The Pachamama Management Team

Kristen McPhail

Director

After 35 years of senior management experience in finance and marketing, Kristen dedicated her life in 2012 to co-creating what has become the award-winning Pachamama. Born in New York state, Kristen’s passion for the wonders of Mother Nature began with her Summers as an adolescent immersed in the beauty and nature of Wisconsin’s deep woods and Minnesota’s 'land of 10,000 lakes'.

Read More

Through her extensive world travels, Kristen developed an appreciation of rich cultures and an understanding of the potential for compassion and vitality in groups featuring diversity.

Her unwavering attention to detail, dedication to excellence and desire to inspire other women has resulted in Kristen being a two-time finalist (2001 and 2019) of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a postgraduate degree of Masters of Teaching (Primary). She us currently working towards her Masters of Leadership.

Kristen's education and business experience ensures the Perth Hills' children can access world-class early education for the best start to their life. She understands that children develop autonomy and self confidence through participating in challenging nature play. Their awareness is enhanced through the wide variety of sights, sounds and textures presented in natural environments.

Kristen is proud that, as one Approved Provider, Pachamama operates two childcare services across three properties abutting four street fronts showcasing 6,000 m2 of naturally undulating landscape quite unique in the sector of early education. She is delighted that her tireless work is deeply benefitting 350 families and 700 children every year.

The desire for Kristen to co-create Pachamama was sparked by her grandfather (a property developer), her grandmother (an early childhood teacher) and her great aunt (a missionary to Taiwan), who also dedicated her later years to establishing a school to improve the prospects of local children. Kristen would like to acknowledge the special impact made by these souls before her and their inspiration to create this new paradigm of early education observed by 150,000 followers around the world.

Hide

Andrew White

CEO

Andrew’s deep understanding of natural environments created the very essence of what Pachamama has become - a home away from steeped in nature, creativity and diversity. Supporting Malaguzzi’s philosophy that the environment is the third teacher (Gandini 2012), Andrew has created Pachamama’s unbelievably unique learning spaces through the intersection of his forestry career and his teacher training and experience.

Read More

Andrew holds a Postgraduate Masters degree in Teaching and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.

With a life before Pachamama grounded as a Professional Forester, Andrew worked extensively throughout Australia and internationally, particularly in Central and South America. He grew to understand the connection between sustainable communities and their local natural environments. Now focusing on nature being a powerful influencer to young lives through helping to shape their identity and heal inner wounds, Andrew cherishes this teaching aspect through his daily work at Pachamama.

“Children need to be connected to their environment physically, socially and spiritually to help them find their healthy place in the world. Pachamama has unbelievably unique spaces for children to explore that enhance their day-to-day learning experiences.”

Hide

Rocky Beaton

Centre Manager

Rocky was born in England and believes that being an ‘only child’ influenced her deep innate passion for every child's happiness. She moved to Australia with her family a few years after earning her initial qualifications from Bedford College when she was only 15 years old. Rocky describes the happiness of discovering a new life here with 'endless opportunities'.

Read More

Rocky's long service to the early education and childcare sector is now approaching twenty successful years.

Believing that childcare is a wonderful place for children to learn life skills and make friends, Rocky pursued her Diploma in Children’s Services in Perth. She achieved her long term goal of serving the community as a Centre Manager at Pachamama in 2015.

Rocky is passionate about children developing strong social and emotional skills in the loving environment Pachamama provides on so many levels.

Under her stewardship, Pachamama has enjoyed significant and consistent growth of 20% pa with ratings ‘Exceeding’ the standards of both the 2012 and 2018 National Quality Frameworks. Rocky’s dedication has contributed to Pachamama deemed the 'centre of choice' by many families the Perth Hills. Attendances have steadily increased to a full capacity of 1000 children per week.

“My deep values are steeped in loyalty, honesty, kindness and compassion. I aim to be my best in my personal and professional life, as well as a positive and loving influence on my own children’s lives for their happy and successful future.“

It is evident that Rocky is deeply proud of her two children who attend Pachamama, and her older stepson she believes is 'a wonderful brother to his younger siblings'.

Hide

Kerry Gordon

Office Manager

Kerry’s success can be attributed to her conviction that 'all things are possible through the eyes of a child' and her achievement at applying this to her own life.

Having commenced her career as an Educator at 16 years old, Kerry is now Pachamama’s longest serving permanent employee. Her commitment to the Pachamama family is unparalleled as demonstrated by her willingness to travel up to two hours per day to serve the Perth Hills community.

Read More

Kerry and her husband live in a house they built together in Ellenbrook when she was only 19 years old.

Raised by her beloved grandparents from the age of four, Kerry explains their influence in her life has helped her develop patience, understanding and resilience. She is thankful they encouraged her to express her creativity and kindness. Kerry often talks of her grandparent's love and undying support and how they have encouraged her strength, stability and a deep compassion to serve others through her own mentoring and coaching role at Pachamama. Pachamama’s nature based philosophy and commitment to excellence are highly valued by Kerry. She feels great joy in her capacity to be innovative and progressive in her professional role that ultimately benefits the local community and the lives of the Pachamama kids.

“It is an absolute pleasure to be part of an exceptional centre that continually strives to redefine childcare.”

Hide

Robyn McDowall

Senior Operations Manager

Born in Sydney to young parents, Robyn moved to Perth at the age of two. She believes her unsettled childhood attending 11 schools in 12 years created within her a deep appreciation of connection to community, nature and oneself. She believes that Early Childhood Educators feeling genuinely valued can have a significantly positive and long term impact on children's lives.

Read More

To the considerable benefit of the Pachamama community, Robyn is well experienced in building supportive relationships that foster self worth, self esteem and enhanced learning opportunities for both Educators and children.

Robyn commenced her career in early education at the age of 17, subsequently obtaining her Diploma qualification at the Australian Childcare Academy. She has more than 30 years of experience at all sector levels from being an Educator at a ‘micro' family daycare to Senior Management with large conglomerates.

In 2018, Pachamama was fortunate to employ Robyn thereby benefitting from her extensive 10 year career at Centre Director level with two national service providers.

Robyn explains that our Pachamama is her ‘forever home’ and supporting our Educators to further develop their passion for stimulating and engaging environments is a role that she particularly enjoys.

"Through unique natural environments, children learn to question, explore and build positive relationships. And helping children feel confident and belonging to a community is my life goal.

Hide

Dee Fontaine

Operations Manager

Born in New Zealand, Dee moved to Australia at the age of two years. Her childhood was steeped in nature playing 'hide and seek’ in the Australian bush, riding bikes around the countryside and engaging with a diverse range of farm animals. She believes that growing up on a farm instilled within her an understanding that mother nature's world is the best playground for children.

Read More

“Take them outside, ignite their senses and help them learn,”

Married at a young age, Dee dedicated her life to her family. She and her husband have three children, including a set of twins.

Dee attained her Certificate III as an Educational Assistant in 2006 and homeschooled her children for five years while also working part-time in a school. Now a grandmother, Dee is still continuing with her studies keen to complete the final stages of her Bachelor of Teaching (Primary).

Dee explains that Dr Ian Wilico and Dr Bill Rogers have helped shape her personal philosophy of learning. She believes that schooling does not always need to occur inside sitting quietly in an artificial environment. Her experience is that children develop most effectively when engaging with the great outdoors and getting dirty. Her teaching strategies include building an ownership of the learning environment and engaging non-confrontational behaviour management strategies.

After working at Guilford Grammar for seven years, Dee attended a Pachamama Open House for Educators.

"I was amazed at what I saw during my first visit to Pachamama and I fell in love!"

We welcomed Dee into our Pachamama family in early 2019 as Operations Manager of our Pachamama Activity Centre for school-aged children. Dee believes she has found her ‘forever home’.

Hide

Vivi Lau

Operations Manager

Vivi’s drive and passion for early childhood education at the senior management level adds yet another strong dimension to our diverse international team.

Her career in education commenced in Hong Kong when she obtained her Taekwondo black belt. For four years, Vivi was an International Coach teaching children the Korean Martial Art of Taekwando before moving to Perth in 2015 and commencing her studies in early years education.

Read More

Vivi worked hard to attain both her Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Services in only two years. She served as an Assistant Centre Manager on a part-time basis.

Having joined Pachamama in 2019, Vivi is our Operations Manager of our Kirtlewest building. As a valued member of our Senior Management Team, Vivi is responsible for all aspects of our operations with respect to Pachamama's older school-aged children.

Outgoing and energetic, Vivi’s positive outlook and strong dedication results in her easily learning new skills and accepting new challenges.

Born in Guangdong, a coastal province on the north shore of the South China Sea, Vivi moved to Hong Kong with her family when she was ten years old. Although her three siblings and parents remain focussed on continuing their lives in Hong Kong, Vivi and her fiancé are dedicated to making their future together in Australia. Vivi fluently speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean, a useful skill for our Chinese families

“I feel so lucky and excited every day at Pachamama! It is like utopia for me!! Pachamama presents a mini jungle with flowering trees, tropical gardens and lush plants as well as life-sized sculptures at every turn. What a lovely and unique place that ignites my passion to initiate children's continual learning! I am very happy and appreciate that Pachamama offered this dream-like opportunity to me.”

Hide

David Lulunken Lenku

Coordinator, Urafiki Projects

As a young boy, David grew up in a mud hut with no running water or electricity power in Amboseli, Kenya. As a young child, he looked after his parent's cows in the forest until the age of 7 years when he joined primary school. David walked to school in groups for 20 kms learning how to dodge wild animals like buffalos, lions and hyenas.

Read More

With a diet of mainly meat, milk and porridge, David and his family would often go to bed with empty stomachs. He explains that he got used to the hunger and barely cried when his parents couldn't afford to make him and his younger siblings comfortable.

After David completed high school, he didn't have the financial strength to join a university. He started a business walking between markets to buy and sell goats, later advancing cow trading. He would travel to the nearby country of Tanzania to buy low priced oxen and aim to sell them at a higher price in Kenya's markets.

When David’s father passed away, as the firstborn, he became responsible under Maasai tradition to assume care for his mother and four younger sisters. It was then that Pachamama came to his life and impacted it forever.

David attended one of the best universities in Kenya on a full scholarship and living expenses from Pachamama to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology. He subsequently secured a job in the Local Government of Kajiado as a Payroll Officer. David is now studying a Diploma in Human Resources.

“I am dedicated to work with the Urafiki initiative to improve the life of my community. I travel to Australia to give back to the Pachamama family for the great work they have done for us. I am living an exemplary life for my kids because I want to be a beacon of hope and promote diversity to the current and future generations.”

Hide

The Pachamama Activity Centre Team

Scroll to Top