The Playgroup Team

Verity Hawkins


Since relocating to Canberra from Sydney in 2008, Verity has further explored the not-for-profit sector. Having been ingrained in NFP organisations, membership organisations and federated structures, she brings a deep understanding of what’s required to navigate the sector.

Most recently, she was the CEO of Life Education. Prior to that, she led a major merger for YWCA Australia. Verity has experience in senior leadership within organisations such as Lifeline Australia, YWCA Canberra, and HSBC Bank. Through her experiences and natural interpersonal approach, Verity is a leader who uses a strengths-based, collaborative and positive style to lead with transparency and accountability.

Mother to 3 teenaged children – she enjoyed playgroups in the 70’s as a child, more recently as a parent, and now joins Playgroup Australia as CEO and advocate for children and families across Australia.

Nicole Kee


Nicole has a true excitement for numbers and data. Mention spreadsheets and her eyes will light up!

She is timely, considered and has a true empathy for those around her. Her professional experiences have explored rural and remote allied health and research, Project Management and Policy.

While her personal experiences as mother of two beautiful girls, and journeying through the ups and downs of the ASD service space, she is engrained in making a real difference to inclusive opportunities that support the wellbeing of children and families.

Her personable approach to national engagements and strong strategic outlook, ensures risks are mitigated and outcomes and achieved across our inclusive play programs and member commitments.

Natalie Thomas


She’s our young spark looking to shake up the way playgroups are delivered for families with disability. She has a vision for collaboration, co-design and making an impact alongside industry experts.

Her focus is efficiency, and effectively working towards a shared goal to make a real difference through inclusive play initiatives in Australia. Coming from a childcare background, she has experience and passion for play based learning and creating safe, flexible environments that celebrate all abilities, difference, and the potential every child brings.

Natalie has joined us as our national Project Officer, guiding the establishment of our newly funded Play and Learning Support (Pals) Playgroups set to be trialed over 2 years, from 2021-2022.

Julianna Mallia


Jules is our colour coordinating brand stickler. She’ll make, take, and recreate the words to send them on any given journey.

From social media, to the website, newsletters, media communications, video or reporting – she’s the typist behind the text, creator behind the colour, and not shy to spin a little pun here and there.

Playgroup mum to Mr 3, Jules comes to us from a background in multidisciplinary creative agency projects and account management. She loves writing, drawing, exploring brand identity and strategy, and connecting with others through print and digital communications and storytelling.

If you are looking to collaborate creatively, she will gladly share thoughts and explore opportunities to bring them to life.  

Join Our Team

Want to work for a National non-profit that helps strengthen families and communities through play?
If you enjoy working within a small close knit team, that offers flexibility and a positive working environment – contact us to share your skills and be considered for future roles.

Creating a village through play!

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Join Our Team