completed his MBA at the Macquarie Graduate School, leading to his first CEO appointment with Habitat for Humanity Australia.

Michael is the Vice Chairman of the Global Sports Chaplaincy Board and serves on the board as P&C President of his local high school (Rossmoyne Senior High School).

Tallulah Whiting

Finance and Accounts

Master of Accounting
Cert III in Financial Services

Tallulah joined EdConnect Australia in January 2024.

She came to us with 10+ years’ experience in accounting and bookkeeping and is a qualified CPA. Tallulah’s most recent roles were at Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, where she initially worked as Accounts Assistant (2009-2012) before becoming the Chief Financial Officer from 2012 – 2023.

Danie McNeil

General Manager – East Coast

B.A. of Commerce

Danie joined EdConnect Australia in June 2019.

Danie has worked within the ‘For Purpose’ sector for the past 15 years in senior management. She is passionate about making a difference and focusing on the “why” of the organisation. Danie prides herself on building relationships and driving engagement from those she works with, be it  volunteers, schools, supporters of the organisation, media and staff. Danie firmly believes that  through sharing stories, highlighting the wins, explaining the challenges, there is greater understanding, compassion and a willingness to stand up and make a difference.

Carol Shannon

General Manager – West Coast

Graduate – Company Directors Course 
Master of Business Administration 
Bachelor of Economics

Carol joined EdConnect Australia in August 2023.

After a career in merchant banking in London, Carol returned to Australia and took up a finance role with Challenge Bank. Studying for an MBA, she diversified into human resource management before accepting senior state government roles with the Rottnest Island Authority, Perth Zoo and Conservation Commission of Western Australia.

Outside her career, Carol volunteered on the tall ship STS Leeuwin II, satisfying her keen interest in youth learning and development. Starting as a voyage volunteer in 1990, she ultimately joined the board and was chair of Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation for the best part of a decade before becoming CEO in 2016. Satisfying another keen interest, conservation and the environment, Carol maintains voluntary roles on Painted Dog Conservation Inc and For the Animals Inc alongside two other volunteer board positions.

She believes success in all of these roles has been built on a fundamental interest in building relationships through meeting the needs of diverse stakeholders, including staff and volunteers, customers and community, sponsors and donors. Carol believes that being deeply committed to a cause and knowing each day you can make a difference is what is important to a rewarding career.

Rachel Crisp

Marketing and Communications Manager

B.A. Commerce: Marketing and Communications

Rachel Crisp joined EdConnect in January 2021. Rachel has 10 years’ marketing and communications experience across the not-for-profit, creative and real estate industries.  Having previously held roles within both disability and youth development organisations, Rachel holds a passion for assisting youth to reach their full potential.

Helen Jones

Administration Officer (Volunteers)

Adv Dip Business Administration, Assoc Dip Business

Helen Jones is the Administration Officer for the volunteers of EdConnect. She has extensive experience in administration having worked in the not-for-profit, for-profit and government sector.

Alicja Ward

Administration Officer

Alicja joined EdConnect in August 2022. Alicja is local to the Maylands area and has extensive experience in Customer Service and Administration. Most recent to joining the EdConnect team, she provided Administrative Support to a political party during the Federal election campaign.

Western Australia Team

Karen Barden

WA Rural Liaison Officer

BA Community Development

Karen is the Liaison Office for rural WA covering the Southwest and Peel Region and is based in Mandurah. Karen has a background working with children of all abilities and has extensive experience in the community sector cross all regions of WA.  Karen is committed to supporting communities to increase their resilience, wellbeing and connectedness.

Ainsley Chadwick

Pilbara Mentors Liaison Officer

Ainsley joined EdConnect in April 2022.

Ainsley has a background working as a Client Manager for a professional development provider to the education sector. Along with this, she also has many years’ experience working within Recruitment positions.

Excited to be the Liaison Officer for the Pilbara Mentors program – she looks forward to the relationships she will build within this unique regional community and the positive impact it will have on students’ lives.

Roselynn Lang

WA South Metropolitan Liaison Officer

Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education, Cert in Community Engagement, Cert IV in Training and Assessment

Roselynn joined EdConnect in 2022.

She comes to us with over twenty years’ experience working in the Secondary and Tertiary Education and the Not for Profit sectors. Ros has worked in roles at Notre Dame, UWA, Curtin University, Challenges Abroad Australia and more recently Australian Red Cross.

Her skills in education, project management, stakeholder relationships, consultation and volunteer management will be an ongoing asset to the EdConnect Australia team. Ros also has an interest in the performing arts and is a former Board Member for Autism Association of WA and a Disability Support Advocate.

Sahara Scadden

WA North East Metropolitan Liaison Officer

Bachelor of Commerce, Vert IV in Training and Assessment, Grad Cert in Public Health

Sahara was welcome to the EdConnect team in 2022.

Sahara has worked in roles at WANSLEA, 366 Solutions, Volunteering WA and City of Joondalup. Her skills in Volunteer Management, Administration and Recruitment are evident and a welcome addition to the EdConnect Australia team.

She is the previous Club President at her daughters netball club and has held volunteer roles as Board Member of Joondalup Primary School and a Consultant for Volunteering Australia.

Sarah White

WA North West Metropolitan Liaison Officer

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Teaching

Sarah joined EdConnect in 2017

She comes to us with over twenty years experience working with youth in a variety of settings including owning and operating a Long Day Care Centre and as an ECE/Primary Teacher.  Sarah is passionate about each and every child’s right to be empowered and successful within the education system and believes that this is possible through the EdConnect program.  She believes that creating intergenerational connections benefits not only the student and volunteers, but the community as a whole.

Victorian Team

Caitlin O’Connor

VIC Geelong and Surf Coast Region Liaison Officer

BBus: Commerce / Marketing, Cert IV Community Services

Currently on Maternity Leave

EdConnect Australia welcomed Caitlin to the team in August 2022.

Caitlin has a Bachelor of Business (Commerce / Marketing) and a Certificate IV in Community Services. She brings a diverse skill set with her professional background in Human Resources, Operations and Account and Relationship Management. Caitlin first moved into the For Purpose sector as a Support Worker in an all abilities day program and discovered her passion for empowering youth through assisted learning and development to achieve personal goals. Caitlin continued her career as a Volunteer Coordinator in the Animal Welfare sector.

Caitlin is extremely passionate about her local Geelong and Surf Coast Community and the significant contribution achieved through Volunteering, from a social, personal and community perspective. She is committed to supporting young people through education, human connection and the power of meaningful support networks.

Linda Perugini

VIC Northern Region Liaison Officer

Linda joined EdConnect in February 2023.

She is passionate about accessible and equitable education for all and has had the privilege of working with pre-school aged students through to adult learners from a range of backgrounds. This experience has given her an appreciation of some of the various challenges people may face with their studies – and a drive to support people to overcome those barriers in order to enjoy and succeed in their schooling.

Her most recent role was Executive Officer of the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, a Neighbourhood House supporting the City of Yarra and City of Melbourne communities. Prior to that she was a high school drama teacher, before moving into the not-for-profit sector after completing a Masters of International Development.

Melinda Spiteri

VIC South East Liaison Officer

Melinda joined EdConnect in July 2021.

Melinda has a Post Grad Dip of Pysch. and Bachelor of Business (Psych) and has worked for an extensive period with RACV. She commenced in a research and policy role and then progressed to managing the team that provided community education on road safety to seniors and students with strong stakeholder engagement. She is passionate about building relationships and connections that benefit the community. For the past couple of years she has been focusing on her family and is excited to join the EdConnect team and building the program in the South East.

Rhonda Velkovski

VIC Western Liaison Officer

Rhonda joined  EdConnect  in March 2018.

She brings extensive experience in a broad range of marketing and communications activities including community development, community engagement, volunteer management, and sponsorship acquisition and management.  She has worked in a variety of sectors including the not-for-profit and government sectors.

Rhonda is passionate about helping and supporting the not-for-profit sector, particularly future generations.  Rhonda believes in a holistic approach to education and learning.  She believes that with positive reinforcement and encouraging self-belief all children have the opportunity to grow into caring, respectful and passionate adults.