Board Members

Pearl Proud (Chair)


Pearl Proud was born in Durban, South Africa and migrated to Australia in 1987.

In the private sector she has been a Banking Officer, Library Officer and a Medical Practice Manager.  Her Public Sector work has included positions as a Psychologist with the WA Police Service and King Edward Memorial Hospital as well as a management role at an NGO. Pearl has run a psychology private practice for the past five years and recently commenced as the Clinical Lead for Headspace and an Affiliate for the National Trauma Centre.

Pearl has a long association with the arts, especially the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF). She was patron for the Festival's 50th year anniversary in 2000, the Founding Patron for the Perth Writer's Festival and continues her support as a Medici Donor. Pearl has collaborated with ArtsSupport, a division of the Australia Arts Council, to promote philanthropy in WA through the Giving Circles initiative. Her other activities include facilitating well-being workshops and spiritual retreats, being a guest speaker and panelist in a range of forums and presenting on radio and television.

Pearl is Member of the Institute of Company Director, having completed the Director's Course and is a Cranlana Leadership alumni with a keen interest in Governance spanning 10 years. Pearl's recent directorship is with ConnectGroups as a Director for seven years and Chair for the last three years.

Professor Dorothy Jones (Vice-Chairperson)

Dorothy_at_Desk_May_2013_croppedDorothy is a citizen, consumer, independent consultant and clinician who works in and on improving healthcare. She also works in patient safety and healthcare communication research at Curtin University. Dorothy has 30 years experience in the Australian public sector as a clinician and senior executive. She works in the NFP sector as a volunteer Board director.

Rosemary Roach (Secretary)

Rosemary RoachRosemary is an experienced legal practitioner who advises on all aspects of employment law, industrial relations and safety. Rosemary regularly works with clients with large and diverse workforces, advising on a range of issues from disciplinary matters to dealing with complex industrial strategies and litigation. Rosemary strives to ensure that legal issues are communicated in a manner which makes sense to her clients and addresses their objectives. Rosemary is known for adopting a thoughtful, practical and pragmatic approach to the issues which confront her clients.

Rosemary joined the ConnectGroups Board in 2015. She is married with two young daughters.

Brian O’Keefe (Treasurer)


Brian O’Keefe is an experienced senior executive who has worked in different business environments across a number of financial services organisations building and managing successful teams to achieve desired outcomes. He has experience in business development (sales), client relationship and change management, strategy development and implementation and risk management and has qualifications in commerce, finance, investment and mortgage broking management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). Brian is currently working as a State Sales Manager with an ASX listed company, a leading Australian provider of financial services, meeting the needs of niche consumer and commercial markets.

Emilia Hay (Member Executive)

Emilia Hay - resizeEmilia Hay was born in Italy and came to Australia with her family when she was five years old. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector for the past 13 years.

Emilia has held various positions as counsellor, group therapist, program coordinator and Clinical Manager of a leading Drug and Alcohol Counselling Service. She is currently the Support Group and Outreach Coordinator for WA for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Emilia is an experienced workshop facilitator, trainer and presenter and has a particular interest in group work, both in the therapeutic and peer support settings. She contributed to the development of the Support Group Leader Training Modules for The Prostate Cancer Foundation and was a member of the External Advisory Committee for the School of Counselling at the University of Notre Dame.

Emilia joined the ConnectGroups Board in 2014. She also has a private practice working primarily with distressed relationships.

Emilia is married with two adult children, enjoys travelling, keeping fit and maintaining a rich and fulfilling life.

Faye Baxter

fayeFaye joined the Grants Team at Lotterywest in 1996 after moving to Perth from Esperance, where she was involved in a range of regional community organisations. Since joining Lotterywest she has continued her strong commitment to the community sector and support for the role played by not for profit organisations in delivering services.


Godfrey Baronie

Godfrey is a passionate advocate for mental health and empowering people. He is the Chief Executive Officer of MATES in Construction WA Limited. Previous to this role he was the Case Manager assisting construction workers and their families overcome personal difficulties in their lives.

Godfrey's background is diverse, beginning his working life in civil engineering across the resources, mining, construction and production industries, throughout Western Australia and South-East Asia in management roles on projects of various sizes.

Godfrey's true passion is people. Obtaining degrees in Counselling and Behavioural Science and a Masters in Applied Science, his education enabled him to work in a number of senior roles in Non-Government Organisation and Employee Assistance Programs.


Conrad Pires

Conrad Pires - resizeConrad Pires has a passion for technology. He's worked in diverse industries such as the Internet, digital television and oil and gas, and he's benefitted from a decade spent overseas. Taking a strategic view, he's focused on developing commercial solutions and driving growth through the emphasis of the value proposition.

Conrad has completed an MBA at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2015. He currently sits on the Graduate Management Association council, a NFP association that provides networking and professional development opportunities for the postgraduate alumni from the UWA Business School. He's also a mentor with the UWA Career Mentor Link. He is currently completing the Company Directors Course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Conrad is using his new found MBA and governance skills to take the next steps in his career. He joined the ConnectGroups Board in 2015.

Nicola Nolan

Nicola crop

Nicola Nolan is a Reinvention Coach and a Director in her Health and Career Coaching practice based in Perth. Her experience prior to Coaching spans 19 years across Finance, Corporate HR and Executive Search Recruitment.

Nicola is a fiercely proud Dublin born, Irish woman who left Ireland bound for Australia in 2007 where she has since lived with her husband and two furbabies. She loves to travel as often as her funds allow as she adores learning about different cultures, lifestyles, and food. Nicola is always quick to laugh as she recognises the importance of coming back down to earth when our stress levels rise and the going gets tough.

Her passion is diversity and she has coached many clients to realise their hidden potential, to be proud of their contributions and to stand up and be counted. She is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, member of the International Association for Health Coaches (IAHC) and the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).