Leadership Team

The CEO reports directly to the United Synergies Board of Directors and is supported by a team of experienced program managers (United Synergies’ Leadership Team). The Program Managers oversee our key service delivery areas.

Jenny Walker

Interim CEO

Jenny Walker has taken on the role of leading and managing our organisation while the Board works through the process of executive search for our new permanent CEO. Jenny has brought to us her extensive experience as both an organisational and governance consultant as well as an NFP CEO, having been CEO of Legacy Australia from 2014 to earlier in 2018.

Jenny has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing / HR / Government), Diploma of Market Research, Cert IV Workplace Training and Assessment, is a Graduate of the Australia Institute of Company Directors, Member of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, Member of the Australasian Council of Tribunals, and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Marketing. Jenny holds a number of Board appointments.


Mark James

Manager - Corporate Services

Mark’s role is to oversee all the support functions for the organisation including the financial, human relations, marketing and communications, workplace health and safety, organisational risk and information and technology. Mark is also the Company Secretary, ensuring our compliance with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) and Board’s governance documentation.

Mark joined United Synergies in December 2012 after seven years in New Zealand running and expanding a successful retailing franchise network to 50+ franchises. Mark’s previous experience includes senior management positions in the public sector in health funding and also in the private sector with a healthcare provider.

Mark graduated with a Business Degree from The Robert Gordon University in Scotland and immigrated to Australia after living in New Zealand for 13 years.


Karen Phillips

General Manager

In Karen’s current role of General Manager she provides overarching guidance and coordination for our Centre Managers and StandBy Operations Manager. Karen is focussed setting and delivering on high standards across the organisation to ensure we have smooth operations and good practices to support our clients.

Karen joined United Synergies in January 2009 as Program Manager for the Education, Employment and Training (EET) team and was instrumental in substantially growing the program area from four to 26 staff in three years. More recently Karen led the operations of StandBy – Support After Suicide program. As the National StandBy Response Service Manager, Karen was responsible for the delivery of the program across 17 sites nationally.

Karen’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Education and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.


Jamila Shah

Child and Family Manager

As Child and Family Manager at United Synergies, Jamila’s role provides overarching guidance and coordination for all Licensed Care and family programs, supporting the care teams to ensure young people have a safe and nurturing place to live, grow and aspire to the future.

Jamila has worked in the child protection and community services sector for over 18 years, holding management positions for 15 years in both the community services and corporate sector.  Jamila has extensive experience and knowledge in the child protection and family services field with roles undertaken in residential care, intensive case management services, youth education services, family services, disaster relief, child protection, Youth justice, Aboriginal specific programs and disability services.

In the community services sector Jamila has worked in a number of capacities, as case manager, team leader, program manager, area manager and licensed care services manager. Her roles have taken her from Victoria to Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay and the Sunshine Coast, to further afield including a university placement with a child protection office in Northampton, United Kingdom.

Jamila holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Melbourne University majoring in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, and a Diploma of Social and Community Welfare from Monash University.


Tony Howley

Finance Manager

Tony joined United Synergies in 2017, taking on the role of Finance Manager to oversee the management of budgets and financial resources. Tony’s role is integral to assessing, planning and coordinating our efforts to better support the future needs of our organisation in the most cost-effective ways.

Tony emigrated from the UK in 2005 having worked as regional finance manager for two multi-national companies and a not-for-profit Housing Association. Since living on the Sunshine Coast Tony has worked for Lendlease Retirement Living and St Andrews’s Anglican college. He brings a wealth of experience to his role at United Synergies and is passionate about working across the various programs that support vulnerable people in our community.


Dr Tanya Bell

Policy Manager

Tanya joined United Synergies in 2017 in the new role of Policy Manager. Tanya is involved in the strategic planning and development of our services to ensure while meeting the requirements of government policy, we are working effectively with our partners and local stakeholders to achieve better outcomes for our clients.

With almost two decades in the primary health care sector, Tanya has worked for research and academic institutes, state government departments, as well as non-government agencies including Medical Locals and Primary Health Networks. More recently Tanya has been engaged in a strategic leadership capacity assisting organisations to define and establish direction and priorities to deliver on their vision, values and strategy.

As a Population Health Epidemiologist, Tanya is passionate about improving the health and well-being of communities.


Stephanie Bemis

Human Resources Manager

In the position of HR Manager Stephanie and her team are focused on ensuring support to employees and managers through all phases of the employee life cycle whilst pursuing a strategic plan and focus to drive long term engagement and well-being.

Stephanie joined United Synergies as the HR Manager in March 2016. Prior to joining United Synergies, Stephanie gained over 10 years’ experience in HR Leadership and generalist positions in Brisbane, Sydney and at the Global Red Bull Headquarters in Austria before returning to the Sunshine Coast. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Business obtained from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Stephanie loves working for an organisation that supports the community and is passionate about organisational culture and employee wellbeing to ensure our employees are best placed to provide stellar support to our clients.


Scott Douglas

Quality Manager

Scott joined United Synergies in 2018 in the new role of Quality Manager.  In this role, Scott oversees our accreditation and quality processes which includes ISO 9001 and compliance to the range of Standards we work against to ensure we meet funding body requirements and provide effective and efficient services.

Scott has worked in the human services sector for over three decades in both the government and non-government sectors. Directly prior to joining United Synergies, Scott was Senior Program Manager for a large human services organisation with a focus on supporting vulnerable families and children.  He was also founder and director of an overseas humanitarian organisation with projects in Vanuatu, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.  Scott has been engaged in quality management for several years as a certified Lead Auditor and Consultant with work around Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Scott has a Masters of International and Community Development, a Graduate Certificate of Management, and Diploma of Quality Management.  He is a Fellow with the Governance Institute of Australia (FGIA) and certified Lead Auditor with International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA).


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