We are a team of educators and innovators

Great people make us who we are today. Our experienced leadership team has a proven track record of delivering quality childcare every day. We strive to constantly refine every aspect of our business culture, which ensures we live our vision and honour our mission of providing holistic care to help families and schools. 

Why not click on our team photos to read more about them... Psst if you hover over their photos you will see them as children!

Craig Napier
Craig Napier
Craig Napier

Group CEO

Another team member hailing from the beautiful Sunshine State Down Under (Brisbane, in fact) Craig boasts more than 30 years' experience in executive leadership roles. His expertise lies in strategy, operational management, governance and in generating sustainable business growth.

In his spare time Craig enjoys putting his mind and body to the test by mountaineering some of the world’s seven summits hiking through the mountains and drinking great wine. As a child, Craig wanted to be an astronaut, and while he cannot claim to have experienced zero gravity just yet, his 'shoot for the stars' philosophy and boundless positivity have made a world of difference to the lives of children all over the world during his time at Junior Adventures Group.

Melinda Crole
Melinda Crole
Melinda Crole

CEO Australia

Living down under in Melbourne and with 25 years’ executive experience in national and global community-focused service provision, Melinda has spent most of her career focused on children, young people and local communities. She is well known by the federal government and industry partners through her participation in both government and industry advisory groups in the Early Childhood Education and Care, Redress and Child Safety.

A proud mum to three empowered young women who are pursuing careers in the fields of law, journalism and teaching Melinda is not one to sit still. In her spare time Melinda enjoys rowing, jogging on the beach, teaching ballet and being involved in all types of sports.

With a fierce and passionate belief in the ability of all children and young people, Melinda is excited to be a part of the JAG team and building brighter futures together for all Aussie kids.

Ken Blaszkowski
Ken Blaszkowski
Ken Blaszkowski

Group Chief Information Officer

The small town of Crewe in Cheshire in the northwest of England may be the famous home of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, but more importantly it's where our Chief Information Officer was born and raised.

Ken has held various leadership roles throughout his 30-year career. For 16 years he has worked within the world of IT, across operations, transformational change and strategic management.

Ken is a devoted family man and loves spending time with his loved ones in his spare time. He dreamed as a kid that he'd grow up and play football – which he does, in a way, in his local Over 40s 11-a-side league.

A firm believer that life (and work) should be fun, Ken brings his positive vibes and generosity to the table every day, helping everyone feel comfortable and inspired to produce their best work.

Allisha Parker
Allisha Parker
Allisha Parker

Group Chief Marketing Officer

Originally a Canberran but now a Melbourne local since 2007, Allisha brings over 18 years’ experience in Retail, Luxury and Commercial Business Marketing. She specialises in strategy, planning, PR, media management, consumer insights and business planning.

When Allisha isn’t chasing after her two young boys, she likes to keep fit by exercising, weight training, running and riding her bike. If she’s not moving her body, she’s either practicing her green thumb or trying her hand at learning the guitar. She’s also happiest when she finds a park that sits opposite a cafe so she can appease her ‘coffee snob’ alter-ego while her boys play on the playground.

When Allisha was younger, she idolised Amanda Woodward from Melrose Place and wanted to follow in her footsteps. She quickly realised that, despite how glamorous Amanda’s life looked; after moving to London and starting a career in Advertising, she was better suited for the world of marketing. She did, however; have a short-lived career in acting. Her year 12 drama teacher was playing with the piano and she was asked to sing a scale! Before she knew it, she was the lead actress of her high school musical! 

Being a mother herself, Allisha understands the importance of social relationships in childhood, and the incredible support Outside School Hours Care provides communities, which is why she’s passionate about her role at JAG. She’s excited about the impact our services can have as we work towards delivering the best OSH and Holiday programs across the globe.

Sam Wallace
Sam Wallace
Sam Wallace

Group General Manager, Product and Partnerships

Hailing from Sydney Australia, Sam has spent the last twenty years within the healthcare and childcare industries. She is particularly skilled at leading multifunctional teams, often through times of change, to deliver results. Sam is happiest when she’s spending time outdoors with her family and friends. She loves (trying) to keep fit, and also loves undoing the good work eating great food and drinking good wine.

Sam freely admits she was far too concerned having a good time when she was younger to recall any grand career ambitions but feels her career has unfolded perfectly anyway.  She brings to her role an infectious sense of optimism and energy, and believes having a good laugh is the key to happiness in life.

James Farnworth
James Farnworth
James Farnworth

Group Chief Financial Officer

James has had a diverse in finance across multiple sectors over the last 20 years. Starting his career at PwC, James qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Australia before moving to London where he lived and worked for 15 years. He has worked across a range of international businesses from start-ups to global giants, and his real passion at work is helping to grow businesses across the world.

When he isn’t at work James lives in Melbourne with his wife and two daughters and spends his time travelling, seeing live music, enjoying good food and wine and spending time with his family.

Like most young children, James dreamed of growing up to be a Chartered Accountant one day and as luck would have it he did just that!

Josie Bolton
Josie Bolton
Josie Bolton

General Manager, VIC

A Victorian by birth but Queenslander by heart, Josie was born in Prahran, Victoria and moved to the Sunshine State as a child. Josie has over 20 years’ experience in team development and people management in the highly regulated industries of Retail, Pharmacy and Childcare.

As a child Josie’s aspirations were hard to pin down, aspiring to becoming a kindergarten teacher, an air hostess and then, for something completely different… an accountant. When she joined the JAG team in July of 2020, she found the perfect marriage of all her passions - child development, people leadership and finance all in one role.

When Josie isn’t being a taxi for her 14-year-old daughter, she enjoys indulging in cocktails and food with her loved ones and attending the gym when she can. She is an incredibly passionate and optimistic person whose maternal instinct has only been magnified through becoming a mother. She brings this into her role by ensuring children get the best opportunities they can in life to learn, be children and have fun.

Jason Rose
Jason Rose
Jason Rose

General Manager, QLD

Born in the UK but calling Queensland home since the age of five, Jason brings over 15 years of management experience across the Health and Care, Pharmacy and Hospitality sectors. He is passionate in providing a customer centric focus, strong team ethics and connecting with communities.

As a child, Jason aspired to become a PE teacher because of his love for watching, coaching and playing sport. Instead of that coming to fruition, he has kept this passion as a hobby outside of work by coaching young indoor cricket teams. When he’s not swinging a bat, he is a proud partner and dad of not only his three children; Brendan, Jacob and Sienna, but also frequently admiring his perfect, fanatically landscaped lawn.

Growing up, Jason’s mum was a family day care provider, which he saw many children in her care flourish from disadvantaged environments. He is eager to continue his mum’s life work at Junior Adventures Group and build brighter futures for Aussie kids.

Brooke LeSueur
Brooke LeSueur
Brooke LeSueur

General Manager, WA

Born and raised in the Western Suburbs of Victoria and now located in sunny Perth, Brooke brings a collective of 28 years executive experience in the provision of Children Services and local government contract management. When Brooke isn’t spending time working, she is with her family, reading books and sipping on her coffee while experiencing many different foods.

Growing up, Brooke was always great with numbers and believed that her career would involve numbers in some way, so you can imagine her shock when she ended up going to university for Sciences in Human Movement and Sports. Her path in life strengthened her skills to be caring, level-headed and a great listener, which are all necessary attributes when working in the OSHC industry. She has a passion for people and wanting to make a difference by honing their talent and nourishing them during their journey with her.

Phil Doorgachurn
Phil Doorgachurn
Phil Doorgachurn

General Manager, NSW and ACT

Phil's life has been marked by a steadfast commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of children and young people. With a rich background as the former CEO of YMCA Safeguarding and as an Executive Manager of Safeguarding at prestigious organisations like Arsenal FC and British Tennis, Phil possesses a wealth of experience in championing the safety and welfare of all children and young people. Throughout his career, he has also excelled in his leadership role by ensuring that these organisations place children and young people at the core of their mission. Furthermore, Phil has been invited to speak globally on children’s rights and safety.

 

While Phil's childhood dreams of becoming a professional sportsperson might not have materialised, his passion for sports has remained a defining aspect of his life. His love for the sport, has translated into a lifelong dedication to advocating for the rights and well-being of children and young athletes. Outside of his professional pursuits, Phil finds solace and relaxation in walking his faithful canine companion, Chula. This simple yet cherished activity provides him with a respite from the demands of the world. Moreover, Phil's love for adventure extends beyond the sporting field, as he is an avid traveller, exploring numerous countries worldwide each year. These diverse interests reflect a well-rounded individual who continues to make a difference both in his work and personal life.

Vanessa Hextall
Vanessa Hextall
Vanessa Hextall

General Manager, Risk and Quality Service Development

Vanessa was born and raised in Southwest Sydney, New South Wales, with Argentinian heritage and a natural passion for football! With over 15 years’ experience in the education sector, from Long Day Care and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) to teaching Vocational Education and Training in high schools and Registered Training Organisations (RTO) settings, she specialises in Compliance and Risk Management.

When Vanessa’s not at soccer games watching her kids play, you’ll find her hiking, near the vicinity of the beach, riding jet skies with the family or spending time with friends. She is someone who’s energetic, passionate and a problem-solver. As a child, she had an endless list of things she wanted to be growing up, including a swimmer, F1 race car driver and a jet pilot in the air force (she was a huge Top Gun fan). Lucky for us, none of these careers worked out and we’re fortunate that Vanessa is here to help us build brighter futures.

Mike Clare
Mike Clare

CEO United Kingdom

Mike started his adventure with JAG in 2022, after a very successful career in Retail & Healthcare. Mike made the conscious decision to use his executive experience to impact and influence an industry that has a solid purpose to make a difference in this world. He brought with him a wealth of knowledge in scaling businesses for good, acquisitions and creating a people centric culture.

Like all JAG team members, Mike is a big kid at heart and finds inspiration in many things and people; ordinary people doing extraordinary things. He believes that people are the backbone to an organisation’s success, and he underpins it all with integrity, doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

When Mike was a little boy, he wasn’t fixated on being any one thing when he grew up – his dreams were limitless and always evolving. One day he wanted to be a farmer, then a racing driver... through to owning his own business ! Whilst none of these materialised for him (luckily for us at JAG), so many elements of his childhood dreams that are still in his life today.

Craig Jones
Craig Jones
Craig Jones

Chief Child Experience Officer

Craig has over 20 years’ experience working with children and young people within education as well as the sports, health and fitness industries. Originally from Coventry, he has worked throughout the UK and Europe, implementing Children and Families strategies across product development, operating models, H&S and compliance.

Craig's core focus is on increasing physical activity levels among children and young people. Craig is known for his caring, nurturing approach to leadership, which enables him to bring out the very best in his team members. An energetic, results-driven individual, Craig aims at all times to provide high-quality, engaging childcare programs and solutions.

Craig wanted to be a kids TV presenter in his younger days, and while he hasn't made a name for himself on the small screen, he has dedicated his life to bringing joy to children (including his own now). And like Peter Pan, Craig believes that he's never really grown up.

Adam Crocker
Adam Crocker
Adam Crocker

Finance Director

With a background in IT, telecommunications and engineering, Portsmouth-born Adam has a passion for working in small to medium sized businesses. He also loves anything sporty (acknowledging he may not be your typical finance professional), and can often be found in the pool, on the golf course, on the tennis court – you get the drift.

Adam is also the first to admit that he's better with kids than he is with adults (though we reckon he's pretty great with everyone).

Vanessa Leyshon
Vanessa Leyshon
Vanessa Leyshon

Chief Customer Experience Officer

Vanessa has over 25 years’ experience of the commercial charitable and educational sectors. A proven leader, passionate about coaching people and helping them to achieve their full potential. Vanessa has a mindset of possibility and lives by the mantra ‘Make it happen’. Her extensive knowledge of schools stems from her experiences spanning hands on teaching of early years education right through to senior leadership and consultancy. Mother to the most intelligent and beautiful daughter Sasha, she volunteers for several charities, and is a big believer in collaboration. Vanessa holds the unique distinction of becoming the closest to Olympic glory among her JAG UK colleagues having trained many years ago (and she means many!) as an elite gymnast. Whilst tumbling is now a challenge, reaching for the stars always remains her focus.

Sharleen McKinnon
Sharleen McKinnon
Sharleen McKinnon

CEO New Zealand

Aucklander Sharleen has over 15 years' experience in project lead roles including digital transformation, software development and change management. She is a born problem solver and collaborator and is a strong advocate for technology for change efficiency.

A wannabe ballet dancer in her youth, now Sharleen reserves her pirouetting for the ski slopes or while catching some waves (or attempting to at least). She also proudly supports her children's many sporting endeavours.

Leigh Peters
Leigh Peters

Financial Controller

Our financial guru Leigh has over twenty years’ experience in financial operational, strategic and governance roles within the OSHC sector in both not-for-profit and commercial entities. Before becoming a mum, Leigh admits she was a bit of a risk taker, known to have dabbled in competitive skydiving and Muay Thai fighting in both New Zealand and Thailand. Nowadays, though, her risk taking is limited to the conservative assessment of new services and commercial ventures, which personally she finds no less thrilling.

Pip Davidson
Pip Davidson
Pip Davidson

National Operations Manager

Pip has over twenty years of educational operations experience in OSHC and early childhood education in New Zealand and Australia. She is passionate about building collaborative relationships with external agencies and working together to achieve excellence.

Growing up in the small rural town of Feilding on New Zealand's north island, Pip dreamed of one day being a nurse or a truck driver, dual desires which reflected her diverse interests from a young age. Today, she devotes her spare time mainly to snow skiing and fishing, although recently she discovered her love of golf, a pursuit she is committed to perfecting.

Above all, Pip is known for her friendliness, nonstop love for learning and her dedication to making a positive difference to the lives of children.

Adelina Roman
Adelina Roman
Adelina Roman

HR Manager

Originally from Romania, Adelina has called New Zealand home for the past 17 years. She has over a decade's experience in the OSHC sector and five years within human resources. She's come a long way from her younger days in Constanta, where she harboured aspirations to become a florist. What's remained everlasting however is her love of the great outdoors, especially fishing and hiking. Her biggest and most rewarding adventures are those she has with her six-year-old son.

Adelina finds joy and fulfilment in empowering and supporting others, ensuring in particular that they look after their mental health and wellbeing.

John Miles
John Miles

CEO Ireland

John is the Managing Director of Sherpa Kids Ireland and is an outcome driven individual with a proven track record of successfully shaping and managing businesses to deliver operational and regulatory excellence. His strong background in leadership, driving change management by mentoring start-up businesses across sectors, arms him with the skills, drive and gravitas for the changing Irish childcare environment. The environments in which John excels are generally characterized by a focus on continuous improvement, creative idea generation, clarity of decision making and the capacity and mandate to mobilise solutions. John’s motivation is to create a real social value within Sherpa Kids Ireland so that they can truly support Ireland’s families.

Anne Marie Hegarty
Anne Marie Hegarty

Director of Operations

Anne Marie is the Director of Operations for Sherpa Kids Ireland and the Managing Director of our Head Office services division. Being the eldest of 8 and growing up on a farm in Ardfield in West Cork she began to learn about childcare at a very young age. She still lives in Ardfield and has two children of her own. She understands the needs of parents when it comes to childcare and the need to support families who don’t have a family network close by to help out. Anne Marie’s motivation is to change children’s lives for the better - something she constantly instills in all of her colleagues.

Charlene O’Toole
Charlene O’Toole
Charlene O’Toole

General Manager

Joining the childcare sector at sixteen, where she cared for children of various ages, from babies up to teenagers, Charlene has over 18 years of experience and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Sherpa Kids team. Since joining Sherpa in 2015, Charlene jumped at every opportunity. She progressed from a Program Manager to her current Head Office position, where she is now responsible for 11 services within the counties of Cork, Dublin, Waterford, Longford and Westmeath.

Charlene’s core focus is helping children to be the best that they can be; after all, back in her younger days, she did want to grow up to be a dolphin, so the sky is the limit with Charlene around!

When it comes to hobbies – if she has time for them, Charlene still enjoys swimming, albeit without a tail fin, and wants to swim across the pacific one day as well as hopefully make it to the moon!

Karen Deasy
Karen Deasy
Karen Deasy

General Manager

With over 15 years working in the Early Years and school-aged childcare sector, as well as running her own stand-alone after-school service for 6 years, Karen joined Sherpa Kids in early 2020. Bringing motivation, passion and encouragement to people within the business, she also holds a First Class Honour B.A in Early Childhood Studies, a certification in Child Philosophy and a Certificate in Digital Marketing which, of course, adds amazing insights every day!

Ensuring she brings positivity to all, in her personal time, Karen finds herself happiest when spending time outdoors, whether it’s taking a stroll along the beach with her dog Jessie or exploring old castle ruins. She also loves Harry Potter and a range of musicals.

Katy McCarthy
Katy McCarthy
Katy McCarthy

Area Manager

Passionate about children since she was young, Katy grew up always wanting to be a teacher, however, now finds school-aged childcare to be much more enjoyable and rewarding! With this ambition set in her early years, Katy went on to graduate from the Cork Institute of Technology, where she studied Early Years Education. She also attained more qualifications in Special Needs Assisting and Child Development.

In both her personal and work life, Katy loves being creative and gets hands-on any time a poster needs making – especially if there’s glitter involved! She also likes baking and will jump at any new opportunity or adventure that’s handed to her.

Working with kids is the best job in the world

Working with kids is the best job in the world

Children have always been and will always be our ‘Why’ and the reason we come to work every day. Our ‘Whole of Child’ philosophy places children firmly at the heart of everything we do. We are committed to making a difference to children’s lives. Our team are all leaders in their fields, using their experience, passion and belief in our business to build our resources and enable us to reach more schools and families around the globe. We believe every member of our team is the best at what they do - bringing their unique talents to help our JAG community reach their full potential.

Want to join our family?

Want to join our family?

If you want to help make a difference to children’s lives, have an innate ability to care for others and enjoy a challenge, we would love to hear from you. Whether you’re fresh out of school, a working mum or simply ready to take the next step in your childcare career, we might have the perfect opportunity for you. Click below to learn more about current vacancies and what it’s like working at JAG.