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Our Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Wendy Mason

An experienced leader in multi-disciplinary roles at a senior executive level, Wendy brings extensive management and business operations experience, excellent networks and a substantial track record in stakeholder relations across the government, business and for purpose sectors. With a career built around the power of education as a catalyst for change and a passionate commitment to regional and rural Australia, Wendy believes the Country Education Foundation’s focus on enabling local communities to support rural and regional youth to access further education, career and personal development opportunities is a simple and compelling proposition.

Wendy holds formal qualifications in Social Sciences (BEd), Business and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She serves on a number of Boards and Expert Panels that have an Education and/or regional development focus.

“We know that Country Education Foundation’s focus on enabling local communities to support youth from rural, regional and remote areas to access further education, training and work is impactful and creates change.”

Financial Controller

Deborah Carroll

Deb has extensive experience in finance management with many years in both private industry & government in rural NSW. She is an active participant with Zonta International, a global service and advocacy organisation focusing on the advancement of women of which education is a key factor. Deb continues her professional work with CEF in semi-retirement as it is a great opportunity for her to contribute to an organisation that shares her value of educational equality.

“I believe a professionally run organisation can best serve our communities and provide the essential support the young people in rural Australia need to reach their potential.”

Head of Development & Communities

Lisa Carrick

Lisa is a country girl with corporate and consulting experience in marketing and communications. She is passionate about rural and regional students achieving their dreams through her work with our foundations and their volunteers. As a genuine communicator, Lisa relies on her strong relationships to facilitate positive impact. This extends to our generous partners to discover how we can achieve our mutually beneficial goals.

“A society that invests in the education of their youth makes for richer, stronger, more vibrant communities. The greater our network the more positive our impact.”

Head of Engagement, Media & Impact

Nicole Wright

Nicole has always had an interest in psychology and helping people. She has a love for learning and is particularly interested in the written and spoken word and how others see the world. She has been involved in all aspects of the organization and her background in theatre and the performing arts has given her the experience to confidently speak to the media about the work of CEF. Nicole’s ability to connect with people, create engaging content and stories, and ‘jack of all trades’ approach has made her a valuable, longstanding member of the CEF team.

“It is the people I get to connect with that makes me one of the lucky few to have a job that is my passion. This includes board members, volunteers, donors and partners, the amazing team at national office and our incredible students.”

Head of Operations

Donna Roberts

Donna has over 25 years of experience in the health sector, working in administration, statistical data, project management and information technology. She has a love for regional Australia and learning more through meeting people and communities while travelling. She enjoys working with everyone at CEF and the foundations as each person is working towards a common goal – to guide students to a better future. She believes that these warm and genuine connections made though CEF are vital to its success.

“I believe our students are the future and they will bring something wonderful to it. One of my favourite quotes is:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” —A.A. Milne”

Community Specialist

Sarah Washbrook

Sarah has experience in the services and facility management sector and has a range of expertise in administration, customer services and data management. She is currently studying a Diploma of Business at the University of New England to improve her skillset in this area. Sarah is a bubbly and energetic character who is eager to assist others and thrives on being a part of a collaborative and vibrant team. Sarah is the friendly voice you will hear when you call and with her strong administrative background, she can be called on to resolve any issues that arise.

“I’m very proud to be a part of the CEF team. These students are incredible individuals, who I know will do great things for our society. I look forward to seeing the future they pave for themselves.”

Manager of Partnerships

Hilary Matchett

Born and raised in Central West NSW, Hilary has always had a passion for regional development, especially in improving youth education outcomes. Armed with a Master of Commerce (Corporate Communications) from Charles Sturt University and extensive experience in public relations and the higher education sector, she is determined to see regional youth succeed, no matter what their dreams might be. Hilary believes in the impact of authentic communication and ensuring that all partnerships are relevant to achieving organisational objectives.

““Investing in our regional youth means great advancement in our local communities. Education is much more than a piece of paper – it unlocks incredible opportunities for young people and gives them the power to make decisions about how they choose to live their life.””

Communications Specialist

Joshua Matic

Josh has always had an interest in the communications and media industry. He brings with him a wealth of experience in journalism, having worked for a number of publishers in Canberra, ACT, and regional NSW. Having also operated his own graphic design and commercial printing business he also brings a background in graphic design, branding and marketing to the table. Being an avid user of social media, he excels in promoting an organisation in the digital landscape, creating interesting and engaging content to create resonation within the wider community. Josh is also an avid sports fan, particularly the NRL and AFL where he follows the Canberra Raiders and the Richmond Tigers. Born and bred in Canberra, ACT, Josh completed his tertiary studies at the University of Canberra, before relocating to Cowra in Central Western NSW in 2015, where he has lived with his wife ever since.

“Education has the power to change lives, families and communities, and CEF has the power to deliver this for regional and rural youth that have barriers to accessing it. It is the driving force behind development and progression, and without our critical work, some incredible skills from regional and rural Australia would go to waste.”

Accounts & Office Administrator

Naomi Barrett

“I am truly amazed at the generosity of people, who are willing to donate their time and/or their money to help young rural people realize their dreams.”

Alumni and Programs Specialist

Zanna Christian

Zanna’s experience is in driving impactful initiatives, with a passion for creating meaningful connections to make a tangible difference in the lives of those she works with. Combining her experience in marketing, partnership development, and engagement, Zanna possesses a unique set of skills that enable her to not only create compelling campaigns but also effectively engage with diverse audiences.

Zanna is dedicated to expanding the horizons of the CEF alumni and opening doors to new and exciting opportunities that align with their career aspirations. She firmly believes that through strategic partnerships and a deep understanding of our stakeholders, we can foster an environment that nurtures growth and success. Zanna is a country girl from the New England region with a love of a good sporting event!

“CEF students not only have the financial backing of their community but the confidence of the community to help them succeed. It is incredibly rewarding to play a part in the future careers of the CEF students and alumni.”