Our People

PODC is a non-profit organisation with a voluntary management committee. PODC employs a Coordinator and an Administration Assistant, who are responsible for overseeing and implementing the organisation’s services and plans. Office bearers are elected at our Annual General Meeting each November.

Our Management Committee

Anna Messariti – President

Anna is a parent of Xavier, who is 9 years old and who has a moderate-moderately severe hearing loss. He wears hearing aids and attends a mainstream school. She has been on the Management Committee of PODC for 5 years and is currently the President.

Anna was a Senior Producer for ABC Radio National for 11 years, during which time she made many complex, built, radio programs, across Performance and Features. She has also worked in independent film production. Notably on The Projectionist, winning 11 international awards and featuring as part of the Australian Embassy Roadshow program for a decade. Anna’s work as a theatre professional has spanned two decades and her artistic director roles were for Playworks (National), St Martins Youth Arts Centre (Melbourne) and PACT (Sydney). She has also been a project officer for the Australia Council for the Arts (1991-1994), during which time she was seconded to the Prime Minister’s Department to work on a major report with a focus on cultural diversity. Currently, Anna works as a casual academic for the University of Wollongong and as a casual high school teacher. She is also the Executive Officer for NACTMUS, the National Council of Tertiary Music Schools. In between, she works as a freelance dramaturge, creative producer and Arts consultant.  

Mark Burfield – Vice President

Mark is the father of four children. The first was born profoundly deaf in 1999, received a cochlear implant in 2001 and a second in 2010, and is currently in a public secondary school hearing support unit. Mark’s primary concern is the maintenance and improvement of services for the hearing impaired at all stages. He is employed by Settlement Services International as an "Ability Linker" (community development and capacity building for people with disabilities and their families and carers). His voluntary roles include: Secretary of Universal Peace Federation Australia, State Commissioner for Scouts with Special Needs, Co-Chair of the Children's Festival in Sydney city, and Secretary of the Burwood Public School P&C Association.

Linda Brady – Ordinary Committee Member

Linda lives on the Central Coast with her husband Barney and two children, Eoin, aged 10 years, and Anna, aged 8 years. Both Eoin and Anna attend a local independent school. Eoin has auditory neuropathy and a moderate to profound hearing loss. He was fitted with hearing aids at 4 months and subsequently implanted unilaterally at age 6.

Linda is a social worker by background and has benefitted immensely from support offered through PODC over the last 10 years. Linda is committed to parents directly supporting other parents on their journey through hearing loss in a non-judgemental compassionate manner and to the important work of advocating for children living with hearing loss in the education system and promoting positive change through policy’s affecting our children and families.


Carmen Rice – Ordinary Committee Member

Carmen is a primary school teacher and mother of four children aged 3, 5, 7 and 9. Bentley, aged 5, was born with microtia and atresia on the right side. Microtia is the malformation or absence of the external ear and atresia is the absence of the ear canal. Bentley has a unilateral hearing loss and wears a BAHA on a softband. He started kindergarten in 2017 at his local school. Carmen is interested in supporting families so they may support their children. 

Katie Shammas - Ordinary Committee Member

Katie is the mother of two daughters, Hanan and Maysa. Maysa has a mild to moderately-severe hearing loss and attends a mainstream public school. Katie's main areas of interest and concern are the impact on siblings and the social/emotional development of deaf children in hearing families. Katie is married to Paul and works as an environmental professional for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Our Staff

Fleur Henderson – Executive Officer

Fleur is the mother of an eight year old daughter and the sister of two siblings with Usher Syndrome. Prior to taking on the role of Executive Officer at PODC, Fleur had been a mentor with the Deaf Society’s Parent to Parent Mentoring Program. Professionally, Fleur has worked for the past 20 years in various roles globally for both Government and private companies specialising in Project Management. Fleur is passionate about helping families of deaf and hearing impaired children reach their full potential.