Our Key Staff

Steve Kilroy


As the co-founder and CEO of Wandiyali, my passion lies with family, community and culture.

Born and raised in Newcastle I have had a lot of involvement with different organisations in an effort to better Aboriginal representation in our community. I have served as a Chairperson of Awabakal Cooperative, Deputy Chairperson of Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, Chairperson of Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee, as an advisor to Department of Community Services and held a 10 year position with the Aboriginal Housing Office, Many-Rivers Committee.

I am proud of the growth and the contribution that Wandiyali has made to our community, and look forward to being a part of its continued growth.

Barb Kelly

General Manager

I am a Worimi woman of the Maiangal clan of Port Stephens. I have been with Wandiyali for 15 years and have helped to grow it to what we are today.

My main focus has been on providing Parenting programs and support for Aboriginal parents and children. Over the years I have worked at Wandiyali, I developed many parenting programs for Aboriginal parents, as well as programs to support young people and teens and a domestic violence program.

I have been on the board of Worimi Land Council, Guraki Advisory Committee, Absec. and I  am currently on the Board of Warlga Ngurra Women’s and Children’s Refuge.

Jai Kilroy

Trainee Executive Manager

I am an Awabakal man born, raised and lived most of my life in Newcastle. I am also a founding member of Wandiyali.

My vocational background is diverse, from working as a chef, to Port Hunter Commodities, to Wandiyali as Mentor Coordinator and Housing Officer, to owning various successful small businesses, to most recently working in the offshore oil and gas industry both on seismic survey vessels and semi-submersible rigs in the role of accommodation administration.

Currently I am in the final units of completing a Degree in Behavioural Studies, with minors in Human Resource Management and Indigenous Studies. After with I will take a short study break before continuing my tertiary education via a second degree.

I have recently move back to Newcastle with my wife and two children after living on the far north coast of NSW for the past 8 years. I am looking forward to working with the extraordinary team at Wandiyali in continuing to build on its success, ensuring that we continue to provide the greatest possible service to our community.

Ben McLelland

Out of Home Care Manager

I’m a proud Wiradjuri man from Narromine, Central Western NSW.

I have been living in the Newcastle area for the past 15 years working in a wide range of Government and non-Government Identified positions.

I have a passion for caring for the underprivileged and continuing the art of respect for our Elders and the Human race.

I also have a passion for animals and have a number of pets that I class as my family.

My role as Out of Home Care Manager with Wandiyali is one of my greatest achievements and it is a privilege to work alongside other staff that I have so much respect for and look up to in this great organisation.

Jenna Ward

Brighter Futures Manager

I am a Worimi woman, born and raised in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.

Since finishing high school I have been working within the local Aboriginal Community, starting at Yarnteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation, followed by Youloe-ta Indigenous Development Association Incorporated, before coming to work at Wandiyali Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Incorporation in 2005.

I am passionate about developing connections to, and within, the local community, encouraging and enabling Aboriginal people to access Aboriginal services and helping Aboriginal kids stay with their families.

Michell Kilroy

Going Home Staying Home Coordinator

I am from the Torres Strait Islands, our Clan is called THUPMUL, chief clan of Badu Island. We are the stingray people. Thumpul is a stingray which is found up here in the Torres Strait. When a porcupine stingray is seen in the shallow, we know a big storm is coming. This is the same for the Thupmul people, when you see the Thumpul people you know a big storm is coming, we bring fear and anxiety to our enemies. We are the Head clan; our great ancestors were head hunter warriors. On our island, the skulls of our enemies still lay in our caves on Badu Island.

I have lived in Lake Macquarie most of my life. My work experience includes 10 years working in childcare. I have worked at Awabakal Preschool and also as Director at Wandiyali Child Care Centre. This is where I get my passion from, working with Indigenous youth, and why I enjoy my current role with Wandiyali as the Going Home Staying Home Coordinator.

Lisa Stathakis

Child Care Centre Director

As the director at Wandiyali Child Care Centre my role is to ensure that our service is providing quality education and care for members of our local community. I am passionate about building relationships with families and drawing on our local community to ensure that our children have a well-rounded and positive child care experience.