Our People

PODC is a non-profit organisation with a voluntary management committee. PODC employs an Executive Officer and an Administration and Communications Officer, 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

Mark Burfield - 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. Mark is employed by SSI (Settlement Services International) as an ILC (Information, Linkages and Capacity Building) Consultant in the LAC (Local Area Coordination) Program of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). His voluntary roles include State Commissioner, Inclusion for Scouts NSW, and a Vice President of the Children's Festival Organisation, Mark’s primary concern through PODC is ensuring the maintenance and improvement of services for the hearing impaired at all stages.

Chi Yhun Lo - Vice President

Chi is an Adjunct Fellow at Macquarie University, investigating topics around deafness, music, and psychosocial wellbeing (and sometimes all three combined!). As a former audio engineer that used to work with the iconic Australian children’s band “The Hooley Dooleys”, his experience and skillset have turned from entertainment to healthcare. A strong proponent for open access, open learning, and collaboration; Chi is a dedicated educator and communicator focused on bringing fun back to the classroom and the general-public. Chi is a recipient of a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, a contributor to Speed Meet a Scientist, a 3 Minute Thesis finalist, and the founder of a Science Camp for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children.

Suzanne Robertson - Ordinary Committee Member

Suzie is a mum of twin boys, Alec and Oliver, who were born at 32 weeks’ gestation and survivors of twin-to-twin transfusion. Upon being discharged, Ollie received a refer on his hearing test, before being diagnosed as profoundly deaf with complex auditory neurotherapy. He has bilateral cochlear implants since he was 3 years old and has been learning Auslan since birth, with fluency in Auslan and English. Suzie is passionate about mentoring families to gain confidence in advocating for themselves, with the philosophy that parents are the biggest experts on their children. She’s currently working on a submission for the disability royal commission, making sure families voices are heard, particularly those who speak English as their second language. She has been a full-time member of the PODC committee for two years and also co-facilitates a Facebook community forum called ‘Little Auslaners’.

Laura Fox - Ordinary Committee Member

Laura is the mother of 3 children, her daughter Ava being the first family member to be diagnosed with seminatural deteriorating hearing loss at almost 3 years old. This led Laura to devote herself to seeking best access to verbal oral communication for Ava, as well as educating and advocating for the broader community of children with hearing loss on a local and parliamentary level. She recently received a scholarship as an NDIS Assistive Technology Mentor with a focus on behavior support and balancing fatigue through choice and control and building individual independence in self-regulation, receiving and expressing information through the use of assistive technology. When she’s not volunteering her time, Laura runs two IT companies with her husband.

Maria Fresta - Treasurer

Maria first became a member of PODC in 2006 after her son, Jack, was born with a moderate hearing loss. His hearing deteriorated, and he received a Cochlear implant in 2010 and in 2014. Jack has two older sisters who aren't hearing impaired. Maria initially made contact with PODC as the family had no understanding of hearing loss and what this would mean for Jack. Having this support was very helpful as they could learn from the experiences of other families. Maria was appointed treasurer in 2019, after Mark emailed the membership for assistance in filling Committee positions. Given her accounting background, she decided to join the committee and use her business and administration skills as a way of assisting PODC. She has worked in her family-owned business for over 25 years, and loves cooking, reading and enjoying the outdoors with her family.

Our Staff

Fleur Henderson - Executive Officer

Fleur is the mother of a nine 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.