Our Team

Therese Desmond

Chief Executive Officer

When Therese commenced as CEO of OC Connections in 2014, she brought with her an outstanding background in the disability, aged care and health services sectors.

Her passion for consumer participation and engagement, choice and control, and capacity building to enhance people lives is at the heart of everything she does.

Therese has held a range of executive and senior management roles. She understands that engaging the right staff and providing an enabling environment is the key to the quality of support provided. She believes that leadership development is integral to the success of any organisation.

Therese is a registered nurse with tertiary qualifications in community health and management. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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.

Vicki Hayes

General Manager Engagement and Partnerships

Vicki has dedicated her career to the disability services sector, spending three decades within the sector after completing a bachelor of applied science in occupational therapy.

Her experience ranges from the provision of direct service as an occupational therapist at kew residential services, through to management positions responsible for strategic planning and program implementation at senior levels of government.

In her previous role, Vicki assisted  OC Connections to develop the “planning with you for your future” project which focused on empowering people with a disability who live in congregate care facilities to have a real influence on the style of housing and support they wished to live in into the future.

As general manager of engagement and partnerships, Vicki is a strong advocate of co-design which underpins the work she oversees across participant and family engagement activities, marketing, fundraising and support coordination.

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.

Natalie Coates

General Manager People, Learning & Culture

Natalie is a qualified Human Resources practitioner who brings over ten years’ experience in a diverse range of management role across a variety of industries including Banking & Finance, Shipping, Energy and Automotive.

Natalie is a passionate individual who enjoys the constant challenges of managing HR issues and continually strives to achieve

She joined OC Connection in 2017 and sees her role as an integral part of the implementation of various people strategies, which are aligned with our business objectives.

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.

Steve Betinsky