Chris Pickard

General Manager

I wanted to work with Open Doors as I had witnessed first-hand the empowering work the organisation does during my time as a volunteer.  From the first time I walked through the doors for my volunteer interview, I was overwhelmed with how welcoming and accepting the space is.  Growing up in rural north Queensland without access to such a service really reinforced how valuable it was to have in the community.  I identified and could acknowledge how much a space like Open Doors would have helped me during my adolescence and really wanted to be a part of something that could have such a positive impact on young people’s lives.

My lived experience as a member of the LGBTI community allows me to provide insight into many of the issues the young people that enter our space are experiencing or feeling.  In addition to my time spent at Open Doors as a Youth Worker, Team Leader and most recently, General Manager – I hold a Bachelor of Psychological Science and my professional history is in HR –  Training & Development.

Contact (07) 3256 7660 or


Shaye Austin

Youth and Family Support Worker

Shaye, a Registered Nurse and proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community, is passionate and committed to supporting young people experiencing significant life changes and challenges.  Shaye has a particular interest in Adolescent mental health, gender health and sexual health specifically.  With a long history as a volunteer for various organisations delivering engaging programs and initiatives to support young people, Shaye joined the Open Doors team as a part-time Youth and Family Support Worker and facilitator of the Reconnect Drop In group.  When asked how she is enjoying her role at Open Doors, Shaye is quick to answer that she feels privileged to work with young members of the LGBTIQ+ community and hopes to serve as a resource to help with any issues they encounter, while creating a safe space where the young people are free to express themselves and be their true self.  In her spare time, you will find Shaye outdoors, most likely in the ocean, hiking, learning to surf, taking photographs or exploring the world.

Contact (07) 3257 7660 or


Bridget Macrae


Bridget has worked in counselling and mental health since graduating from her Psychology degree in 2012. Bridget has been passionate about working with sexuality and gender diversity for many years, from working with not for profits on their accessibility to the LGBTIQA+ community to working directly with individuals.

Contact (07) 3257 7660 or


Jamie Blake

Youth and Family Support Worker 

Jamie is a Youth Worker who is a member of the LGBTIQ community. Jamie has a passion for working with young people and supporting them with the challenges that they may face in their lives, especially when issues related to gender diversity are concerned. Jamie understands the challenges faced by gender diverse young people. His knowledge and personal experiences allow him to not only support gender diverse young people but to also understand and have personal insight into difficult life experiences. Jamie’s role at Open Doors is as a Youth and Family Support Worker, he is also a facilitator of the Jelly Beans group. Jamie has a very positive outlook on life, his goal is to bring positive energy into the workplace as much as possible.


Mikarla Teague

Facilitator and Art Therapist 

Mikarla is an Artist, Activist and Arts Therapist who exhibits and facilitates both nationally and internationally within human rights and equality showcases and organisations. Mikarla is a proud and longstanding member of the LGBTIQ+ Community, joining Open Doors as their resident Group Facilitator and Arts Therapist, most notably co-facilitating the Jelly Beans and Art Therapy Group Programs.

Mikarla additionally works in partnership with Open Doors Youth Services’ neighbour Brisbane City Councils’ Visible Ink Youth Space, developing and facilitating Arts Programs and Projects supporting and empowering creativity in young people aged 12 – 25.

Mikarla passionately believes in the powerful healing modality of the Arts and creative expression to encourage and empower young people to grow and transition into becoming the best and happiest versions of themselves within a supportive community of inclusivity and celebration. Mikarla is a bundle of positive energy, always laughing, an avid traveller, and is passionate about knowledge and new experiences.


Lianne Sanderson

Youth Support Worker

Lianne is a Youth and Family Support Worker and a proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community. Lianne began her work with Open Doors Youth Service on Student Placement for University and feels incredibly privileged to have been offered a position within the team.

Lianne is passionate about supporting LGBTIQ+ young people through life’s many challenges and strives to provide a safe space where young people can make friends, access information and receive much needed support.

Lianne, a cis-gendered female, has lived experience within the gender diverse community and understands the importance of having supportive and accepting people who encourage you to become your true self.

Contact (07) 3257 7660 or



Youth Worker Alcohol and Drugs

Rochelle is a proud Gorri woman from Northern NSW but has lived and worked in Queensland for the last 23 years. Rochelle has worked in Community Controlled and Non-Government sector following her passion of empowering and supporting families, youth and children.

Rochelle is our Alcohol and Other Drugs Youth Worker who will have focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ and supporting young people with their Health and Wellbeing, including cultural connections, building resilience and belonging.

In her spare time Rochelle loves spending time with her partner and their 7 children, yarning with mob, anything near the ocean and listening to music. Rochelle is currently studying at USQ completing her Bachelor of Human Services.

Contact (07) 3257 7660


Management Committee

Open Doors Youth Service Inc. officially began operating as an independent organisation on July 1 2003.

Our current Management Committee members for 2016/2017 are:


Peter Solowy

Acting Treasurer & Chair Person

Peter is an industry recognised Management Consultant in the HR technology industry. He holds the degrees of Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Project Management.


Tyrone Shandiman

Vice Chair

Tyrone is the founder and Managing Director of Strata Insurance Solutions and has worked as a volunteer on boards for over six years including Pride Business Network and Open Doors.


Cassie Davis


Cassie is a senior psychologist and chairs our alcohol and drug subcommittee.


Sarah Dean

General Member

Sarah is a corporate lawyer specialising in corporate advisory and mergers and acquisitions. She regularly advises clients on major projects and commercial transactions and corporate governance.


Nick Baker

General Member

Nick is studying to become a clinical psychologist and is currently publishing his thesis in LGBTIQA+ relationships. Nick chairs our Youth Reference Committee and is our Youth Representative Board Member.


Rhys Paxton

General Member

Rhys is an experienced business development specialist with a track record building successful relationships and partnerships as well as developing and implementing organisational strategic plans. He has worked across government and the private sector in a variety of roles across social infrastructure, urban development, energy and resources.


Niki Goodwin

General Member

Nikki is a qualified Social Worker and is a member of the LGBTI+ community. Through her varied work with young people in Brisbane and across Australia, Nikki has formed a strong passion for supporting youth in all descriptions and especially in supporting those in the LGBTI+ community. Nikki’s background is with a nationally recognised telephone crisis line for children, with kids in out of home care, youth in correctional facilities and women and children escaping domestic violence. Nikki doesn’t take herself too seriously and loves trying to become more flexible through reformer Pilates, she has a goal to travel south East Asia and to learn to play guitar. Nikki enjoys hanging out with friends and family, any dog that looks her way… and doting on her gorgeous nieces.


Shay Johnston

General Member

Shay is a risk, compliance and governance specialist with a long background in the Financial Services industry. In her corporate life she has led large assurance and audit teams, managed regulatory and conduct risks and led risk profiling, controls assurance and compliance planning activities across diverse areas. She is excited to join the ODYS Board in 2018 to give back to her community and help ODYS to continue to grow into a risk-aware organisation with strong risk and compliance practices.

Open Doors Annual Report.

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