Our Executive is made up of the Chief Executive and our Executive members. It provides effective leadership to drive and monitor the strategic direction of our organisation and establishing business plans to meet our strategic goals.

Chief Executive

Our Chief Executive is responsible for leading the Executive and ensuring organisational functions and objectives are realised; and is responsible for the ongoing management of the organisation in accordance with the strategy, policies and programs approved by the Board.

Claire Robbs

Claire Robbs

Claire is Chief Executive at Life Without Barriers, one of Australia’s largest national charitable organisations with services across the country, including remote areas.

Claire is a highly skilled strategist with more than 20 years’ experience in the human services and community sector that began in front line service delivery.

Claire has extensive experience working in disability, mental health, aged care and out-of-home care services. Since becoming Chief Executive in 2011, Claire has successfully developed Life Without Barriers to become one of Australia’s largest disability providers and one of Australia’s few national providers of services for children in out-of-home care.

With a strong reputation in the sector and with Government, Claire is revered for her ability to collaborate and partner in a truly authentic way, and is a prominent and reliable voice on ways to deliver high quality supports for people seeking support and services from the non-government sector.

Claire leads more than 7,200 staff and works with close to 3,000 foster carers nation wide, across a diverse and complex sector. She leads her teams from a values and culture driven approach that seeks to inspire the leadership qualities in others.

Claire maintains an unwavering ethos that in our communities, every person, their human rights and choice about how they want to live their life, is central to a commitment to contribute an inclusive and equitable society.

  • Celina Cross

    Celina Cross

    Celina Cross is the Executive Director of People and Culture at Life Without Barriers. Supporting a workforce of over 8,000 people, Celina brings more than 20 years’ senior leadership experience in developing high performance teams and leading organisations through major growth.

    With a background in the energy, technology, financial services and retail sectors, Celina excels in shaping workforces to be responsive, inclusive and adaptable to change.

    People are at the heart of Life Without Barriers. Celina is passionate about building strong relationships and creating a work culture where people thrive and teams feel empowered to constantly improve to meet changing needs.

    Celina’s People and Culture team also ensures the right systems and processes are in place to enable a responsive organisation, including in the areas of talent management; health, safety and wellbeing; diversity and inclusion; learning and development; employee relations and workforce strategy.

  • Jane French

    Jane French

    Jane is the Executive Director Child, Youth and Family at Life Without Barriers.

    As a registered psychologist, Jane has extensive experience in the health and human services sector. She has held senior positions within Medibank, MacKillop Family Services, Save the Children, 1800 RESPECT and worked with children and families for many years. Working closely with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses for Child Sexual Abuse, Jane played a pivotal role in designing the support services for survivors and staff of the Commission.

    Jane brings considerable government and policy experience to Life Without Barriers but also has a solid, hands-on understanding of child protection, having worked as a practitioner, manager and trainer for many years.

    As Executive Director Child, Youth and Family, Jane leads more over 1300 professionals who are committed to providing the best outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

    Jane is passionate about supporting staff to put the safety and wellbeing of children and young people first in all they do.

  • Mary McKinnon

    Mary McKinnon

    Mary is the Executive Director Practice and Quality at Life Without Barriers. With more than thirty years’ of senior experience in a wide range of areas including disability, child, youth and family services, Mary is an experienced leader focused on driving practice improvement through the implementation of evidence based practices and programs into people focused service delivery.

    As the former Director of Statutory and Forensic Services Design in the Victorian Department of Human Services, Mary was responsible for the design of child protection, youth justice and disability forensic services in Victoria. Mary has also held senior positions including as Director, Regional Operations Performance; Director, Child Protection, Placement and Family Services; Director, Child and Family System Advice (Cummins Inquiry); and Director, Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Strategy Unit.

    Mary has a deep commitment to improving the immediate and long-term outcomes of children in out-of-home care and has a passion for relevant research and demonstrable impact measurement that can be shared across the sector.

  • Marie New

    Marie New

    Marie is the Acting Executive Director Client Services - Disability, Aged Care and Mental Health at Life Without Barriers.

    Marie is a highly regarded leader with an unwavering commitment to the rights of people with disability. Marie’s career began in Ireland and over the past 35 years, she has led large teams through Executive roles in Government across disability, and services for children and families in child protection. Marie is passionate about leadership and supporting individuals in essential services to offer responsiveness, imagination and respect in all relationships we have with people who choose our services. As Executive Director Client Services Disability, Aged Care and Mental Health, Marie leads a team of dedicated and skilled essential staff, all of whom are dedicated to partnering with people with disability in providing great services.

    Marie is held in high regard by her colleagues as a person of integrity and whose experience and knowledge continues to champion listening to people with disability and recognising their role in designing the services they want to receive.

  • John O'Connor

    John O'Connor

    John is the Executive Director, Corporate Services and Finance at Life Without Barriers. John provides leadership of more than 400 staff and oversees financial governance and corporate support services for one of Australia’s largest not for profit organisations. John has held a number of senior leadership roles including as Chief Financial Officer and General Manager in a range of large scale, international industries.

    John has a demonstrated capability to improve financial performance in a values led culture with his team and has an interest in sharing his experiences as to how good financial stewardship can maximise social impact in the human services sector.

  • Brad Swan

    Brad Swan

    Brad is the Executive Director of Strategy and Engagement at Life Without Barriers. Brad leads a team of highly skilled professionals across business strategy, partnerships and fundraising, business development, marketing strategy, communications and media and the nurturing of Life Without Barriers foster carers. Brad has significant experience in the provision of human services, especially in programs for children, youth and families, an area of expertise he led during his former role as Deputy Director-General for the Queensland Government – Department of Communities.

    Brad has extensive operational experience and considerable expertise in disability services, specifically the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

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