Chairperson/COVID-19 Safety Officer + Finance & Administration Standing Committee member
Neil was friends in high school with a family who had three generations volunteering in the NSW SES! He was motivated to give back to the community too, so started volunteering with SES. He then discovered the NSW Rural Fire Service and has volunteered for over thirty years – assisting locally and across Australia. Roles have included rescue officer, 1st response road rescue, village firefighter, captain, president, secretary, treasurer, WH&S officer and incident management team roles.
He also volunteers with fundraising on committees of two other organisations – Camden Mater Dei School Golf Day, since 2003 and Illawarra Police Charity Ball, since 2008 – and maintains the Charity Ball Website and Facebook page. Another charity he volunteered with and had many hats over the 15 years, was the Bluey Day Foundation (acting CEO, Dir of Operations, Secretary, National Sponsorship Manager and Chairman).
While he was Chairman, he was delighted for the national charity to be recognised for services in fundraising by receiving the Key to Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children. During its time, Bluey Day raised approximately 22 million dollars for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
His career started with a chef apprenticeship – but quickly changed when he realised he preferred working in the community. He completed TAFE community and welfare studies to work in the disability sector in respite and group home care and as a senior youth worker for youth in custodial care and wards of the state. The next step, in 1997, was working for the NSW Police in communications at VKG Sydney and a social science degree in criminology and graduate studies in criminal intelligence.
He then moved to work in local area commands, including in senior management roles, and was invited to apply to become a peer support officer. He has been in that role since 2005. His NSW Police work has also focused in intelligence and security and risk management with both Federal and state government agencies. As the Risk Management and Intelligence Coordinator he was responsible for conducting security risk assessments and audits on venues, that Pope Benedict XVI was visiting – including his residence whilst in Sydney for World Youth Day 2008.
Neil saw an advertisement in the local paper in 2017 for volunteers to help with physical disability rugby league. Having an interest in volunteering, rugby league and a background working in the disability sector he decided this would be a great opportunity to contribute. He started with various game day roles and assisting where he could, including league safe and later completed coaching qualifications. In 2018 Neil was elected to the board and voted in as Chair.
General Board Member – Sponsorship/Marketing
Tom is a lifelong rugby league fan, and has a strong family connection with the game. He is an experienced sponsorship and marketing professional working with brands across the Asia Pacific region and holds a Bachelor of Business from UTS.
Tom has been a keen supporter and valued member of the PDRLA since 2012. Prior to departing for a stint working overseas, he assisted on game days as a coach and player and also mentored players. He followed the progress of the PDRLA whilst away and decided on his return to Australia he would like to get involved again. This time, he will use his skills in digital and integrated marketing and sponsorship to promote and progress PDRLA. While in Japan from 2017 to early 2020 he worked with Mastercard Global Sponsorships to plan, manage and execute activity for Rugby World Cup 2019 – both within Japan and with key markets around the world.
We are all thrilled that Tom has decided to assist again. With his skills, it couldn’t be at a better time with the 2021 World Cup approaching.
Appointed Board Member + Treasurer (from 2020)/Game operations (2021)
Paul’s board experience began through a mixture of sport and business dealings from committees to Directors and at work as an aspiring IT professional dealing with senior executives and boards.
This has given Paul an interest in Governance, leading to now having the status of Fellow of the Governance Institute, which acknowledges his achievements at study, and his more than 40 years of experience on boards. He has sat on many business and not-for-profit boards, including boards relating to sport and Rugby League – Director Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club Pty Ltd, Director Cronulla Sutherland Rugby League Football Club Ltd, Director Australian Rugby League Development Ltd 1999 – 2013 and Director NSW Sports Federation 2008- 2014.
Paul’s industry consulting experience focuses on areas such as – Governance, strategic planning, project management, systems analysis and design, organisation and methods, cost benefit analysis, and system implementation and training. Paul is an experienced corporate executive and consultant who has the ability to focus on broad strategic and operational management expertise.
Appointed Board Member + Public Officer/Secretary (from 2021)
Josef joined PDRLA in August 2020 and is a solicitor specialising in all areas of commercial and business law with Marsdens Law Group – a well-respected mid-tier firm based in Campbelltown NSW.
Josef brings his legal and commercial skills and knowledge to PDRLA with a vision and objective to achieve and deliver, in conjunction with his fellow Board Members, clear and practical legal, commercial and governance solutions for PDRLA.
Josef has a lifelong love of Rugby League and a passion for benevolent work and is excited to contribute to the growth and prosperity of PDRLA as it moves into the future.
To learn more about Josef, please see the following link Marsdens Law Group – Josef Ferraro
Elected Director – First term – 2020 AGM (13 March 2021)
National Sporting Agency Representative on the Board – commenced in 2020
Board Appointed Member (from July 2021) Wellbeing + Member Protection Information Officer
Jessica has extensive skills and experience and in particular in the Wellbeing space. She has worked in many roles including, National Wellbeing Manager – Men of League Foundation, Education Consultant – Headspace and Community Manager Health and Education – National Rugby League (NRL).
Jessica has provided a short bio as an introduction:
A proven and passionate leader with a unique range of experiences and skills, Jessica is a specialist in health and wellbeing, sport, education, media and public relations. She is committed to positively impacting the community and truly making a difference in the lives of others.
Jessica has fulfilled numerous roles within rugby league both professionally and as a grassroots volunteer. Jessica created meaningful change at both the National Rugby League and the Men of League Foundation bringing about better health and wellbeing outcomes for members of the rugby league community. Jessica is currently a Director of the Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO) incorporated representing the professional and industrial interests of the elite match officials in the National Rugby League.
Subcommittee Member Profiles
Marianne Caddy – Finance & Administration Standing Committee member (Governance)
If you ask Marianne, she will tell you she has always been drawn to volunteering. As a teenager she walked the neighbourhood for the Red Cross Door Knock Appeal. Throughout her adult life she makes time to help advance situations for people and not-for-profit groups in her community. Her focus lies with assisting children, youth and minority groups in the community to reach their potential.
She has trained and volunteered as a mentor to at-risk pregnant youths and their babies, youths at risk of leaving school early and for trainees in her workplaces including work experience youth on the spectrum. She has been a treasurer for her local playgroup and relished being a board member for The Junction Works (TJW) who provide disability, youth, children’s and community services designed to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the community.
With her teenage children, she participated in her community Winter Sleepout (to break the homelessness cycle) and been Santa’s helper! And with the family has donated to and organised Christmas Day activities and served lunch in the community to help make the day special – believing it should be a special day for all the community (Wayside Chapel, St Johns Church Camden and Macarthur Combined Churches Christmas Lunch).
While on TJW Board she was a member of the Governance Committee and assisted to roll out their governance system. Governance and administration have been the focus during her career working in the retail, banking and local and state political sectors – also for a small business owner and for a NFP as the Manager of Organisational Systems. She has completed courses relating to local government law, OH&S risk management for managers, fraud control, business management, finance, privacy legislation, employee relations, writing, research, organisational and human behaviour, conflict resolution and various software for website maintenance and business.
Looking for something to do together once a month, she joined her partner in volunteering for PDRLA game day in early 2017. She was instantly welcomed by the other volunteers and felt very comfortable and totally in awe of the players.
It wasn’t long before she realised she could assist in strengthening the governance and legal structure to bring both the founder and members’ aspirations of a robust, national organisation to life. She believes in and advocates – inclusion, respect and kindness towards others and group decisions and goals that enhance the community as a whole and not individuals…so PDRLA seemed a great fit with her skills, networks and beliefs!
Glen Smith – Finance & Administration Standing Committee member (Insurance)
Glen is now retired from a career in the insurance industry that gave him over 40 years of experience. During that time, he was an insurance manager with broad based experience in operational management, financial and cost management, sales, customer service, underwriting and claims in diverse areas for market leaders GIO and IAG.
Glen was also a highly skilled administrator in operational business units, financial transactions, banking and payments and business continuity management. Experience encompasses administration, customer relationships and service, process improvement, high level managerial, business and team support, project work assistance, data entry, statutory requirements, procedure documentation and using various systems.
Now that he is retired he is enjoying having more time to follow the many sports he appreciates – especially golf, rugby league, cricket and table tennis and his love of British cars from the 1950s and 60s. In between dealing with PDRLA insurance matters, Glen is always up for a laugh and sharing good music and meals with family and friends.
Recent Past Board Members
Joshua (Josh) Maxwell – Appointed Board Member 2019
Public Officer (2019, 2020)
Josh Maxwell joined PDRLA in September 2019, as an appointed board member. He has worked across a broad range of sectors, including law enforcement, aviation, construction, telecommunications, security and marine logistics. And brings his passion for sport, his expertise in risk management, safety and security to the Board.
Josh has performed volunteer roles across a wide variety of organisations including:
- Manly Lifesaving Club – Assistant Age Manager
- Leichhardt Out of School Hours Child Care Association – President and Secretary
- Leichhardt Amateur Swim Club – Chief Timekeeper and committee member
- Balmain Water Polo Club – Coach and Manager of Junior and Adult teams.
His professional background includes:
Professional Safety, Risk Management and Security Services (after a Policing Career gaining the rank of Chief Inspector) – Extensive experience as Director | Head of | Senior Adviser | WHSE, Security and Risk – Providing Professional Advisory Services | University Lecturing | Training at all levels.
In 2000, Josh performed duty as an Operational Support Group (OSG) Team Leader (Sergeant of Police) at the Sydney Paralympic Games and was operating at the Paralympic Village. During this time, he worked closely with all countries in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the athletes, support staff and officials at the Village. Josh was recognised for his professionalism, being awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Chef de Mission of the Australian Paralympic team.
Patricia (Trish) Spennati – General Board Member + Treasurer
Retired at the 2020 AGM (Due to COVID 19 held in March 2021)
Trish is known around PDRLA for her passion for people…and her smile and laughter. She enjoys cooking and entertaining and her family and friends can rely on her to lend a hand – with that assistance she brings joy and happiness into their lives. This is exactly what she has blessed PDRLA with since joining.
Trish and her husband attended with their son an open day and they have all been an integral part of PDRLA ever since. Trish has helped keep PDRLA running and connected over its first decade by not only sharing her amazing people skills but also her culinary skills, running the canteen.
She has also been a successful fundraiser and advocate of the PDRLA. She has used her accounting and business skills in many roles, including six years on the Board and in subcommittees – as treasurer, secretary, minute taker, grant writer, registrar, purchasing officer, kit and equipment manager and organiser for local and overseas competitions and social events, which include the annual presentation night.
She enjoys the hands-on and social aspect so has been involved in marketing PDRLA and recently became a team manager for Roosters. She is always there on game day for set-up, pack-up, supply of equipment and sustenance, organising the medics, registration, answering member questions and public enquiries and anything else that needs doing.
In 2018 Trish won the award in the Inclusive category in the NSWRL Volunteer of the Year Awards and in 2019 she was made a life member for her incredible, continued service to PDRLA and the impact it has had on the members and Physical Disability Rugby League in Australia.
Dylan Jobson – General Board Member + Treasurer
Craig Anderson – General Board Member + Vice President