Meet Our Staff

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Hope Staff Team

Salli Hickford – Executive Officer

Salli joined Hope in June 2019.

Salli has been working in the Community Services Sector in service design and management for over 20 years mainly in the areas of Youth, Drug and Alcohol, Primary Care and Mental Health. She grew up in Anglesea, and after studying and working in Melbourne, has returned to work in the Geelong community where her passion lies.  ‘Grief and Loss has been at the centre of all the work I have done in the past’. Hope’s commitment to the Geelong community and ensuring that ‘no-one is alone in their grief’ is the reason that I am so passionate about my role. I am privileged to be able to work with such a dedicated and giving group of people, from the Board and Staff to the volunteers and partner agencies. The Geelong community’s generosity in keeping Hope operating for more than 35 years is inspirational.’

Maree Burn – Office Manager

Maree joined Hope in Nov 2010 and works part-time in administration.

Maree grew up in Geelong, lived in Melbourne for many years, before returning in the mid 1990s.  Her background is in policing, training and administration.

‘I consider my association with Hope Bereavement Care to be a privilege.  My counselling colleagues are caring individuals who provide thoughtful and compassionate support to the local community.  Our Board (all volunteers) are committed to growing our organisation into the future.  I also learn from the individuals and families who seek support from Hope.  At a time of great need in tragic circumstances, Hope is there offering understanding, care and hope.’

Wendy Leigh – Administration

Wendy joined Hope Bereavement Care in October 2018 and works part time, having previously worked  in administration at the Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment.

Wendy was born and grew up in the Geelong area and co-founded the Lazarus Community Centre.

Wendy believes that her lived experience of grief, after the sudden and unexpected death of her 19 year old daughter Kate to epilepsy, has helped her bring empathy to clients who may be making their first contact with Hope Bereavement after their own devastating loss.

She is thankful for the wonderful support of her caring colleagues and board members.

Catharina Dumaresq – Bereavement Counsellor

Catharina joined Hope Bereavement Care in November 2020 and is involved with clients across all programs.

Catharina was raised in the Geelong area and has spent the majority of her adult life here, apart from several sojourns for travel or study purposes. Catharina has a background in Nursing, having commenced in General nursing 40 years ago, studying postgrads in Midwifery and Mental Health. She is currently a proudly Credentialed Mental Health Nurse with ongoing studies in the fields of Mindfulness Integrated CBT, Sensory motor Psychotherapy and a recent 2 year Post grad in Buddhism and Psychotherapy. “I believe ongoing study is integral to my brain health and personal wellbeing, as well as being beneficial for my clients”.

Catharina has spent the past 18 years employed in Perinatal Mental Health working with new families that may be struggling in their transition to parenthood. This also included working with parents who had received adverse outcomes from pregnancy testing and/or experienced pregnancy or early parenthood loss of their babies.

Catharina attended Hope Bereavement Care as a client in 2016 after the death of her husband, and has been a lived experience volunteer for Support After Suicide until her current role at Hope Bereavement Care. “I feel very privileged to be able to give back, at any level, to the team that supported myself and children after the traumatic loss of my husband and their father”. “I have realised also how important it is to consider the body, brain and spirit in recovery from trauma.  And, hopefully provide an example of how growth is possible after inconceivable loss”.

Christine Rawson – Bereavement Counsellor

Christine has been with Hope Bereavement Care since September 2011.

Christine’s previous work experience in the Community Services Sector, specifically the loss and grief field, has spanned 21 years.  From the foundation of learnings as a volunteer with telephone helplines and camps with young people; to roles with a Western Australian Suicide Prevention Service as a Youth Liaison Officer; and Frankston City Council as a Family Support Worker working with families in crisis situations.

After 2 years of studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Loss and Grief Counselling, Christine decided to bring her Loss and Grief experience to bereavement counsellor/educator roles with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, Hope Bereavement Care, and Hope’s Support After Suicide.

The Hope environment offers a unique, easily accessible support to those in the region who need to understand and tread the complex and often challenging grief path.  “As a bereavement counsellor I have an amazing team all who bring an extraordinary wide range of knowledge, experience and dedication to their roles.  Equally, admiring the courage our clients have whilst navigating an enormously shattering period in their lives.  A commitment to upholding the reputation that Hope has within the Geelong community is a constant in my privileged role.”

Annie Norrish- Bereavement Counsellor

Annie joined Hope Bereavement Care in September, 2016, after moving from Melbourne in January 2015. She is the counsellor for Support After Suicide Geelong Region and had been working for Jesuit Social Services Support After Suicide program for two years in Melbourne, prior to the service starting in Geelong. She was a member of the establishment committee, which created the service through a partnership with Hope Bereavement Care, Jesuit Social Services and Freemasons Victoria.

Annie has worked in a variety of counselling and supervision roles since 1998, after she left her role as a nurse consultant and began studying, eventually setting up her own private practice. Her background includes family therapy, social work, education and trauma and grief. She has worked at the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, Doncare, The Bouverie Centre and as a locum at The State Coroner’s Office, and has also provided supervision for staff at Mercy Palliative care, Melbourne City Mission and the Wesley Centre. She is passionate about her work, ensuring that all people have access to the support they need following a bereavement.

Sue Eddy- Bereavement Counsellor

Sue has over 30 years experience working in the Geelong community in various Health and Mental Health roles.
She has worked at Headspace, the Geelong Clinic, for the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the Paediatric Unit at University Hospital, and in Private Practice. Sue is passionate about helping to provide accessible, person centred and timely care for individuals and their families who have experienced  grief, bereavement and trauma, and has qualifications in Paediatric nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Family Therapy

Caroline Gubb – Bereavement Counsellor

Caroline first began her association with Hope when completing a placement as part of her studies in a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy. During that time, she was privileged to work with, and companion families who had lost a child suddenly and unexpectedly. This included losses due to pregnancy loss, stillbirth or a loss in the first six years of life. As a result of this experience grief, bereavement and trauma has been the focus of her work ever since.  Caroline has gone on to work with Hope Bereavement Care as a locum bereavement counsellor, co-facilitated the Creative Bereavement Group and continues to facilitate Children’s Memory Mornings in the school holidays. Previously, Caroline volunteered in the community service sector for several years, in therapeutic kindergartens and supporting young mums and their children. She has also mentored girls and young women as a Unit Leader in the Girl Guide Program.

To compliment her experience and past studies, Caroline continues to study grief and bereavement through the Centre of Existential Practice and has pursued further qualifications in Initiatic Art Therapy and Mindfulness and Meditation teaching with the intention of supporting the grieving and bereaved holistically. Caroline’s intention is to companion clients as they move through those early days of grief and beyond; to hold space and offer breathing room. Caroline also works privately with women who wish to re-establish their identity and rebuild their sense of Self after experiencing trauma or loss of any description. Her approach is largely existential, mindful and creative with the intention of supporting each individual through their own process of healing.

Rachel Penn – Art Therapist

Rachel started running the Creative Bereavement group with Caroline Gubb at Hope Bereavement Care in the beginning of 2020.

Rachel is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Transpersonal Art Therapist, Meditation facilitator and Somatic Touch Therapist. Rachel has been working in the community services sector since 2013 in areas such as disability, trauma and torture, and addictions.

Rachel works creatively, somatically and mindfully with you to complete patterns, make meaning, build resources, expand resiliency, widen community supports and to become more embodied. This is done via movement, tracking sensation, ritual, symbolism, narrative, various art forms and reparative connection.

Rachel has an ever evolving interest in continuing to expand her knowledge and work on the relationship between trauma and the body and how she can bridge the two creatively.