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Our Board and Management

Change of Chair

Pillars of Strength has announced that Dan Zammit has been appointed to the role of chair following the decision by Founding Chair Mr Gary Sillett to step down from the role.

Mr Zammit says: “Having been involved with the charity for the past 3 and half years it is an honour to take on the chair role following the wonderful contribution of Gary. Through the tragedy of losing his newborn son Isaac, Gary has been the public face of men’s bereavement for stillbirth and infant loss across Australia and has taken the charity from a concept to a wonderfully unique and vital part of the men's health landscape in Australia. I am privileged and excited to be empowered by Gary and the board to fulfil the vision and implement the strategy that Gary has developed and nurtured, so we can continue to grow our support to those men who often are supporting others during times of personal loss and tragedy of their child.”

Mr Sillett was the founding chair of Pillars of Strength having recognised the lack of acknowledgement and support for men during times of personal loss and tragedy of their child after the loss of his son Isaac back in 2010.

Pillars of Strength Manager Ms Julia Bowen: “It’s been a privilege to work with Gary and the board to build on the vision and continue Isaac's legacy inspiring and assisting hundreds, if not thousands, of men in their grief journey. Gary's passion and drive to support and acknowledge dads during times of personal loss and tragedy of their child and to make a difference in the community has been such a key part of why Pillars of Strength has been positioned as a leader in this field and achieved so much over the last eight years. I am honoured that he has faith in both myself and the board to deliver on his vision and to implement the recently developed strategy that along with our partners, supporters and volunteers that will continue to grow and build communities with our bereaved dads where men help men".

Since launch, Pillars of Strength has engaged and assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of men in their grief journey through the provision of timeout opportunities and events where dads connected with their mates, family and dads, and created new communities and networks. Pillars of Strength is the leader in the men’s health and men’s bereavement for infant loss It is the first organisation to provide services (non-counselling) exclusively for dads and been at the forefront of having dads being acknowledged by other organisations and health services during this time of personal tragedy. Pillars has run more than 160 events for bereaved dads across five states and territories

Pillars of Strength has been recognised and requested to sit on State and Federal NICU, Stillbirth and bereavement advisory councils, present at conferences and provide articles on men and grief and loss for Midwifery textbooks among other health publications

In conjunction with the Hulsman family it refurbished the parents hostel at Sydney Children’s Hospital - Randwick: and saved dads and their families with a sick child in the NICU at Royal North shore more than $200,000

Mr Sillett says: “It’s been a privilege to serve as the chair of Pillars of Strength, an organisation i am extremely passionate about which along with the support of my wife and family enabled me to channel my grief after the passing of Isaac. This enable me to establish and operate a charity to support others with similar experiences of enduring the loss of their child or having their child in the NICU but found nothing suitable available. I am indebted to and would like to thank all past board members and our past manager who have assisted me in establishing and building the charity and i also thank everyone who has donated to, volunteered and supported this charity to enable dads to feel acknowledged and supported. My son passing changed my world forever. However Fatherhood, once reached, is timeless. As part of a club which noone wants to belong to i would also like to make special mention and acknowledge all the dads who have been brave enough to reach out and ask for support, whether through attending an activity through PoS or through other organisations. Thankyou for supporting the idea that men need also help and support through this situation and it is a privilege to have met many dads over my time as chair. I look forward to meeting others at future Pillars of Strength events in the future in my capacity as a bereaved dad.”

Lastly I am very excited by the future of Pillars of Strength and have great faith in our Manager Julia Bowen, new Chair Dan Zammit and the rest of the board in continuing to build upon the platform created over the past 8 years and implementing our strategy where we build communities where men help men to support those who have suffered a loss. I have been working with the board for an orderly transition so we can continue the vision where men are supported which is a wonderful legacy to my son Isaac.

New Chair Mr Zammit has been on the Bard as a director for the past 3 year, is a specialist in growing businesses in the sports entertainment and leisure sector, managing business affairs of sports players and coaches as well as being a brother in law to a bereaved dad.

On behalf of the whole community, Pillars of Strength will be eternally grateful for Gary's tireless efforts, all done in service to his son Isaac.

Daniel Zammit

Chairman, BSc, MAICD

Daniel is an investor of small and medium-sized companies. His company Hanro specialises in growing businesses in intellectual property assets and in creating volunteer and event systems. He is currently managing director of start-up Pistol Shrimp, a video culture training company. He manages the business affairs of sports players and coaches, and is a coach of junior netball and basketball. He has worked extensively in the USA, Europe and Asia. Dan is a brother-in-law to a bereaved dad.

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Gary Sillett

Director

Gary is currently the General Manager of a charity addressing unmet social need in the community. He has been a consumer representative to the NSW Health Neonatal subcommittee and has worked in the corporate and not for profit environment for the last 20 years in the areas of marketing, operations and management. His previous work experience also includes working on Olympic Games and a FIFA World Cup. He is the founder of Pillars of Strength and a bereaved dad, who lost his son after two days in the NICU.

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Scott Walsh

Director, FCA, BSc (Joint Hons)

Scott is a partner at PwC specialising in providing assurance and advisory services to clients in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. He is also People & Operations Leader for a business unit of 200 professionals. Scott also served as Chairman and Treasurer of ICAEW Sydney Inc, a group established to provide relevant networking opportunities for members of the institute in NSW. He is the best mate of a bereaved dad.

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Julia Bowen

Manager, Pillars of Strength

Julia has more than 30 years experience in commercial and not-for profit fields, working independently and with leading Australian and international organisations.

She has worked in large and small organisations through leadership of teams across many disciplines and industries, including: healthcare; non-profit; sports; construction; telecommunications; distribution; financial services and the defence sector.

Julia was Director of Systems and Programmes & CIO at Cable and Wireless Optus and a Non-Executive Director of Medibank Private. She has worked across Australia and NZ, Asia, UK, Europe and the USA. Julia is a bereaved mum and then had another child in the NICU.

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Past Contributors

Helping Gary to grow Pillars have been so many wonderful people. We would like to particularly acknowledge past board members Dominic Burke, Karen Greta, Mark Williams, Adam Awty and Scott Lennon who oversaw the success of the Time Out Programme and events such as the SCG Cricket Day. They gave so much time and energy to the cause and asked for nothing in return.

We would also like to acknowledge our special past manager - Peter Rowles. Peter was Mr TimeOut - scouring tickets from unlikely sources and keeping it all on track.

We appreciate and acknowledge all who have made the journey easier, faster and more powerful.

PO Box 1092
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
ABN: 19 152 298 934

Pillars of Strength is a registered charity with full Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and all donations over $2 are tax deductible

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