Our community is made up of bereaved dads, their partners, family, friends, healthcare workers, researchers and supporters.
Because we believe that our Dads are best supported in the communities in which they live, Pillars of Strength is committed to building and supporting communities of men across Australia. These are communities where men help men.
These communities provide bloke-friendly opportunities for men to meet other men who have suffered similar circumstances.
Some of the events are men-only – and Bereaved Dads are encouraged to bring a mate. We go to the footy, we hang out at pubs, we learn new skills together. We can be really active or just have a beer. It’s up to the dads and their mates – we provide the communication and event management systems to facilitate these events. To kick-start new communities, we have also secured some free tickets to NRL and other sporting events – to book, just log on and register.
Other events are more oriented towards families and wider communities. Every year we hold family BBQs in mid-October to celebrate the lives of our children who are no longer with us.
Pillars of Strength does not provide clinical or therapeutic services. However, we are committed to providing appropriate and effective support for the men in our community and we work with and are guided by clinical researchers and healthcare organisations to ensure that our approach and programmes actually work. We are pleased to support research into the field of support for grieving men and welcome more opportunities to build this small but expanding pool of clinical evidence wherever we can.
We are always on the lookout for partners who can help Bereaved Dads discover Pillars of Strength. As part of this, we engage with social workers and psychotherapists in hospitals and counselling organisations and also funeral arrangers, all of whom are dealing with men at the point where their child has died.
As a simple step, we have 2-sided DL flyers that get handed out by our partners – this way the Dad can find out about us at the time and maybe get in touch when he is ready – sometimes months or years down the track.
This flyer is available to our partners who are healthcare professionals, funeral providers and other organisations working with bereaved families.
Our small team of workers who do everything from devising strategy, sourcing tickets, running events, developing the web site, finding donors and sponsors, and running the day-to-day operations are:
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.
Peter is a former Wallaby and professional rugby league footballer. He held a number of senior positions with the national and state unions, including managing the sport component of the Rugby World Cup 2003 and then the ongoing business of sport for the ARU for 4 more years.
Peter is a success-oriented career and education counsellor, working both at the ‘coal-face’ and lecturing and supervising teachers at a number of tertiary institutions.
Peter was the manager of Pillars of Strength between 2015 and 2018 and is a very welcome addition to the team, bringing to us his wealth of experience and his network in the sporting world.
Julia and Peter are are supported by our Board:
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.
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.
Helping to grow Pillars has been the combined efforts of so many wonderful people.
As the founder and architect, Gary Sillett has taken the charity from a mere idea to a wonderfully unique and vital part of the men's health landscape in Australia. Inspiring and assisting hundreds, if not thousands, of men in their grief journey, Gary has been hands-on, practical and empathetic. On behalf of the whole community, we will be eternally grateful for Gary's tireless efforts, all done in service to his son Isaac.
We would like to particularly acknowledge past board members Dominic Burke, Karen Grega, Brendan Maher, Joy Cusack, Stephen Parbery, Mark Williams, Christa Cocco, Adam Awty and Scott Lennon. They gave so much time and energy to the cause and asked for nothing in return.
PO Box 1092, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
ABN: 19 152 298 934
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Many of our donors and sponsors understand there is a woeful lack of support for grieving fathers. You can help by making a donation.
All donations over $2 are tax-deductible