Our Executive Team

Elizabeth Thomas – CEO

Liz is recognised and acknowledged as a dynamic corporate leader with a strong sense of social justice.  She has worked in executive leadership roles in public, private and community sector organisations in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart, including as the Public Trustee of Tasmania. In 2012, Liz accepted  the challenge to develop a leading edge social housing project in Tasmania led the introduction of Common Ground housing in Tasmania, a health based approach to ending chronic homelessness.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Arts and a range of other post tertiary qualifications.  She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and also has extensive experience as a professional company director across a wide range of companies and organisations.  Her professional achievements and contribution to her profession and her community have been recognised in the Telstra Business Woman Awards, the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards and by the University of Tasmania.

Robyn Roberts – General Manager, Client Services

Robyn has brought a people-focused, entrepreneurial spirit to a range of executive leadership positions in the community services sector and she has also led community and private sector partnerships to deliver ground breaking initiatives in microfinance and family violence prevention.  In 2015, Robyn partnered with private company Protective Group to design and implement a ground breaking national family violence program, that continues to achieve significant outcomes today.  Robyn’s driving motivation is to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and her work at Wayss provides her with that opportunity as she leads key changes to disrupt people’s experience of homelessness and family violence.

Robyn holds teaching and social work qualifications and has undertaken executive-level studies at Melbourne Business School.  She has also held director and committee roles on several Boards in the community services sector

Bryan Maddan – General Manager, Corporate Services

Bryan is an experienced business professional who has a real desire to contribute to his community. After 30 years’ experience in financial markets covering a range of investment asset classes, Bryan decided it was time for a career and lifestyle change which would enable him to achieve his aim of contributing to the community. Having childhood connections with Dandenong, which included playing football for Dandenong in the VFA in the late 1970s and early 1980’s, Bryan found an ideal role with Wayss who he joined in 2017.

Bryan has worked in senior management roles in stockbroking and funds management, including the roles as Managing Director of both an Australian and a US-owned, full-service securities firms. He was also the Managing Director and one of the founders of Australia’s first absolute return fixed income fund manager.

Bryan holds Bachelor of Economics, a Masters of Business Administration and is a Chartered Accountant.

Connie Gardner – General Manager, People & Culture

Connie is a skilled People and Culture senior leader, known for her positive leadership, astute business partnering and for her strategic and operational planning and delivery strengths.  Connie’s diverse experience in leading not-for-profit HR and People and Culture teams in Australia and the UK has spanned disability services, mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. She has also spent significant time in HR leadership roles in health services and local government.

Connie holds a Masters in Business (HR and Industrial Relations), a BSc Hons in Sociology and Industrial Relations, a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment and an Advanced Diploma of Collaborative Management. She is also a member of the Australian HR Institute.

Wayss in the 1990s

Then in September 1997 the organisation became WAYSS Limited with a Board of Directors and day to day management by the Chief Executive Officer.

Wayss underwent further transformation with the restructure of community housing and the funding of the Transitional Housing Management (THM) program. The Regional Housing Council ceased operation and transferred direct service operations to Wayss in 1997.

During this decade Wayss became responsible for the then South East Women’s Domestic Violence Outreach Service. Funding was also received to establish a Children’s Services Worker within the outreach service. SAAP funded Women’s Outreach Program was also transferred to Wayss in 1999.