In-house Facilitators

Andrew Shirres

Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Social Work, a Diploma of Management and a Cert IV in Training and assessment. He is a highly experienced facilitator of ‘strengths-based practice’, delivering workshops across many community and social service sectors throughout Australia. Through his training and group facilitation work Andrew has developed a myriad of skills and experiences to share with new and seasoned practitioners. Andrew’s commitment and dedication to reflective practice have earned him great respect while working extensively in both service delivery and management for more than 10 years. He is a facilitator of ‘strengths approach’ learning and skills development for individuals, teams and organisations. Andrew is the practice development coach at St Luke’s Innovative Resources.

Karen Bedford

Karen has a Master’s Degree, a Diploma of Teaching and a Diploma of Counselling Psychology. As the managing editor at St Luke’s Innovative Resources, she has been involved in creating over fifty strengths-based books and card sets for counsellors,  teachers and social workers. Karen is the author of a book called The Uses of Sadness (Allen and Unwin) and a card set called  The Nature of Strengths. She recently created and facilitated a series of therapeutic creative writing programs resulting in a book called The Treasure Trove. Karen has many years experience as a speaker, adult educator, trainer and group facilitator.

Sue King-Smith

Sue has moved across from community development work within Anglicare Victoria’s St Luke’s, to develop a new e-learning platform for Innovative Resources. She holds a PhD in Creative Arts along with degrees and diplomas in the humanities, teaching and management, and is an accredited life coach. Her community services work and teaching is informed by strengths-based and solution-focused approaches, and she has a long-standing interest in transpersonal psychology. Sue is also a published poet and nonfiction writer. For three years, she was the co-editor of the literary ezine, The Animist, which was archived under the National Library’s Pandora Project. She has just finished a stint as chief editor for the Melbourne Poets Union.

John Bonnice

John has an extensive background in the community services sector having worked in a range of roles including casework practitioner, youth and community development, service coordination, program management and social policy development. John’s previous roles have included Director for Strategy and Innovation, General Manager for Children, Youth and Family Services, and Program Manager for Youth Services. John has previously worked in youth justice and child protection at the Department of Human Services and also in youth development roles at Melbourne City Mission and the Young Christian Workers Movement. John is an experienced facilitator of conversations with organisations around practice development, social inclusion, cultural competency and community development.



Wayne McCashen (1950-2018)

Wayne was a pioneer, author, consultant, trainer and mentor in strengths based practice and played a pivotal role in its development and articulation over three decades. He developed various practice frameworks and written material on strengths-based ways of working with individuals, families, groups, communities and organisations that have been adopted by schools of social work, human service workers and organisations, and trainers and consultants internationally.

Wayne authored the books The Strengths Approach, a definitive publication on the strengths approach, and Communities of Hope, which provides a framework for strengths based community development. He was part of the original team at St Luke’s, Bendigo, Australia, that initiated ground-breaking work to develop strengths based practice. He was for many years, principal trainer and consultant for St Luke’s and has provided training and consultancy in strengths based practice to many thousands of human service workers from hundreds of organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand over twenty years. He had over 35 years’ experience in the human services including youth work, family work, community development, training and professional development, staff supervision, and management.

We fondly remember Wayne and miss him every day.