Our Team Of Wonderful People

Barry MacKinnon AM


Barry MacKinnon has been actively working on behalf of Deaf and Hearing Impaired people for over 30 years. Barry and his wife Pam are parents of a son, Michael , who was born with a profound hearing loss. Barry has been President of the Deafness Council for many years and was previously a Board member and Chairman of the Speech and Hearing Centre as well as the Chair of the Disability Services Commission.

Dr John Byrne AM


John has been profoundly deaf since he was 12 years old. He successfully advocated for captioning of cinema, TV and live theatre. He is currently the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity.

Paul Higginbotham


Paul is CEO of Earbus Foundation WA. Paul is a qualified teacher of the Deaf with extensive ESL experience and holds a master’s degree in educational and organisational leadership. Paul successfully ran a language school in Japan for 5 years and was CEO of Telethon Speech & Hearing for many years. He has chaired the First Voice national alliance 2006-2008, served 10 years on the WA NGCS Committee, served as Chair of AISWA Special Needs Advisory Committee, is a member of the WA Deafness Council Executive Committee and the WA Newborn Hearing Screening Executive Committee.

Harvey Coates AO

Clinical Professor

Harvey Coates AO MS FRC'C FRACS DABO is a Paediatric Otolaryngologist and Clinical Professor at UWA, School of Paediatrics and Child Health and University Dept of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Senior ENT Surgeon at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. He is Chairman of the Aboriginal Sub-committee of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head, Neck and Surgery. Amongst his many interests are newborn hearing screening and Indigenous children's ear disease.

Alex Clarke OAM

Osborne Park Advisory Board

Alex has had a hearing impairment from an early age and has worked tirelessly in the community for people with disabilities. He has a keen interest in senior’s welfare and is a life member of Dianella/Yokine Retirees. Alex is also a councilor on the Osborne Park Advisory Board, he dedicated 4 years to the Ministerial Advisory Board for Disabilities WA and represented Australia at the worldwide Deaf and Blind conference in 2007.

Mark Fitzpatrick

Telethon Speech and Hearing

Mark Fitzpatrick has been the Chief Executive Officer of Telethon Speech and Hearing since February 2017. Prior to this role, Mark was the CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Western Australia for five years. After graduating from Curtin University with a Commerce degree, Mark has worked in a variety of roles in a range of not-for-profit, education, and government organisations. Mark plays a number of roles in supporting the not-for-profit sector and community. He is the Vice President of peak body WACOSS, a member of the Centre for Social Impact’s Advisory Council, a past-President of edventures WA Inc and more.

Leanne Potter

Education Coach

Leanne spent 45 years in education, with 39 years in various areas of the Deafness sector. She has worked in the speech, audition and sign language areas of Deaf Education. She has worked in Early Intervention with babies, through to teaching Deaf adults English. Her last two appointments with the Education Department were as Access and Equity Coordinator state-wide in schools and Principal of Shenton College Deaf Education Centre. She worked for The University of Melbourne training Teachers of the Deaf for 12 years and was awarded a Fellow of the University of Melbourne during this time. She is also a past president of the Australian Association of Teachers of the Deaf (WA branch). Leanne began the Auslan/English Interpreters’ course at TAFE in 1987 and is now a Life Member of ASLIA. She has worked as an interpreter as well as being a Teacher of the Deaf. She was a Board Member of the WA Deaf Society (now known as Access Plus) for 23 years and was awarded Life Membership with that organisation. Concurrently she also worked as a volunteer for the Catholic Deaf for over 25 years. At present Leanne is involved in the Coaching sector within Education.

Jacob (Jaap) den Hartog

Cochlear Implant Club and Advisory Association

Jacob represents Cochlear Implant Club and Advisory Association, CICADA Club WA Inc. Jacob began with two behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids in mid-1982 and in March 2014 was subject to surgery and received a Cochlear Implant (CI), there may be a second CI sometime in the future. CICADA wanted a representative on the Deafness Council of WA as they have a broad range of concerns that can and have been raised at the Local, State and Federal Levels. Some important CICADA concerns relate to competition, consumer protection, NDIS, medical insurance and other protection for people on Disability and Old Age Pensions.

Rae Walker

Shenton College Deaf Education

Rae Walker is a career STEM educator with extensive experience teaching in Secondary and University education. She currently works as an academic specialist and pastoral care support Teacher of the Deaf at Shenton College Deaf Education Centre. Rae was born hearing but an illness left her profoundly deaf as an adult. She also suffers from severe tinnutis and episodic vertigo. She has a Degree in Education – Science/Math Specialist, Diplomas in Human Resource Management and Auslan and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Education at the University of Western Australia. Her particular interests as a member of Deafness Council WA are inclusive education and access to services.

Janene Hall

Telethon Speech & Hearing

Janene Hall is currently Principal at Telethon Speech & Hearing. She joined TSH in 2001 and has worked across all three children’s support programs; the Early Intervention Program, School Support Program, and Speech & Language Program. Janene has over 35 years’ teaching experience, working in both special education and mainstream education sectors. She has taken on a variety of educational leadership roles, both in Australia and Internationally.

Lynne van Olden

CEO - WA Foundation for Deaf Children

Lynne van Olden has experience working in the private and not for profit sector in a variety of roles and has qualifications in environmental health science, social impact and business management. Lynne is passionate about social justice and feels privileged to work with Deafness Council WA. Since 2005, her role as Chief Executive Officer for the WA Foundation for Deaf Children has enabled her and a passionate and dedicated team to positively influence the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Foundation has developed into an innovative, creative and highly competent organisation supporting families through their journey.

Miliza Cruz

Audiology Account Manager, Cochlear Limited

Meliza’s passion for hearing is reflected in the various roles she held in the last fourteen years with Cochlear: providing Clinical Education in Asia Pacific, supporting the set up of various Cochlear implant programs in Southeast Asia, and leading introduction of Connected Care portfolio in Asia Pacific markets. She was President of the Society for Audiology Professionals Singapore (SAPS) from 2009-2011. Meliza moved from Singapore to Western Australia in 2018 to join Cochlear ANZ team. In her current role, she supports the various Cochlear and Baha implant programs across Western Australia. She closely collaborates with hearing care partners to better understand the needs in advancing hearing health and deliver best outcomes for people seeking hearing solutions. Meliza holds a Master of Clinical Audiology degree from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor in Speech Pathology from the University of the Philippines. She was an Assistant Professor at the College of Allied Medical Professions University of the Philippines, prior to joining Cochlear.

Phillip Parkes

Principal, Shenton College Deaf Education Centre

Phillip Parkes began his appointment as Principal of Shenton college Deaf Education Centre in July 2021. His previous experience includes Program Coordinator for Deaf Education at Belmont City College, Visiting Teacher of the Deaf in Perth and advising schools in the Pilbara and Central West to support Aboriginal students with Otitis Media. Phillip’s teaching career began as a classroom teacher at Neerigen Brook Primary School. Previously Phillip served in the Royal Australian Navy for 16 Years. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons), a Grad Dip in Primary Education and finally a Masters of Special Needs Education – Deaf and hard of hearing. Phillip encourages working cooperatively and collaboratively with the staff, families and community to provide the best educational and well-being outcomes for each student. He believes that every Deaf and hard of hearing student should enjoy school, be successful and have access to educational and vocational opportunities.

Bronwyn Birch

Teacher of the Deaf (TOD)

Bronwyn has been a Teacher of the Deaf (TOD) for over 40 years spending most of her working career at Telethon Speech and Hearing. In 2009, she became a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS) Cert Auditory Verbal therapist through AG Bell in America. In 2014 Bronwyn started working with families with deaf children in their homes, as an AVT, and an NDIS provider, ‘Auditory-Verbal Western Australia’ (AVWA). Bronwyn also works at SSEN; S as a Visiting Teacher of the Deaf. She is the Chairperson & National Rep.of the Australian Association of Teachers of the Deaf WA (AATD WA). She represents WA Teachers of the Deaf when attending the Deafness Council meetings.

Alison Cook

Chairperson, Audiology Australia WA Chapter

Alison Cook PhD MClinAud B.Sc(Hons) BMus MAudA(CCP) represents the WA Chapter of Audiology Australia. She is currently Paediatric Specialist Audiologist (Perth) with Hearing Australia, and also travels with the Hearing Australia HAPEE program providing paediatric diagnostic audiological services to remote indigenous communities across WA. Previously a university academic lecturing in Paediatric Audiology, Dr Cook has a demonstrated commitment to establishing and maintaining standards of teaching and practice of Clinical Audiology. Her research background is in cochlear mechanics, cochlear autoregulation and instrumentation, and clinical electrophysiology ranging from the objective diagnostic assessment of infants and young children, to intra-operative monitoring during ear and skull-base surgery.

Sarah Livingstone

Parent, teacher and advocate

Sarah Livingstone is a parent of a profoundly deaf son who is now 36 years old. She has been active in Deafness Council, W.A. for more than 30 years and has been a representative of the parent sector at Deafness Forum, the national peak body representing Deaf and hard of hearing people in Australia. She has also been a Teacher of the Deaf for 25 years, working for the Education Department, W.A. Sarah has been a strong advocate of ensuring that open captions are shown when special announcements and press releases are made on television by governments, both State and National, especially during emergencies.

Debbie Celenza

Expression Australia

Debbie Celenza joined Expression Australia as Business Partner, Marketing & Development in April 2023 and launched the organisations WA Office based in Fremantle in July 2023. Prior to this role, Debbie worked in commercial real estate for NAI Harcourts Metro for five years. Debbie has worked in a variety of roles within industries such as stockbroking, the Perth stock exchange, Kerry Stokes head office in West Perth, research and development and multi-cultural arts. Prior to life getting busy Debbie was a cellist.

Timothy Fawcett

Hearing Australia

Timothy Fawcett represents Hearing Australia on the Deafness Council. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from UWA Timothy pursued a Masters of Clinical Audiology, Also at UWA, graduating in 2011. His original Masters Thesis ‘Feasibility of a novel pure-tone audiometry method utilising commercial earphones’ was supervised by Dr Robert Patuzzi and required advanced knowledge of acoustical standards, hearing screening program implementation and health econometrics. Timothy started with Hearing Australia in 2012 and has worked in both Victoria as well as WA servicing all client groups including paediatrics, complex adults and Indigenous Australians. He has served as the clinical coach for WA since 2023.

You are in a good hands....