Our THC Board

Associate Professor David Rosenbaum SFHEA - Chair

PhD; MBA, GAICD, ALFA, Cert IV ( Training & Assessment)

David is an Associate Professor and Deputy Vice President (Academic) / Director Teaching and Learning at King’s Own Institute in Sydney.

He is actively involved in ongoing research with his current focus being the implications of the National Disability Insurance Scheme on non-profit disability service providers from a change management perspective, having published widely in this area.

Prior to his move to full-time academia, he had been a management consultant for over 10 years focusing on Change Management, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning and Risk Management solely in the non-profit sector. Before applying his skills to management consulting, David worked in senior and executive management positions in a broad range of industries including the private hospital sector; investment banking; funds management; local government; federal government; manufacturing, and high-tech start-ups, as well as public accounting. 


Patricia McKenzie – Secretary

Director of AGL Energy Limited. Former Chair Essential Energy and Director APA

Patricia McKenzie is an experienced Chair and non-executive director in the energy, health, government and not for profit sectors. She was the CEO of Gas Market Company Limited, which introduced competition into the retail gas markets in NSW and the ACT, and prior to that led the AGL Group’s legal department. She is a director of the APA Group, Australia’s leading energy infrastructure group, Chair of Essential Energy, a State owned corporation operating Australia’s largest energy distribution business, and Chair of Healthdirect Australia, a COAG company providing a range of digital health and telehealth services. She was previously Chair of Diabetes Australia.

In the disability sector, Patricia has been Secretary of the NSW Down Syndrome Association, President of the Early Education Clinics, director and Chair of Sunnyfield, and Chair of the Cromehurst Foundation. She was an advocate for women with disabilities on the NSW Premiers Council for Women, a member of the Disability Standards Review Panel, and Executive Director of the 7th World Down Syndrome Congress. Patricia’s daughter Kate is supported in her accommodation and social interactions by The Housing Connection.

Mary Ellen Burke – Director

Master of Psychology, Master of Arts ( Special Education), BA ( Hons)

Mary Ellen Burke has been a non-executive Director since October 2016 and is also chair of the support and monitoring sub-committee. Mary Ellen has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist in the public sector and as a consultant providing clinical services to support individuals and families, support systems and agencies to effectively address the needs of people with complex needs and challenging behaviours. Mary Ellen has been recognised as a strong advocate for establishing and using effective monitoring practices to ensure outcomes for people with disabilities and carers; has significant experience in supported accommodation and community support services.

Mary Ellen uses her strong foundation in the direct provision of sound individually focussed supports coming from an evidence based approach, to inform her work in review of service provision, quality improvement systems, and staff development and education.

Mary Ellen has been a Professional member of the NSW Guardianship Tribunal since 1995.

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka – Treasurer

Mariya completed a Bachelor of Business Studies and Doctor of Philosophy (Finance) degrees at Charles Sturt University, earned a Master of Business in Finance degree from the University of Technology Sydney. She also completed The Management Development Program for senior academics at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mariya is currently a Senior Lecturer in Finance at the Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce. Mariya held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia.

Before joining the higher education sector Mariya specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for BT Financial Group. Mariya is actively involved in research projects and her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs.

Brian Cheney- Director

Brian joined as a Director in February 2020. Brian formally retired in 2016 following a career that started in the energy sector with the predecessors to Energy Australia in accounting and finance roles. This was followed by a role as the Finance Manager for the newly established Pittwater Council in 1992 and then various Director roles in NSW Treasury from 1999 advising on the funding implications for Government reforms and initiatives. Brian’s daughter Kelsey is an NDIS participant and is supported by The Housing Connection. Kelsey is also a Housing Connection employee providing administration support one day per week and leading peer based social and recreational activities in the evenings and weekends.

Louise Cummins - Director

BA,AFAMI CPM, Cert IV (Training&Assessment)

Louise is currently the Marketing and Digital Innovations Director at H&R Block Australia, and has over two decades of experience working across a range of industries including finance, technology, entertainment, healthcare and telecommunications.

As an award-winning industry leader, she now shares her knowledge and expertise by acting as a mentor, coach, and trainer. She has also extended her successes in the corporate world with consultative and governance roles for not-for-profit organisations.

Louise is passionate about supporting disability services as she has a son on the autism spectrum. She wrote a children’s book dedicated to her son called “A Different Kind of Brilliant” and produced a short movie called “Brilliant” focusing on autism acceptance – both the book and film have had global success.

David Jarjoura - Director






Sarah Abood - Director

Sarah Abood is the Chief Operating Officer of HOPE Housing Fund Management. HOPE is a not-for-profit Fund Manager that helps essential workers own their own home, close to their place of work and the communities they serve.

Previously Sarah was Chief Executive Officer of Profile Financial Services, a private financial advice and wealth management firm advising high net worth investors. Prior to that, Sarah led the marketing function at Fidelity Australia, after holding senior leadership roles at Colonial First State, BT, Westpac and Rothschild. Sarah holds a BA from the University of Sydney, an MBA from MGSM, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


THC NEWS by David Rosenbaum

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