Stephen Woodlands, Founder and Managing Director

Stephen is the Founder and Managing Director of Head Start Homes and is passionate about making the world a better place by creating opportunity. Stephen has over 10 years combined experience in finance, risk, law and government.

Stephen grew up in social housing and knows from lived experience that a secure and safe home leads to better education, health and empowered communities. Stephen  believes that  purpose and opportunity are important ingredients for a happy and successful life and that equal access to opportunity results in positive ripple effects enriching communities. 

Stephen has entered into a Secondment agreement with Westpac and now works full time at Head Start Homes. During his time at the Westpac Group Stephen worked in a number of senior roles including Chief of Staff at St.George Bank; Senior Manager, Chief Executive’s Office, Consumer Bank; Senior Manager Regulatory Response and Senior Manager Conduct and Governance. Prior to his time at Westpac Stephen worked at a boutique commercial law firm and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2010. Stephen has also worked as an Electorate Officer and Speech Writer for a number of Members of Parliament in South Australia. 

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Law, a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and an honours degree in Arts majoring in Politics. 

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Karen Walsh, Chair 

Karen is an adaptive executive leader with 28 years in senior and executive roles in Government and the not for profit sectors. Karen is passionate about making a difference to peoples’ lives through collaboration, leadership and visionary thinking and loves to explore the possibilities and innovate for solutions to complex problems. 

Karen has been the CEO at Shelter NSW since 2017. Prior to this role, Karen held two GM roles at SGCH (formerly ‘St George Community Housing’) from 2010 to 2016, leading the social and affordable housing strategy, policy and delivery; business and service improvement; community regeneration and placemaking; and more recently  leading the Group’s business growth strategy, innovation and impact.

Karen’s early career in the UK was in child protection and disability services. Her career in Australia includes 12 years in NSW State Government in senior and executive roles in Aboriginal, public and community housing leading strategy and reform; strategic policy and partnerships; community regeneration and business development and improvement.  

Karen is a qualified social worker, and holds two Masters Degrees - in Social Policy (UWS) and an Executive Masters in Public Administration, is as an Associate of the Institute of Public Policy and Governance at UTS, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Karen has held Directorships on several not for profit Boards, including peak bodies.

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Airlie Fox, Director

Airlie is a highly regarded lawyer, having worked on some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects in recent years and is renowned for being an integral and trusted adviser. She brings a wealth of legal experience across a range of sectors, including social infrastructure and transport. Airlie is known for her commitment to clients and the high quality of her advice.  Airlie is a partner of Corrs Chambers Westgarth Major Projects team, specialising in public private partnership (PPP) projects and other major infrastructure projects. Her current clients include major developers and corporations, Government and blue chip financial institutions.

Brooke Flint, Director

Brooke is the Founder and Managing Director of Flint Property. As one of Sydney’s leading buyers agents, Brooke is passionate about helping others achieve their home ownership dreams. Brooke brings integrity to real estate and works tirelessly to ensure that her customers purchase their new home in the most efficiently and cost effective way. Brooke is a professional negotiator and is a licensed real estate agent and has worked in the property industry for over 16 years. 

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Joel Larsen, Director

Joel has Worked for the Westpac Group for 9 years in various leadership roles. In 2015, Joel joined the Product function, firstly by leading the Cards team but then moved to running the Westpac Mortgage team. Joel now supports the Westpac Home Ownership division with key strategic and operational advice as the Business Manager to the General Manager.

One of Joel’s greatest achievements at Westpac is reinvigorating the bank’s offering for First Home Buyers when the market was largely focused on investors. Joel has a passion for helping people purchase property. Growing up in Wollongong, Joel has seen first hand the benefit home ownership gives to building prosperity for families. Joel has been a major advocate of Head Start Homes within Westpac and beyond. 


Philip Riquier, Director.

Philip Riquier is an experienced ASX 100 Executive and Professional Company Director.

Philip previously worked as an Executive of Adelaide Bank Ltd and then also as an Executive of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. He held various senior roles over 23 years including: Chief General Manager Business and Rural Lending, Chief Credit Officer (CCO), Head of Products, Head of Advisory Services and Head of Structured Finance and Third Party Securitisation.

He is one of a small group of key leaders responsible for creating the strategies and driving the business results that enabled Co-Op Building Society to grow from a $3Bn Building Society in 1993 to (including the merger with Bendigo Bank in 2007) being an $80+Bn Bank and the 5th largest in Australia currently. Philip has extensive experience in all forms of business leadership, business development, corporate strategy, financial management, financial reporting, capital raising, risk management, regulatory compliance, technology innovation, large scale project management and property development.

Richard Yong, Director

Richard currently works as a General Manager at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and is an expert in banking and technology risk.

Richard was previously Head of Product Quality for Westpac’s Consumer Bank where he was responsible for ensuring fair and suitable outcomes for customers by establishing quality processes across consumer products and leading remediation programmes. Richard has also previously worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers and Allianz Australia, holding management roles in Risk Management, Internal Audit and External Audit. His expertise ranges from Conduct Management, Project Management, Control Frameworks, Data Analytics and Risk and Compliance Management.


Sarah Reilly, Director

Sarah Reilly is the Director of Cred Consulting, which she established in 2003. Sarah has more than 20 years experience in community planning and community engagement. Sarah is the former Social Planning Chapter Convenor of the NSW Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and a member of PIANSW, IAP2, and Australasian Housing Institute. She is currently a member of the Expert Reference Group for the Socially Sustainable Parramatta Policy.

Sarah has worked extensively on community planning, supply and demand analysis, and social infrastructure and service projects across NSW and is highly experienced in project management, working within multidisciplinary teams, workshop facilitation and consulting with a broad range of stakeholders and diverse communities. Sarah is a specialist in integrated strategic planning for local government and also in service delivery planning for target groups. Sarah is an advocate for building strong communities through collaboration, empowerment and engagement.



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Graham Brown, Member

Graham is Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Care SA and Managing Director of InterLife Australia. Graham holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in Public Benevolent Institutions including serving as CEO of Junction Australia from 2005-2017.

Graham has extensive organisational development experience and has led organisations that provide both large community housing portfolios and a wide range of social support services that address complex social issues including homelessness, domestic violence and child protection. He recognises that multi-faceted strategies, implemented by well-coordinated collaborative approaches based upon mutual trust, are essential if efforts to strengthen lives, families and communities are to have real and enduring impact.

Graham is actively serving on several not-for-profit boards and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by PowerHousing Australia in 2017 for his contribution to the development of the Community Housing Sector.


Judith Carpenter, Member

Judith Carpenter is the founding director of Judith Carpenter & Associates and Board Chair of Baptist Care NSW/ACT. Judith has over 25 years’ experience in human resources consulting, the recruitment and selection of senior executives and middle managers and business development.

Judith has worked with leading Australian and multi-national companies in banking and finance, insurance, professional services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, information technology, telecommunications, retail and business services sectors. She has worked extensively with local, state and federal government organisations as well as with the not-for-profit sector.

Prior to establishing JCA, Judith worked as a consultant for KPMG, Price Waterhouse Urwick and a number of boutique consultancies. 

Judith has a Bachelor of Arts and teaching qualifications, is an accredited MBTI facilitator and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management Consultants. 

Paul Madden (AM), Member

Paul is currently Chief Executive of The Wyatt Trust and Chair of World Relief Australia & Social Impact Investment Network SA.  He has held senior roles in the community sector and has undertaken reviews on behalf of government in child abuse prevention and Indigenous substance misuse.  

In 2005, Paul and his wife Barbara, founded Bright Futures Child Aid & Development Fund Australia, an international development agency with projects in India, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda.  An interest in the emergent field of social impact investment led him to co-founding the Social Impact Investment Network SA (SIINSA).  

In 2001 Paul was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to the community. More recently he was awarded a Member (AM) of the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours for significant service to the community of South Australia, particularly to social welfare and humanitarian organisations, and to philanthropy. His academic qualifications include a Master's Degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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Peter Adcock, Member

Peter is a highly regarded entrepreneur and successful business and community leader. In the early 1990s, Peter pioneered a new area of environmental science being the use of wetlands to bring about sustainable industries and positive environmental outcomes. Peter is now a leading wetland specialist in Australia and also founded three successful businesses: Australian Wetlands, Greater West Landscapes and Australian Wetlands Nursery.

Peter is also the Cofounder of Greater West for Christ - a movement with a vision of suburban transformation in Western Sydney through 100 Healthy Churches of all denominations.

Being a leading philanthropist and devoted to making the world a better place, Peter in 2012 transferred all of his business shareholdings to the Greater West for Christ Trust, a ministry of the Baptist Association of NSW & ACT. Peter still manages those companies as the Trustee.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Science with 1st class honours and is also a Director of Morling Bible College, Greater West Landscapes, Mission Connect Limited, and Australian Wetlands Nursery.

Sue Doherty, Secretary

Sue is responsible for developing and implementing Westpac Technology’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strategy (STEM). In this role, Sue oversees the strategies that deliver workforce sustainability and diversity with a focus on emerging talent, women in technology and implementing STEM participation. Sue has over 10 years’ experience in finance and previously worked as the Senior Manager of Westpac's Risk Governance team where she was responsible for the oversight of the Executive Risk Committee structure, and the Board Risk Management Committee. Sue holds a Master of Communication Management from the University of Technology in Sydney and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.