Our Team

We are a group of positive, proactive people who want to make a difference!

Professor Samar Aoun (Chairperson)

Professor Samar Aoun is Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Western Australia, Head of Palliative Care Research at Perron Institute, and Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University. Samar is an international leader in the promotion and advocacy of public health approaches to palliative care and led this approach for those living with grief and bereavement. She is known as an innovator and a champion of practice and policy translation of public health science for palliative care.

Her work on social models in bereavement support has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities approach. She co-founded and currently chairs the South West Compassionate Communities Network and leads the Compassionate Connectors program which offers the practical and social support needed by families with life limiting illnesses. This program has been embedded into standard practice by the health service, with volunteers working alongside the palliative care and chronic disease teams.

Samar currently chairs the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association in Western Australia, is Vice-President of MND Australia and a member of the Palliative Care WA board. She is a member of Public Health Palliative Care International and the Public Health Palliative Care reference group of the European Association of Palliative Care.

She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 from the Prime Minister of Australia, received in 2018 the Medal for Excellence in Person Centred Healthcare from the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare and was recently awarded the 2023 WA Australian of the Year.

Tresslyn Smith (Deputy Chairperson)

Cr Smith is the current Deputy Mayor of the Bunbury City Council. As a Councillor she has been on several council committees including heritage, seniors and is the Chair of the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council.

Tresslyn was born in Bunbury and has lived in the City since 1971. She was a former South West Senior Regional Officer and industrial relations and consumer affairs investigator for the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Commerce, assisting and advising businesses and consumers over a 30 year career. Tresslyn retired in 2012.

Heather Wade (Secretary)

As a volunteer, Heather was a Breastfeeding Counsellor with Nursing Mothers (now the Australian Breastfeeding Association) for 10 years.

Heather is one of the pioneer Connectors of the Compassionate Connectors initiative in the South West, aiming at building compassionate communities.

As part of Dying to Know Day in 2021 & 2022, she co-ordinated the field trips. 

Heather is also interested in local history.

Dr Stephen Hinton (Treasurer)

Dr Stephen Hinton has been a resident of Bunbury for 20 years. He grew up in South Africa and migrated to Bunbury in 2001. 

Stephen has been a practicing Consultant Physician in Bunbury Hospital and St John of God Bunbury since his arrival in Bunbury. He has served on the Bunbury Hospital Medical Advisory Committee since 2002 and chaired the Committee since 2013. For four years he has been a Senior Lecturer for the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia.

Stephen has been a member of the Rotary Club of South Bunbury since 2008 and was Club President in 2012 and 2013.

Stephen sees the Compassionate Communities enriching health care systems with person-centred service and facilitating community re-engagement with their ill neighbours.

Frieda Evans

Frieda Evans was born in South Africa and also lived in New Zealand for seven years. She has been living in the Bunbury area for the past 23 years. 

Her background is in library science and she worked in that field in South Africa and New Zealand. In Australia she worked as a practice manager for 14 years.

Frieda has always had an interest in people, with a particular compassion for people who are in need. The Compassionate Community Connector Program has been an ideal vehicle for her to pursue these goals and has served to empower her personal abilities to help people in need. 

Frieda’s personal interests embrace family, music, art, literature, travel, cooking and our pets and wildlife. ​

Shamara Williams

Shamara Williams is the Manager of Volunteer South West and is passionate about connecting people to their community through volunteering. She volunteers with a number of local organisations herself and gives her time to causes she feels strongly about, especially those that build community.

Shamara loves to collaborate and partner with other organisations to make a vision a reality. She sees the Compassionate Communities Network as a way to build new, and improve existing, connections within the community, connections that are vital when it comes to engaging with vulnerable and isolated individuals.

Raquel Willis

Raquel Willis brings 25 years of experience working as part of the Public Health Team at WA Country Health Service in the South West. Much of Raquel’s career has been in the prevention area of health, focussing on co designing health services and programs to meet the needs of disadvantaged and rural populations. 

Raquel has been volunteering in the community for many years through her involvement in sporting and recreation groups including SW Wind and Jazz Orchestra, Hay Park United Soccer Club, South Bunbury Football Club, Bunbury Sea Scouts, Bunbury Senior High School and Katanning Scouts.

James Jarvis

James Jarvis works as the CEO of the Busselton Hospice Care Inc and is committed to working in partnership with people to create strong communities of connected and capable people. James holds a variety of committee positions with community groups, including Volunteer South West and he is the Chairman of Linkwest. His approach to developing communities is strengths-based and follows asset-based principles.

Dominic Frisina

Dominic Frisina was born in Bunbury and lived most of his life in Brunswick. In his working life he was employed at Boans, the Water Authority and the Health Department. He now works as a casual at William Barrett & Sons as a Funeral Director’s assistant.

Over the years, Dominic has had a number of roles on committees including Leos (Junior Lions), the Parish Council, Festa Committee, Harvey Brunswick Football committee and the Brunswick Self Help
group. These days he volunteers at the Dolphin Discovery Centre and the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre. Dominic joined SWCCN to be involved in a caring organisation which encompasses his values.

Carolyn Jones

Carolyn Jones was born and raised on a farm in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, which she took over once married and her two children were born there. She helped manage the farm and other business ventures from 1983 to 1999. In 2000 she was the sole Office Manager for a thriving business handling investments, finance and trust accounts.

In 2011 she moved to Esperance, WA to be closer to family at the time. With a change of career she become the first Support Chaplain to remote regions surrounding Esperance. She found visiting those communities an absolute privilege where her work mainly involved supporting Principals, staff and children. With the training and support she received in every area of Chaplaincy, she grew personally and professionally.

Unfortunately, due to her husband’s accident in Esperance, they returned to NZ to be closer to family. However, in 2020 her daughter and family moved back to WA to take up a career position, and in 2021 Carolyn and her husband followed. Due to her own disability, she loves doing all sorts of crafts and also enjoys spending time with family and friends as she becomes part of the Greater Bunbury community. She trained as a Compassionate Connecter early in 2022 and loves being part of the initiative where her life skills and compassion help those dealing with chronic or life-limiting illness and death.

Kristy Constantine

Kristy Constantine is the Chief Executive at the Bunbury Cemetery Board. She was born in Bunbury and has strong family ties to the area. Her aim is to be pro-active in collaborating with like-minded organisations and to encourage community engagement within the Cemetery and Memorial Gardens as a place to celebrate the lives of those we have lost.

She believes the vision of creating a Compassionate Community will only enhance the quality of life of people who are living with chronic disease, life-limiting illnesses, bereavement and loss.

Elizabeth Denniss

Elizabeth Denniss, Manager Community Connection with the City of Bunbury, is an ex officio member on the Committee.  The City of Bunbury is a project partner in the development of a Compassionate Charter for the Bunbury Community. 

Elizabeth’s portfolio at the City includes Community Partnerships, Events, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre and has a strong focus on activation and placemaking.

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