About CoAct: Our leadership

The CoAct executive team shares a passion for building stronger communities throughout Australia and together they deliver a wealth of experience and expertise across each business function.

Simon Brown

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

Simon is a seasoned senior executive with over two decades of strategy, planning, board engagement, governance, risk management and leadership experience, across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He possesses a strong track record of delivering results and an extensive background in strategic and operational management. Simon has a proven ability to navigate complex operating environments and is known for his values-based leadership, commercial acumen, and governance experience. He has a keen focus on growth, business improvement, and new business implementation.

Simon was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2022 after 7 years with CoAct, moving from General Manager in 2015 to Chief Operating Officer in 2018. Prior to this, his 20-year senior executive and leadership career was built on instrumental roles in strategy, operations management, business growth and improvement, and new business implementation.

With notable experience in the sector Simon is skilled at managing customer-focused services, particularly those where relationship building with internal and external stakeholder relationships is key to the success of the endeavour. During his time at CoAct Simon has led the entire network through exceptional improvements in the quality and value of the support systems and processes offered to CoAct service partners.

In his role as Chief Executive Officer at CoAct, Simon is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership, including service delivery, strategic partnerships, and corporate functions. He has played a vital role in achieving the organisation’s financial results, securing new partners and fostering beneficial outcomes for CoAct.

In his own words, “I am passionate about helping disadvantaged Australians to secure meaningful employment, a mission that includes advocating for change at policy level.

Monique Fenner

Executive General Manager – People, Projects & Capability

Monique Fenner is the Executive General Manager of People, Projects & Capability at CoAct. With over 15 years of experience in human resources, project management and organisational development, Monique brings a wealth of expertise to her role at CoAct. She is responsible for leading the company’s efforts to attract, develop and retain top talent, as well as managing key projects and capabilities that support CoAct’s mission and goals. Monique’s passion for creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture has led to multiple Employer of Choice awards for CoAct.

Monique’s career has spanned across various industries such as retail, healthcare, and Information Technology. She has held leadership roles in both private and public sectors, leading large and complex teams and delivering successful projects, programs and initiatives. Monique has a proven track record in developing and implementing human resources strategies and policies, leading culture change initiatives and improving organisational performance. Prior to joining CoAct, Monique held leadership roles at several well-known organisations, where she drove the strategic development of human resources, project management and organisational development initiatives. hold numerous degrees in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, Safety, Organisational development, Legal and Financial studies.

In her own words, “I am a certified human resources professional with a strong commitment to professional development and continuous learning.

Devina Balendran

Executive General Manager, Finance, Quality & Assurance

Devina Balendran serves as the Executive General Manager of Finance, Quality & Assurance at CoAct, bringing a wealth of experience and a sharp acumen in financial management and organizational quality assurance. In her role, Devina oversees the strategic financial planning and quality control processes, ensuring CoAct’s operations are both financially sound and adhere to the highest standards of excellence. Her expertise in financial oversight is integral to maintaining CoAct’s fiscal health and supporting its mission-driven initiatives.

Devina’s approach to leadership in finance and assurance is marked by a keen focus on efficiency, transparency, and continuous improvement. She is dedicated to developing robust financial frameworks and quality assurance mechanisms that enhance organizational performance and reliability. Under her guidance, CoAct has strengthened its financial foundations and quality assurance practices, reinforcing its commitment to operational excellence and enabling sustainable growth. Devina’s contributions are pivotal in positioning CoAct as a leader in the sector, trusted by partners and stakeholders alike for its financial integrity and commitment to quality.

In her own words, “I am motivated by the challenge of aligning financial management and quality assurance to foster CoAct’s growth and enhance our impact on the community.”

Sarah Emms

Executive General Manager, Customer & Brand

As the Executive General Manager of Customer & Brand at CoAct, Sarah Emms is a key figure in shaping the organization’s brand and customer engagement strategies. Her role involves a deep dive into market trends and customer needs, enabling her to develop brand initiatives that connect meaningfully with various audiences. Sarah’s expertise in integrating customer insights into CoAct’s marketing and communications is pivotal in enhancing the brand’s resonance and alignment with the organization’s strategic goals. Her leadership in brand management is characterized by authenticity and effectiveness, ensuring CoAct’s message is clear, consistent, and reflective of its core values and mission.

Under her guidance, the Customer & Brand division at CoAct excels in creativity and collaboration, ensuring that both existing and potential clients receive exceptional experiences. Sarah’s strategic focus on customer-centric approaches has significantly contributed to CoAct’s market presence and customer loyalty. Her innovative strategies are crucial in driving the organization’s growth, maintaining CoAct’s reputation as a leader in its field.

In her own words, “I’m passionate about combining marketing, innovation and working with different partners to really help Australia’s most in need jobseekers find sustainable employment.

Michael Willett

Executive General Manager – Data, Governance and Technology

Michael Willett is the Executive General Manager of Data, Governance, and Technology at CoAct, where he plays a crucial role in shaping the organisation’s technological landscape, business insights and analytics, governance and risk. His responsibilities extend to overseeing the strategic direction and implementation of CoAct’s digital strategy , including delivering innovative technology solutions. Underscoring his expertise in risk management and information security, a significant part of his role includes managing CoAct’s Right Fit for Risk Accreditation and maintaining CoAct’s ISO 27001 certification as well as overseeing CoAct’s organisational risk management framework.

Michael’s approach to digital transformation and technology governance is not only strategic but also compliance-focused. He is adept at creating secure, compliant, and agile systems that respond to the evolving needs of the organisation and its stakeholders. Under his stewardship, CoAct has made substantial strides in enhancing its technological capabilities, directly impacting its efficiency and effectiveness in serving the community. Michael’s leadership is key in maintaining CoAct’s reputation for technological innovation and operational excellence,

ensuring the organisation stays at the forefront in its field, safeguarded by the highest standards of risk management and information security.

In his own words, “I’m motivated by opportunities to push for excellence and create great customer experiences.

Nyssa deWaard

Executive General Manager – Employment and Training

Nyssa deWaard, the Executive General Manager of Employment and Training at CoAct, is dedicated to empowering individuals through employment opportunities and skill development. Her role involves a deep commitment to supporting unemployed individuals, guiding them toward meaningful and sustainable employment. Nyssa’s strategic vision and practical execution in workforce development are vital in bridging the gap between potential and actual workforce capabilities.

Nyssa’s leadership at CoAct is defined by her dedication to creating inclusive and effective training programs tailored to diverse needs. Her efforts contribute significantly to CoAct’s mission, fostering sustainable employment and strengthening communities. Her belief in the transformative power of employment drives her to create opportunities that lead to lasting employment, enriching lives and enhancing societal well-being.

In her own words, “I am motivated by the transformative power of employment, striving to create pathways that lead individuals to fulfilling and sustainable jobs.


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Acknowledgement of First Nations Peoples

CoAct acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to the peoples, the Cultures and the Elders past, present and emerging.

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