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Our Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Juliet Petersen

Juliet is a qualified educator with extensive experience in both regional and metropolitan schools. She understands firsthand the challenges for rural and regional students and their families in accessing tertiary education.  She also identifies the profound impact educational opportunities have on young people and the wider community. In her role as CEO at Country Education Foundation of Australia, Juliet leads a team of dedicated professionals and volunteers, providing financial assistance and ‘wrap around’ support to students aspiring to education after school.

“As an organisation CEF has what it takes to close the education gap in rural Australia and for this, I feel extremely proud.”

Projects & Operations Manager

Xanthe Long

Xanthe is a lifelong learner with a high level of curiosity for life and a passion for design and education. She is an interior designer and educator with many years of experience teaching and helping adult learners achieve their goals in the VET sector. This strong background in education and her creative thinking and problem-solving skills are a great asset in her role at CEF as she works collaboratively with staff, board members and stakeholders to ensure the smooth running of CEF operations.

“I believe that education is the key to success, so I am excited to be working in a team committed to educational opportunity for young people.”

Finance Manager

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.”

Partnerships & Community Engagement

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.”

Impact and Communications

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 women of the national office and the incredible students.”

Students and Education Partnerships

Emma Burns

Emma is an experienced marketing and communications professional who is passionate about the power of education. Emma is a specialist in partnerships and stakeholder management and has worked within the tertiary education sector for government and not-for profit organisations. She grew up in the regional area of the Shoalhaven and is proudly the first in her family to attend university. Her skill with stakeholders and her knowledge of the education sector is a great asset in her role at CEF.  She is driven to continually support students, nurture the CEF Alumni network, and work collaboratively with our education partners to ensure mutual benefit.

“I have lived experience of how education including the ethos and work of CEF changes lives and families and communities.”

Finance Support & IT Systems Management

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.

“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and live life like there’s no tomorrow.”

Administration & Support

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.”

Accounts Support

Jane McMillan

Jane is a local girl from Orange who has returned with her young family after ten years living away. She has had the privilege of working in a variety of sectors in different roles ranging from Hazelton Airlines in Cudal to living and working in Thredbo, Kosciuszko National Park. More recently she has worked in administration for the Department of Education and for the family construction business. She is a resourceful, organised, and energetic professional with a reputation for consistently achieving quality outcomes. Always looking for new challenges and ways to collaborate and learn, these experiences have ignited her interest in accounting, which is a great asset to CEF.

“Find something you love, scares you a little and excites you a lot! CEF gives students the power to believe and invest in their future.”