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Our Senior National Team

ABA Senior Management Team

Victoria

Victoria Marshall-Cerins, Executive Officer 

BA Hons, MSc, Grad Dip Community Education, Prof Cert Not-For-Profit Management, Grad Dip Childbirth Education, Dip AMI Montessori Early Childhood Education 0-3, 3-6. 

Victoria is a passionate and strategic not-for-profit leader with over 14 years’ senior management experience in the areas of volunteering, education and health, both in Australia and internationally. 

Since becoming a mother in 2001, Victoria has supported pregnant women and their partners through the transition into parenting, as a qualified independent childbirth educator, doula and early childhood educator. 

Victoria lives in Melbourne with her husband and two teenage children. 

nerida Haines

Nerida Haines, Senior Manager Helpline Services and Volunteer Support 

Nerida is a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor and educator with ABA and has been managing the National Breastfeeding Helpline Services since their very beginnings in 2008. Nerida is proud of and inspired by the work of ABA’s volunteers, admiring their dedication and passion for supporting Australian mums, their babies and families to reach their breastfeeding goals.  Prior to working with ABA, Nerida was an Assistant Principal and enjoyed time in Kindergarten classrooms, working alongside Australia’s little learners. As a mum of 3, family is her life and catching up together on bushwalks, at the beach and over family games and mealtimes remain very precious moments. 

Michelle HM

Michelle Ho McKersey, Senior Manager Growth and Engagement

Michelle Ho McKersey is an Engagement & Product Marketing Specialist with over 20 years of experience in stakeholder & community engagement, strategic partnership and business development, product marketing, brand management, communications, sustainability (ESG), and social procurement.

Michelle has a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Asian Business Studies and a Diploma of Business Administration. Michelle’s accomplishments include developing key partnerships and engagement strategies for sustainable long-term success and brand building. Strategic partners included the Victorian State Government and its affiliates, Parks Victoria, Western Bulldogs, Western Chances, The Smith Family, and the Salvation Army. Michelle also has diverse volunteer experience as a mentor, soup kitchen hand, and an op shop assistant.

Michelle's desire for positive social change was the catalyst that led her to join the not-for-profit sector with ABA. She is passionate about female and youth empowerment; cultivating essential leadership skills, lifelong learning and confidence.

Jacki McAvenna

Jacki McAvenna, Consulting CFO

Jacki is a finance professional with 25+ years of experience.  After starting her career at PwC, she moved into business in 2002, and has worked in a number of senior finance roles. 

In 2016 Jacki made a decision to leave the corporate world behind and use her skills and experience to help not-for-profit organisations with their financial management.   

Jacki’s focus is operational finance, and she enjoys working in organisations on a regular and ongoing basis, believing that this is the best way to provide great service and outcomes. She relishes the hands-on nature of working with NFP’s, and enjoys working with teams to get the best out of finance.  

Jacki has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Adelaide and is a member of Chartered Accountants ANZ. 

Lauren Bukowski

Lauren Bukowski, Operations Manager

Lauren joined ABA in 2022 and is responsible for management of the National Support Office day-to-day operations including human resources, information technology, office administration and facilities. 

Her professional background is in Operations and Project Management. Most recently as the Operations Director for Hey Tiger.  She enjoys providing teams with resources and streamlined processes so they can get on to the work that really matters.  
 
Originally from Denver, Colorado in the United States, Lauren has lived in Melbourne with her husband for the last nine years. She has two toddlers who keep her busy and fill her days with laughter.  Lauren is a book worm and is always planning her next holiday destination.

Melanie Carter, Senior Manager Learning and Innovation

ABA Branch Presidents

Jennifer Hurrell

Jennifer Hurrell, Victoria Branch President 

Jennifer joined ABA in 2005 following the birth of her second child. She moved to regional Victoria in the year after the birth of her first child and had struggled finding a support network in her new town.  At her first ever local group meeting, Jennifer realised that the mums in the local ABA group were likely to become her new village. 
Within the first year of membership, Jennifer had decided to train as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, and took over as the local group leader just as she qualified. Jennifer ran weekly meetings in Bendigo for almost 6 years and loved connecting with local mums and supporting so many different families. Jennifer has also completed training to be a Breastfeeding Educator as well as providing training for new volunteers. 
Jennifer joined the Victorian Branch leadership team in 2017 and became the Victorian Branch president in 2022. She feels privileged to work with our amazing Victorian volunteers, and to be part of the national leadership team. She is sometimes described by friends and family as the "boob lady", and loves sharing the fascinating science of breastfeeding when the opportunity arises.  
   

Chrissy Jachmann

Chrissy Jachmann, South Australia / Northern Territory Branch President 

BHSc (Psych), Grad Dip Psych Science, Cert IV Breastfeeding Education (Counselling)

After calling the breastfeeding helpline early in her own breastfeeding journey, Chrissy was inspired to join the Association. The support provided by counsellors on helpline helped Chrissy to breastfeed her two children for longer than she ever expected. Chrissy’s passion is overnight Helpline. Being able to be there for families at a time when it feels like no one else in the world is awake. After moving to a new area, Chrissy connected with a local group, just over the border in Victoria. Upon walking into that room, it felt like she had found her tribe! Other mothers with children of all ages, sharing wisdom, experiences and of course a cup of tea. Shortly after this first meeting, she started training and completed her Cert 4 in Breastfeeding Education. 
The friendships developed through this group survived the closing of state borders during the Covid pandemic and she has continued to provide breastfeeding support to families in the community and on helpline. 
 

Monica Spillman

Monica Spillman, Western Australia Branch President 

As a trained breastfeeding counsellor, Monica is passionate about providing guidance, support, and knowledge to women and families who have concerns about breastfeeding.  

As a new Mum, Monica struggled to breastfeed. She found it to be a raw and vulnerable time, full of anxiety and sleep deprivation. Monica felt heard by the ABA volunteers. They provided unconditional support regardless of how long she chose to breastfeed. Monica was inspired by their knowledge and skills and wanted to give this support to others.  

Monica loves to contribute at a local level to meet the needs of families; listening to their needs with an empathetic ear and providing breastfeeding support and evidence-based information so they may feel empowered to take steps that will work for their family. As Branch President, Monica enjoys contributing to the ABA with a wider perspective. 
 

Kylie Miller Photo

Kylie Miller, Queensland Branch President

BMid, BA, Grad Dip Education, Cert IV Breastfeeding Education (Counsellor), Cert IV Breastfeeding Education (Educator), Cert IV Training and Assessment

Kylie joined ABA in 2011 upon returning to Australian for the birth of her second child. Kylie is a Registered Midwife and now mother of four (biological and foster children). She has moved extensively around Australia and draws on the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a support network in every location. Within the first year of membership, Kylie took on the role of National Training Manager Learning Programs and decided to train as a Breastfeeding Counsellor. Following on she extended to qualify as a breastfeeding educator and continued as a trainer and assessor. Kylie has been group leader for two group in different branches and supported the TalkAbout Team as an assistant editor.
Kylie became the Queensland Branch president in Dec 2022. She feels privileged to work with our amazing volunteers across the association, and to be part of the national leadership team. She is always passionate to share her journey as a mother and volunteer and firmly believes it is not about what she does for the Association but everything the volunteers of ABA have done for her.  
 

Laura Anderson, Tasmania Branch President 

 

Kathryn Barwick, ACT/NSW Branch President