Our People



Our Board is responsible for the governance of Huntingtons Queensland. Tasked with overseeing the operations, decisions and direction of the Association, our board members proudly represent our Queensland community by voluntarily giving their time and expertise.

Jason de Bakker
Jason has an extensive background in corporate services, compliance and organisational development, gained over more than 20 years in the NFP and community sectors. 
Cate Barrett
Vice President
Speech pathologist and psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in caring for people and their families affected by HD.
Janifer (Jen) Willis
Qualified FCPA working in the community not for profit (NFP) sector for most of her professional career having held finance and management roles at several NFP’s and currently Business Planning Manager at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.
Jan Szlapak
Lived experience of HD, carer, small business owner now retired, HQ Board past Board member of 9 years
Donna Burns
Donna has experience implementing positive changes for organisations, and has worked for a wide range of organisations, including Queensland Health and Alzheimer's Australia (Qld) Inc.
Gerald (Gerry) Doyle
Retired corporate manager, lived experience of HD, parent and carer
Shane Kelly
Shane has extensive experience in customer relations and staff engagement, having worked for Telstra, LimeBridge, and most recently as Executive Consultant at the Shane Kelly Group.
Susanna Mantovani
Dr Mantovani has a long professional history with neurodegenerative disease, including HD, as a researcher in clinical neuroscience. She has a PhD in Physiology, and has worked in a number of research roles.



Jan Samuels
Chief Executive Officer

Jan has an extensive background working in the community, having established and/or managed several NFPs, including those for people living with progressive neurological diseases and their families. With more than 15 years’ experience at CEO and senior executive level in the charity sector, Jan has a demonstrated track record in strategy, operational management, communications, business development and governance. She has also worked as a senior adviser to a Prime Minister and in several government agencies, following an earlier career in journalism and PR, both in Australia and overseas. Organisationally, Jan is deeply committed to creating an environment that values each person’s contribution, rewards initiative and responsibility, and that recognises the importance of personal wellbeing. This approach, combined with her in-depth understanding of client needs and the positive impact that can be made through innovative projects, led to her being one of four finalists for the Australasian NFP Network CEO of the Year Award in 2007. In her spare time, Jan enjoys travelling, a range of artistic pursuits, and spending time with her husband and their much-loved animals.



Our staff come from varied backgrounds, different experiences and perform a multitude of tasks, all with the purpose of ensuring our services can reach Queenslanders in need.

Cathy Holland
Cathy has worked extensively in the not for profit sector for nearly 15 years. She has expertise in administration management and IT as well as a strong background in Fundraising and Event management. Cathy’s interest in not for profits developed while volunteering when her children were babies. She has become very passionate about providing support to people that need access to specialised services and information. Married for 28 years, Cathy is the proud mother of 2 young adult daughters, who often threaten never to leave home. When she is not organising at work, Cathy enjoys organising holidays and activities for large groups of friends and continues to volunteer when time permits. Cathy is also a keen amateur photography and not surprisingly is more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.
Lauren Ward
Client Services Coordinator
Lauren has been volunteering and working within the Community Services Sector for the past 13 years. She has a solid foundation of experience in which to draw from including case management for large organisations and assisting families in small community focused services. Her focus and drive has always been on support, inclusion and building community networks. Prior to HQ Lauren coordinated Creative Respite Programs in South Brisbane. Lauren loves to spend her spare time with family and friends, supporting the local music scene in Brisbane and cooking.
Theressa Byrne
Client Services Officer
Theressa has worked at Huntingtons Queensland for twenty years, working very part time in the beginning whilst pregnant with her first child. Theressa has left HQ for several years at a time to have her three girls, but then returned, either whilst pregnant or having just had a baby. Theressa has worked in Disability services in WA and Qld and also worked on the Dementia Helpline for several years with the Alzheimers Association of Qld. She has an Arts Degree and a Bachelor of Social Work and has been married to Michael for 21 years. Theressa has hopes of one day winning Powerball and retiring to the country, although she’s certain her three teenage girls won’t join her.
Jennifer Lysiuk
(B.Bus-Accountancy CPA) Finance Officer
Jennifer trained as an accountant with CSR LTD at the New Farm Sugar Refinery in Brisbane whilst studying part-time at QUT. After a twenty year career in various Accounting support roles Jennifer gained CPA status with CPA Australia in 2011. She is very much aware of the responsibility required of her role as Finance Officer at Huntington’s Queensland. Jen has been married to Stan for twenty eight years, they have two children both of whom are engaged in tertiary studies. On another personal note Jen has pursued an interest in choral singing which began during her time as a ‘stay at home Mum’ in the 90’s. Music remains an integral part of the Lysiuk household.
Caitlin Scarr
(BFA, BComms) – Communications
Caitlin trained as an actor before studying Journalism and Communications in Sydney, with a focus on creative writing. Following internships in marketing for a major theatre company, and a journalism internship with a finance news company, Caitlin moved home to Queensland to a position in corporate communications. Caitlin now works part-time at Huntingtons Queensland, employing her communications skills in support of the organisation. Caitlin still loves the theatre, and drags her very patient husband with her to every show she can. When she’s not sitting in an audience, she’s playing with her dogs in the backyard, cooking up a storm, or enjoying doing very little.