The Centre is run by the Clinical Director, Dr Elizabeth Mann, supported by the Board of Directors and a core group of highly qualified staff and trained volunteers as well as the patronage of the past Governor of NSW, Dame Marie Bashir


Mal McKissock OAM 


One of Australia's best known and respected bereavement counsellors and educators.A Certified Thanatologist with the Association of Death Education and Counselling (USA), he is on the Board of Directors of thmal mckissocke International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. He began his career in the health field in 1965 and in 1975 was appointed as the first full time bereavement counsellor with the NSW Department of Health. A founding member of the National Association for Loss and Grief, Mal was state chairperson of the Association from 1980-1982, and the National President from 1982-1985. He has studied in Israel, Canada, the United States of America, Greece, Hong Kong and New Zealand to further his knowledge and skills in the area of death, dying and bereavement and has been an invited presenter at international conferences and in overseas community settings.

For over thirty years Mal has taught bereavement counselling skills throughout Australasia and has received wide acclaim for his innovative therapeutic interventions, particularly with bereaved children. He has acted as grief and bereavement consultant to a number of government departments and community organisations, including The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, and his book 'Coping with Grief' (currently in its fourth edition) has been an invaluable resource for people experiencing loss. In addition, Mal has co-authored other books on grief and loss issues, as well as a variety of articles on death, dying and bereavement published in professional journals.                                                                                                               

 Rick Taylor

Rick Taylor

Rick has a wealth of experience in financial management and corporate governance. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen in London in 1999 and has a Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Oxford University, England. Rick is also Chief Financial Officer and Director of Healthcare Australia. He previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Ambition Group Limited (a listed global recruitment firm), Chief Operating Officer at the Australian subsidiary of Experian plc (FTSE 100), and was Financial Controller of Maxxium Australia and Infomedia.


Andrew Marchant

Andrew MarchantAndrew is a financial services professional with more than 17 years of experience across advice, investment research, asset allocation, tax, trustee responsibilities and governance. Andrew’s current role is Head of Advice for Commonwealth Private. Andrew is also a member of the Commonwealth Private Investment Committee.

Andrew’s interest in philanthropy was sparked during his career at Perpetual Private Clients, Australia’s largest professional trustee, where he was fortunate to support many high net worth families, charitable trusts and for purpose institutions in developing and managing their investment portfolios for the benefit of their beneficiaries. Andrew was also a member of the Perpetual Private Clients Investment Committee.

Andrew is a member of the Sydney Eisteddfod Investment Committee and is qualified with a Bachelor of Commerce, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investments and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning.

Robert McRobbie

Robert McRobbieRobert McRobbie has practiced law in New South Wales in private practice and in the financial markets for several years. He is a Director in the Legal Risk Management Division of Macquarie Bank’s Commodities and Financial Markets group.

During his 10 years at Macquarie, Robert has been involved in a number of philanthropic projects, including as a member of a team providing assistance to the Tiwi Land Council in relation to various commercial enterprises in the Tiwi Islands. In this role Robert has spent time in the Tiwi Islands learning about business and social initiatives being developed for the benefit of the Tiwi community. Robert has also been proud to participate in a number of Macquarie Group Foundation initiatives, including as a mentor and judge in a social entrepreneurs Kick Starter program coordinated by the Macquarie Group Foundation and The School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia.

Robert has degrees in law, arts and social sciences from Queensland University and the University of New South Wales. He has also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Finance at Macquarie University. Robert lives in Sydney with his wife, Louise and three children.

Mark Steinberg 

Mark Steinberg is currently Chairman of the Board.

Mark SteinbergMark Steinberg is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in CFO or equivalent roles for the last 15 years in a number of industries and geographies. He is currently the Group CFO for Cover-More Limited, an ASX listed company.

Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa in 1989 and subsequently spent 11 years in the profession, 4 with PwC in Johannesburg and 7 with E&Y in Sydney, doing a mix of audit and corporate advisory work. He became an Australian Chartered Accountant in 1990 and a member of Finsia in 1991.

Following his time in the audit and accounting profession, Mark spent almost 10 years in the telecommunications industry, and a further 10 years in financial services. During this time he has worked with organisations that include Optus, Vodafone, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank.

During his time at Commonwealth Bank, Mark worked as a committee member of the Staff Community Fund, the vehicle through which the bank collects contributions from current and former staff and provides support to a variety of not for profit ventures.


Dr Elizabeth Mann 

MBBS, Post Grad Dip Counselling, Clinical Member CAPA, PACFA Reg. Clinical.

After finishing school, Liz studied Medicine at the University of Sydney and worked as a GP for many years. Her special interest in Palliative Care and Bereavement Care led her to retrain as a Bereavement Counsellor. She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in General counselling, and subsequently specialised in Bereavement Counselling for adults and children under the tuition and supervision of Mal and Di McKissock.

Liz is married to Steve and is the proud mother (and mother-in-law) of five amazing children.

In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, going to the beach, travelling and reading.



Professor the Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

patronDame Marie Bashir had a grand vision for NSW. She worked to achieve a more harmonious society, narrow the gap between rich and poor, be more inclusive of Aborigines and other marginalised communities, and provide more opportunities for higher education.

She also acted as a catalyst to bring ethnic groups closer together, and help fulfil society's expectations of living in harmony, peace and tolerance. Professor Bashir has a long and distinguished career in clinical psychology, suicide prevention, mental and indigenous health. She was the third woman to serve as governor of an Australian state.



Darren Percival

Darren PercivalDarren Percival has achieved an outstanding reputation in Australia as an accomplished entertainer, recording artist, musician, vocal coach and singer with natural talent, imagination and skill. His voice is warm and powerful and he consistently delivers astonishing performances in a variety of different settings. Audiences everywhere are mesmerized by his stage presence, his music and his charm. 

25 years ago, in the middle of his artistically inspired high school days Darren studied piano, singing and acting at a performing arts center in his hometown, Sydney Australia. By the time he had graduated in 1989 Australian Jazz Icon James Morrison had discovered Darren and they began a decade of musical adventures.

Throughout his career Darren’s voice has featured on numerous recordings, jingles and voice-overs. He released several solo albums of original music, toured as a backing vocalist and is credited on many albums by well know Australian artists. He gained a reputation as the dynamic solo vocal looping artist around the music festival circuit since 2004 as Mr. Percival with his shows ‘Out Of The Loop’ and ‘Microphones’.

These days Darren is best known to audiences around the country for his phenomenal, soul-stirring performances on the first season of The Voice Australia, where he was coached by Keith Urban and became the 2012 runner up. His album ‘Happy Home’ debuted at number 3 on the ARIA chart and Darren went on to sell out his national tour.

Darren and his wife Amanda live with their two young children in Coolum on The Sunshine Coast and his love for cooking, painting and swimming continues to inspire him. Currently writing and recording his own music while touring with his band he has created singing programs for children and adults in an endeavor to change the way people think about being in a choir. Few artists paint with sound – Darren Percival is art for the ears…

Deborah Clay

deborahWe are delighted to announce the appointment of Deborah Clay as Ambassador for the National Centre for Childhood Grief.

Deb says she is humbled to be asked to be Ambassador. "The centre "A Friend's Place" offers children help, without judgement. Founders Dianne and Mal McKissock OAM are special, gifted individuals who are internationally recognised as experts in childhood grief. I am looking forward to being involved as the charity grows and evolves over the coming years".

National Centre for Childhood Grief, Board Member, Rick Taylor says Deb will be a great asset to the charity. "Deborah's ethical and empathetic outlook is in alignment with the organisation's values.  She is committed to raising awareness of bereaved children and what we can do to help them learn to live with grief in their life".

You can currently hear Deborah Clay as the engaging news anchor for Hughesy and Kate on KIIS as well as WSFM in Sydney, for your drive home. As the Sydney and Brisbane News Director for the Australian Radio Network, Deb manages a team of journalists across five radio stations.

A highly experienced journalist, she has reported from the scene for numerous breaking news stories and events. Her sustained contribution to radio journalism was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded the Brian White Memorial Award at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards. Over the last three years she has been a weekly commentator on television and continues to appear on panels for Channel Seven and the ABC's "The Drum".

As a freelance columnist for the Daily Telegraph, she has written a public letter to the parents of William Tyrrell and investigated the rise in popularity of coaching colleges for primary school students. A letter she wrote about her “relationship” with Twitter has been included in a book “From the Heart” – Women of Letters, which was released through Penguin Books Australia in November 2015.

After graduating from university, Deb began her career in AM radio, before joining the team at Sky News Australia where she produced rolling news coverage and presented for “Health News" and "Book Show".

Rachael McLennon

Rachael co-founded People for Purpose to enhance the capability of the, for purpose (not for profit) sector in Australia through the placement and support of leaders. Rachael is committed to the sector and its leaders and has had the privilege to work closely with many for purpose organisations and well known leaders.
Prior to establishing her own business Rachael was founding CEO of Australian Philanthropic Services (APS), an organisation also connecting people to the sector, through philanthropy. She learnt a lot about leadership and functional boards working closely with the high profile APS board, but also with the boards of 50 philanthropic foundations.
Inspired by people around her, including her mother who was raised by the Salvation Army, Rachael made a conscious move into the not-for-profit sector in 2004. Initially working at the coalface of a small but national UK charity, the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, she raised $1m in 3 short years.
Rachael began her working life in the corporate sector in business development, marketing & communications, rising through the ranks in organisations such as Stamford Hotels & Resorts, Prudential and PKF. She spent 8 years in London working for Clariden Private Bank and Chelsea Village (home of Chelsea Football Club), gaining an enormous amount of experience – and a very interesting network.


Supporters of The National Center for Childhood Grief


Supporters of the The National Centre for Childhood Grief