Our Executive Management Team

YWCA Canberra’s Executive Management Team takes a whole-of-organisation perspective, making key decisions about strategic directions, accountability frameworks, organisational development, policy and quality assurance.

The team comprises of our:

• Chief Executive Officer
• Chief Operations Officer
• Executive Director of Children’s Service
• Executive Director of Community Services
• Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Chief Executive Officer – Frances Crimmins

Frances Crimmins is the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra. Frances has a passion to see women achieve their potential and shape their communities. Having started her career in hotel management she soon developed strong leadership and management skills which saw her take on senior human resources roles in the health sector. Frances’ natural drive and pursuit of excellence resulted in her former employer gaining accreditation as an Employer of Choice for Women, and ACT Employer of the Year for Apprenticeships & Traineeships. 

Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women. 

Frances has been the CEO of YWCA Canberra since 2013. She has led YWCA Canberra through a significant change process in integrated services delivery, corporate service review and evaluation frameworks. In response to identified community need, including during the COVID-19 crisis, Frances has spearheaded a range of new programs in the areas of addressing domestic and family violence and women’s homelessness, as well as empowering women to take authentic leadership journeys. 

Frances is currently a Council Member for the ACT Work Safety Council as appointed by the Minister and the ACT Work Safety Commissioner. Frances also volunteers on a variety of boards and committees, including Homelessness Australia. Frances was formerly on the board of ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), is a former Board Director of WESNET, former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women and former Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT.  

In 2015, France received an Edna Ryan Award for advancing the status of women in the ACT. In 2016, Frances was named ACT Leader of the Year at the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards run by the Australian Institute of Leadership and Management. She also attended Commission for the Status of Women in New York in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  

In 2021 Frances was selected to participate in the inaugural Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) program, where she completed a 10-month program on leadership development and capacity building for CEOs of for-purpose organisations in Australia. 

Executive Director of Children’s Services and Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Bernadette Carbin

Bernadette joined YWCA Canberra in 2011 after a long career in the health sector, carrying over her passion for high-quality care to management of our children’s services.

Bernadette has been the driving force behind the significant growth of our Children’s Services portfolio, including a 200 per cent growth in the number of early learning services.

She has a strong focus on our services providing quality education to children, empowering the next generations. To enable this, Bernadette has increased the number of professional development opportunities available to staff, instilled a culture of continuous improvement within our services, and increased the quality control and professionalism of our services.

Bernadette has been a member of the ACT Government’s Office of Children Youth and Family Services Advisory Committee since 2016 and was a member of the ACT Government’s Early Childhood Advisory Council from 2017 until it ended in 2020. Bernadette believes in working closely with the regulator CECA to ensure high quality across all our children’s services programs and enjoys a good, mutually beneficial working relationship with other government agencies as well.

Chief Operations Officer – Cara Jacobs

Cara brings a wealth of expertise in managing not-for-profit organisations with a focus on community development, education and children, family, and young people. She is passionate about social justice and equity and working towards improving inclusion and community outcomes.

Cara has senior management experience in Indigenous policy delivery, family law partnerships, domestic violence, employment, disability, and out of home care. She also has experience in health, case management and information and referral services for homeless people. Cara is interested in corporate governance, is a previous member of the Anglicare Western NSW governing Council and Western Primary Health Network Interim Community Council. She has also been involved in the Family Law Pathways Network and Families ACT Advisory Council, is a member of the Shelter ACT Board, Joint Pathways Executive Committee, and is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Panel for Housing ACT.

Cara is a former Director of Client Services at Marymead and Manager of Client Services at the Australian National University.

Cara’s research interest is in corporate social responsibility and aims to complete her PhD in this area in her spare time. Cara holds a Master of Management with First Class Honours and postgraduate qualifications in marketing. She holds an Advanced Diploma of Community Services Management, Certificate IV in Contracting and Procurement and certification as an Internal QMS Auditor (ISO 9001).

Executive Director, Finance & Corporate Services – Pek Kee Chan CPA

Pek has more than 20 years of financial and accounting experience in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. Pek is a CPA qualified accountant since 1997. Pek joined YWCA Canberra in August 2011.

Pek ‘s job roles in her career path included internal audit team leader, financial accountant, management accountant, project consultant, advanced financial analyst, senior finance manager and executive director. Pek has worked in many industries including accounting firm, bank, retail organisation, membership organisation and multinational information technology company. In her current role, Pek oversees the finance & corporate services of the YWCA Canberra, accountable for the financial and risk management operations of the organisation, development of a financial and operational strategy to ensure financial sustainability of the organisation.

Pek has a passion for leading change through innovative digital finance transformation to improve productivity. Digital finance focuses on the ways we are using technology to replace manual accounting practices through AI and automation.

Pek is a volunteer mentor with the CPA Australia Mid-Career Mentoring Program. Pek would like to share the skills and experience she has gained throughout her career journey, giving back to the community and help to shape the career of a fellow member, as well as the opportunity to benefit from reverse mentoring by learning and developing new skills.