Our Team

Therese Desmond

Chief Executive Officer

Therese Desmond is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OC Connections Limited, reporting directly, and accountable, to the Board of Directors. 

Therese has held senior executive roles in disability, community health, acute hospital settings, as well as child and family and aged care environments in not-for-profit and for-profit organisations across metropolitan and rural regions for more than 30 years.  Therese had also worked for State Government and in health and human services consulting with KPMG. 

Since commencing with OC Connections in 2014, Therese has navigated the organisation through the successful housing redevelopment and subsequent closure of the Allen Street congregate care facility; the complex transition to the NDIS while implementing and achieving the strategic goals set by the board. 

COVID has bought challenges that have not been seen in this generation and Therese, supported by the OC Connections’ team, has successfully led the organisation through the uncertainty and fluctuations of the pandemic.

An environment which involves participants in the growth and development of the organisation that supports them; enables co-design between participants and their network; and fosters and facilitates choice and control in their supports and whole of life decisions, is a key element of Therese’s leadership, and one that will continue to be built on. Coupled with a focus on leadership and staff development to provide the highest quality of support to people with disability, are the driving forces behind Therese’s leadership.

A strong networker both within and outside of the disability sector, Therese recognises that the success of OCC Connections is due to the significant contributions from a strong and committed Board and executive team, the passionate and hard working staff and enthusiastic supporters which has resulted in a flourishing OC Connections. 

Therese is proud of the fact that during her tenure, OC Connections has more than doubled in revenue in the past six years, has financial sustainability, provided quality outcomes and grown its leaders, while continuing to support and safeguard participants – maximising choice and control wherever possible.

Therese is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the National Disability Services National Committee on Housing and Support, the CEO Institute and a number of sector collaboration and advocacy organisations and until recently was a board member of Banksia Palliative Care Service.

Greg Patterson

General Manager Corporate and Commercial Services

Greg is a chartered accountant with a rich and varied career including roles within professional services and more recently, heading finance and corporate services teams within health and community services. 

A passion for social justice led Greg to work in the not-for-profit sector and he thrives on the dedication and commitment typical of his colleagues in the sector. 

Greg joined OC Connections in 2017 and sees his role as an exciting opportunity to directly contribute towards the stated strategic aspiration to be a sustainable organisation recognised for business excellence.

Laurelle Edwards

General Manager Independence and Community

Laurelle has strong experience in working with people to enhance their lives. Her 25-year career reflects her commitment to social justice and human rights, with roles ranging from operational direct support to operational management.

She has been actively involved in services such as accommodation, respite, in-home support, employment, advocacy, justice, case management, planning and positive behavioural support.

Laurelle is a passionate professional with comprehensive skills in managing service and supports, and people. She displays keen attention to detail and takes a thorough approach, being mindful of calculated risk and opportunity.

As a multi-skilled strategic thinker she offers excellent leadership acumen and a demonstrated ability to motivate and lead people and manages the My Home and My Life areas at OC Connections.

Steve Betinsky

General Manager Employment & Enterprises

Steve’s career in senior leadership spans for-purpose and for-profit organisations across a diverse range of sectors. Prior to joining OC Connections, Steve was the General Manager of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) before taking on the role of Director, Social Enterprises at the ASRC to lead the social enterprise growth strategy.

Prior to joining the ASRC, Steve was the CEO of Child Wise; a charity which works to prevent the abuse and exploitation of children. During this time Steve was also a sitting member of the Federal Government’s Online Safety Consultative Working Group, the Asia Pacific Financial Coalition against Child Pornography and a Director of the ECPAT International Board of Trustees, representing Australia and the Pacific Region.

Before moving into the not-for-profit sector, Steve held senior leadership roles within the corporate sector including, General Manager Transaction Banking at National Australia Bank, Head of Payments Solutions at NAB, and Operations Manager, Telstra National Activations Centre.

Steve holds a Masters of Business Administration with high distinctions, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Equality is a core value for me. We all have the right to live equally in society. The common thread in all of my not-for-profit roles – and what drew me to the sector – is being able to help make this a reality for disadvantaged or vulnerable members of our community. I see the potential and contributions people with disability can make to our society and I want to be part of helping to break down the barriers to employment for people with a disability.

SHARON ROXBY

General Manager Innovation & Customer Experience

Sharon brings extensive experience in corporate governance, policy, risk, and compliance from the Disability and Insurance sectors. She has worked in both the Northern Territory and Victorian NDIS jurisdictions.

Sharon has a Masters in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia, has Quality Audit qualifications and has Level 3 Executive Coaching qualifications through the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. This training, coupled with her experience in Executive roles, leadership, change management and project management brings a holistic leadership and strategic approach to OC Connections.

A former Chair for a number of Not-For-Profit organisations, Sharon was also appointed to several government advisory Committees focusing on scheme performance and policy.

Sharon is passionate about participant safeguarding and the health and safety of employees. Her role as General Manager Innovation and Customer Experience will see her bring her wealth of experience to the portfolio of Quality and Risk, Support Coordination and Marketing and Communications for OC Connections.

ANGELIQUE SMIT

General Manager People Learning and Culture

Angelique’s experience in human resources and recruitment spans 18 years.  For much of her career she has worked in aged care, allied health, audiology and language services, with more recent experience in the not-for-profit sector.

Angelique also has experience as a Trauma Counsellor, supporting individuals who have experienced crime. This reflects Angelique’s passion for making a difference to others’ lives, and her last few years in the not-for-profit sector has seen her do just that.

Career highlights include the establishment of a HR function for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne; sourcing aged care talent for a new flagship aged care facility; and managing a significant change process for a language services provider where over a thousand Interpreters and translators were required to be transitioned to an employment arrangement. She was also awarded the AIM Business School – Women in Leadership Scholarship.

Angelique’s definition of success is defined by the achievements of others. “Success for me is to enable others in OC Connections to achieve their career goals and providing training and professional development opportunities for our staff so they can support participants in their life choices that make a difference to them,” she says.

As the General Manager, People, Learning and Culture Angelique’s goal is to have OC Connections be seen as a leading employer in the disability sector.

I want our employer brand to be synonymous with trend setting and forward thinking; and for OC Connections to be the Employer of Choice within the sector.