KUUNCHI KAKANA (families together) Staff
The Puuya Foundation has six staff in Lockhart River plus volunteers working in Early Years services. They are working in collaboration to deliver some great programs to our families including – Montessori Program, Family Wellbeing Program, Men’s Empowerment Program including our Landscaping and Maintenance team.
Chief Executive Officer
An Indigenous executive with over 23 years’ experience driving strategic delivery of projects, organisational and
business growth, utilising an extensive network and connections across Cape York communities, within government,
corporate and philanthropic communities.
The relationships held with Cape York people are testament to her commitment to the Cape York region and the empowerment of future generations of Aboriginal people. Kirsty has worked in executive roles in government, corporate and the private sector with experience leading land tenure negotiations, economic development opportunities and indigenous reform agendas.
Kirsty has a holistic mindset for working to drive innovation amongst project teams, enhance effective working partnerships that deliver results. She has built nationally recognised programs and strategies within the Indigenous affairs sector.
Kirsty commenced as the CEO of the Puuya Foundation in January 2021 and is committed to working collaboratively
across the community to support the development of future leaders in Lockhart River.
Sandra has a proven background in business management, finance and team leadership. With experience across private business, corporate enterprise and professional services, Sandra is a skilled business leader and general management professional.
She has worked in senior management and leadership teams in a wide variety of industries including the legal industry, financial services, retail industry, health industry, and shipping industry.
Sandra’s most recent experience managing the delivery of indigenous health services has driven her passion for leadership development and succession planning. Sandra’s business vision and strong leadership qualities are demonstrated by her proven track record of leading organisations to deliver tangible growth and success.
Sandra joined the team as the Executive Officer of the Puuya Foundation in March 2021 and is already building strong connections with the team delivering the work on the ground in Lockhart River.
Director Kuunchi Kakana Centre
I have lived in Lockhart River my whole life. My clan group is Kuku Ya’u and Umpila and my husband is from the Solomon Islands. We have two sons, two daughters, two foster children and three grandsons. I enjoy camping and fishing with my family on the weekends. We like to drive and explore Cape York together. I was working at the school in Pre-Prep before working here.
I like working at the Kuunchi Kakana program to spend time with children in this community. I enjoy seeing the adults working together with their children and doing different activities. I think this program is important for the children of Lockhart River to prepare them for school.
I hope to see all parents of Lockhart River come and be together in this program. I would love to see the children to grown up being well educated and happy.
My name is Rebecca Elu. I come from Lockhart River but grew up in Bamaga, while living in there I attended school in Bamaga. I have 4 siblings 2 brothers and 2 sisters. On my mother’s side I come from Lockhart River and on my father’s side I come from Saibai.
I’m a mother of 5 children, I have 3 boys and 2 girls. My three older children have finished high school and the other is graduating this year. My youngest is in Prep now in Lockhart State School.
I enjoy working with both the children and the families at the Kuunchi Kakana Centre and having a role in making leaders for the future of Lockhart River. I like to support and encourage families to come to the centre where families can learn in a safe environment.
My dream is to see the children of Lockhart River get a good education to study in Tafe or at university and return here to share their knowledge with the community. Also, I want the parents to support their kids to reach their potential, fulfil their dreams and make their parents proud.
Pat joined the Puuya Foundation as its Executive Officer in January 2012. She held various senior positions in both the State and Federal governments in more than 10 departments. Her career spans more than 30 years with many highlights. Prior to leaving government, Pat held the Project Manager position for the implementation of two whole-of-government initiatives – Project 2800 – Indigenous employment; and the Voluntary Separation Program. Pat was recognised in 2011 with a public service Australia Day award for her contribution to the public service. Pat is passionate about what she takes on, and endeavours to assist others to make a difference. Pat has also spent about 10 years involved in community organisations in various senior positions including Treasurer and Vice President of a community led child care centre.