Meet the 2020 ECA Reconciliation Connect speakers!



Catharine Hydon is the Director and Principal Consultant at Hydon Consulting. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education, and has extensive experience in the early childhood sector after beginning her career as a kindergarten teacher and progressing to lead roles in a range of services. She has been a member of Early Childhood Australia (ECA) for many years and is currently the Co-Chair of ECA’s Reconciliation Advisory Group. Catharine has been a member of the ECA Code of Ethics Working Group for the last two reviews and co-authored the recent Ethics in Action implementation guide.


Joanne Goodwin is a descendant of the Wonnarua and Kamilaroi peoples in NSW. She is committed to progressing reconciliation and to exploring the practice of cultural competence in the early childhood sector. Joanne has an extensive background in early childhood and social inclusion, having worked in a variety of programs and communities nationally. Currently, she is rolling out Newpin (New Parent and Infant Network) sites across Queensland, under the Queensland Government’s Social Benefit Bonds Pilot Program.




Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson identifies as a Jiman/Bundjalung woman who also has Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. With a PhD from Queensland University of Technology, her research and volunteer work focuses on violence prevention, relational trauma and healing. She developed the ‘We Al-li’ program, of which she is now an advisor. Her book, Trauma Trails, Recreating Songlines, explores the changes that can occur when people make connections and share their stories of healing. Judy retired from academia in 2010, but continues working with communities across Australia and Papua New Guinea in educational healing work that she calls ‘educaring’.

Casey Goodman


Casey Goodman is the Aboriginal Program Leader at Moreland Community Child Care Centres (MCCCC) in Brunswick, Melbourne. As an educator in the three-year-old kinder group, Casey embeds Aboriginal pedagogy into her everyday program, as well as supports and mentors the education team in learning and critically reflecting on Aboriginal pedagogies. Casey chairs the MCCCC’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, where she works with educators and family members to achieve reconciliation in all levels of the service. Casey recently established the Moreland Reconciliation Network Group, which she convenes and has gained support from the local Council for Educational Leaders and Centre Managers, so members can engage with reconciliation in their respective services. Casey also recently joined the ECA Victoria reconciliation team.


Esma Livermore is a proud Bigambul woman from Inverell, NSW, who joined Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali team in January 2016. While contributing to the Narragunnawali program areas, Esma has played a key role in coordinating the Narragunnawali Awards initiative, which recognises reconciliation excellence in the education sector. She has also played an ongoing leadership role in the Reconciliation Australia Indigenous Network (RAIN). Other positions she has held include Aboriginal Education Worker at Queanbeyan West Public School and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for the NSW Department of Education. Currently she is the president of her local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and is passionate about the power of local community efforts contributing to the national reconciliation journey.


Sofia Machado is an educational change-maker, having implemented new curriculum approaches in Portugal and Australia. She is passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences for children in natural environments and about designing programs that help raise educators’ potentials.



Karen Mundine is from the Bundjalung Nation of northern NSW. As CEO of Reconciliation Australia, she leads the organisation’s vision to create a more just, equitable and reconciled Australia through key programs and initiatives such as Reconciliation Action Plans, Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education, and National Reconciliation Week. She has more than 20 years’ experience in leading community engagement, public advocacy, communications and social marketing campaigns. During her career, she has been instrumental in some of Australia’s watershed national events, including the Apology to the Stolen Generations, Centenary of Federation commemorations, Corroboree 2000, and the 1997 Australian Reconciliation Convention.


Leonie Norrington grew up in southern Arnhem Land and was adopted by the Bush/Blanasi family. She is a children’s author and her books have won, or been shortlisted for, many literary awards. She writes in a mix of English, Kriol and Indigenous language, and her stories are a beautiful reflection of her life. In her stories, black and white characters merge, lives are entwined and there are no racial issues—just different perspectives. Leonie is interested in the places where culture and language meet, and how people use language and story to bridge differences, or to make statements about their separateness.


Cassy Read is a centre director and early childhood teacher with more than 25 years of experience in the sector. She is a passionate advocate for heart-centred, courageous leadership and uses this approach to lead her teams resiliently through change. Her work focuses on highlighting to children and families the value of learning on Country.


As an early childhood educator, Amy Shine has worked in a variety of rural and remote settings. She has taught in community-based preschools and TAFE institutes. In her community, Amy is recognised as leader and was named ‘Citizen of the Year’ in 2019. Her passion is apparent in her work as Director of Forbes Preschool, which won the Narragunnawali Award for Early Learning in 2019. She is committed to inspiring others, making everyone feel a sense of belonging, and empowering respectful relationships.


Richard Weston is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. As the CEO of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and Co-Chair of the Family Matters campaign, Richard advocates for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Richard and the team at SNAICC are developing influential policy to improve the life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and are supporting the development of evidence-based practice and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. SNAICC is also developing meaningful partnerships with state and territory governments, as well as mainstream and philanthropic organisations, and has a role on the Joint Council for the Closing the Gap refresh.


Stephanie Woerde has a big belief in the important link between early years educational development and wider community development. She joined Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali team in 2016, after having co-established the Miriwoong Language Nest program—a culturally responsive education initiative centred on First Language immersion, delivered to more than 400 children in Kununurra, WA. Stephanie enjoys engaging in critically applied research activities and, as part of her wider role within the Narragunnawali team, is proud to lead the team’s policy, research and evaluation collaborations to support the advancement of reconciliation in education.


Cecelia Wright is a leading multicultural trainer, communicator and champion for Indigenous education and inclusion. Cecelia is also the founder of Cultural Inclusions, which provides authentic and unique Torres Strait Islander resources and education workshops to the early childhood sector. Originally from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Cecelia has dedicated her career to supporting inclusion and embedding cultural practices in the early childhood sector for over 17 years. As a panellist, she will talk about her passions and share her knowledge and culture with others so they can learn how unique the Torres Strait Islander culture and people really are.