Meet the board - Stepping Stone House

Simon Bird

Simon Bird

Simon Bird is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and former Director and Fellow of CPA Australia. Simon has accumulated over 30 years corporate experience. This includes roles as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer with large public companies together with Directorships on listed company boards and not for-profit organisations. As part owner of two childcare centres and parent of two adult children, he has a keen interest in the welfare of our youth. Simon joined the Board in February 2016.

Shen Wilson

After growing through the adversity of poverty and youth homelessness, Shen now lives and works in Merrylands N.S.W with her four children and partner Bec.

After working in Youth work and Education, Shen shifted her focus and began a journey toward independent business ownership and upskilling herself.

She attributes her success to her inner strength and the support, guidance and education she received whilst living in the residential premises of Stepping Stone House.

Shen is a Stepping Stone House Ambassador and an Advocate for Ending Youth Homelessness.

Cate Sydes

Cate Sydes is a registered Psychologist and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has over 30 years of experience working with at risk young people and their families. This experience includes working with children and young people under the care of the Minister of the NSW Government in Residential Care and Out of Home Care.

Cate, until her retirement in 2022, was CEO of a newly established organization Loreto Ministries Australia and South East Asia (2017-2022). She worked closely with the Board and the leadership team implementing the strategic objectives for the organisation which involved improving risk compliance, including child safety in Australia and South East Asia. Prior to this, Cate was CEO of Marist 180 (2006-2017) a specialist provider of services for youth at risk with operations and programs across approximately forty sites, 350 FTE staff, and a $47 million annual budget. Primarily operating in Western Sydney also with sites in Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra.

Both Cate’s working and personal life has  focused on  the development, safety and care of children and young people. She joined the Board at the end of 2022.

Benjamin Balasigamany (Bala Benjamin)

Bala is a Chartered Accountant with many years of experience providing quality finance and management services in the private, public and not-for-profit sector. For the past 5 years, he has worked at St Augustine’s College Sydney as the Director of Business and Finance and previously worked at Marist Youth Care Ltd as the Executive Manager-Corporate services for 10 years. He is enthusiastic about contributing to the success of Stepping Stone House, and joined the board in January 2024.

Renee Coiner

Renee has been a social worker for more than 20 years, specialising in working with vulnerable children and families in a statutory child protection context and supporting practitioners in their work. Renee has a specific interest in developmental trauma and the impact of trauma on growth and development throughout childhood/adolescence and an interest in creating child/young person safe environments. She is currently working in private practice as a consultant across the NGO and government sectors.