Our Chief Executive Officer
Karen Dare has a social sciences background and over 30 years of experience working within the community sector.
She has worked with Communify since 1994 and has seen the organisation grow from a small neighbourhood centre with limited resources to the thriving multi-service hub that it is today. Always with a community development focus, Karen works alongside the Communify Management team to develop services and programs that will support people living the inner city communities of Brisbane.
Karen also works broadly in the community and has sat on the boards of several prominent community organisations and other representative committees including 4Walls Housing Company, Suncorp Stadium Advisory Committee and Building Services Authority.
She has a strong interest in supporting and developing responsive services within the housing, mental health, family support, emergency relief and refugee support areas.
Karen is recipient of the 2001 Centenary Medal and the Brisbane Australia Day Award for her contribution to the community sector.
Our Board of Directors
Carolyn Mason is the Chair of Communify’s Board and believes that community is about interaction and networks and adding value to benefit other people. Communify provides an opportunity for Carolyn to do this for the benefit of people who live in the broader inner north and west of Brisbane.
“I have been involved in community work since the 1970s when I joined the Women’s Movement, and have been involved since then with various women’s organisations and lobby groups, the union movement, Parents and Friends Associations in both formal and informal capacities, and now it is specifically with Communify and with the Management Committee of a Buddhist Centre.
“I was aware of Communify as a locally-based organisation. I met the General Manager Karen Dare in the course of work I was doing as Chair of the governance committee implementing a strategy to build between stronger relationships between the government and the community and health services sector. Communify’s range of programs and activities and Karen’s representation of them was impressive.
“When I decided to volunteer several years ago, Communify was the natural choice. I was pleased to be offered the role of making morning tea for the Tuesday lawn bowls group organised under the mental health program. It is very rewarding interacting with the people who I have got to know over the past 2 years. I was then made an offer I couldn’t refuse by Karen to join the Management Committee”.
Carolyn brings strategic and policy skills and knowledge about the processes of government, governance and company director skills, networking and knowledge in the community services sector, and operating in today’s dynamic environment.
Carolyn encourages all volunteers to find an opportunity where they feel they can make some difference in their volunteer work, and where it is possible to give back to the community learnt skills and knowledge. This is a way to find well-being in life.
Bea Duffield has lived in Ashgrove since 1989. She loves this suburb and finds her community inclusive, reliable and friendly.
Bea volunteers at The Exchange at Kelvin Grove where she helps people improve their English skills. She believes that Communify’s focus on sustainable community development is the basis for building a compassionate and supportive society. Working with Communify is her way of giving something back to the community.
Bea’s background is in veterinary microbiology and she has worked in various roles for government and private enterprise.
She has expanded her voluntary work to include working with social enterprises in Vietnam and Cambodia with the Australian Aid program.
Judith works with disability service provider, Synapse, as their Chief Financial Officer.
She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and has over 20 years post qualification experience.
Prior to working for Synapse, Judith worked for ten years in the not for profit sector, including four years within social & affordable housing, and four years in the healthcare industry in Australia.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Judith also has experience in the hospitality, manufacturing and public utilities industries.
Janet Marshall is an Ashgrovian who loves the familiarity of her community whether it be the people or places or just knowing where to go for something she needs.
She has always enjoyed being involved in community and has a long history of voluntary service in community organisatons such as National Trust of Queensland, Planning Institute of Australia and the Queensland Conservation Council. Janet is an urban and regional planner and is currently in a senior leadership role in a private company.Janet contributes property and business leadership skills to the Board.
Her advice to those who are interested in working with community groups is to work out what time you have available then find something that interests you and get involved. If you match your time with the right involvement, you’ll enjoy the difference it makes.
Amy Ward is a strategic communications, marketing and management consultant.
She lives in Windsor with her young family and apart from a few years living overseas her time in Brisbane has been spent almost entirely in our inner northern suburbs of Windsor and New Farm. Her ties to the local community are strong and she enjoys volunteering her strategic communications skills for Communify.
Amy was introduced to Communify by another volunteer in early 2013 and was very quickly impressed with the breadth and levels of service that Communify offers to the surrounding communities.
“The people are genuine, the organisation is professionally run and it really is a pleasure to be able to contribute.”
She is also involved in helping with her children’s school, Windsor State School and she has previously contributed her time, skills and financially to various organisations such as The Salvation Army in Brisbane and United Way in Canada. She has also mentored students for the Griffith University Mentor Program.
“Volunteering is a very enriching and rewarding experience for both the volunteer and the organisation you are helping. When becoming a volunteer it is important to work with groups who you respect and who provide services you believe in.”
“My professional skills are in the areas of strategic marketing, communications, stakeholder engagement and management consulting and I’m really pleased to be able to bring these skills to bear and contribute to the direction of Communify at strategic management level.”
Kent has lived in Milton and New Farm for more than 20 years enjoying the social mixtures and community spirit of the inner suburbs. This led to him accepting the role of President of New Farm Neighbourhood Centre with its goals of promoting social justice, diversity and inclusion. In this role he guided the amalgamation of the Centre with Communify in 2014.
He has contributed to a number of other not for profit organisations including being Joint Chair of Under 1 Roof, Chair of the Board of La Boite Theatre, Member of the Board of Epilepsy Queensland and the Attorney-General’s representative on the Queensland Legal Aid Commission.
Kent is an organizational consultant who works in the government, not for profit and for profit sectors on a multiplicity of projects including organisational analysis and design, corporate governance, program evaluation, strategic planning, solving sensitive management dilemmas and leadership of large renewal initiatives.
Tania is Brisbane born and bred and calls the sleepy bayside suburb of Lota home.
After nearly 20 years as a lawyer, in 2010 Tania started her own business providing independent company secretary and corporate governance services to the NFP sector.
Tania has been working with Communify as company secretary since 2013 and provides ongoing support to the Board and CEO on governance and compliance issues.
“One of the many benefits of owning your own business is choosing to work with people and organisations who share my passion for working within communities to improve lives. I feel very honoured to work with the dedicated Communify team.”
Peter has spent his life in New Farm and enjoys all the values the community has offered over the years. He joined the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre Management Committee just before its merger with Communify.
Peter is a Chartered Accountant with over 16 years’ experience and is a partner in a mid-size accounting firm in the city. Peter has specialist financial knowledge and skill across a broad spectrum of tax and advisory matters and works across a range of industries and professional areas.