President - Rebecca Adams
Rebecca's desire to help widowed people navigate the bereavement process stemmed from her own experience in losing her husband unexpectedly in 2013, only six weeks after their wedding.
Feeling totally devastated and unprepared to navigate the grief process and rebuild her life, Rebecca was left searching for widowed grief support and realised this was lacking in Australia. After travelling to the United States to attend a healing retreat/conference for widowed people in 2014, Rebecca turned a corner with her own bereavement and the dream of building First Light Widowed Association in Australia was born.
Rebecca has drawn upon her leadership skills, her commitment to serving widowed people and her career as a writer, professional communications advisor and events coordinator to lead the management committee of First Light Widowed Association.
Vice President - Jo Smith-Hooker
Jo was widowed at 36 when her husband died instantly in a motorbike accident in September 2013, leaving her a solo parent to their two daughters. Living in a regional area, she struggled finding others to connect with locally and found it difficult to navigate both her and the girls’ grief without the support and understanding from those who understood.
In early 2016 she relocated to Brisbane and became aware of First Light through another young widow. At the time of attending her first meeting Jo was looking for support. Leaving that day, she knew she wanted to be involved in helping to establish and grow the organization and to help others to find the support and connection she felt she missed in those early years.
Jo is the Catch-ups Coordinator and is a regular host at the Brisbane Catch-ups. She is currently studying towards a Diploma of Counselling.
Secretary - Carren Stapleton
Carren became a widow when her husband David unexpectedly suffered a heart attack at work. In the most sudden set of circumstances, she was left to manage her own grief and the grief of their blended family.
While she had wonderful support from family and friends, around 12 months into her widowhood, she began to seek out a different kind of support, those who were also widowed young and could ‘get’ her new normal. This widowed community support and the connections she made would lead her to First Light Widowed Association.
Carren has an extensive background in education and training environments, particularly in adult education. She is also an experienced manager with skills in operational program management, risk management and human resources. Carren’s organisational skills have supported the management team in the development of First Light Widowed Association.
Treasurer - Deanna Bosward
As an accountant, Deanna brings experience in financial accounting, management accounting and external auditing across several sectors including not-for-profit.
With an eye for detail, a love of spreadsheets and a can-do attitude, she is an invaluable asset to the team.
While recovering from chronic health issues herself, Deanna realised the importance of support groups and connection with others going through the same experience. She is excited to help First Light Widowed Association achieve its mission and help the widowed community in Australia.
Committee Member - Kate Nuttall
Kate lost her husband, Tim, to the flu in 2017. Kate and Tim had been married for 15 years and had three children together. Tim had two children from a previous marriage who were also devastated by the early death of their father. Tim was 54.
Tim had been a rock for Kate, a dedicated husband, dad and community member. He had his own business and supported Kate's career. Tim's illness lasted only a week and Kate struggled to accept her new reality. A "widow" was not on her list! The reality of being a single parent, managing and winding up Tim's business, the associated estate management, career choices and overwhelming grief left her wondering what support there was for those who lose their partner. Kate managed through the early stages with the support of family, friends and her local community. .
In mid 2018 Kate became aware of First Light and wanted to put her own experiences and learning to good use through supporting others, sharing tips and having her own safe space where people "understood" the ups and downs of life "after". Kate is an experienced HR practitioner and has worked across a range of industries. She has strong coaching and organisational skills and is honoured to be able to contribute to First Light as a member of the management committee.