Our Team

Helen Eason

Founder and Chief Executive Officer​

With lived experience of all the institutions and agencies that continue to falter in their services to Aboriginal people, Helen’s vision, strength and commitment to her mob’s healing is as real as she is.

A proud Gomeroi and Biripi woman, Helen has five children and four grandchildren. Her family is a driving force for her visionary work in the creation of Nelly’s Healing Centre.

Helen continues to conquer adversity and multiple obstacles to ensure that healing can and will be achieved for our mob.

Aunty Juanita Sherwood


Professor Juanita Sherwood is a highly respected champion of cultural change and social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Professor Sherwood led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement at the University of Sydney in August 2017-2018 as Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services).

She has been a driving force behind building cultural competence across Australia, and was the founding Director of the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC), which is housed on the University’s main campus in Camperdown.

Juanita pioneered the NCCC’s Cultural Competence Leadership Program for University staff from all backgrounds – one of her proudest achievements.

Professor Sherwood maintains close connections to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, consulting regularly with Elders to guide her decision making and ensure her change agenda meets critical community needs.

She is also an accomplished Indigenous health and education scholar. During her 30-year career, which she started as a registered nurse, she has been an inspirational mentor to thousands of students and a lifelong learner. Her own studies culminated in a PhD at the University of New South Wales.

Gillian Barlow

Board Member​

Originally from Adelaide, now living in Gadigal Country, Gillian is an architect and writer.

She has worked on Aboriginal housing and Aboriginal health projects as well as disability housing. Gillian designed an app for people with disability to do their own small home modifications and is most proud of a kit being used by Communities to plan and design their own health buildings. Gillian is committed to community engagement and co-design.

Gillian worked at the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC) at the University of Sydney and currently works a researcher.

Catherine Martin

Board Member​

Catherine is a proud Wiradjuri woman, currently living and working on Wiradjuri Country. Catherine grew up in Cootamundra with her family and was the first in her family to attend University.

After University, Catherine commenced working in employment services and was then offered the opportunity to work specifically within First Nations employment programs. This opened up an opportunity for Catherine to take on other roles and she has continued to work in this space since early 2000. During this period, Catherine has worked with organisations to support First Nations staff on a cultural, personal and professional level; has implemented employment strategies and programs to support First Nations people and communities into employment; and has been part of a national First Nations Employment Network.

Stacey Lighton

Board Member​

With a background as a trained psychotherapist and counsellor and with the mentoring of Aboriginal people both inside and outside of academia, Stacey’s field of interest and research has centred on the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) of Aboriginal women in Community.

Previous experience included working on the Social and Cultural Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Mothers in Prison (SCREAM) research project to better appreciate how the women themselves conceptualised health and their experiences of prison healthcare.

Her PhD (public health) research looked at the role of trauma (including intergenerational trauma) and removal of children in the incarceration of Aboriginal mums in NSW.

Her work is driven by the conviction that the trauma of Aboriginal women and mothers is different and that this group have needs which are specific; these include access to trauma-informed, culturally-safe Community led initiatives where they can feel safe and supported.