Board and staff
As an incorporated organisation, Cahoots (formerly Kids’ Camps) is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors.
Members of the Board include both parents of children who attend camp as well as professional associate members who can provide skills and experience in their roles.
In 2016 the Board reviewed and updated the strategic plan, fundraising to ensure a sustainable future as well as reviewing policy, structure and capital turnover and development.
After much consultation and thought, Kids’ Camps began a rebranding project in February 2016, officially launching their new brand, Cahoots, in February 2017.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Board, joining the Board, or having a say and helping out with our various sub committees, events or fundraising, please contact the CEO, Jess Karlsson, at email@example.com.
Christine Truscott – Chair
Christine is a chemical engineer who worked in the mining industry for twenty years in a variety of positions. Her experience includes managing operating plants, running technical teams across an organisation and working with government, environmental, community and indigenous groups to allow the start-up of new mines. Christine has sat on various sporting and community committees and is currently a member of the Hockey WA Board and chairperson of their Risk Management and Governance Committee. Christine has been a member of the Cahoots Board since 2009 and Chairperson since 2010.
Janette Gee – Secretary
Janette is a secondary school principal with extensive experience in the public school sector both in mainstream and special needs schooling. She has a particular interest in equitable, inclusive education focused on the individual needs and strengths of each student. As the parent of a disabled person she has an understanding of many of the issues facing families of children with varying support needs and she is able to see the issues from both the perspectives of a parent and an educator. Currently Janette is employed as the full time president of the Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association and is on the board of the Australian Secondary Principals Association. She works on behalf of secondary school administrators in an advocacy and support role and acts as a conduit between the association and the state and federal education bodies.
Janette’s son was an enthusiastic Cahoots participant for many years and she is grateful for the opportunity it gave her son to enjoy some independence in a fun, supportive and safe environment. She joined the board to say thank you to Cahoots and help spread the word about the wonderful opportunities it offers for families.
Liam McEntee – Treasurer
Liam joined the Board in February 2019 after spending two years on the Financial and Audit Subcommittee with Cahoots. He has been brought on as a Board Director and the new Treasurer to complement the current board members with his accounting and financial background. Liam is currently employed with a global advisory firm working in Corporate Finance and Restructuring. His day to day role encompasses identifying factors in distressed companies, mitigating those issues and working alongside the company through the resolutions.
“I would like to see Cahoots grow to its full potential in the disability sector in providing respite care/camps and continue to be recognised as a quality, essential service provider within the community.”
Rebecca is an expert at Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution – at all levels from advice, settlement negotiations and documentation, representation in proceedings and enforcement of judgments. She regularly appears in the Magistrates, District, Supreme, Federal Magistrates and Federal Courts of Western Australia. Rebecca is interested in Wills & Estate Planning, including advice, drafting of Wills and documents, complex grant applications, contested probate matters and claims under the Family Provision Act. Rebecca joined the Cahoots Board in 2017.
Andrea Dearden is a Solutions Engagement Manager & has previously worked in the disability sector. Andrea has held a number of progressive leadership roles & has over 20 years experience in IT & information Governance. She has a passion for fairness & equity and mentors a number of people with disabilities in their career pursuits. She has a BA Honours in Business and brings with her a broad range of experiences from public, private & not for profit sectors.
Toto is a Board Director on the Cahoots Board, he joined in 2018. He holds workshops and presentations on Professional Image, Business Image and Personal Image. He is passionate about connecting and bringing people together in a space where ideas are shared and opportunities are created. He strongly believes in positive social impact and goes out of his way to promote inclusiveness and equal opportunity. His involvement as a Director on The Board of Cahoots is specifically to bring communities together. It is to support children, youth and families with disability by providing engaging programs, activities and camps for them. Toto has previously worked in marketing and managing before and after school programs. He also worked in the private school system in promoting physical activity and helping primary school aged students develop their motor skills.
“My vision for Cahoots is to reach and impact as many lives as possible with our services. For families and communities to come together and encourage inclusion for all.”
For over a decade, Damien has provided a sound working knowledge of working strategically at Executive and C Suite levels whilst maintaining day to day management accountabilities with teams ranging in size from 4 through to 150. He has worked in both Business to Business and customer facing organisations and has developed a cross functional skill set that allows for successful completion of operational deliverables across planning, resourcing, logistics, execution, quality control and customer management. He also specialises in mobile equipment mining technology; has intimate knowledge of the identification, deployment and ongoing support of technology solutions and systems.
Brenda is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years experience working across different industries both public, private and not for profit in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Brenda’s most recent role was Finance Director for a community services organisation where she led the successful financial transition to NDIS. Brenda has extensive experience of financial planning and budgeting, financial modelling and strategy development and execution. Brenda is a Leadership WA alumnus.
Jess Karlsson – Chief Executive Officer
Jess was appointed to the role of CEO of Cahoots in September 2015, bringing with her extensive executive management experience in the NFP sector, including individualised services in recreation, youth, children, indigenous and disability services for almost a decade. Her community engagement and volunteering activities add to her skills and strengths, including; Rotary Club Board member, Community event coordinator, twice nominated Territory Young Achiever, Community Coach, and volunteer for a range of activities including delivery of disability recreation services. Jess is passionate about providing inclusive opportunities for all people to grow and connect, as well as safeguarding our most vulnerable people, and have actively advocated for charity’s by advocating and leading physical challenges in fundraising activities such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and cycling 500km to Uluru in one day. Jess has a Bachelor of Exercise Sciences, Diploma of Sport Development, Diploma of Business and Management, and has just been awarded the 2016 Leadership WA Scholarship ‘enabling the rapid advancement of rising leaders’.
“I believe we in Cahoots are in the construction industry, because we’re helping build great young people.”
Paul Lewis – Cahoots General Manager
Paul joined Cahoots at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and helped launch Cahoots Connects, our essential shopping and delivery service within 2 weeks. Paul works closely with Cahoots CEO Jess and our various partner organisations to ensure we offer a personalised and accessible service to the WA community.
As an experienced corporate leader, and small business owner, Paul has enjoyed moving between corporate roles and launching his own small business start ups and franchisees over many years, bringing common sense and practical experience to his various leadership roles. Paul appreciates opportunities to add value and learn with organisations where there is alignment of purpose & values, like at Cahoots.A proud father of two teenage boys, always learning and working on balancing work, family, friendships, travel, health and fitness (and most recently golf!)
“My vision for Cahoots is to positively impact as many people as possible across WA. This includes our customers, staff, volunteers and partners who all come together to provide amazing Cahoots experiences.”
Lee Hughes – Camp Coordinator
Lee is the Camp Coordinator at Cahoots. He is responsible for all camp logistics, which is integral to the effective functioning of Cahoots by ensuring all camps are delivered to a high standard and are meeting participants and families’ expectations, needs and their goals.
Lee has been working in the disability sector for the past several years, previously as a support worker and coordinator. Lee is most at home outdoors, and is passionate about sharing the ways getting out in nature can inspire, restore and build long lasting friendships.
“My vision for Cahoots is help change the lives of our participants for the better, and help support the growth of the organisation so that we can reach as many people as possible in the future.”
Sophia Stante – Operations Manager
Sophia’s role is to develop training for Cahoots staff and volunteers, provide education to businesses and local governments about disability and connect with partners to run Cahoots camps and programs for their service users. Previously Sophia developed social programs for people a disability. These programs provided a stepping stone for people with a disability to access their community independently. Sophia also has background in working with individuals, understanding the NDIS, and developing and conducting training. Through her experience working with people with a disability, Sophia has developed a greater empathy and understanding of the barriers people can face within their community.
“I am extremely passionate about educating people about Disability and share the Cahoots vision for an inclusive society.”
Leon Schneider – Volunteer Coordinator
Leon is the Volunteer Coordinator at Cahoots. He is in charge of finding volunteers from all kinds of different places, running training sessions, helping with documentation, and ensuring they are supported all the way through. Cahoots volunteers come from all walks of life, so the role of helping them through the experience and making sure they are part of a welcoming and warm culture is a huge part of the role. He also plans volunteer events and fundraisers, builds partnerships with educational institutions for prac student volunteers, and makes sure that all of our camps and programs have the right amount of volunteer. Prior to working at Cahoots, Leon taught History and English with high school students, coordinated and budgeted tour programs and worked with a few different organisations and youth movements as a coordinator and manager. His most recent role was overseas in recruitment and marketing of an international university student program.
“I would love to see Cahoots continue to grow and branch out with the number of activities and different communities that we can positively impact. I would also love to see us offering more opportunities for professional development and networking for our many committed volunteers.”
Pearl Cruickshank – Workforce Assistant
Pearl is the Workforce Assistant at Cahoots. She looks after our volunteers and casual staff who make our camps and programs run without a hitch!
“My vision for Cahoots is to build a strong network of volunteers and staff that will boost the experience for our participants. I aim to give volunteers the tools needed to succeed and grow while making an impact at our camps and programs.”
Kaylee Nicholas – Marketing and Partnerships Manager
Kaylee is the Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Cahoots and is passionate about her work and helping the people she meets. She has spent time in the health sector previously, focusing time on understanding people’s needs, goals, and values. Kaylee likes to ensure continuous health, well-being, and inclusion of all people from various walks of life. She also has a BBA and BCom in Marketing Management and focuses on continuous learning and growth, whether personal or in a work capacity.
“My vision for Cahoots is for young people living with a disability, and those who face exceptional challenges to gain lifelong skills which will assist them in achieving both short and long terms goals while having an exceptional amount of fun in the process.”
Ben Cox – Community Engagement Officer
Ben’s passion for event planning led him to establish an event called Ability Idol – a singing competition for people living with disability. In 2016, with support of City of Melville and a volunteer committee, Ben pulled off an extraordinary event. It was through the volunteer committee that Ben met the CEO of Cahoots, and was offered a part-time position as Community Engagement Officer. Ben works on a number of Cahoots’ community inclusions projects and represents Cahoots on access and inclusion working groups such as City of Perth’s. Now coordinated by Cahoots, Ability Idol is Ben’s major yearly project. In 2017 it evolved to become an all-inclusive singing competition for children aged 5-17 years living in WA. Ben and Cahoots managed to establish a partnership with Town of Victoria Park, and scheduled Ability Idol 2017 to be held alongside the Town’s major Music By Moonlight event.
Samantha Evans – Event and Communications Officer
Sam is the Event and Communications Officer at Cahoots. She manages the development and distribution of internal and external stakeholder communications, including enewsletters, the website and other digital platforms like social media. She also plays a role in developing and coordinating fundraising events.
“I would love to see Cahoots reach more people from a diverse range of backgrounds and see them come together in an inclusive space where they can connect with each other, learn from one another and celebrate their differences.”
Stephanie Jackson – South West Regional Coordinator
Steph is our SW Regional Coordinator she has extensive experience in the community services sector in the South West region. Steph has worked with a wide range of clients over her 8 years in the sector including local Aboriginal communities, Youth at Risk Programs, people living with a disability and CALD clients through and is passionate about delivering programs to maximize the benefits and positive experiences to these clients.
“My vision for Cahoots is to continue to grow and diversify our camps and programs through out the South West Region to deliver relevant services with positive outcomes for participants”
Janet Steele – Program Coordinator
Janet is an energetic part of the team and in her role as Program Coordinator she seeks out exciting and interesting activities for our day programs. She has worked previously as part of a national not-for-profit organisation specialising in working with children undergoing medical treatment. Janet always wants to make a difference to the lives of those she comes in-touch with.
“ I would love to see the Cahoots programs on offer grow and have more and more participants taking advantage of the fun, exciting things we do on offer”.
Andrea Pollard – Finance Manager
Andrea is the Finance Manager at Cahoots, a Chartered Accountant responsible for all financial and budgetary matters. She has previously worked in finance teams in the not for profit industry and brings that knowledge and experience to this role.
“My visions for my role at Cahoots is to assist the organisation in developing strong financial sustainability and share my financial knowledge with my colleague to assist them in their roles.”
Lawrence Berhout – Finance Officer
I have gained a wealth of experience in the accounting arena and bring that knowledge with me to assist Hoosein in managing the accounts for Cahoots. As a father with 2 daughters, one with a disability, I have served on various not for profit boards in the disability area. For the last 10 year I have also run my own small business bookkeeping service.
Jaye – Anne Muir – Operations Assistant
Jaye’s role at Cahoots is to provide support to the operations team by managing camp and participant admin. Jaye began with Cahoots as a Student Social Worker on a prac placement, and has now joined our team. Jaye has a passion for providing person-centred, inclusive services with a strong interest in working with people who face exceptional barriers.
“I would love to see Cahoots continue to grow and to build strong relationships with participants, their families, and other services, with the aim of providing sustainable and effective services to families that make a real difference to their lives”.
Angela Bennett – Training and Inclusion Officer
Angela is the Disability, Access and Inclusion Manager at Cahoots, providing training and education to local community organisations, local governments, and to businesses. Prior to this Angela worked as a business coach and consultant, supporting SMBs to find and implement best-fit solutions to reach their goals.Angela’s belief in the community and business value of accessible and inclusive services and workplaces makes her an ideal fit for our mission at Cahoots. She keeps our training and workshops fun and engaging, while supporting organisations to embrace the change towards a fully accessible and inclusive world.
“My vision for Cahoots is to see my role disappear because it’s just normal in workplaces and public venues to see that every person is included and accommodated as needed without issue. When we don’t need to think about it anymore, we’ve succeeded!”
Erin Butterly – Administration Officer and Executive Assistant
Erin is the Administration Officer and Executive Assistant at Cahoots. She has previously worked in office management and in other mentor roles. Erin bring lots of administrative and organisational talents to Cahoots and helps keep us on track and our office up and running.