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Meet The Board

Karen Neuendorf


Position on the Board:  President and Chair of the Governance Sub-Committee

Introduce yourself:  Having had a career in Interior Design and Business spanning  over 40 years both in Melbourne and Queensland Karen now commits a large part of her time to the Community and managing the Neuendorf Group of Companies and her own personal property holdings. 

Her vision for SunnyKids is to bring financial stability, a strong future with managed growth.

Education and Credentials:

New York School of Interior Design Graduate (USA)
Fellow Australian Institute of Company Directors
Life Member Sunshine Coast Business Women’s network
Member Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce

Notable Achievements:

SCBWN Small Business Woman of the Year 2000
SCBWN President 2003-2009
Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Hall of Fame
Vice Chair Foundation Board USC (Current)
Past Board Member Matthew Flinders Anglican College (2007-2013)
Past Director SC Business Council (5 years)
Past Board Member Buderim Private Hospital (2 years)
Former Patron SC Children’s Therapy Center
Founding Member Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce

Mark Aponas


Position on the Board:  Secretary and member of Governance Sub-Committee

Introduce yourself: Mark Aponas is a Business Broker based on the Sunshine Coast.

Mark has enjoyed a varied corporate career and brings a diverse range of skills to his role as a Business Sales Specialist.

Mark’s career has spanned a number of industries over a 40 year history, Banking, Petroleum and Travel.  His dealings at all levels of the corporate world have seen him succeed in executive positions particularly in the Petroleum and Travel sectors. 

Mark has a vast knowledge of the Franchise Industry and has also been involved with major acquisitions within the Corporate Sector.  Mark deals with a number of Franchisers on a National Level: Jetts, Clark Rubber, & Sleepy's and has good working relationships with other leading franchise & licence operations eg: Subway, Nando's & Matilda/Puma Fuel.

High service and communication levels are a must within the Business Sales sector, “treat people with respect and dignity, listen with the intent to understand and never judge anyone you meet as they all have the potential to be a client.”

Mark enjoys selling businesses and helping people fulfill their dreams & aspirations.  Mark is a business owner within the sellAbusiness team and is a member of the Australian Institute of Business Brokers and is a Certified Practicing Business Broker (CPBB).

Closing Statement:  Mark currently holds the position of Secretary to the Board and is also a P100 member.


Sally Desch


Positon on the board:  Member

Introduce yourself:  Sally Desch is the Director of HRM, a local recruitment and human resources agency.  Sally founded HRM in 2005 wanting to replace her income as an employee by working for herself. 12 years later HRM employees 7 staff and 40+ labor hire employees each week.  Sally and her family are very active on the Sunshine Coast and wanting to make a difference for the next generation, they have been supporters of SunnyKids for around 3 yrs.  Sally has two young children aged 6 and 8.

Education and Credentials:  Sally is a member of the RCSA (Recruitment & Consulting Services of Australia & NZ).  She is a member of the Maroochydore, Kawana & Caloundra Chambers of Commerce & she is on the Executive Committee of the Institute of Managers & Leaders (formally The Australian Institute of Management).    

Notable Achievements: Sally was winner at the Caloundra Business Awards for “Professional Business of the Year” only two years after starting her business and finalist for Professional Business Woman of the Year 2008 & 2012. 

Chris Turner

Executive Director

Introduce yourself:

Chris Turner is the Founder and CEO of SunnyKids Childrens’ Charity. In 2009 he founded SunnyKids and provides the vison and drive that has allowed the NFP body to become the dynamic organisation that it is today, delivering thousands of nights’ accommodation each year and supporting hundreds of vulnerable kids.

Chris has been a White Ribbon Ambassador since 2009 and a founding member of the Sunshine Coast White Ribbon Committee with over 25 years’ experience running homelessness services, leading and developing a number of small, medium and large NGOs.

Education and credentials:

  • Bachelor Social Science (Youth Work)
  • Diploma in Youth Work
  • FAIM

Notable achievements:

Chris was the 2015 Sunshine Coast Citizen of the Year; and a s the (QLD) Institute of Managers and Leaders "not for profit Leader of the year"

He is a member of the USC External Academic Advisory Council and a current fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.

Chris is also Founder of ‘Read 2 Remember’, a literacy based resilience building program that has seen up to 500,000 children a year participate in the program since 2011.

Closing statement:

In 2017 with the financial support of Aussie World, was the driving force behind a new DV Education book titled ‘The Good Man Project’ which is now in every Primary School library across Australia.

The Good Man Project tackles the issue of domestic violence sensitively through the eyes of 12 year old Jake. It explores what it means to be a good man and promotes positive, healthy family relationships.

Ferre de Deyne


Position on the Board:  General Board member & Chairman Enterprise& Fundraising Sub Committee

Introduce yourself:  Ferdinand (Ferre) has a long time relationship in the Australian Tourism Industry.

Education and Credentials:  Tertiary Education in Belgium, Industrial Engineering

Notable Achievements:  Hall of Fame in the Multicultural Excellence Awards, Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards Winner for Creative and Foundation Member of P100 SunnyKids, etc...


Sue Gilbert


Position on the board: General Board Member

Introduce yourself: Sue Gilbert has a wealth of experience in radio and print media. Along with her business partners, Sue purchased Think Office Technology 11 years ago. Sue looks after regional Marketing and Customer relations at Think Office Technology. Think Office Technology has been associated with SunnyKids for over five years now and it gives us great pleasure to continually see the fabulous work SunnyKids does every day for our community.

Sue has served on many boards including the Gladstone promotion and development board for over 7 years.

During her time in Gladstone, she was also an active member of the Midday Rotary club, and the Gladstone Zonta club.

Closing Statement: Sue is a true believer in the fabulous work that SunnyKids does and is 100% committed to helping SunnyKids continue to fulfill its vision of “A society in which everyone feels safe, belongs and has a chance to reach their full potential.

Gerard Jefferies


Position on the Board:  General Board Member & Chair of Education Sub Committee

Introduce yourself:  Gerard is a social worker and since 2012 has been the Field Education Coordinator at the University of the Sunshine Coast.  Gerard arranges and coordinates field education placements for students in both the social work and the human services programs at the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.  Gerard's prior work experience includes mental health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth justice and homelessness.  Gerard has a passion for working with students to achieve their potential.

Education and Credentials:  Master of Social Work - Queensland University Of Technology. Bachelor of Social Science (Human Services) - Queensland University Of Technology. Certificate IV Disability Work – TAFE. Certificate IV Assessment and Training

Notable Achievements:  Gerard was elected and served as a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Queensland Branch, Branch Management Committee - 2013 – present.  He was elected and served as a member of the Brothers Old Boys Rugby Union, Board of Management - 2009 – 2011.  Gerard was presented the University of the Sunshine Coast Vice-Chancellor and President’s Award for Excellence in Engagement in 2016.

Closing Statement:  Gerard is currently undertaking further research in Social Work at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He maintains the passion for his work with a keen interest in the outdoors, including camping and 4 wheel driving. Gerard lives in Parrearra, Sunshine Coast.

Marilyn Black


Positon on the board:  General Member and Chair of Aboriginal and Cultural Subcommittee for over 7 years

Introduce yourself:  Marilyn Black   Owner & Manager of Harlequin Blinds & Security, a local Manufacturer and Supplier of Home Products. Marilyn and her husband Julian have owned Harlequin for over 15 years, employ 9 staff and service the Sunshine Coast region.  A proud supporter of Sunnykids and supports their belief and practices of improving the outcome to a young person’s life for a better future and to help and support the people in their refuge to better outcomes.  Marilyn has three children and a young grandson and is very passionate about helping and supporting people and the community where possible.

Education and Credentials:  Lorraine Martin Commercial College – Office and Reception Diploma

Gateway TAFE Qld – Accounting Certificate

University of the Sunshine Coast – Currently Studying Bachelor of Human Services

Suncoast Business Network – President

The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen – Team Leader

Notable Achievements: Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network -  Finalist 2014

Brendan Mason


Positon on the Board:  General Board Member and Chairman of the Brand and Marketing Sub Committee

Introduce yourselfAs Managing Director of Dalton Drive Early Learning, Brendan’s experience in sales, marketing, finance and human resources along with his wealth of experience gained from founding and operating previous Graphic Design and Marketing agencies spanning 14 years means he is well placed to advise SunnyKids on their brand and marketing strategies. Living on the Sunshine Coast for over 24 years, Brendan has been an active member of the community, serving on school, chamber of commerce and sporting committees and Boards in various executive roles over 17 years. Brendan is Chairman of our Brand and Marketing sub-committee. 

Victor Woll


Position on the Board: Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Sub-Committee

Introduce yourself:  Victor Woll has a passion for numbers!  Ever since first locking eyes onto his first spreadsheet at the age of 12 it was love at first sight. Since then, Victor has pursued his love of finance (and spreadsheets) gaining exposure in a number of different finance roles, starting out as a junior within the finance department of a German manufacturing company, then working within a taxation & business advisory practice, progressing to corporate auditing and more recently working as financial controller for an international fitness organisation. Moving to Australia from Germany at a young age allowed Victor to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation that despite superficial appearances, we are all searching for a sense of belonging & encouragement, and the chance to be the best we can.

Education and Credentials:  Bachelor of Business (Accountancy); Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand

Closing Statement:  Education is a vital foundation of allowing us the ability to deal with all life’s lessons and opportunities. The care that SunnyKids provides in ensuring children receive educational support is incredible and imperative. Knowledge is power and I’m thrilled to support such a fantastic cause.