Meet our leadership team

The leadership team at Story House Early Learning is a team committed to providing a higher standard of early childhood education.

With a healthy mix of early childhood professionals –who’ve spent years on the ground working with children– and professionals across other industries, we listen to a variety of voices to develop the very best educational programs. Our leadership team is committed to continuously improving the standard of education across our centres.

children playing with parachute

The team caring for our Story House family.

  • Paul Cochrane
    Paul Cochrane
    Chief Executive Officer

    Paul Cochrane

    Chief Executive Officer

    Paul joined Story House Early Learning as the CEO in 2019 with more than 25 years of executive and financial management experience in public corporations and private businesses in a variety of sectors including education, property development, aged care, and finance.

    Grounded in the values of Integrity, Connectedness, Respect, Commitment, Safety, Growth & Innovation, Paul leads a dynamic and passionate team who are committed to delivering the highest quality care and education for children who join the Story House family. He leads with a strong vision for the future and brings a broad range of experience and versatility to achieve the growth plans for Story House. 

    Prior to joining Story House, Paul was the Chief Financial Officer at Affinity Education Group Limited operating over 150 childcare services nationally.  He was also CFO for Devine Limited, Ariadne Limited, and Eureka Group Holdings Limited.

    Paul holds a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Fellow Chartered Accountant Australia & New Zealand.

  • Rowan Greene
    Rowan Greene
    Chief Financial Officer

    Rowan Greene

    Chief Financial Officer

    Rowan joined Story House in April 2024 as Chief Financial Officer and brings financial leadership, governance, and extensive experience in developing systems and teams in fast-growing companies. Rowan is passionate about building financial knowledge in the organisation by ensuring leaders have the right information to deliver the best possible service to our children and families.

    Rowan is responsible for overseeing the finance, tax, and treasury functions in Support Office as well as supporting the business on acquisitions, funding, and strategic growth opportunities.

    He has over 20 years’ experience and has held senior finance positions across Healthcare, Oil and Gas Services, Mining, Entertainment and Construction sectors, as well as a background in public practice. Rowan is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business. Most importantly, he is a father of 3 incredible children and so understands the importance of quality early childhood education.

  • Daniel Tollenaere
    Chief Operating Officer

    Daniel Tollenaere

    Chief Operating Officer

    Dan joined Story House Early Learning as the Chief Operating Officer in February 2024, after an extensive career as a retail executive in both Coles and Officeworks he made the transition to what he calls the most rewarding and challenging industry of Early Learning. His background in both customer and team focused environments means he is heavily invested in providing the best experience for families and the most amazing outcomes for children in their formative early years.

    Dan is responsible for overseeing the Services, Marketing, Facilities and the experience of our families here at Story House. With a background in supporting  large teams and considering himself a significant expert in the world of sourdough, Dan believes the secret to early learning is firstly supporting the incredible educators closely followed by trying every meal produced by our amazing chefs. 

    Based between Melbourne and Brisbane Dan spends his spare time on the mats, over the last decade practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an art that focuses on solutions to ever changing problems, often called human chess. He credits this training with his lifelong commitment to learning, one that fits perfectly into Story House Early Learning.

  • Tony Finn
    Tony Finn
    Chief Commerical Officer

    Tony Finn

    Chief Commerical Officer

    Tony joined Story House Early Learning back in 2018, initially as Chief Financial Officer, before taking on the role of Chief Commercial Officer in 2024. Tony possesses over 20 years of experience in Senior financial roles across several sectors including education, financial services, mining, and insurance. Tony brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in overseeing the commercial aspects of the group, including the acquisition of new centres and greenfield opportunities.

    Tony came to Story House from Affinity Education Group where he was a Financial Controller, overseeing the settlement and financial integration of over 40 childcare services.

    Prior to this, Tony spent five years based in London working for HSBC and its subsidiaries where he was responsible for the rollout of finance systems to intermediary holdings entities across the group.  

    Tony holds a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA).

  • Kate Ludwig
    Kate Ludwig
    Head of People and Culture

    Kate Ludwig

    Head of People and Culture

    Kate is a high-energy and people-focused Human Resource (HR) leader with a focus on employee development, employee engagement and technological transformation. Kate has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, having held progressive roles in the functions of HR throughout her career. Most recently, Kate worked in the role of Employee Relations Manager for Affinity Education Group.

    As a mother herself, Kate comes to Story House with an understanding of the important role our Educators play in the development of our children.

    Kate’s focus is to ensure the People & Culture team, partner with our services to ensure every Educators ‘Story House Story’ is as rewarding for them as their work is for our children. 

    Kate holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science, Master of Human Resource Management and Bachelor of Laws.

  • Nicole Spillman
    Nicole Spillman
    National Partnerships and Operations Manager

    Nicole Spillman

    National Partnerships and Operations Manager

    Nicole is a celebrated leader in the Early Childhood sector, having worked in the industry for the last 27 years.

    Nicole comes to Story House with extensive experience in Operations Management with ASX listed national child care provider, G8 Education, B4Kids, and ABC Developmental Learning Centres, where she held roles of Area Manager and Corporate Care Manager, liaising specifically with Telco’s, Westpac, ANZ and Holmesglen TAFE supporting their corporate employee benefits program, and with other smaller providers. Most recently, Nicole held the role of the Operations Excellence Manager at G8 Education, where she developed systems to improve practice, deliver strategic outcomes and review systems and products to integrate into services.

    As an Early Childhood Teacher herself, her passion is about empowering children and educators to be the best they can be, seeking excellence in early education and teaching.

    Nicole holds a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE), Bachelor of Education (Inservice), Adv Diploma in Leadership and Business Management, and a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment.

  • Suzie Wood Story House Early Learning
    Suzie Wood
    Head of Early Learning

    Suzie Wood

    Head of Early Learning

    As Story House’s Head of Early Learning, Suzie’s role encompasses a wide range of jobs. She oversees the the strategic direction of Story House Early Learning’s early childhood education and care programs, and compliance requirements across all services. The key focus of her role is on strengthening the capability of every service leader, educator and teacher to achieve outstanding programs and practices through targeted professional learning and support. 

    She brings over 35 years of experience and has an extensive list of qualifications including Mothercraft Nurse Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management (Children Services), a Bachelor of Education, Masters of Education, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

    Over the many years that Suzie has been involved in the early childhood sector, she consistently loves seeing new things through children’s eyes. There is an awe and wonder that only children can bring to an early childhood environment which is a privilege to witness. She also enjoys seeing the impact that early childhood practitioners have on the development and growth of each child through quality interactions and contemporary learning programs. 

    In social settings, Suzie prides herself on being a consistent winner in a game that involves ripping the mintie paper to create the longest length. In her spare time, Suzie can be round reading a good book, cheering on the Firebirds and the Diamonds in their latest netball match and reliving her past life of being a swimmer and waterpolo player by swimming laps.

  • Nicole Kilpatrick
    Nicole Kilpatrick
    Head of Customer Experience

    Nicole Kilpatrick

    Head of Customer Experience

    Story House Early Learning is lucky to have Nicole working for the company as their Head of Customer Experience. In this position, she manages the Story House brand across all functions of the business, such as brand strategy, promotion and creative. Nicole will provide brand reviews for all marketing content and goes above and beyond to ensure that it is in line with the overall brand positioning and voice of Story House. She has a wealth of experience and has been working in the childcare industry for nearly 30 years, with ten years specifically focusing on the marketing and brand recognition of childcare services. 

    As part of working for Story House, Nicole loves knowing that in some small part, she can make a difference in the life of a child and is helping contributing to ensuring that children can experience all of the great wonders that early learning has to offer. In regards to her workplace, she enjoys seeing others happy and loving the environments that they work in. 

    Nicole can perform a few card tricks and outside of her job, you’ll find her watching her kids play sport, playing card games and building Lego. 

  • Daniel Blake
    Daniel Blake
    Facilities Manager

    Daniel Blake

    Facilities Manager

    At Story House Early Learning, Daniel is the National Facilities Manager. This title means that he is responsible for ensuring that all indoor and outdoor physical environments are compliant, maintained and fit for purpose for all the staff and children in their care. He has accumulated 13 years of experience working as a Facilities Manager and the last seven years have been working within the childcare sector. Prior to this, he has worked as a Facilities Manager for Leighton Contractors, Sodexo, and Spotless Group in roles that oversaw compliance and safety, construction, catering and accommodation services. 

    Daniel’s favourite part about working within the early childhood learning sector is that the team at Story House Early Learning is actively and consistently making a positive difference to the development of the young children in their services. Getting to see children play and explore the newly renovated playgrounds and gardens at the different locations within Story House is incredibly rewarding for Daniel. 

    His fun party trick is that he can bend his forearm so that his elbow moves back and forth in the opposite direction. In Daniel’s spare time, he can be found reading the latest and greatest non-fiction book, pottering around in the garden and cooking exquisite meals for his family and friends.

  • Kelly Patterson
    Kelly Patterson
    Executive Assistant

    Kelly Patterson

    Executive Assistant

    Kelly is a valued member of Story House Early Learning’s team in her role of Executive Assistant. In her role, she provides high-level support to the CEO and the Executive team and assists with the writing and distribution of internal and external corporate communications. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and has 20 years of experience in Business Administration in both public and private sectors across Australia and Canada. 

    Working in the childhood sector allows Kelly the rare opportunity to know how much of a difference they are making in the lives of the children that are placed in their care. At Story House, Kelly and the team are committed to laying important foundations for how children view the world and themselves. She also enjoys knowing that in her job, she is making a valuable contribution and is assisting in making people’s lives a little easier. 

    When she’s not at work, you’ll find Kelly rewatching Friends, to the point where she is now capable of reciting almost every episode. She also loves home decorating, singing songs at karaoke and spending quality time with her family. 

  • Dave Olsen
    Dave Olsen
    Financial Controller

    Dave Olsen

    Financial Controller

    David is the Financial Controller for Story House Early Learning. He does a variety of important jobs for Story House and oversees the Management Reporting, Accounts Payable and Payroll processes. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge that he utilises for all aspects of his position. David holds over 25 years of experience in senior roles across a variety of Finance and IT functions. He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Commerce and has been a Chartered Accountant since 1990. 

    His favourite aspect of working in early childhood learning is the excitement that comes from being part of an organisation that focuses on developing children to their full potential. Being part of the Finance Team means that David is able to see just how much the team prides themselves on providing excellent support to the operations by way of accurate and timely financial information, payment of suppliers and employees. 

    Outside of work, David’s party trick involves being able to crack a whip. You’ll also find him training for an upcoming triathlon and improving his gaming skills on the PlayStation.

  • Jackie Daniels
    Jackie Daniels
    Family Engagement Manager

    Jackie Daniels

    Family Engagement Manager

    Jackie has become a valued team member at Story House since her commencement in 2023. As the Family Engagement Manager, she brings extensive experience in education, particularly in independent schools, where she has helped countless families find the right educational path for their children. Her passion lies in guiding families through the enrolment process and nurturing meaningful relationships within the community.

    With a keen eye for developing and improving the customer journey, Jackie is dedicated to creating a seamless and supportive experience for every family. Her approach ensures that each family’s unique needs are met, fostering a strong sense of belonging and trust.

    As a mother of two, Jackie deeply understands and values the importance of early learning in a child’s development. She is committed to providing the best possible start for children by ensuring families feel connected and supported throughout their educational journey.

    When she’s not at work, you’ll find Jackie passionately cheering for the Brisbane Broncos, enjoying the thrill of the game with her family. Her enthusiasm for the sport reflects her vibrant and energetic approach to her role at Story House!

  • Mary Stockwell
    Mary Stockwell
    Customer Experience Specialist

    Mary Stockwell

    Customer Experience Specialist

    With over 20 years’ experience in the childcare industry, Mary is passionate about Early Childhood Education and Care. Mary had many roles in that time, ranging from Educator, 2IC and Service Manager. Mary holds a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management.

    Mary has now taken on a role in customer experience helping our new families navigate the world of childcare and supports our services, with a deep knowledge of Lineleader, Centrelink Child Care Subsidy and Kangaroo Time.

    Mary is renowned for her empathetic approach to supporting families. She excels in assisting them in navigating the complexities of childcare arrangements, offering guidance and reassurance every step of the way. Mary’s commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to the well-being of children and their families make her an indispensable asset in the childcare community.

    In her spare time, Mary finds joy in embarking on adventures with her husband in their caravan, exploring the serene beauty of coastal landscapes and soaking up the sun-drenched shores. With a passion for travel deeply ingrained in her spirit, she relishes the freedom of the open road and the tranquillity of beachside destinations.

  • Nikki Bentley
    Nikki Bentley
    Systems Support and Family Engagement Specialist

    Nikki Bentley

    Systems Support and Family Engagement Specialist

    With over a decade in the childcare industry, Nikki has navigated a diverse array of roles ranging from educator and assistant coordinator, acting coordinator to project manager and analyst, encompassing technical and account support among other roles where required.

    Her time is allocated between assisting services and the rest of the team with Kangarootime, QikKids, Kindy Funding, and Staff Discounts, alongside her pursuits in reporting and data analysis.

    Currently halfway through her Master of Data Science, Nikki finds her greatest joy in bringing together insights and visualizations by combining data with her industry expertise.

    Outside of her professional pursuits, Nikki is an avid learner, immersing herself in mastering new programming languages—her current endeavour being Python. She also relishes in the challenge of testing her limits through seeing how far she can walk in a day, with her current record being 42,254 steps (equivalent to 30.5km), or if the tides permit, getting out and catching some fish!

  • Jack Lohrisch
    Jack Lohrisch
    Systems Support and Claims Specialist

    Jack Lohrisch

    Systems Support and Claims Specialist

    Jack plays a crucial role at Story House Early Learning as a Systems Support and Claims Specialist, where he provides essential support to Service Managers and Business Operational Managers regarding Kangaroo Time. His dedication to his role is evident in his commitment to laying important foundations for supporting services and service teams, ultimately making a valuable contribution to the organization.

    Outside of work, Jack enjoys exploring new cafes and restaurants, although he admits he’s starting to run out of new places to try. Additionally, his passion for home decorating is evident, as he is pursuing his studies in interior design. Despite his busy schedule, Jack also prioritizes spending quality time with his family.

    Jack’s diverse interests and commitment to both his professional and personal pursuits make him a well-rounded individual contributing positively to his workplace and enjoying life outside of work. 

  • Margot Parkinson one of the SHEL team
    Margot Parkinson
    Pedagogical Practice Partner

    Margot Parkinson

    Pedagogical Practice Partner

    Margot brings a wealth of experience from her extensive career in early learning. Her journey began as a relief educator, gradually advancing to the role of early childhood teacher. With this solid foundation, she transitioned into family day care and school-aged care program coordination, before progressing into vocational teaching at TAFE.

    Throughout her career, Margot has had the privilege of working with diverse groups, including refugee and migrant children, facilitating their integration into early learning settings. In her most recent national lead role, she focused on designing comprehensive programs and resources to support educators in inclusion, practice, and pedagogy, while ensuring the implementation of child safe standards for optimal outcomes for children.

    Margot’s passion lies in empowering educators and teachers to unlock their full potential in their work with children. She is committed to advocating for their professional growth and supporting them in achieving their aspirations each day.

    During her downtime, you’ll find Margot in the great outdoors, or indulging in the delights of fine dining, and enjoying the company of lifelong friends.

  • Viki Rozsas one of the Story House team
    Viki Rozsas
    National Wellbeing and Inclusion Advisor

    Viki Rozsas

    National Wellbeing and Inclusion Advisor

    Viki Rosas is an experienced early childhood specialist, teacher, consultant, lifelong learner with a strong interest in emotional health, wellbeing, inclusion, and leadership with a demonstrated history of working in a wide range of education contexts.

    Skilled in Early Childhood Education, inclusion, mental health and early intervention, adult learning, coaching and mentoring, supporting beginning teachers, presenting, facilitating professional conversations, organisational communication and content development.

  • Sabina Klepp the Pedagogical Practice Partner
    Sabina Klepp
    Pedagogical Practice Partner

    Sabina Klepp

    Pedagogical Practice Partner
  • Kelly Murphy
    Kelly Murphy
    Talent Acquisition Manager

    Kelly Murphy

    Talent Acquisition Manager

    As the Talent Acquisition Manager for Story House Early Learning, Kelly’s role is focused on ensuring that they are facilitating effective attraction strategies and onboarding talented and like-minded individuals who have values that align with the Story House values. This will lead to an effective, cohesive team that works well together to achieve great learning outcomes for children entrusted to the centres. 

    Kelly possesses over ten years of experience in the role of a Talent Acquisition Professional, providing value-add partnering to the business on all recruitment matters. In her role as Talent Acquisition Manager, she has the chance to be a part of something special. She has been able to see first-hand the good start that early childhood education provides each child, not only in education, but also in their lives. Kelly also values knowing that she is constantly bringing people together and making a real difference to someone’s life. She’s able to see employees go from strength to strength in their careers. 

    Kelly can make a great cocktail on nights off and on her weekends and holidays, you’ll find her outside in her garden, playing sports with her children and renovating her home. 

  • Rob Pennisi
    Rob Pennisi
    Talent Acquisition Partner

    Rob Pennisi

    Talent Acquisition Partner
  • Gabe Siqueira
    Gabe Siqueira
    Recruitment Marketing Officer

    Gabe Siqueira

    Recruitment Marketing Officer
  • Fay Martin
    Fay Martin
    Payroll Manager

    Fay Martin

    Payroll Manager

    Fay is a valued member of Story House Early Learning’s team in her role of Payroll Manager.

    Fay brings over 25 years of payroll experience to her role as the Payroll Manager for Story House Early Learning. She has worked in payroll in a variety of industries, such as mining, construction, and retail. 

    She is passionate about payroll and completed her Diploma of Payroll Management in 2017. She loves making people happy by paying them correctly, whilst ensuring compliance, and keeping up to date with the ever-changing legislation affecting payroll.

    After looking after a payroll team of 10 for Hungry Jacks, paying 16,000 employees weekly, Fay moved from Perth to Brisbane in 2017 for a role with an international jeweller. Then in 2020 started with the Story House team. She’s enjoying working in the Childcare industry, and appreciates the shared value of Integrity, working within a team of like-minded people who are trustworthy, respectful, and helpful, but can also have a laugh!

    On weekends, Fay loves going on group motorbike rides, or country drives exploring the beautiful hinterland regions and beaches of Queensland. She also enjoys crocheting, jigsaws and planning her next travel adventure.

  • Sarah Lush one of the Story House team
    Sarah Lush
    Talent Acquisition Partner

    Sarah Lush

    Talent Acquisition Partner

    I have 17years experience in the airline & aviation industry and have developed a vast range of skills .

    I have loved working in both Leadership and Team Management roles .

    I have also worked in and have a passion for the HR and recruitment space I am passionate about team work ,transformational leadership and designing and carrying out exceptional customer service within the business strategy and plan .

    With a high level of focus on safety finding the right candidates, I have a strong passion for working with a team to improve, motivate and allow each team members skills and assets to shine through.

    I pride myself on having a proactive and energetic positive approach to help drive a business forward. Combined with offering support, encouragement and training to team members who need assistance in achieving their targets and goals.

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