Our People

Miracle Babies Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who meet quarterly. The Board was formed in 2009 and originally Chaired by Morris Iemma. Miracle Babies Foundation staff are mostly based at head office at Chipping Norton, although several staff are based across Australia working in programs with hospitals and families. Our Ambassadors are a passionate and dedicated group, supporting the Foundation with their time to raise awareness and promote the Foundation.

Board, Staff, Ambassadors and Volunteers all work toward our vision of ‘better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.’ 

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Dr Robert Guaran

Board Director

Dr Robert Guaran is the Executive Medical Advisor in Neonatology for the NSW Pregnancy and Newborn Services Network. An advocate for the work of Miracle Babies Foundation and supporter since its inception, Robert is father to two children. Robert has been a Board Director since 2011.

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Deborah Knight

Board Director & Ambassador

Deborah Knight, is a well-known Australian journalist and news presenter. She is host of Afternoons on 2GB and 4BC Radio and presents A Current Affair Saturday edition on Channel 9. Deborah has been a Miracle Babies Foundation ambassador since 2011. She is always ready to lend her support to events such as our Miracle Moon Walk and awareness campaigns. Deborah has been a Miracle Babies Board Director since 2009.

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Sam Squiers

Ambassador

Sam Squiers is an award-winning Sports Presenter with Channel 9 and the founder of the women in sport think tank Sportette. Sam has worked in the media for over a decade and has covered some of the biggest sporting events both nationally and internationally. Sam is also the host of Nine's Women in Sport podcast "In Her Court", Surfing Australia TV, The Isuzu QLD Golf Open, Ocean Thunder Surf Boat Series, has hosted the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, co-hosted TripleM's Dead Set Legends and has been a guest presenter on Getaway. In 2014, Sam founded Sportette to provide an avenue to tell the incredible stories of our female athletes and it’s grown to be a leading think tank on Women's Sports. Sportette aims to challenge the way you think about women in sport and has created a strong reputation among athletes, brands, stakeholders, sports organisations and fans alike. In addition to her work at Channel 9 and Sportette, Sam runs marathons, plays golf, rows surf boats, is a keen touch football and netball player. In 2017, Sam gave birth to her little girl, Imogen, prematurely at 32 weeks after suffering from severe pre-eclampsia which had caused a placental abruption and started to shut down Sam’s organs. Sam spent three days in ICU and didn’t see Imogen for several days after she was rushed to the NICU where she spent close to the next 7 weeks. Immi suffered chronic lung disease with her little lungs under developed when she was born and when she finally left hospital had to remain on home oxygen for the next four months.

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David Farr

Board Director

David Farr has over 20 years’ of international banking experience having worked in London at Merrill Lynch International and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. David is currently the Managing Director of the Asset Finance Group at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. David is a Chartered Accountant and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. David is married with 2 daughters and has been a Board Director since 2015.

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Morris Iemma

Board Director

Morris Iemma is a former member of the New South Wales Parliament including Health Minister and Premier of NSW. He is the father of four young children with wife Santina. Morris is the founding Chairman of the Miracle Babies Foundation from 2009 to 2020. Morris has been a Board Director since 2009.

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Jo Sheils

Board Director

Jo Sheils has worked in Neonatal Intensive Care for over 20 years. She is the Neonatal Clinical Nurse Consultant for the NSW Pregnancy and Newborn Services Network. As a mother of three, Jo is passionate about involving families in the care of their babies and becoming partners in the NICU care team. She was a site co-ordinator at the Royal Hospital for Women for the multicentre cluster-randomised control trial of Family Integrated Care (FICare) and helped organise the International FICare conference held in Sydney in 2018. Jo has been a Board Director since 2019.

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Jacqui Barrett

Board Director

Jacqui is a Partner in the Corporate and Commercial team at Hall & Wilcox. She has over 15 years’ experience in corporate and commercial law. With an extensive client base, Jacqui assists clients ranging from start-up and scale-up entities, not for profits, through to large private and public companies and small listed entities across multiple industries. Jacqui has extensive experience in advising and assisting clients with M&As, corporate structuring, corporate compliance and governance, capital raisings and managed investment schemes. She also advises clients with day-to-day legal issues affecting their business including supply arrangements, licensing arrangements, protection and commercialisation of intellectual property, manufacturing and distribution arrangements consultancy arrangements, terms and conditions and privacy and confidentiality issues. Jacqui is a Fellow of the Australian Governance Institute, a member of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, the Licensing Executive Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, she has a Master of Laws majoring in corporate law and governance, and is qualified as a company secretary. Jacqui has been a Board Director since 2020.

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Andrew Rasby

Board Chairman

Andrew has over 32 years in the banking and financial planning industry. He has vast experience across retail banking, business banking, commercial banking and financial planning. Andrew has held such roles as Head of Bankwest Financial Advice, Head of Private Bank, Head of Strategy and Operations and State Manager. Andrew is presently employed as the Executive General Manager of Police Bank Ltd. He has a Diploma of Financial Planning and is a Certified Financial Planner and has been a responsible manager on Australian Financial Service License’s. Andrew has been a Board Director since 2013 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in 2020.

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Kylie Pussell

CEO, Co-Founder & Board Director

Kylie Pussell Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005. After suffering a miscarriage and losing twin babies at 16 weeks, Kylie gave birth to her daughter Madeline at 30 weeks and was diagnosed with Cervical Incompetence. Madeline was cared for in Liverpool Hospital’s NICU for 6 weeks. Two years later, following a further miscarriage, Kylie delivered twins at just 25 weeks. Both were resuscitated at birth and cared for by the NICU. Sadly Kylie’s son Marcus passed away due to complications from his extreme prematurity. Her daughter Scarlet required ventilation and surgery. Scarlet was cared for in the NICU at Liverpool and Westmead Children’s Hospital and was discharged home just before her due date, 4 months later. Kylie’s son Liam was born at 38 weeks through planned c-section following a transabdominal cerclage. Kylie, a qualified counsellor, has played an integral role in the expansion of the Foundation’s program NurtureTime, the introduction of Miracle Babies Foundation to hospitals nationally and the development of national resources. She developed and implemented Miracle Babies Foundation’s successful volunteer program, designing National Volunteer Induction and Training with TAFE NSW. Kylie was selected in the inaugural The Growth Project in 2015. Kylie delivers presentations and forums on the Foundation to community and corporate, both nationally and internationally and shares her personal journey with her children, delivering parent support and positive change for premature and sick babies. Kylie highlights the needs for parents and families in the NICU and the years ahead. Kylie leads support for our bereaved families and assists families and educational institutions in the learning, social and emotional challenges some of these miracle babies experience in the early years, school aged years and adulthood. Kylie is a Co-Investigator on the POD Study, POD 2 and a previous member of the PSANZ Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group. In July 2019 Kylie became a Founding Committee member of GLANCE and in December 2019 was appointed to the Chair Committee for GLANCE. She is CEO of the foundation and passionate in driving the expansion of services and resources across Australia for all families to be supported, educated and empowered. Kylie was Secretary of the Board from 2009 to 2017 and appointed as CEO by the Board in 2017. During 2019 and 2020 Kylie has been a member of the Working Group on the ICHOM Preterm and Hospitalized Neonates Standard Set and in September 2020 was named Western Sydney Women – 2020 Community Woman of the Year. Kylie has been a Board Director since 2009.

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Melinda Cruz

Founder, Consumer Representative, Advocacy & Secretary of the Board

Miracle Babies Foundation was initiated and founded by Melinda Cruz in 2005. Due to a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus, Melinda’s first son, Elijah, was born at 34 weeks, spending 2 1/2 weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Her second son Dillon was born at 27 weeks and resuscitated at birth. He spent 9 weeks in hospital before being allowed to go home. Melinda's third son Jasper was born at 37 weeks and also spent time in the NICU. Having had all 3 babies cared for by the NICU, Melinda wanted to remain linked to other mothers of premature babies. She also wanted to give back to the NICU and thank the wonderful staff she credits for saving her babies’ lives. It was from those experiences that the Miracle Babies Foundation was born and has since helped and supported thousands of families. The Foundation has established a major global impact, and the incredible difference it has made supporting families through the birth of a premature or sick baby has seen Melinda win numerous awards including the 2011 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and be a regular guest on radio, TV, podcasts and at conferences. In 2015, she was a NSW Woman of the Year - Premiers Award finalist. She is a trusted consumer expert to medical professionals seeking to improve treatments and understanding of the impact a preterm birth has on the family unit. In 2012, she was appointed an Honorary Research Associate at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials Centre (University of Sydney, Medical School) and was the first parent to be an Associate Investigator (2012) and Chief Investigator (2019) on neonatal trials. In 2014, Melinda joined the Perinatal Society of Australia and NZ (PSANZ) Consumer Advisory Panel and the PSANZ Clinical Trials executive committee. In 2015, she joined the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank Advisory Committee. Melinda has been instrumental in a number of other trials such as assisting in obtaining waiver of consent for the TORPIDO 30/60 Trial and facilitating the support of Australian parents during the FiCare Trial. To date, Melinda has co-authored 10 publications. Melinda is also a contributor to THRIVE Global in which she has published six articles to date. In 2014, she ran the New York Marathon with a group of 18 raising over $230K for the Foundation. For three years in a row, she has been an EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Judge and in 2020, Melinda will release her first book. Melinda has been a Board Director since 2009.