Meet the Team
Founder and CEO
Jane Holmes is the founder and CEO of Support the Girls Australia.
Jane is a Mother. Widow. Survivor. Inspiration.
Jane’s mission to help disadvantaged women reclaim their sense of self-worth is deeply personal as she has walked in their shoes on many fronts. Jane is a very private but headstrong person who is determined to bring change in her calm unassuming way. Jane is the epitome of resilience. This is a skill she has fine tuned through her life’s journey. She brings an energy and passion that is formidable.
Widowed to suicide at 39, she was left to raise three children on her own. She had no support system at all being in a new country and did not qualify for social benefits. Jane reinvented herself and changed her career path to provide for her children.
In 2015 Jane was forced to give up a successful career and financial security to have her ankle reconstructed for a second time after walking on it broken for seven years. It took a huge toll and the financial impact was huge. In Jane’s words, “When my husband committed suicide, I had no idea how I was going to survive. I lived with the constant fear and anxiety of my children losing the roof from over their heads. Having to give up my career to save my foot I had to go through all the same fears.” Jane had been advised that she would only need six months off work for the recovery time, but it took 11 months before she could even walk. During this time period Jane had no income, but thankfully her children were adults and able to assist and contribute to the bills and their home. Jane says if it was not for them the situation would have been dire and they could have been facing homelessness. She says it only takes one major crisis for people to suddenly find themselves in financial instability and hence looking down the barrel of homelessness. Since starting Support The Girls Australia Jane has also dealt with a third journey with cancer. But as she says, she does not give it any energy or thought and just lives her life one day at a time.
One of the key areas that Jane is committed to is educating people on the reality of disenfranchised women. Jane says the situations she has found herself in are prime examples. She says “If people meet me, they assume I am financially secure and well educated. I had a privileged upbringing and the best education, but it is not a guarantee that you will not face financial hardship. There are a lot of women like me who are in strong financial positions who suddenly lose it all, whether divorce, domestic violence, loss of a spouse etc and most of these women are too proud to shout out for help. Society sees us as being comfortable and having it all together. This can more often or not be so far from the truth and it is important to give these women a safe environment to get help and support without judgement.”
Jane brings a strong corporate background to Support The Girls Australia as well as her years of experience as a crisis counsellor with Victim Support in New Zealand. Jane was instrumental in writing some of the policies for Victim Support and understands the need for processes and strong governance. These two strengths mean that Support The Girls Australia has a sound business structure and a person that has experienced the worst case scenarios of what people can experience and hence Jane has the understanding, resilience and empathy to be able to handle and deal with any situation. Jane says to build a strong foundation to ensure an organisation is successful requires a good sound business practice, and this is what she brings to the table. Jane says a non for profit has the exact same processes and infrastructure as a profit business. The only difference is non for profits do not have a product that they can sell to raise revenue so they have to work even harder to cover the same expenses a revenue run business would have.
In between managing Support The Girls Australia Jane facilitates face to face support for families bereft of a loved one to suicide in her capacity as a suicide counsellor. She also lectures in PTSD.
Jane has always been involved in community work from a young girl. Something her father installed in her.
She has sat on numerous committees and boards. Jane is a private person and spends her rare spare time reading and investing any spare time with her grandson. She loves reading and music is her sanity.
CHAIRPERSON AND DIRECTOR
A tenacious advocate, Diana has practice as a lawyer since 2007, most of which has been spent claiming compensation for victims of personal injury and neglect, who otherwise would not have the means to access justice.
Experienced with serving those within disadvantaged communities across Queensland and New South Wales (many of whom were victims of trauma), Diance increasingly noticed the prevalence of marginalised women without the ability to escape the cycle of poverty, violence and trauma – without support from someone like her.
Combining her legal skills with business management practices, through her role as Chairperson Diana ensures Support The Girls’ mission is best achieved through rigorous governance standards, policies and procedures – inspiring financial donors and sponsors to give more and greater comfort.
Diana prides herself on being part of the sustainable solution for women’s disadvantages and through her practice (and personal volunteer work) actively promotes empowerment for diverse groups of women who experience multiple structural oppressions.
She believes that volunteering is about giving back to our community in a meaningful and useful manner, and taking the time and skills that we have to assist others who are in need in a way that is respectful and empowering of people and organisations.
Diana is trained in trauma-informed care and practice which ensures the most appropriate advice can be provided to victims at the time of most need.
– Bachelor of Laws (Bond)
– Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Qld
Upon leaving school Diane’s working journey started as an apprentice hairdresser working in Adelaide. Family and a move to Canberra in 1972 saw a career change when she acquired a position in administration with N C D C and later with the Cities Commission.
A new opportunity became available with the introduction of Medibank in 1975. During her time with Medibank her duties included, performing quality control on the daily run sheets from around Australia, compiling statistics and eventually assessing and researching the applications for ancillary practioners who were applying for a provider number. Diane worked in this sector of the government until she left to add to her family and help run her husband’s newly started Landscaping and Construction business.
Another move a number of years later took her to Perth WA where she became a homemaker while her husband attended full time University… a challenging time but a rewarding one. Returning to Canberra in 1987 where a new/old home was purchased that required some renovation work, during this time she discovered the new meaning of “life begins at forty.” She now had a family of four, with the difference of 21 years from start to finish… one of life’s challenges but a welcome one.
It was during a holiday on the Gold Coast leaving a cold Canberra winter that a new property was purchased and six months later a permanent move took place. Two new business adventures both in the tourist trade one being a Limousine business and at the same time a business that took tourist wanting to experience guided walking tours in the beautiful Lamington National Park.
Always have a keen interest in Patchwork and Quilting she joined the Gold Coast Quilters Guild in 2009 and later in 2015/16 became Vice President and continued on in 2016/17 as President. It was during this time that Diane became aware of STGA and invited Jane Holmes to do a talk for the Guild… The following day Diane phoned Jane and offered to volunteer with STGA.
To date, life has been Diane’s teacher and she feels it has rewarded her with many wonderful experiences and also taught her to be compassionate and have empathy.
Roz is a retired NSW Registered Psychologist. She worked in the NSW public education’s psychological services. As well as delivering those psychological services, she supervised trainee psychologists as they worked towards their registration.
Prior to that career, she was a Road Safety Education offifcer with the (then) NSW Roads and Traffic Authority. Her work was to promote road safety to elderly drivers and pedestrians. She co-wrote, developed, and ran a fun and educational event called “Kids and Traffic” which ran for ten days each summer in conjunction with the Sydney Festivals. The event employed trainee teachers to run the fun activities.
Roz’s early careeer was as a high school teacher and head teacher in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. She trained as a Home Economics and Textiles and Design teacher. She was a leader of a major event held each year in Education Week. The event was held at both the Opera House and the Town Hall and involved hundreds of high school students and their teachers. The students modelled clothing made in their Textiles and Design class.
Volunteering has been a major part of Roz’s life. She helped run self esteem groups in Parramatta Gaol. She and her husband joined the Aunties and Uncles organisation and were linked with a family for respite care of two children. They still maintain contact with the family.
Youth Insearch was a major volunteering venture. As well as developing parts of the program, Roz facilitated sessions on the residential weekends. Youth Insearch works to increase adolescent’s self-worth and self-confidence.
International Children’s Aid was also a charity where Roz travelled to Sri Lanka several times to assist with fund raising and help with the work in two children’s orphanages.
Roz is passionate about travel, supporting her extended family and reading. She and her husband love food and wine, and love to share those with their friends.
She believes that small acts of kindness can have profound and unknown effects on both the receiver and the giver.
Roz is now the Personal Assistant (NSW) to the CEO of Support the Girls Australia and the Human Resources Officer (NSW). In this position she interviews the volunteer applicants who reach that stage. She assists the CEO in writing and running the volunteer training programs.