Our Staff


Lifeline Mid Coast proudly helping Australians in need.

Catherine Vaara

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Catherine became the CEO of Lifeline Mid Coast where she has become well known for her expertise in crisis support and suicide intervention and prevention.

She has led Lifeline Mid Coast with a focus on staff development and continuous improvement of Lifeline services.

She has a BA majoring in psychology and sociology from the University of Armidale.

Catherine has continued her education in her field of expertise and has certificates in clinical supervision, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), neuro linguist programming (NLP) mental health and human resources.

Catherine has been an active participant on many Lifeline reference groups working in areas such a service development, policies and procedures.

As the CEO of a regional Lifeline Centre, Catherine regularly participates in local mental health forums and community presentations focusing on suicide prevention awareness.

Kurt Russell

Business Manager

Kurt has been with Lifeline Mid Coast for six years with a focus on overseeing Retail Management. Kurt has been instrumental in expanding the interests of Lifeline Mid Coast.

Kurt has agressively overhauled the Lifeline Shops. Refurbishing, departmentalising and opening a mega store in Forster.

Kurt is a recognised leader in the Not-For-Profit industry. He leads and manages the operations of the organisation and supervises the Marketing and Retail Operations Managers, to achieve business plans and budget goals; internal efficiency gains and improved profitability.

Patti Berrigan

Office Manager

Patti has been with Lifeline Mid Coast for 8 years. She commenced in 2007 as an Administration Assistant before taking on the role of Office Manager in 2010.

Patti has extensive experience in Administration, Payroll and accounts processes. Patti is committed to our values and purpose of supporting those in crisis and works tirelessly in the community to fundraise and raise awareness for a variety of community projects.

Lisa Willows

Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator

Lisa started working at Lifeline Mid Coast in 2012.

Presenting with an extensive background in event management, publicity, advertising and marketing, Lisa's role was newly created for Lifeline Mid Coast and she has tailored a cohesive program in accordance with the future sustainability of the organisation.

Following a long career in the Australian Music Industry, Lisa enjoys the authenticity of the work of Lifeline Mid Coast and supports both the retail and services side of the organisation.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Western Sydney, as well as Certificate IV's in Workplace Training and Assessment and Business.

Di Bannister

Telephone Crisis Team and Training Manager

Di has been with Lifeline Mid Coast since 1995, training as a Volunteer Telephone Counsellor (as it was in those days) as well as a face to face counsellor, facilitator and monitor.

In 2012, Di commenced paid employment as the Manager of Training as well as the Crisis Support Team.

Di is also a casual TAFE teacher at the local Port Macquarie Campus. She has training in various modalities of counselling, Cert IV Telephone Counselling, as well as Mental Health First Aid and DV Alert. She also attended University of Western Sydney for 3 years of psychology training.

Maria Whittingham

Administration Assistant

Maria is the welcoming face of Lifeline Mid Coast. Supporting the Administration Manager, she organises and performs office operations and procedures including supporting administrative functions to the CEO. Maria is a Telephone Crisis Supporter in her free time.

Kelly Saidey

Telephone Crisis Support

Lee-Ann Foord

Life Matters Coordinator

Lee-Ann has been with Lifeline Mid Coast since 1997. Starting out as a volunteer, now working as our Life Matters co-ordinator she is a LivingWorks Master Trainer and the 2015 recipient of the National LiFE Award for Community Development in Suicide Prevention by an Individual.

Jemma McDonald

Retail Operations Coordinator

Jemma McDonald has been with LLMC since 2012. Starting as a Manager for the newly open Forster Shop, Now working as the Retail coordinator.

Anna Johannson

Telephone Crisis Support

Anna is a Lifeline Telephone Crisis Supporter, In Shift Supervisor and co ordinator of the monitoring team as well as facilitator with the crisis training team. She has been a volunteer for many years and is now on staff at Lifeline Mid Coast. Anna contributes to the building of team spirit within the organisation and is a very experienced and skilled support person.

John Fulton

Telephone Crisis Support

John has been a volunteer Crisis Supporter with Lifeline since 2008, and is now also a volunteer In-shift Supervisor. He has worked part-time with Lifeline since 2011 in a role supporting volunteers, assisting the training team, and as a LivingWorks ASIST (Suicide Intervention) trainer.

Aleisa Byfield

Telephone Crisis Support

Aleisa has been with Lifeline Mid Coast since 2013. Starting out as a volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporter, she progressed to become a Supervisor and Group Facilitator. She has been employed since August 2015 as a Crisis Team Support Officer. Aleisa assists in providing support in the performance of Telephone Crisis Supporters' call-coaching requirements.

Lorraine Withers

Part Time Administration Assistant

Lorraine began with Lifeline Mid Coast in 2014, completing the Crisis Support Workplace Training in early 2015.

Lorraine also works as a casual administrative assistant in the Lifeline Mid Coast office.

Alexis Williams

Administration Volunteer

Alexis has been volunteering in the Lifeline Mid Coast office for the past six months.

She has an extensive background in Business and Accounting.

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