There is no ‘I’ in TEAM
Jase definitely took the scenic route to get to where he is today. As the Founder of .... As the Founder of Cool, Jase Kimberley, definitely took the scenic route to get to where he is today. Having worked in fashion, photography, retail, warehousing, stockbroking, wholesale, building, fruit picking, cattle herding, roof repairs, a restaurateur and even a published author of two books, his cap has so many feathers in it, it flies north for the winter. When he’s not doing Managing Director stuff (that’s the technical term), Jase enjoys a cold VB, a freshly speared mud crab and supporting the Sydney Swans (you think you know someone…). Much like his hero, Willy Wonka, you never know what to expect with Jase, although unlike his hero he doesn’t currently have a working chocolate river in his house (emphasis on the word ‘currently’). At the heart of Jase is an adventurer who loves his family, friends and making the world a cooler place for the future.
Former classroom teacher, Thea loves animals. She especially loves the weird ones. The weirder the better in her book! ....Thea loves animals. She especially loves the weird ones. The weirder the better in her book! Her fave animal is the naked mole-rat - Is it a mole? Is it a rat? Where are its clothes? But apart from that confusing first sentence, Thea’s list of achievements is as stark as the mole rat itself, with a Diploma, a Bachelor and a Master’s all under her belt. Being Cool’s General Manager, Thea is generally cool with managing the day-to-day goings on at Cool, from helping teachers become creators of exceptional learning all the way to relying on the life-giving properties of coffee. Thea is also doing her bit for keeping the ginger gene alive, with two redheads of her own. Under hobbies Thea put ‘current seeking’, which I can only assume is some sort of hide-and-seek game played with sultanas. Like a duck to water off its own back, Thea also loves a mixed metaphor, so if you see her, why not mix a metaphor or two, it’s not rocket surgery.
Former classroom teacher, Hamish thrives on curly challenges. Whether it’s designing a learning program that can scale ....Hamish thrives on curly challenges. Whether it’s designing a learning program that can scale across education or hammering down a double-diamond run on the snow, Hamish brings focus, tenacity, and a bucket of creativity. His background in leading schools, libraries, design thinking, and intercultural learning means he can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to bear on making education better. Hamish also loves to tinker with technology, so you’ll find him playing with all kinds of gadgets and apps like his Xbox, audio system, and a Miro board or 12. He describes himself as an ‘enabler, collaborator, and schemer’, which means he could be behind all kinds of devious and playful approaches we don’t even know about. From clever keynotes, to big events, and new online spaces, Hamish likes to keep things fun and interesting. Just like a really engaging learning experience, Hamish loves to see people and ideas spark and connect - especially when it creates a brighter future for all.
Head of Education
Former classroom teacher, Mark is an avid fan of Jurassic Park, it's safe to say that Mark's 'life found a way'. Originally a .... As an avid fan of Jurassic Park, it’s safe to say that Mark’s ‘life found a way’. Originally a science teacher in Scotland (where they pronounce it ‘shiensh’, like Sean Connery), Mark followed his passion for science to Melbourne (where they pronounce it ‘sawyence’). From here Mark dabbled in teacher training as part of an EdTech startup and has written for Australia’s Science Channel on the side (as you do). After a science experiment gone wrong, Mark now has the super-human ability to smell out cheeseburger joints wherever he goes (he hasn’t got a superhero name yet but I’m liking SmellBoy… like HellBoy). Mark is also an avid comic book reader (and maybe soon-to-be star?) and even has his favourite comic book artist’s signature tattooed on his leg. As Head of Education, Mark can talk your ear off about the important work Cool does, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Krista is Cool's Head Writer, but if called upon she's more than capable of shoulders, .... Krista is Cool’s Head Writer, but if called upon she’s more than capable of shoulders, knees and toes writing. With degrees in Biodiversity, Conservation and Park Management topped with a Master’s in Environmental Education Krista definitely took the scenic route to becoming the Cool’s content lead. When not writing Krista loves watching birds, identifying birds and then talking about birds with her pet Turkey. She also dreams of one day living in a treehouse and has exactly zero interest in going to Mars, which I assume is because of the lack of trees, birds or educational facilities.
Former classroom teacher, Jarryd comes from a long line of teachers, which is why he avoided his calling .... Jarryd Bendall comes from a long line of teachers, which is why he avoided his calling for so long. After myriad roles in law, medicine, used car sales and as the mascot for the Western Bulldogs AFL team, Jarryd eventually taught primary school for several years, before combining his love for writing and education at an Education Specialist role at Cool. This role sees him as a bridge between knowledgeable industry experts and classroom teachers, bringing excellence into the classroom and challenging the average curriculum with innovative and effective ideas.
Former classroom teacher, Adela has a real love for education, creative thinking and living a sustainable life .... Adela has a real love for education, creative thinking and living a sustainable life. This has led her to work with a Cool team of people on a mission to foster change. Adela manages project planning and quality implementation of lessons that explore contemporary issues in the classroom and the real world. She loves working with partners and evaluating projects with a bright team of individuals that are passionate about education and social impact.
Education Project Manager
Former classroom teacher, Casey has a knack for befriending strangers in the surf and around the streets of Geelong. Her friends would say it’s because she’s a chatterbox, but Casey would argue it stems from her love of storytelling and connecting with people from all walks of life. Casey’s passion for teaching and learning alongside others has led her to work in some extraordinary places, such as Groote Eylandt in Arnhem Land and the Northern Alps of Japan. When Casey’s not teaching in a classroom, she’s usually producing short films and digital resources to help educate, excite and empower people to achieve their goals.
COMMUNITY, PARTNERSHIPS AND PHILANTHROPY
Head of Community Engagement
Being in the funding hot seat, Naomi likes to 'make it rain' but in an orderly and .... Being in the funding hot seat, Naomi likes to ‘make it rain’ but in an orderly and carefully thought-out manner. With ten years of banking and finance under her belt, Naomi has made it her goal to specialise in areas with very long names – project management of technology and operational projects, change management, communications, operational optimisation, process improvement and lots of other words that get you high scores in scrabble. In her spare time Naomi enjoys hockey, movies, the news and pasta (yes, even garganelli). As someone who likes an adventure, Naomi once did a shipwreck dive off the coast of Vanuatu, and has trekked to 5,483 m in the Himalayas (just to rub it in the faces of the people who only made it to 5,482 m). Himalayan one-upmanship aside, it’s Naomi’s enduring passion for social justice and creating conscientious future leaders through education that make her right at home with Cool.
Head of Partnerships
A country girl with a degree in Italian Renaissance art and architecture, Anna has definitely .... A country girl with a degree in Italian Renaissance art and architecture, Anna has definitely done it her way. After making her way through a child psychology course and becoming a volunteer at Berry Street, Anna continued along her path of supporting kids on the spectrum and their families, even setting up a Parent Support Program for parents of kids with disabilities. Not only that, Anna supplies the Cool office with seasonal farm produce, somehow enjoys multitasking and actively pursues doing home renovation (surely I jest, but alas). Although Anna seems to have raised the bar on all of us, there are some red marks against her name, so please prepare yourself: her favourite band is Jamiroquai! Ok, so that wasn’t the biggest red mark but something has to take her down a peg or two – get out of 1999, Anna! Anyway, Anna is of course an asset to Cool and I’ll admit that Virtual Insanity is a great track.
Dave has a spring in his step and a smile on his dial! Two of the reasons why, like bees to .... Dave has a spring in his step and a smile on his dial! Two of the reasons why, like bees to honey, people are drawn to his inclusive can-do attitude. People are his thing. Travel and time spent in good company (with food) are life highlights, he loves to share with family and friends (some say this, Dave means it.) Work has taken him to New York, Japan, Dubai and Uganda and has ignited a passion for networking and collaborating. He is an insatiable appetite for understanding complex issues and applying solutions to benefit many. A real-world guy with education on his mind!
DIGITAL MARKETING AND CAMPAIGNS
Head of Digital Marketing
A country lad born of a school principal and chemistry teacher, Michael has always had a special place in his heart for .... A country lad born of a school principal and chemistry teacher, Michael has always had a special place in his heart for education. Armed with an honours degree in public policy (which has remained on the shelf like a fine whisky), and a determination to challenge himself, Michael has made his way to leading the Cool Australia marketing team via roles across Australia, New York and London. Michael is a believer that marketing is a relatively simple process of telling a good story effectively, and Cool Australia’s story is one that is only just beginning. In his spare time, Michael likes to make music, surf, go camping, read and eat!
Marketing Communications Manager
Former classroom teacher, described curiously by some as a seven-year itch, Kirsten did indeed leave teaching .... Described curiously by some as a seven-year itch, Kirsten did indeed leave teaching in pursuit of a career in marketing after seven years in the classroom. Since then, she has completed a Master of Communication at Deakin University, and – armed with the belief that we can all do a little good in the world – has dedicated herself to working in NFPs. Passionate about inclusion, Kirsten wrote her Master’s thesis on cultural representation in primetime, Australian television commercials. When not working, Kirsten enjoys daily walks with her dog and spends too much time talking about football. For someone with a nightshade sensitivity, Kirsten eats too many potatoes.
Lara is a true food aficionado, adventurer, truth seeker and rule breaker (when necessary). She craves change, new experiences and is on a mission to explore every country on Earth. Just don't ask her to skydive; she's not that adventurous! From a young age, her favourite question was, "Why?" So it was only natural her curiosity led to a career in journalism and the media. Now armed with 10+ years of digital, TV and radio experience, alongside her passion for sustainability and a secret plan to overhaul Australia's education system, you can see why her and Cool are a match made in heaven.
TECHNOLOGY AND GROWTH
Graphic Design and Digital Support
Marie is our resident graphic designer and digital development officer who can apparently .... Marie is our resident Graphic Designer and Digital Development Officer who can apparently ‘skip with her arms’ (which I assume is exactly what it sounds like). Having worked in hospitality for over 20 years, Marie eventually found it inhospitable and needed a change. Following her passion for graphic design through a diploma, Marie soon became Cool’s resident designer/formatter/website guru, etc. When she’s not designing, Marie nerds out on games, watches anime (ask her to explain the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion) and eats ramen. Having moved house over 50 times, Marie has accrued some interesting yarns – like the time she was in a grunge band, the time she skied in the Himalayas or the time a frog jumped into her mouth (did it turn into a prince? You’ll have to ask her to find out).
Hailing from the distant shores of France, Sarah was forced out of the country 20 years ago because .... Hailing from the distant shores of France, Sarah was forced out of the country 20 years ago because she refused to smoke or drink (or wear a stripy shirt or beret and play the accordion). However, she couldn’t fully escape the old country and managed to find the most French-looking Australian man she could find to marry. Being a yoga and meditation teacher who nerds out on yoga philosophy and chanting, it’s safe to say Sarah has worked out the perfect side hustle to get some peace and quiet. Although she’s not a fan of the AFL she’s managed to get along to no less than three Grand Finals, which I’m sure were followed by some R&R. Having a background in both advertising and the film industry, Sarah quickly made herself an asset to the Cool family.