ACA NSW Executive Committee

he ACA NSW Executive Committee provides a collective voice for our members, acting on their behalf and undertaking the governance responsibilities of ACA NSW.  The Executive Committee is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, comprising of four office-bearers and at least 3 other Executive Committee members.

The 2018/2019 Executive Committee members are as follows:


LYN CONNOLLY - President


Lyn is Diploma trained and has for 39 years been dedicated to providing a quality service of early childhood education and care to children and families, and sought after employment opportunities and career paths in her family oriented centres evidenced by the length of service of Lyn's educators.

Lyn believes the future of our nation rests on the children of today, that we as a society must ensure that all of Australia's children no matter their background must be given the opportunity to experience the early childhood education and care they need to give them the building blocks for school life and beyond so that they can become fine productive citizens of the future who will carry our nation forward to further greatness.

Lyn has been President, Vice President and also Executive Member of ACANSW (Australian Childcare Alliance NSW). She also held the position of Secretary and Executive Member of The Australian Federation of Child Care Associations and President, Vice President and Executive Member of the Australian Confederation of Child Care, Founding Vice President and past Committee Member and Secretary of the Australian Childcare Centres Association (a Federal Industrial Organisation representing private child care centres providers) Initiator and Founding Vice President of The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA).

Lyn has worked in a voluntary capacity for most of her 39 years in the industry lobbying Federal Governments for funding for families that keeps pace with the increased cost of service delivery generated by regulatory and industrial change and for an accreditation or Assessment and Rating System that is measurable. In the state political arena Lyn has continually lobbied successive NSW Governments to deliver sensible regulations sensibly applied.

Lyn has for many years represented ACANSW (formally CCNSW) members in the print media and on television and on radio putting the case publicly to both the Federal Government and the NSW Government for better outcomes for centre owners, children and families and centre educators.

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NICOLE UPFOLD - Vice President


I am Nicole Upfold and in 1993, my husband and I opened Nicky's Kids Town. I hold a Diploma in Teaching and a Diploma in Applied Science (Nursing) Since 1993 we have successfully established 8 childcare services and we currently operate 3 services. Our centres licenses have varied from 18 to 79 children.

I am aware of the frustration felt by operators due to government paperwork and red tape.

If elected I will work on your behalf for the government to review the Assessment and Rating System. The current system has been in place long enough that the industry should be consulted to assess what changes need to be made to ensure the process remains current and effective.

We need a strong executive to ensure we are heard. The proposed " discussion" on reducing the current 1 to 4 ratio for children under 2 years needs to be taken off the agenda. The regulatory authorities need to consult with operators of centres - rather than Policy makers only.

The NSW government needs to address the school starting age. The government needs to change the start date of " must be 5 years before 31 July" to " must be 5 years before the 31st January". We have enough places in our services to provide care and education to the children who would be 5 after the January cut-off date. The long term outcomes of children being 5 years of age before starting school are well documented.

I support that all funding, including CCR and CCB should be funded on hours booked rather than utilisation.


MARK WHARTON - Treasurer


Bio to follow.



ELENI WILSON - Secretary


Eleni is a mother of five children who is passionate about maintaining the integrity of early learning and care.

Eleni's early career was in human resources and business management and has spent the last 15 years in early learning and care.

After five years of early education training, Eleni opened her own centre (Barfa Bear, 2006). This was followed by Mama Bear in 2009 and her third centre Papa Bar, late 2014. She acknowledges the Premier’s desire to improve outcomes for NSW children but is concerned that many of the recent changes, although well intentioned, are damaging the ability of providers to perform to their optimum for both children and parents.



DONUS DEMIR - Executive Committee Member


Donus is the owner and Director of Tiny Feet Preschool/Long Day Care based in Lidcombe, which opened in 1995. Although she has many years of experience in the childcare industry, she is still developing myself to be the best educator that she can be. She is currently studying her Bachelor of Education at University of New England.

She works in a profession that she truly is passionate about, knowing she makes a difference. She believes that she builds on children’s knowledge and enhance their wellbeing in a nurturing environment. Her pursuit is to make a difference to the lives of children, setting them with the foundations to be confident adults.



RENAE DONOVAN - Executive Committee Member


With over 25 years’ experience running her own Early childhood  Education services and a mother and step mother to 10 children, Renae has a great understanding of what busy families want and need  and will continue to stand up for what is best for families and children.

Renae has a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood and operates a small family run business in Coffs Harbour. The energy and enthusiasm of young children is what drew her to the industry and the knowledge that she can make a huge difference in the lives of children and their families, is what keeps her in the industry. Working to empower families in their roles as a parent she believes is the greatest gift she has been given.

 Becoming an Executive Committee Member of Australian Childcare Alliance NSW as a regional provider, Renae will work hard to ensure the unique geographical needs are heard and acknowledges that recent changes in the industry are making it harder to survive, with oversupply in these areas and operational costs going up for small business and families as a result. Sensible streamed systems are needed if we are going to ensure the affordability and long jeopardy of small family oriented services.

Having lived in her local area for close to her whole life, Renae has been an active community member in a number of clubs and committees and has found this very immensely rewarding, but also recognises it requires a great deal of commitment and passion, as well as a good working knowledge of the ethical and legal considerations that governance entails.

As a new member of the ACA NSW Executive Committee for 2019, Renae is hoping to make an enormous contribution in this role with flow-on benefits for the whole community.


LIENNA MANDIC - Executive Committee Member


[On leave of absence from 25 February 2019 - 25 August 2019]

Lienna has more than 20 years’ experience in children’s services, owner of Kids World Kindy Child Care Centres which operates four Services in Western Sydney and one Service on the South Coast of NSW. Services range in size from 28 to 90 places.

Formal education includes a Graduate Diploma in Education Early Childhood and Bachelor of Business, Marketing. Lienna is a former Vice President and Executive Committee member of Child Care NSW who has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the day to day challenges facing child care operators.

She is standing for nomination to ensure that ACA NSW has a strong focus on sensible regulation, modern awards, rating and assessment and Federal Government funding for families. She is very concerned about the proliferation of largely unregulated educators in Sydney who are operating under the auspices of family day care and the impact they are having on the credibility and viability of ACA NSW members.



RITA TOTINO - Executive Committee Member


Bio to follow.


JOAN STONE - Executive Committee Member


Bio to follow.




Karthika has been involved with Early Childhood education and care all her life, having grown up assisting in her family-run long day care centres. She obtained a degree in accounting and CPA qualifications and worked as an accountant for a decade before returning to Early Childhood Education in 2009.

She is now the director of two long day care services and an OOSH service in Western Sydney. She is also a teacher at a second language school and is involved in curriculum development there. Karthika is currently completing a Masters in Early Childhood Leadership at Macquarie University. Her experience as a migrant with a non-English speaking background as well as her experience in schools with predominantly migrant populations has given her a unique insight into the challenges faced by Early Childhood educators in teaching children of non-English speaking backgrounds.

Karthika has served on the board of a number of committees and has served as secretary and treasurer in non-profit, community organisations. She is a well-known and active member of the local community. Karthika has been involved in a number of ECEC functions and conferences and most recently presented at the Early Years Expo & PDT Conference in Rosehill, NSW.

Karthika believes that educators have the right to follow their passion to care for and educate young children without the burden of red tape. She also believes that all children should have access to the best start in life to reach their full potential and become outstanding citizens and that quality early years education is the key to long-term success in the school years and beyond.

Karthika is married and is the mother of two teenaged boys.


JULIE WHITE - Executive Committee Member


Bio to follow.