Paul Kelly - CEO

Paul Kelly commenced with CHESS Connect in April 2010 as the Corporate Services Manager and was appointed to the position of General Manager in June 2011. Paul has brought a wealth of Executive Management and leadership experience to CHESS Connect. His experience includes managing Credit Unions that are member owned organisations, during a period of industry change and consolidation in the banking sector.
That experience is now focussed on CHESS Connect adapting to new performance requirements and growing services to continue to make a difference in the regional community. Providing services to highly disadvantaged people that will lead to their economic and social inclusion, is at the core of the CHESS Connect vision. His personal time is devoted to family and surf life-saving.

Amanda Jennings - Executive Manager Business Development

Amanda joined CHESS Connect in 2009 as DES Manager and is now working in Business Development to progress initiatives and opportunities to support the growth and diversification of our services. Preparing CHESS Connect to provide services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme in conjunction with the Senior Management Team is a priority as the region moves to the NDIS roll out date of June 2017.
She came to Australia 20 years ago having worked with refugees in Sudan and at a welfare clinic in Malawi, Southern Africa. With a background in Social Science, in Australia she has worked in the aged care industry in Adelaide and as National Coordinator of the Personal Support Programme, a precursor to PHaMs, with Work Directions and then Jobfind.

Chris Jones - Manager, Employment Services

Chris commenced with CHESS Connect in 2009 as an Employment Consultant in the Coffs Harbour DES (Disability Employment Service) team. Spending time as the Site Manager in Coffs Harbour, Chris’ current role as the Manager Employment Services involves overseeing the operation of all eight DES sites from Yamba in the north to Nambucca Heads in the south, including over 40 staff who are servicing over 1100 clients.
Having grown up in regional Victoria, Chris and his family relocated to the Coffs Harbour area in 1999 where they spent the next 12 years running a successful family business while raising their two children.With over 20 years of management experience in different industries, Chris enjoys the challenge of his current role, while knowing that the result of CHESS Connect’ combined efforts is assisting people to improve their current situations and supporting them towards a common goal – A “Strong Life”.

Joel Aitken - Manager of Mental Health and Disability

Joel commenced with CHESS Connect in 2008. Joel has a Bachelor Degree in Social Science through Southern Cross university and Cert IV in Frontline Management. Joel has been living on the beautiful Coffs Coast for 13 years.

Joel has 10 years experience working in and delivering in Community, Disability and Mental Health services. Joel enjoys seeing people reach their own interpretation of recovery and supporting the mental health and disability sector to effectively collaborate, for people living with disability.

With a particular interest in homelessness Joel coordinates the Rough Sleepers Project in Coffs Harbour.

Kylie Hain - Finance Manager

Kylie commenced with CHESS Connect earlier this year. She is a CPA qualified accounting professional with over 20 years experience in financial services. With significant experience in both management and financial accounting and project management, Kylie is excited about the challenges and rewards in moving into the Community Services sector.

Having enjoyed city living both nationally and internationally all her professional life Kylie has recently returned to the Bellingen area where she grew up. Prompted by the desire for work life balance and the opportunity to reconnect with family, Kylie is immersing herself in local culture, taking the opportunity to return to martial arts after a 25 year absence and generally enjoying life on the Coffs coast