Wombat's Wish
Victoria's leading grief support service for children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent

Meet the Team

Nicki Dunne

General Manager of Operations, Programs and Partnerships

Wombat’s Wish was proud to welcome Nicki Dunne in 2020 in the vital role of Manager, overseeing the growth and expansion of our organisation. Appreciated for her strategic vision and skill in management and business planning, Nicki comes with more than 35 years as a highly-recognised local figure in community services and charity. She holds Diplomas in Youth Work and Welfare Studies, along with multiple certifications in mental health support and is a qualified trainer and assessor.

An Australian of the Year finalist, Nicki has also been recognised by the State Government of Victoria, City of Greater Geelong and other major organisations for her contributions, including awards for Community Worker of the Year (2009), Youth Worker of the Year (2010 and 2011 winner, 2018 finalist) and Westfield Local Community Hero (finalist 2017) among others.

As well as managing all day-to-day Wombat’s Wish operations, you can meet Nicki at our Weekend Programs, Family Days and pre-weekend consults. She’s also a regular guest speaker and even pops up in the media from time to time, helping Wombat’s Wish reach families and organisations all across Victoria.

Suzy Coad

Community Engagement Officer

In July 2023 Wombat’s Wish were pleased to announce the addition of Suzy Coad to our permanent team. Suzy has played an important role in our Wombat’s Wish Weekend Program and Family Days for many years, and many of our camp families will have great memories of taking part in her ‘Suzy Sports’ activities, having long conversations together or receiving one of her famous hugs. Suzy comes with many years of diverse professional experience in people management, counselling and support roles for both government and private organisations. She also has a strong presence in the local community, establishing a successful business as a Personal Trainer and acting as Coordinator and Chairperson in multiple volunteer committees around Ocean Grove.

Suzy holds both a Bachelor and Graduate Diploma of Psychology and Certificate IV in Fitness. She’s currently studying a Diploma in Counselling and is particularly passionate about providing grief and bereavement support. You’ll meet Suzy on our Weekend Programs, during family consults, or as a highly knowledgeable and approachable first point of contact with Wombat’s Wish.

Annika Blattmann


Originally from Switzerland, Annika grew up in five different countries and speaks four languages, including French, German, Swiss-German and English. Her international upbringing allows her to have an immense passion for people and to communicate well with individuals from different backgrounds.

Annika comes to Wombat’s Wish with both a Marketing and Psychology background. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Psychology, minoring in Criminology) at the University of Melbourne and an Honours Degree of Psychological Sciences at La Trobe University, where she was granted a scholarship by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to conduct her research study on the cognitive and behavioural outcomes in adolescents with Cerebral Palsy. Her prior experience as a swimming instructor and student researcher at the MCRI have contributed to her passion for working with children and adolescents.

Annika also has five years of experience as a Marketing Specialist in the banking and real estate industries, where she developed and executed the go-to-market strategies of the businesses, working with a variety of clients, stakeholders and internal teams. Highly organized and self-motivated, she looked after a variety of tasks from organizing events, partnerships, social media to conducting digital campaigns.

Looking to complete postgraduate studies in Psychology in the near future, Annika is currently volunteering at Connected Minds Psychology, supporting with intake and risk assessments. She is thrilled to support Wombat’s Wish with all things administration and social media, and to being a part in helping children and families across Victoria gain access to grief support.

Frances McAloon

Grief Counsellor

Frances is an experienced Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters of Gerontology. With over 35 years’ experience, Frances has worked alongside children and families in many settings from inner city Melbourne in family services to outback western Australia in child services. Over the last decade, she supported the local community with myriad day to day challenges, including grief, loss and life transitions.

As a counsellor at Wombat’s Wish, Frances does 1:1 grief counselling for children and families who have experienced the death of a parent/carer. You’ll also be seeing her at our weekend Family Grief Programs, where she will work with children, parents and carers, and lead activities and conversations around grief as well as provide tools to support families.

Steve McLachlan

Grief Counsellor

Steve is currently registered as an Educational and Counselling Psychologist. With a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Education and Graduate Diploma in Applied Child Psychology, as well as a Master’s in Educational Psychology, Steve was previously employed with the Department of Education as a secondary teacher and school psychologist.

Steve is highly valued at Wombat’s Wish for his kind and caring manner, as well as his leadership and support in our Weekend Grief Programs and 1:1 Counselling to children and families grieving a death of a parent/carer.

Jill Crookes

Director of Clinical Services

BSc(Hons);Grad Cert in Health Studies(Loss and Grief)

Jill has been a registered and practising Counselling Psychologist for nearly 50 years.

The position of Director of Clinical Services involves training, supporting and supervising the Wombat’s Wish staff, counselling team and volunteers who deliver our programs. Additionally, this role involves research, program design and development, evaluation of programs, management and monitoring of clinical operations and therapeutic services.

This is to ensure Wombat’s Wish delivers safe, effective, high- quality, evidence-based therapeutic services.

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Wombat’s Wish acknowledges the Wadawarrung, Taungurung and Bunurong peoples as Traditional Custodians of the lands from which we live and work,
and we pay our deep respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.