Susan began caring for vulnerable young people in her own home more than 30 years ago following a life-changing experience as a volunteer when she saw a child die from malnutrition in a Sri Lankan orphanage. This was the catalyst that started her on the Lighthouse journey. She began by opening the first Lighthouse home in 1991. Lighthouse has since raised millions of dollars to radically transform the lives of more than 1000 vulnerable young Australians. Susan has been recognised through multiple awards for driving change in the area of youth homelessness. She was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2002; received the Melburnian of the Year award in 2009 and was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her significant achievements and contribution to the Victorian community in 2012. Susan has also co-authored two books that feature extensive evidence and hands-on experience collated over the past 25 years.
Susan has worked relentlessly to harness widespread community support and build Lighthouse into an organisation that has grown substantially and helped to truly break the cycle of homelessness. Susan is still on Lighthouse's board and is passionately involved as ever, with her story serving as a constant reminder of the life-changing impacts of our work.
Dr Eamonn McCarthy is CEO of Lighthouse Foundation, is recognised as one of Victoria’s most respected forensic psychologists in the field of childhood trauma, attachment, and high-risk youth. From 2014 to 2021, he was a Principal Practitioner of Child Protection in Victoria, consulting and guiding large teams while developing a reputation for managing complex key stakeholder relationships with a refreshing, easy communication style. Prior to this, he spent a number of years providing assessment and treatment for Victoria’s highest-risk children and youth within a statutory setting, before moving to the Royal Children’s Hospital where he delivered sexual abuse counselling services to children and their families.
Eamonn’s extensive experience in the clinical field and passionate advocacy for the rights of children and young people has positioned him well to take up the challenge of leading Lighthouse into the next era as a social change-maker. As a psychologist, he’s able to recognize how the roots of youth homelessness are often set in place through the accumulated trauma of broken family attachments, multiple care placements, and limitations within currently available models of care. Moreover, as a strong leader, he understands that the key to breaking this vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma lies within the community- partnering with key stakeholders, educating and working alongside Lighthouse’s donors, volunteers, corporate partners, trusts and foundation to expand our circle of support.
Over the coming months, Eamonn can be seen and heard regularly through print, television, and radio and as a popular interviewee and speaker on the topics of youth homelessness, foster care and therapeutic wellness.
Terrie was involved in the formation of Lighthouse Foundation prior to its incorporation in 1991 & served on the board of directors from 1991 – 2004. She has worked alongside Susan in all aspects of the organisation’s operations & now oversees the management of the central resource and administration centre located in Cremorne. Terrie also acts in the capacity of company secretary for the Lighthouse board.
Laura is an experienced practitioner in working with traumatised young people.
Laura has worked for over twenty years most recently as a Senior Therapeutic Practitioner with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co Op Ltd and in other leadership roles with the Salvation Army Australia and Odyssey House Victoria.
Karli has been responsible for leading, integrating and empowering the fundraising, marketing and communications programs of a number of national and international NFP organisations, most recently The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and Variety, the Children’s Charity.
Karli’s specialties include: Marketing, Branding and Public Relations, Social Media, Campaign Design and Implementation, Event Management, Diversified Funding Strategies, Community Engagement Programs, Direct Mail.
Her background in business development, relationship management, international research, capital raising, and strategic planning make her fit for the role of leading Lighthouse’s Corporate and Innovations team, which includes HR, Finance, IT, Property & Assets, CQI and the Research & Training Institute under the ‘Corporate Services and Business Development Stream’.
Working collaboratively and strategically with all program areas within Lighthouse, the Corporate & Innovations team will undertake specific management projects and reviews that will safeguard the quality of services and organisation, as Lighthouse embarks on a journey of growth, to support an increasing number of young people.