January 2009 - Page 4



  Welcome to the new additions to the team in January.

Mark Groote
Manager, Volunteer Strategy and Support Branch

  Mark Groote - Manager, Volunteer Strategy & Support Branch

Mark has recently commenced as the Manager, Volunteer Strategy and Support Branch, SAFECOM. 

Mark trained as a social worker, and commenced his career with The Salvation Army where he worked with young people, and went on to manage the Red Shield Housing Association.  In this role Mark managed volunteers across administrative, governance, and service delivery areas.

He comes to SAFECOM from the Department for Families and Communities where he has extensive management experience, particularly in the housing sector where he managed the Housing Policy Units for the South Australian Housing Trust and the Aboriginal Housing Authority.  Mark has also been responsible for the management of the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program and Crisis Accommodation Program, and lead the creation of the Homelessness Strategy Team.

Mark is excited about the opportunities to contribute to the work of SAFECOM.  "Volunteers play such a significant role in our agencies, and I'm thrilled to be leading the Volunteer Strategy and Support Branch.  I'm also looking forward to getting out and about and meeting many of the people who volunteer their time for the SES and CFS".


Melissa Veal
Media Liaison Officer, Public Affairs Unit


Melissa joined the SAFECOM public affairs unit earlier this year.

Having recently completed studies in Public Relations, Melissa is keen to utilise these new skills and build upon her government experience in communications and marketing by taking on the role of Media Liaison Officer.

Melissa previously worked for SafeWork SA, where she was responsible for a wide range of tasks including developing and reviewing publications, advertising, website administration, project management and internal communications.

Prior to this, she worked in both communications and project roles within government.

Melissa says "I am excited about the opportunity to work in such a fast paced and challenging environment. I love that I am part of an organisation that truly makes a difference to the South Australian community".

Melissa Veal, Media Liaison Officer, Public Affairs

Haley Cahalan
Media Liaison Officer, Public Affairs Unit

  Haley Cahalan - Media Liaison Officer, Public Affairs Unit

The SAFECOM Public Affairs unit is now at full strength with the final team member, Haley Cahalan.

Haley brings with her media experience after working for most of the past seven years as a journalist and most recently as the Editor of The Murray Valley Standard newspaper in Murray Bridge.

Her experience includes working as the Media Adviser to Federal MP Patrick Secker, and as a journalist for South Australian weekly agricultural newspaper, Stock Journal.

It was at Stock Journal that she reported on the Eyre Peninsula bushfires and developed a grounded understanding of how a community can be affected by disaster and the important role everyone from volunteers through to the media can play in such situations.

Haley is looking forward to working for the SAFECOM Public Affairs unit and in helping to keep our communities informed.

"The role of our Emergency Services Organisations can not be underestimated and I am honoured to be in a position to help by working to get the messages out there," she said.


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