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Board of Directors

Iris Foundation is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors:

  • Andrew Tuck – Chair
  • Carolyn Richardson – Treasurer
  • Dawn Hooper (Co-Founder) – Secretary
  • Bev Baldwin (Co-Founder) – Community Development
  • Jean Russell – Marketing Development
  • Tarnia Gurney – Business Development

Andrew Tuck – Chair

Andrew Tuck is an energetic, dedicated, creative leader with 35 years’ experience transforming non-profit organisations into profitable community businesses. Andrew has demonstrated high-level leadership in the implementation of strategic direction and business plans, effective governance, innovation and quality, decision making, people management, and marketing and public relations. Andrew is currently the Executive Officer of Peppercorn Services in the Hawkesbury LGA, and has served on charity and community services boards for almost 10 years. Andrew lives in East Gosford and is committed to improving and promoting mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention of suicide on the Central Coast.

Bev BaldwinCo-Founder

Bev moved to the Central Coast in the 1972 with her two school aged sons, following the death of her husband.   She nursed at Gosford District Hospital for several years before commencing study in social welfare and gained a position at Wyong Neighbourhood Centre where she worked tirelessly for the next 20 years as Manager.  During this time, she was involved in numerous committees, both state and regional in community development.  In 1996 Bev was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to the community.   Bev has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

In 2003 her 21-year-old grand-daughter suicided after struggling with depression.  After working through the trauma of this loss Bev chose to do something positive. The Iris Foundation was launched in 2006. “Iris” is the vision of light and the name commemorates the mothers of Bev and Dawn who unselfishly nurtured their children and grandchildren with unconditional love and acceptance. 

Dawn Hooper – Co-Founder, Secretary

As the eldest of four children Dawn learned at a young age the benefits of being in a team and the rewards of working together to achieve a common goal. In 1962, Dawn gained employment as a Telephonist/Typist at Munmorah Power Station with the Electricity Commission of NSW from 1963 for ten years. During this time Dawn became involved in a number of state, regional and community organisations.   Dawn married Peter Hooper in 1972 and they have two children, and much later three grandchildren.

In 1979 Dawn, with a group of women formed “Marian’s Place” which later became Wyong Neighbourhood Centre.   Initially relying on volunteers to run a drop-in Centre and craft group.  Between 1979 and 1995 Dawn took up part-time employment with Aubrey Brown Partners, a Law Firm.  From 1999 Dawn was employed by WorkWise Inc a Central Coast training and employment service and continued to work there when it merged with BreakThru until 2015, when she chose to retire.

In 2006 following the tragic suicide of Bev Baldwin’s grand-daughter the Iris Foundation was launched.   

Carolyn Richardson – Treaurer

Carolyn has a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and moved to the Central Coast from Queensland in 2011. Since the move she started an accounting business servicing individuals, small business and investors. She loves her business and the opportunities it presents and feels rewarded by her clients.

She joined the board of Directors for Iris in 2017 when and the very first event for Tree of Dreams was created by another local and aspiring  businesswoman in her community.  After the suicide of her brother at a young age she has always wanted to assist in this space using her skills in the accounting arena and has been proud to be a part of the board ever since. 

On a more personal and fun note, she loves to spread her wings and camp whenever she finds the time.   

Jean Russell

Jean Russell has over 30 years marketing and management experience.  She holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Business Management) degree from Charles Sturt University as well as a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment from the Central Coast Community College.

Jean has held marketing and leadership positions in a variety of multinational and Australian companies including:  Village Roadshow where she commenced as National Marketing Manager, with the Disney Studios using her work in other countries around the world. In recognition she was promoted to VP International Marketing;  Harper Collins Publishers where she headed up the Golden Press division;  The Palmdale Group where she held the position of Group Marketing and Customer Service Manager. Jean is a brand champion who has developed marketing and sales areas to an unprecedented level.  She has also been instrumental in change management, improvements in customer experience and the development of strong and focussed teams.

Jean now undertakes a great deal of voluntary work for not-for-profits and is committed to utilising her knowledge, experience and qualifications to assist community focused organisations succeed in reaching their goals.  She also runs a Marketing, Editing and Training consultancy.

Jean joined the IRIS Foundation board in July 2017.

 Tarnia Gurney

Tarnia Gurney works as a local financial planner, that has been servicing the Central Coast community for the past 14 years. Her business has grown to service clientele all over Australia and now Asia.

She saw a gap in the community, where families were suffering due to financial illiteracy, and she offers affordable solutions to her clients. Tarnia assists families in their financial affairs, including budgeting, debt management, superannuation and protection via insurance. Tarnia has previously worked as a Practice Manager for other Financial Planners, and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Prior to this she worked in customer service as well as a nurse.

Tarnia is a big advocate for mental health and suicide prevention and has supported the Iris Foundation since 2008. As a survivor, she understands the importance of community awareness and support for others in the same situation and hopes she can be an inspiration to others to live their lives.

Tarnia joined the board of Iris in 2017 and loves to be able to support and give back to her community.

    Iris Foundation acknowledges the invaluable contribution of our founding chairman, Barry Abrahams, who passed away in September 2018. Barry provided committed leadership to the Foundation for six years, and the board and staff of Iris Foundation thank him for his service.

    We would like to thank our major supporters: