Our People

Passion and possibility thinking wrapped up in a whole lot of knowledge – that’s the best way to describe our people.  Carmel Crouch – Managing Director


Anne Nioa – Chief Executive Officer – STEPS Pathways College and STEPS Charity

Anne is a well-known and respected business professional and corporate adviser with broad experience in business, government, politics, management, tourism, international relations, events and the community. Anne managed the Tourism, Events and Marketing portfolio as a member of the Fraser Coast Council from 2004 to 2012, and brings years of experience running successful organisations to STEPS.

Anne’s career in local government and business management spans more than two decades, providing her with an extensive network of contacts across the business, government and community sectors throughout Queensland and Australia. Anne has an established reputation for providing evidenced-based advice and hands on guidance to national and international business, government, politics and small business. Anne’s goal is to expand STEPS’ reach and extend their services into regional Australia to support more families living with disability and autism.

Anne also has a deeply personal connection to STEPS through her daughter Ariana, who has Down Syndrome, and attended the STEPS Pathways College in Caloundra since 2017 and graduated in 2019. Ms Nioa, a single mother who raised her children alone after her husband lost a battle with bowel cancer in 1997, knows first-hand how important organisations like STEPS are to the community and to parents like her.

STEPS Pathways College provided her daughter with a living and learning facility for young adults with disabilities, that really allowed her to begin an incredible new chapter in her life towards independence, and the opportunity to shine. She understands that raising a child with a disability presents such unique challenges to parents that it can sometimes feel like an all-consuming responsibility. Anne says that as the mother of a young person with a disability she understands how important it is to know that there are services out there that you can lean on like STEPS. She says her daughter’s new independence has also given Anne a new independence and she would like to help other families on that important journey.

Board of Directors

Carmel Crouch

Carmel Crouch’s appointment as Board Chair started more than 30 years ago when STEPS was just a small organisation trying to provide young people with a disability with opportunities for workplace participation and independence. Today Carmel is the Chair of a much larger organisation that helps many individuals all over Australia strive for a brighter future.

As Chair Carmel facilitates STEPS Group Australia’s strategic planning and major decision making processes. Her in-depth knowledge of not for profit corporate governance, coupled with her service delivery expertise and determination for social equality, has been instrumental in the ongoing success of the organisation.

Christine Jones

Christine is a solicitor in private legal practice. She was admitted as a legal practitioner initially in 1986, and now practices primarily as a dispute resolution practitioner.

Christine has been a Director and Secretary of STEPS since 2006, and is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Helen Ferguson

Helen Ferguson has been in private enterprise for more than 35 years and until recently retiring, was the Principal Adviser in her own financial planning business.

Helen joined the Board of Directors of STEPS in 2003 following STEPS.  Helen is also a member of the Rotary Club of Bundaberg Daybreak, is a Bundaberg District Executive of Scouts Australia, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Michael Lutje

Michael is a Chartered Accountant and a partner in his firm with over 25 years experience.

Michael has been a Director and Treasurer of STEPS since 2009.  He is a member of the National Tax & Accountants’ Association, the Taxation Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Shelton Wabersinke

Shelton graduated from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 1985 and has been a Family General Practitioner on the Sunshine Coast since 1990.

Shelton is one of the founding Principals of Lake Kawana General Practice and practices in all areas of medicine with a special interest in Mental Health. She is a Local Area Group (LAG) Coordinator for the Primary Health Network (PHN) and a member of their GP Reference Group. For many years she has held the position of Honorary Medical Officer at Marcoola Surf Life Saving Club. Shelton is happy to be welcomed back to Steps Group Australia, after serving on the board previously from1994-2007.

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