Founding Directors

Our founding Directors – Adjunct Professor John Mendoza and Marion Wands combined their expertise, academic qualifications, lived experience and commitment to inform ConNetica’s approach, journey and service ethos.

John Mendoza is no longer a ConNetica Director, having chosen to commence a new role in 2020 as Executive Director, Mental Health and Prison Health, with the Central Adelaide Hospital Network.

Our Expertise

ConNetica’s founding Directors,  Adjunct Professor John Mendoza and Marion Wands both  Directors held senior executive positions in private, public and not for profit organisations prior to establishing ConNetica. 

Their post graduate qualifications are in Education, Public Health, Health Promotion and Human Resources,

Previous roles included CEO Australian Mental Health Council of Australia, Australian Sports  Drug Agency, Inaugural Chair of the National Mental Health Advisory Committee, Founding Board Member Thomson Institute, Senior Executive Strategic Human Resources – ACT Government and Change and Training Manager, Deloitte Consulting. 

Team and Thought Leaders

Our unwavering commitment to research, evidence and collaboration with accomplished experts to inform practice has resulted in our unique and extraordinarily talented group of thought leaders with whom we regularly collaborate.

Marion Wands - CEO and ConNetica Director

Marion has overseen ConNetica’s 300 plus mental health and suicide prevention projects. Her expertise is in systems thinking, evaluation, stakeholder engagement, strategic human resources and the design and delivery of ConNetica’s innovative, practical and succinct mental health and suicide prevention training programs.  

She is a social entrepreneur dedicated to addressing social determinants to reduce suicide and advance mental and social health. 

Marion has a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education, Human Resource Studies

Marion can be contacted on her Mobile: 0414 726 826 or via Email :

Professor Christian Jones

Christian is an accomplished and leading academic and commercial digital entrepreneur. He is the leader of the Engage Research Lab, University of the Sunshine Coast— where technologies for social good are designed. His background is in Psychology and Technology.

He leads large scale collaborative projects in mental health and wellbeing, physical health and fitness, sports analytics, medical training, abuse prevention, road safety, augmented and virtual reality, affective computing (emotion), human computer interaction, and video gaming and serious games.

Christian is ConNetica’s digital development partner with programs including Chats for Life App and four eLearning early suicide prevention programs.

Christian can be contacted via Email:

Natalie Howson - Former Director General

Natalie has 25 years’ experience as a senior executive roles in state and federal public service.  She established and lead a commonwealth statutory authority and was Director General of ACT Education and Community Services. She is recognised for her leadership, stakeholder collaboration and effective change management  skills. Natalie successfully established partnerships in diverse sectors, is an experienced chair and been a member of international and national policy and regulatory committees. 

Natalie has a Masters of Education Leadership (International)

Dr Barry Elsey

Barry is an accomplished adult and community educator and supervisor of international doctoral research students, having successfully supervised 75 doctoral students. Barry has mastered the techniques of focused discussion, intelligent questioning, reflective enquiry and strength based learning. His highly effective approach has enabled him to effectively work with culturally diverse groups of people and organisations.

He was appointed by the Governor of South Australia to the South Australian Business Ambassador Network (SABAN), testament to his practical and outcome focused research. 

Barry can be contacted via his Email :

Tanya is an accomplished and extremely passionate human resource professional, consultant, researcher, lecturer and facilitator. She works collaboratively with clients to craft creative solutions and strategies for healthier and better workplaces for individuals.

She has completed complex strategic HR projects related to workforce planning, transformational change, workplace culture and HR Strategic planning.  She regularly delivers workshops and masterclasses in these areas and has been instrumental in building Australia’s HR professional capability. 

She is an Adjunct Associate Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Tanya can be contacted on her mobile (0414559785), email ( or through her website

Professor Rob Donovan

Rob is the Founder of  Act-Belong-Commit, an international mental health promotion program. He has extensive commercial experience and held academic positions in Marketing at Pace University, New York University & University of Georgia.

Rob has conducted research & program development across in many social areas, including First Nations Peoples issues, alcohol, tobacco & drugs, child abuse, domestic violence, racism, suicide prevention & mental health promotion.

Rob is internationally acclaimed for his social marketing & health promotion, and has (co-)authored more 250 books, journal articles and technical reports.

Rob’s academic work and research has informed the approach underpinning ConNetica’s training programs.

Ingrid Ozols AM - Mental Health @ Work

Ingrid has a lifetime of living & breathing mental ill health & suicidality in loved ones & herself. She is an accomplished lived experience worker and advocate and has worked with numerous academic, not for profit and private organisations nationally and internationally, assisting them to design and implement effective workplace and community mental health programs and service frameworks.

Ingrid has a Masters in Suicidology and is an outstanding faciliator and public speaker.

Ingrid can be contacted via her Email:

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