Joel Aitken - Manager of Mental Health and Disability

Joel commenced with CHESS Connect in 2008 bringing over 10 years of experience working in Community, Disability and Mental Health sector and a Bachelor Degree in Social Science through Southern Cross University and Cert IV in Frontline Management.

With a focus on developing and delivering NDIS and mental health services to community, Joel is committed to seeing people reach their own interpretation of recovery and supporting the mental health and disability sector to effectively collaborate, for people living with disability.

Outside of the office Joel enjoys spending time with his family on the beautiful Coffs Coast.

Human Resources Manager - Jasmine O'Meagher

Jasmine started at CHESS Connect at the beginning of 2017 working in DES Administration, Finance and the Human Resources departments before being promoted to Human Resources Manager in 2019.

Jasmine is drawn to the diversity of her role and her ability to support CHESS Connect employees who are working in such challenging yet rewarding roles. CHESS Connect’s values align strongly with her own so she is proud to work for an organisation with strong connections to health, wellbeing and resilience.

When Jasmine is not at work she is busy looking after her two young boys and training at the local crossfit gym.

Emily Dever - Workplace Wellbeing Manager

Since 2018 CHESS Connect Workplace Wellbeing Specialist Emily Dever has been developing and refining wellness seminars and workshops for local businesses, as well as nurturing and promoting wellness within the CHESS Connect workplace.

After gaining her Bachelor of Psychology with First Class Honours from Southern Cross University and winning the University Medal, she began working in disability employment, and at CHESS Connect, has held a variety of managerial roles in employment, social and psychosocial support over her 10 years of service. Emily is passionate about creating shifts in workplace cultures to support resilience, reduce stress, give people the skills they need to look after each other, and create greater wellbeing for everyone in the organisation from the frontline staff to the CEO.

When she’s out of the office Emily enjoys spending time with her friends and young family.

Heather Hammond - Marketing Manager

Heather has been CHESS Connect Marketing Manager since 2016, bringing a decade of digital marketing and business management experience to her role. Guiding the legacy of CHESS Employment through a brand transformation in 2018, Heather is responsible for the overall strategic direction and delivery of CHESS Connect marketing activity across all platforms.

Heather is passionate about driving growth and engagement through brand storytelling, showcasing the life-changing work the CHESS Connect team deliver across the region. She enjoys the diversity and challenges of her role, supporting her team mates, connecting with community and continuing to develop the brand and voice of CHESS Connect.

When she’s off duty Heather can be found wrangling her two children or in quieter times, with a book and a good coffee.

Michael Sullivan - Project & Performance Manager

Michael started with CHESS Connect in early 2014 as Site Manager for the Woolgoolga and then Coffs Harbour offices, managing teams delivering the Disability Employment Service Program. Michael now works as a Project and Performance Manager primarily for the Disability Employment Service and ParentsNext Programs. During his time in this role, Michael has also been involved in other managerial projects, such as the CHESS Connect Leadership Forums, which commenced in 2018.

Michael has worked within the Human Service/NFP industry for 17 years in a variety of roles including in-home support, community living support, day program supports, Transition to Work, return to work employment supports and Disability Employment. Michael is driven to utilise the experience and skills learnt during this time to guide and support CHESS Connect staff who work directly with customers.

Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 young boys, which keep him busy outside of CHESS Connect, including the occasional trip to Canada to visit family.

Osamu Mukawa - Corporate Accountant

Osamu commenced with CHESS Connect in 2018 as a Corporate Accountant, bringing 15 years accounting experience in various industries to his role. Focusing on financial reporting and business analysis and with a Bachelor of Business in Accounting from Charles Sturt University, Osamu thoroughly enjoys working in the Community Services sector for an organisation that makes a positive impact in peoples lives.

Originally from Tokyo Japan, Osamu has lived in Australia for 18 years, moving with his family from Sydney to Coffs Harbour in 2009.

Outside of work, Osamu enjoys spending time camping, fishing and going to the beach with his family – making the most of the relaxed coastal atmosphere of Coffs Harbour.