Chriss has more than 17 years’ experience as a marketing communications consultant working on some of the world’s biggest brands and building up some of the smallest. She was previously Head of Consumer Brands at one of Australia’s largest independent PR agencies and is currently Managing Director of Soda Communications, a boutique marketing communications agency that works across automotive, lifestyle and corporate clients. She was motivated to join Life’s Little Treasures Foundation after seeing its fantastic work from the perspective of one of her clients – Earlybirds who is also a keen LLTF supporter. In her other time she wrangles two primary-school-aged girls, and unwinds with craft and baking sessions. Chriss has a BA (Public Relations) from RMIT University, where she still gives back as a guest lecturer and occasional tutor.
As a mother of a premature baby Shusannah understands the emotional roller-coaster ride a family can find themselves on after premature birth. Her daughter Molly-Rose, who is now 13 years old, was born at 25 weeks weighing just 880grams. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation was born in 2005 when Shusannah and four other parents of premature babies decided to do something about the lack of support available to people in their situation. Shusannah’s passion and motivation was driven by her determination that other families shouldn’t have to endure the traumatic and life-changing experience of having a premature or sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey.
Dedicating the last 11 years of her life to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Shusannah has built the charity from a small mothers’ support group to what is now considered one of the leading national premature birth charities in Australia. She has been instrumental in developing many of the LLTF programs and services which are available in the hospitals and the community. She consistently demonstrates the commitment, vision, and skills to be considered among the best in the not-for-profit premature birth community. Prior to establishing Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Shusannah’s professional journey also incorporated her role as OHS Systems Manager for Goodman Fielder and Quality Assurance Manager for Jeans West. She has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business Management and Computer Science from Brunel University, UK.
Head of Finance, Mack Valves
Karin is passionate about LLTF and has worked as a volunteer at the Foundation for the past 10 years, as Treasurer and Director. Her son Robbie was born prem in 2007, she herself suffered from severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. From this experience she wanted to give back and is very passionate about supporting other families who go through the journey of having a sick or premature baby, firmly believing that providing the right information and education to parents & professionals is key to providing best outcomes for these families.
She is currently the head of Finance for Mack Valves, her previous role was as the Financial Controller of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. She has spent the early part of her career with one of the world’s largest Food and Beverage services brands, working events in Australia such as the Commonwealth Games and Australian Open. From there, she focussed her work on numerous not-for-profit organisations and aiding them in building their ability to support their cause, while controlling financial obligation to the government, and support services alike. Karin also has recently run a successful Hospitality Financial Solutions business, supporting many business leaders in running effective businesses.
Dr Simon Fraser
Dr Simon Fraser studied medicine at the University of Queensland graduating in 1982. He trained as a Paediatrician at the Mater Hospitals in Brisbane and sub-specialised in Neonatology at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital. Following the awarding of his fellowship in child health with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1992 Simon took up a position as a Staff Neonatologist at the Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne in 1993 where he continued practicing in their growing NICU until 2005.
Simon then moved into medical administration and continued clinical work in special care nursery paediatrics in various hospitals in the Gippsland region (southwest of Melbourne) until 2016. He was employed at the Latrobe Regional Hospital as the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Paediatrician until late July 2018. Simon continues to conduct a small paediatric clinic with a special interest in newborns and premmies and commenced as Clinical Director – Governance with Medibank at the end of July 2018.
He has a particular interest in clinical and corporate governance and considerable experience and understanding of health services management and the Australian healthcare system. Simon has lived in regional Victoria since 2005 and thus also has a personal interest and understanding of issues facing families in the regional and rural setting.
Simon is delighted to be part of the LLTF board member and hopes to bring his clinical knowledge and firsthand experience of working in healthcare to benefit the foundation.
Rusty is co-founder & director of Raine & Makin, a purpose-driven design company that works with not-for-profits and social enterprises, helping them inspire people around them into action. His professional and personal life are linked by singular motivation: creating a better world for my kids and their generation. He is inspired by the people he meets and their experiences in affecting change in the world. No matter how big or small that change is.
Rusty has two children, Jack and Juno. Jack, Rusty’s first child, was a late pre-term baby who spent the first 10 days of his life in NICU back in 2015. Since this challenging start to Jack’s life, Rusty is always open to sharing his experience to help others feel connected and not alone in theirs. He is excited to be a part of the board that plays an important role in the challenging lives of so many new parents.
Professor Sandra Rees
Neuroscientist (retired), University of Melbourne
Sandra Rees is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne. She undertook her PhD in the Physiology Department at Monash University and held a research position there for several years. She joined the academic staff of the University of Melbourne in 1992 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. Her major research interests over the past 28 years have been directed towards understanding the pathogenesis of brain injury resulting from fetal hypoxia, infection, alcohol exposure and prematurity. Her laboratory has collaborated with research groups at Monash University, INSERM U676 Paris, France and Washington, Harvard and Oxford Universities.
She has given plenary lectures at international meetings, regularly reviews papers for neuroscience journals and grants for national and international bodies. She has been the Victorian representative on the Council of the Australian Neuroscience Society (1992-95), an examiner for the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists (1997-2003), the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1999-2001) and is currently Research Secretary on the Council of the Royal Society of Victoria. She has authored 130 papers in international journals, written 5 reviews and 8 book chapters and supervised 13 PhD students. She was a founding member of the Faculty of MDHS Equity and Staff Development committee and has a long-standing interest in mentoring young scientists.
In 2007 she won the Nina Kondelos Prize awarded by the Australian Neuroscience Society for her contribution to neuroscience research and in 2011 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Melbourne. She is a passionate member of the LLTF board.