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Meet The Friendly Faces

at Overcoming Obstacles

Rachael Nicholls


Education, Wellbeing, Disability and ABA Therapy


 I love being involved in lots of different community groups including the local Shakespeare festival group and football/netball club. I also love yoga, reading, being at the beach and hosting parties! I am very passionate about human rights, specifically the rights of people living with disability.


I love being able to think creatively when supporting clients to achieve their goals. I get so excited for clients when they are kicking goals.


There are so many highlights every day! Most recently we attended an all womens, all abilities disco where I witnessed our clients really step outside their comfort zone and dance with absolute pure joy.


Diversity is having a seat at the table. Inclusion is having a voice. Belonging is having that voice be heard.

Brooke Stewart

Business Operations Manager

Disability, then Education and a return to Disability.


I love house design, renovating and being organised. I love hanging out with family, friends and travelling.


I love the Vibe at Overcoming Obstacles, from the moment I first met the crew I knew I wanted to be a part of the organisation.  I also love the variety and flexibility of my job.


We have many highlights daily here at OO but a stand out was watching one of our clients, a retired Vic State basketballer sit courtside to watch the Melbourne United Basketball team- it was so much fun and myself and the client had such joy during this moment.

Things happen for a reason.


Gabrielle Waterman

Occupational Therapist

Background in Occupational Therapy, clinical experience across Australia and the UK working in orthopaedic, neurological and, cardiac and respiratory rehabilitation, inpatient and outpatient acute medical services, chronic pain clinics, vascular rehabilitation (amputee services), paediatrics and disability. 


 I enjoy spending time with my family, playing card games, watching and joining in sports, travelling and eating delicious food. 


My favourite part of working at Overcoming Obstacles is the diversity of my role. Being able to work towards the goals of each individual person, whatever they may be!


Every time I see a client independently using their learned therapy skills and strategies in their day to day life!


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. 

Lauren van Ruiswyk

Support Team

From Hospitality, veterinary nurse, and now disability support worker.

I love being with my family. I love my animals and I'm creating an edible garden. I also really enjoy playing netball.

Getting to see the clients we work so close and had with active goals they thought would never happen for them and hanging out with the best group of people!

Watching the clients overcome their biggest challenges and being so proud of themselves. 

Never judge a book by its cover, until you've read the whole story.


Sharon Stevenson

Support Team

QA manger livestock, Hospitality, Cafe Manger , Disability. 


My hobbies are walking, spending time with my boys and partner, music entertaining with friends. I am passionate about equality, respect, and compassion to all people of all races backgrounds and abilities.

Favourite part of working at Overcoming Obstacles is knowing so many of the clients and seeing them evolve so much and reaching new levels of achievement and success and being so proud.


Everyday is a privilege and amazing, but a highlight would be that I have a client that was quite shy but now is volunteering two days a week, engaging more and more which is such a great achievement for them.

Sophie Randall

Support Team and Therapy Assistant

4th Year Psychology Student 


I am all about creativity. I love everything to do with art. I also love netball and getting outdoors. I’m passionate about well-being and ensuring that people feel comfortable and validated in their emotions. 


I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives. It is truly the best feeling ever when your client begins to recognise positive changes within themselves. 


I’ve had the opportunity to work really closely with a young girl client and I’ve been able to see them thrive in all sorts of situations. Being able to hear feedback from their family saying that their lives have changed because of our supports is the best feeling. 


“Being happy is the greatest form of success”


Mahli Oldham

Support Team

Mahli has a career background in hospitality, a service advisor and now is apart of the OO support team.


On the weekend you will find me playing netball, basketball, watching the footy and hanging out with my friends.

My favourite part about working at Overcoming Obstacles is supporting our clients to keep pushing themselves and helping them set new goals to be able to achieve with us.


A highlight since being at overcoming obstacles is just seeing how happy our clients are to be involved with other support workers and other clients, it’s really rewarding to see their smiling faces.


“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”

Georgia Goff

Support Team

Cert 3 in Allied Health and Cert 4 in Disability 


Camp drafting and gardening are favourite weekend activities.

The feeling you get when you leave work knowing you got to spend the whole day doing fun stuff with your friends and knowing it helped them. 


Being able to go to Phillip Island with the team and clients was a fun highlight!


What doesn’t kill your makes you stronger.


Chelsea Lange

Support Team

Health and Fitness, Disability, Health care and currently studying Bachelor of Nursing.


I am happiest at the beach swimming, enjoying the sunshine and hot weather. I enjoy all things sport and I am extremely passionate about helping and advocating for people, especially those that are vulnerable.


I love getting to know the families that I am working with and building relationships with them and the wider community. My favourite part of the day is seeing all the clients happy smiling faces and seeing them encourage and support each other.


Every day at OO is a highlight! I recently went away on a respite weekend with a client that has not spent much time from home and seeing them come out of their comfort zone, developing independence and confidence was truly amazing and I am so glad I got to be part of that experience.


“ In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” 

Fran Sutherland

Support Team

Fran has a career background in Banking, Financial Planning Services, Aged Care, Employment Services and  Disability Support

When I’m not at work, I enjoy going to the gym and doing fun runs on the weekend.

I love the outdoors, caravanning and boating. I play the guitar and enjoy sharing my musical talents with others and seeing the joy it brings.

 I love being a member of the OO Support Team and have made so many new connections. I am a great supporter of building employment skills with our clients, particularly those that are interested in working in the hospitality sector.

My highlight at Overcoming Obstacles is supporting our clients at the gym or in our café and seeing them strive to achieve their goals.

A quote to live by: “To inspire people, don’t show them your super powers, show them theirs”

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Trudy Morrison

Support Team and Therapy Assistant

Trudy worked in Early childhood for 23 years. Before going to part time in Education Support and this year joined the OO team doing a support role and Therapy assistant and loves it.


Trudy loves spending time with her hubby travelling, walking the dogs, Pilates and watching her boys play cricket. 

Seeing clients achieve their goals and the gratitude and appreciative received from the clients are some of Trudy's favourite parts of her job.


"Being involved in a recent flash mob experience with the dance/drama group and seeing the joy of achievement on the clients faces was a huge highlight."


A quote to live by..."Treat others how you would like to be treated."

Teegan Appleton

Support Team

After 14 years as a retail assistant, Tegan is now a disability support worker here at OO.

I love, tennis, dancing, singing and sitting around a camp fire

My favourite part is working with clients to achieving their goals and the feeling you get knowing their working really hard towards it, is something you can't describe.

Our crew is always there for each other and no question is ever a ever a silly question.

Its a highlight knowing your making a difference in whatever way to your client day/life.

A quote to live by...If it's not gonna matter in 5 years, don't waste 5 minutes thinking about it.


Lilli Stobie

Support Team

Career experience in Waitressing, Pharmacy Assistant, Lifeguarding and now Disability Support Work, Lilli is always giving something a crack! 


I love playing netball and being apart of the football netball club. I love going for walks, going for swims at the beach and anything to keep active. I also enjoy reading and anything arts and crafts. 


At Overcoming Obstacles there are many things that I love. My favourite and most rewarding aspect would be supporting clients to do the things they love and putting a smile on their face. 


There are too many amazing highlights to choose from! Definitely seeing our clients smash their goals whether it be working on independent living skills, getting into the workforce, getting creative or making strong lifelong friendships. Everything our clients do is amazing! 


A quote to live by...Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient. 

Nim Kardes

Support Team

I have spent 7 years of my childhood in Turkey. Completed high school in Australia. Completed Certificate II in Animal Care.

I love animals, photography and standing up for those who can't.

Its so rewarding seeing clients relax and be themselves.

There have been a lot of highlights but my most recent favourite would be helping a client receive replacement headphones and seeing the joy it brought them.

A quote to live by...You spend most of your life inside your head...  make it a nice place to be.


Dwayne Peel

Support Team

My Career started as an apprentice tool/maker and have worked in a few different fields. I have a cert IV in disability and have worked in the field for a few years now and absolutely love it.


I love the outdoors lifestyle, Hunting, Fishing, and utilising everything I take.


Working at OO is amazing, assisting and watching the clients grow in all aspects of life is a big thing for me.


A quote to live by...We only get one go at this, so take advantage of every opportunity you get!

Matt Battley

Support Team

Matt has a background in Construction and has also been a Correctional Officer for the past 15 years in Melbourne and Fulham.


 I love the outdoors, especially fishing. I love sport of all kinds and designing and drawing.

I love the one on one aspect of working with the client. 


A client told me he loved me and this particular client doesn't seem to like anyone...


A quote to live by...When in doubt throw it out

The cheese has slipped off the cracker.


Helen Watts

Support Team

Career background in disability and education support at a secondary school.

I love Travelling and spending time with family.

 Spending time with different clients, being out in the community, learning new skills and working with a great team.

An Overcoming Obstacles highlight was spending a weekend away at Phillip Island with a great crew.

A quote to live by... Little steps make big progress.

Sarah Gray

Support Team

Studied Cert IV in Disability Studies and Cert IV in Community Studies in Ballarat. I have worked in the disability field for 26 years across different areas, CRU’s, Day Placement and 1:1.

I have met some amazing people in my career in Disability.

I love being a mum of two beautiful kids, being with my family and friends, and my fur babies. 

I love coming into work, everyone is so upbeat and fun to be around. It’s a great place to be! 

Highlights are seeing people achieve their goals and stepping out of their comfort zone to do this! 

Everyone puts in 110% always!


A quote to live by...

“Treat people how you would like to be treated” 


Lesley Aurisch

Support Team

Prior to starting work at Overcoming Obstacles, I was a Hairdresser and business owner. 

My greatest passion is my family. 

Some of my interests include, watching my kids play sport. 

Going on family day trips and holidays, going to concerts.

I love animals especially dogs and horses. 

My favourite part of working at Overcoming Obstacles is definitely seeing our clients reach their goals and hearing them share their feelings of being proud of themselves when they have. I love the trust and connections that I’ve been able to build with the clients. Making me feel confident in my ability to support clients to be the best version of themselves.


One highlight that stands out would definitely be attending the “Having a say” seminar in Geelong. 

Having the opportunity to immerse myself in such a wonderfully supportive and fun environment was a real privilege. 


A quote to live by...Be the reason someone smiles today. 

Sherrie Charles

Support Team

I've worked as a personal care assistant for 14 years , Disability support worker for 4 years where I feel more Purpose.


I love being outdoors getting dirty in the mud 4x4, anywhere that has water i'm there I love jetskiing, kayaking taking walks along the beach , camping but i have become a glamper, anything that brings my family together.


I am very passionate about helping people trying to fufill their dreams making them a reality. I get so excited when I see a client complete a goal or a dream they have set for themselves.


A day at OO is like no other, the clients the support staff are just so caring it is like one big family no one is left out.

One highlight that makes my heart melt is a client that was very isolated and had many problems with leaving the house, we were able to spend a weekend together in Melbourne and I witnessed this client really step outside their comfort zone.

You will often hear me say "we will give it a go.."


Kylie Dixon

Support Team

Hairdresser, Retail, Sales, Merchandiser and Business Owner.

I love Cooking and hosting parties. Summer, Christmas and Birthdays are definitely my favourite times of the year.
I love spending time with my family and spoiling my grandchildren.
I love listening to music,  camping and meeting new people.

I have many favourite parts of working at Overcoming Obstacles but a stand out I for me is supporting clients to help them achieve their goals and seeing them achieve them, seeing the joy, pride and the confidence they get from their achievements is such a satisfying part of my job.

There are so many highlights but a stand out  for me is when a client thanks you for the day and they say it has been the best day ever.

A quote to live by...
Stay humble,  work hard, and be kind !!

Lani Aurisch

Support Team and Therapy Assistant

Barista and waitress, Currently studying to be an Occupational Therapist at University.


I have many interests including travelling, spending quality time with friends, live music and being active. 

My favourite part of being apart of OO is being surrounded by beautiful people who never fail to make me laugh.  


My highlight of OO is seeing the clients succeed in their goals and express their excitement of reaching such an achievement. 


A quote to live by...

Failure is apart of learning. If you are not failing then you are not trying hard enough. 

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Greg George

Support Team

Retail, public servant, civil construction site office manager, childcare, builder, handyman, luthier, real estate property manager, artisan furniture maker, truckie – might have missed a couple...

I love Music, GT cars and golf.

Thriving in a positive and supportive environment with lots of interesting challenges to tackle.

Looking forward to being a part of people blossoming into their best lives – both participants and staff.

A quote to live by...We shall not cease from exploring and at the end of our exploration. We’ll return to where we started and know the place for the first time.

Bianca Klopper

Support Team

Sports management and Outdoor Education.

I love playing hockey and being outdoors. 

I love the way no conversation is the same. Our clients challenge me to think outside the box and have changed my perspective of life for the better.

 Each day has a new highlight. A major highlight that I have experienced was realising how a client’s attitude and actions have changed so much that they are now at a place in their life where they can have amazing relationships with family members and the community.


A quote to live by... Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.


Tania Kuch

Support Team

My background is in customer service from supermarket manager of various departments, administration, massage therapist, aged care and recently disability support.

My hobbies are water colour painting, walking and taking my dogs along, my passion is my family and the support I can give.

I love working with our clients, I love the difference that we can make in their lives and the difference they make in my life, the things that I learn every day just by seeing life through their eyes


I have witnessed many wonderful things that the clients achieve through hard work from themselves and the wonderful support of the workers that show up on a daily basis, I see commitment, passion, dedication and most of all fun, smiles on faces, it’s priceless 

A quote to live by.. Trust the path.

Rachael Macreadie

Support Team, Employment Engagement Officer and Yoyo's Cafe Manager

Hospitality, Chef, Barista, Cafe Manager.

I’m a hobby photographer.  I also love music of all genres and food!! I love exploring new foods, and foods from other cultures. 


My other biggest love (beside my wonderful children) are my dogs. My furry companions mean the absolute world to me. 

I also love to travel our amazing country,  but can’t wait to travel more of the world aboard one day! 

I’m passionate about sharing skillsets. 

I’m grateful everyday that I get to help others learn what I have been given the opportunity to learn over the years.


I absolutely love watching clients reach their goals, grow their skills and work hard to gain employment and independence, or the excitement of a client moving into their own space, has been personally a major highlight to date.


A quote to live by... You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are now and change the ending.


Mark Nicholls

Support Team / Accounts Manager

I Worked at Elders for 20 years at Sale, Heyfield, Yea and Maffra in their Rural Merchandise Business. I was Branch Manager for 14 of those years before Rachael kindly asked me to join her.


I have always played Cricket and Football and now coach Under 18's at the Stratford Football Netball Club. I enjoy golf ( when I hit Straight).  I love fishing at Lake Tyers and Cape Conran. Rachael and I have 3 amazing Children who live in Melbourne so I really enjoy the chance to spend time with them when I can.


My Favourite Part of Working At Overcoming Obstacles IS Everybody's Smiling Faces


A highlight? There have been lots! A favourite was making one of our Clients' dreams come true. A life long trip to Sydney. I was not aware of how long they had wanted to go until the messages started coming through on Facebook. There were many friends, saying how happy they were for them to be on the trip that had been spoken about for over 20 years. 


A quote to live by...

Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Our energy needs to be on the things we can control. Attitude, effort, focus- these are the things we can control.

Cath Cassidy

Support Team

I have been working in Early Childhood Care and Education for the past 12 years, being a room assistant, room leader, kinder assistant, Assistant Manager and now a Therapy Assistant. 


          I love spending time with family and friends, summer/heat, camping in my new van.


        I love working with an amazing and supportive team and seeing my clients reach their goals.


A quote to live by...

Time flies when you're having fun.


Cas Collins

Cafe and Hospitality Staff Support

Bank teller, bar person, family day care worker, childcare worker and integration aide, retail worker and hospitality worker.

I enjoy gardening, spending time with my dog, friends and family and especially going on a cruise with family and friends.

I am new to Overcoming Obstacles. I love the supportive, friendly warm atmosphere between clients and support workers. I love seeing the satisfaction clients have when achieving goals, no matter how small.

One of the highlights I have noted so far is seeing clients assisting and encouraging others.

A quote to live by...

Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
A smile is worth a thousand words.

Hayley Williams

Support Team

From working in a Pharmacy, Retail, Admin and now at OO.
I love spending time with friends and family.

Watching my girls dance and my son play footy and cricket.

Also, I don’t mind a party and a boogie on the dance floor!

 I love watching clients achieve their goals no matter how big or small. We have the BEST team, it is an absolute pleasure going to work every day.

Recently I have been leading the Glee Club group.

Watching the clients confidence grow to the point where they are comfortable singing solo has been such a highlight.

A quote to live by...

We are all works in progress.


Jim Fidler

A teacher, consultant and school principal covering 45 years both in Australia and China.

I am a keen photographer, love all forms of exercise, a reader, a gardener, sports fan and learner.

My favourite part is the wonderful caring people who want to make a difference.

One of the highlights I have is observing how patient and caring the carers are with their clients.

A quote to live by...

There is no letter "I" in TEAM

Support Team

Payton Albrecht

Support Team

Prior to working for OO I studied a Double Degree in Criminology and Psychological science. My first position out of university was a Family Violence Practitioner. I really enjoyed helping the people in my community however, I wanted to be more involved in the support.

I love to be active! Gym, sports, running, walking, I’m a massive Collingwood fan and I also love dogs, specifically German Shepherds!

I love being around people and I feel most accomplished when I can make a positive impact on someone’s day! 

I also have a big passion for makeup. 

I love that everyday I feel like my work has purpose and impact and knowing that your actions have had a really positive impact on someone else.  

The OO staff and clients are a group of the most kind, thoughtful and strong people, who really do inspire and empower me everyday! 

“We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone”


Chris Dixon

Support Team

Prior to returning to Stratford and working at Overcoming Obstacles, for seven years I was working for the Department of Justice and Community Safety working within Youth Justice.  Throughout this time I was supporting young people who had been incarcerated and assisting their reintegration back into the community. 

I love long distance running, I've completed multiple ultra marathons, a 100mile race and most recently ran from Sydney to Melbourne. I am also a running coach who is apart of the Fundamental Running team which facilitates weekly run clubs in both Stratford and Maffra encouraging movement and positive well being. 

One of my highlights is on a weekly basis and it’s playing basketball, supporting the clients in facilitating the warm ups, to observing clients praise each other’s achievements when scoring a basket or winning a game of knock out. The sportsmanship, smiles and laughter is something I appreciate each week that I attend. 

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”


Grace Duffield

Support Team

I worked in Education for the past 18 years, both the secondary and primary school setting, where I specialised in physical education, health, sport.

I love gardening, reading, the great outdoors, building projects and keeping fit.

I’m mum to 3 beautiful boys. I’m passionate about encouraging others to achieve their best, whilst helping them to feel connected and valued.

Favourite part of working at OO is definitely the people. The clients and carers at OO are just full of joy.

The love, care and respect that they show for each other is a pleasure to witness and to be a part of.

Our weekly basketball sessions are one of my favourite activities at OO. We have a lot of fun, laughs with the right mix of competitiveness. I also love training clients in the gym and helping them achieve personal health and fitness goals.

Rejoice Always, Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.

(1Thess 5:16-18)


Brian Kenton

Support Team

Worked for a large Steel company,  14 years as an operator/ inspector nationally 14 years Logistical operations.

My hobbies include flying and building radio controlled model aircraft including jet turbine model jet aircraft, building model railways.  Motor bike riding and following Formula One.

In my time with 00, I have met so many nice people who share the passion to make every day a special day for our clients. 

The clients that am with are so loving and supportive of me, watching clients attempt and complete tasks that they thought they couldn't do, it's a real buzz. Which is so special,  they are wonderful people and many have become my friends.  

Being with 00 is so very rewarding in every sense of the word, just Magic 

Let's have a great day today!

Mel Glover

Therapy Assistance

I am a primary school teacher, fitness instructor, and personal trainer, swim school teacher, and currently studying occupational therapy.

I love to hike, run, exercise, go to the beach, garden, and travel. I am passionate about helping people to become the best version of themselves that they can be. I am passionate about helping everyone become aware of how important it is to look after their mental and physical health. 

I love the diversity of people and activities I get to do at Overcoming Obstacles. I love thinking outside the box to put together activities to help clients meet their goals. 

When clients realise that they are more capable than what they believe and continue to reach the goals that they set for themselves to live happy, healthy, successful, and independent lives. 

We need to grow in life not go through life.

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