Meet the Team


The NALAG team consists of over 100 volunteers and a small number of staff based at numerous branches throughout NSW.


Julie Dunsmore AM


Julie has been working as a psychologist in the area of loss, grief and trauma for over 30 years. Since 2003 Julie has been the Bali Trauma Recovery Coordinator primarily working with NSW Bali Bombing survivors, bereaved & first responders; survivors from the Tsunami and most recently a consultant for those working with the bereaved from the Victorian bushfires.

In 2008 Julie was invited to address the UN Supporting Victims of Terrorism symposium in New York and be part of the expert working group. Julie has had a special interest in working with bereaved parents, adolescents and children. She has worked extensively with those who have experienced traumatic bereavement after a sudden unexpected death, including suicide, murder and accidents. Julie conducts training in the area of Psychological First Aid, PTSD and Complex Grief treatment. She is well recognised for her innovative model of working creatively with those who have experienced trauma and grief.

Jennifer Cowley OAM

Deputy President

Jen Cowley is an award winning journalist, writer, editor and trainer based in Dubbo, NSW. She is passionate about community development, and has used her skills in communication and the media to work with communities both in Australia and abroad. Jen grew up on a farm at Coonabarabran and has been writing since she could first hold a pen. Grandpa's Hat grew out of her experiences as a child, and later as a grieving adult, and her discussions with the National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG) about the need to talk to and involve children about and with loss and grief. Jen is also a proud Rotarian, and with the support of Rotary, was able to publish Grandpa's Hat as a resource to help NALAG continue its work with those who are, as Jen herself was, suffering through loss and grief. Grandpa's Hat is her way of saying "thank you" to NALAG.

Kerry Frost

Secretary/Public Officer

Kerry joined NALAG in 2000 as a volunteer and has served one term as President of the Dubbo branch. In 2004, Kerry accepted the position of Secretary to the NALAG Board. She has attained two Diplomas, one in counselling and another in Chaplaincy, as well as completing many workshops and courses in Loss, Grief and Trauma during her time with NALAG. This has enabled Kerry to offer Grief support to a wide variety of clients. She considers her role as a "privilege and and honour to serve with a highly skilled Board who have a passion for supporting people experiencing Loss, Grief and Trauma". As a valued volunteer for over 19 years, Kerry has contributed to the wellbeing of her community immensely, bringing her great satisfaction and joy.

Dannielle Maloney

Committee Member

Danielle Maloney is the Deputy Director of the InsideOut Institute – Australia’s first institute for research and clinical excellence in eating disorders. She holds an Honours degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Public Health and an International Master’s of Mental Health Policy and Services. Danielle has over 25 years of experience in public health, the last 18 years of which she has spent working in the mental health sector. She has worked as a senior leader on clinical service redesign and clinical interventions across NSW to address early psychosis, personality disorder, eating disorders and clinical responses to trauma, abuse and neglect. Danielle has spearheaded the development of new and innovative health programs, such as Health Promoting Schools (former President of the National Association), School-Link, headspace in central Sydney, and various NSW CAMHS clinical redesign projects. She has led the design and delivery of research projects on clinical redesign, including the evaluation of the NSW Service Plan for eating disorders, the evaluation of the NSW pilot of the Assertive CAMHS service, and the evaluation of the NSW School-Link program. Danielle harbours a passion for child, adolescent and youth mental health, particularly early intervention and ensuring a client-focused, trauma-informed approach to the delivery of mental health services. Danielle is also passionate about redesigning systems and translating research into practice, to ensure clients and their families secure access to the best quality care possible.

Virginia Nicholas

Committee Member

Virginia has an extensive background working in education, teaching at TAFE for 30 years. She has been involved with NALAG since 2014 as a member, volunteer and became a board member in 2016.

Virginia is a valued Grief Support Volunteer of NALAG's Mudgee branch, with a passion for helping those who have experienced loss and a strong belief that people should not walk alone.

Jennifer Perino

Committee Member

Jennifer is a registered Clinical Counsellor and Mental Health Practitioner who currently provides Clinical Supervision to Nalag staff and volunteers. However, she has a long association with NALAG having received her 20-year service medal which attests to her commitment to this service.

A variety of roles have included establishing and chairing Narromine Chapter, serving on the State Executive, occupying the position of State Secretary, as well as working as a contracted counsellor and trainer. Most importantly, Jennifer’s belief in Tithing prioritises her volunteering component of this important work.

Jennifer has lived and worked in rural remote areas for over 3 decades and is credited with establishing the first Social Emotional Wellbeing Initiative for the Aboriginal Medical services of the Bila Muuji (Upper Sector) and their 7 communities. Similarly, Jennifer established the first JIRT (Joint Intervention Response team) on Norfolk Island in line with their newly implemented legislation for Child Protection.

Jennifer has received an Australia day award for her work on Norfolk Island and a Volunteer medal from Doorways for mentoring homeless adolescents and young people.

Having worked extensively in rural remote settings Jennifer now contributes as Branch Coordinator for the newly established Hunter Region Branch.

Kaylene Green

Committee Member

Kaylene has been  a life-long resident of Dubbo and has spent all of her working life as a Registered Nurse - initially working in critical care at Dubbo Health Service and for the last ten years as the Manager of Nursing at Lourdes Hospital and Community Health Service. Both of these areas of work have lead to a keen interest in supporting people suffering from loss and grief.

Mark Horton

Committee Member

Mark Horton has gained over thirty years' experience in business governance and corporate policy establishment, along with operational management, across the Human Resource, Social Service, Training and Recruitment sectors. Mark has worked in community and cross-cultural enterprise development both internationally and in Australia, establishing and delivering many awarded projects and innovative services across this time. He remains a Founding Director of the Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council Inc., LUCY for Humanity Inc. Australian Training and Assessment Systems Ltd. and is a longstanding International Director, Rotary International. Mark is also an award-winning visual artist, with several high-profile works recognised as a finalist in the Moran and Archibald Prize competitions.  


Debbie Todkill


Debbie has over 30 years of experience in business management and administration in both Community Service and private enterprise across the Dubbo, Orana and Far West regions. This experience has given Debbie a good understanding and appreciation of the challenges associated with rural and remote living. Debbie has previously worked as CEO of a large multi-service, not-for-profit charity, with responsibilities for every aspect of the business including community consultation, tendering, negotiation, implementation, delivery and acquittal of numerous government contracts. With determination and compassion, it is Debbie’s aim to spend the next 30 years working tirelessly to make an impact in the lives of the vulnerable and the community as a whole.  Debbie sees here position within NALAG as a privilege and an opportunity to use not just her counselling skills but overall the skills she has gained throughout her career to better care for those experiencing grief and the wonderful volunteers providing NALAG’s grief support service.   


Phone: 02 6882 9222

Gerry O'Leary

Systems Manager

Gerry has over 25 years experience working in administration, education and disability work. He has worked with NALAG in the past as a contractor to develop the NALAG database and now sees to the smooth running of the day to day operations at NALAG's Head Office.


Phone: 02 6882 9222

Brenda Baker

Intake and Support Volunteer Coordinator

Brenda has lived and worked in the rural sector all her life, growing up on her family farm just outside the small town of Junee in NSW’s Riverina region. Brenda studied Nursing at Wagga University and was chosen to participate in an Agricultural Exchange program in Canada, giving her the opportunity to immerse herself in small farming communities and experience Canadian rural life. This led to a lifelong passion for Brenda, living, engaging and thriving in small rural communities. 

In 1989, Brenda and her extended family moved to Coonabarabran, beside the mighty Warrumbungles mountain range, to start a new enterprise for their growing families. Brenda nursed in the small town of Baradine for ten years and learnt first-hand the struggles and joys of living in rural Australia. “Coona” has been the ideal place for Brenda and her husband to raise three beautiful children, all of which have now flown the coup to make new adventures of their own. Brenda has continued her studies in Counselling and is a Volunteer for Lifeline as a Crisis Support Worker. 


Phone: 02 6882 9222

Cathy Banks

Senior Counsellor

Cathy Banks is an experienced Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Workplace Trainer.  Cathy has gained experience in organisations such as ANZ Bank, Dept of Corrective Services (Probation & Parole), public schools, and private clinics. Cathy has also lived and worked in Dubai as a School Counsellor, Child Protection Consultant, and Psychological Supervisor. Cathy has returned to her home town of Dubbo to lend her skills and knowledge to helping clients with more specialised needs and to provide clinical supervision to NALAG volunteers. Cathy obtained accreditation as a Sandplay Therapist from the Jansen Newman Institute of Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy.


Phone: 02 6882 9222

Margaret Bonnington



Phone: 02 6882 9222

NSW Head Office:

7 Welchman Street

Dubbo NSW 2830


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(c) 2019 National Association for Loss and Grief (NSW) Inc. ABN 15 910 650 287

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