Meet the Team

Mitch McPherson
Mitch McPhersonFounder
“In 2013 I was working in the trade industry as a glazier. But when my younger brother Ty took his own life, I decided to turn the devastating loss into something constructive, and founded SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.

What started as me sharing my story has now grown into a registered not-for-profit that works hard to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma. I have now spoken at over 600 events, including school groups, workplaces and sporting clubs, and I am dedicated to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

I believe my story resonates with many people. People who, like my family at the time, might not think mental health is a priority or that they will ever be affected by it.

My vision is that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY will become a national charity, with a focus on delivering programs in schools and sporting to increase awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Tash Cloak
Tash CloakSenior Project Officer - Workplace and Community
“Until I joined our amazing team, I had spent most of my professional life in the legal field and in small business management. I gained so many invaluable learnings in both these spaces, however, I also acquired some “armour” in attempting to avoid vulnerability and personal exposure. From the outside, it probably looked like I had it “all sorted”; on the inside it was often a very different story!

At the end of 2016 I lost my best friend, my Dad to suicide. Amongst the devastation I recognised wearing “armour” had become my ongoing coping mechanism in “protecting” myself from emotional exposure. In reality it was keeping me isolated from connection and support. It became my highest priority to find a different way of thinking … and living!

My mission as part of the Stay ChatTY Team is to share my experiences and learnings as well as lead through connection and kindness – these two simple yet significant tools are game changers!

I love making someone smile, helping others to see we are never alone or assisting with the slightest shift in a perspective that opens someone up to feeling like things can get better.”

Kylea Aldred
Kylea AldredProject Officer – Sports and Schools Programs
“I have worked for over ten years facilitating programs that build resilience, mental health awareness and self-esteem. During this time I have encountered hundreds of people with stories of struggle, isolation and triumph.

Life is full of mountains and valleys and so often we make choices when we are in a valley that impact our lives negatively. We can’t see the broader view, or whole picture when we’re in a valley, but engaging in conversations about mental health will enable us to push through the valleys and onto the mountains where the view is broad and filled with hope.

Mental health is for everyone, and the more we understand our bodies, our experiences and our brains, the healthier we will be. Being strong mentally requires a community and I love that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY is providing the opportunity for communities to form and develop language and understanding around mental health and how we can be proactive rather than reactive.”

Callan Hume
Callan HumeProject Officer - Schools and Sports Programs
“Hi, I’m Callan, Cal – I’ll respond to most things. My career journey has seen me working in various industries, the best part of my roles to date, has been working where I can support others.

I am excited about the changes that are happening in the space of mental health and the movement from what was predominantly ‘Medical Modelling,’ towards a bigger focus on the social aspects and approaching people in a holistic way.

My desire to work alongside and support others has led me to undertake a Diploma of Community Services, and ultimately to become part of the Stay ChatTY Team.

Supporting others and their wellbeing does not have to be structured, conversations can be lighthearted, and meditation itself doesn’t actually have to involve crossed legs and sandalwood, if that’s not your thing.

I am passionate about achieving an increased understanding of what mental health is for everyone. Let’s remove the stigma that it has to be a heavy subject or that poor mental health always requires professional help. Sometimes the answer can be as simple as an ear to listen.”

Alex FitzGerald
Alex FitzGeraldProject Officer – Sports Program
“Born on the North west coast and now living in Hobart, I have recently joined the Stay ChatTY team after working with a wide range of teams and organisations in the sports industry over the past few years.

I believe strongly in the importance of normalising conversations around mental health, and have seen first-hand how having an honest chat and open ears can help, when you or people you love are going through tough times.

I’m passionate about exercise and sport, particularly in how a shared interest can often bring people together to support one another and foster a meaningful sense of community and belonging.

I’m excited to be delivering our sports programs to clubs all around the state helping players understand mental health, recognise signs and symptoms that someone may be struggling, and how to reach out for help both on a personal and professional level.

To be part of the amazing team at Stay ChatTY is a privilege and I’m looking forward to seeing us grow and continue to promote positive mental health.”

Pauline Leger
Pauline LegerCommunity Engagement Officer
Originally from France, I spent most of my career in the digital world, working for social media and PR agencies in the United Kingdom. It makes for a pretty funky accent, but I mostly gained incredible exposure to people from all walks of life, who opened my mind to different cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking and being.

I also gained a pretty poor work-life balance, fuelled by the ‘work hard play harder’ culture of ‘big city’ London – mental health and self-care discussions were not the norm, especially publicly.

This all changed for me in 2017 when I lost my Mum to suicide, who had been struggling with her mental health for decades.

The heartbreaking loss fuelled a strong desire to be part of the solution in sparking more conversations. I strongly believe that everything can be talked about, and that personal struggles tend to shrink down when shared. It has been incredible to see the shift happening in our society globally. But there is still much to do, and we can’t lose sight of the importance of being present for one another.

One of my favourite quotes comes from British-Indian sculptor, Anish Kapoor, who said: “All ideas grow out of other ideas”. Sure, we’re ok on our own, but it’s when we come together that things can become truly brilliant. I’m over the moon to be part of such a fantastic team, and to have the opportunity to connect with our beautiful Tassie community. What a privilege!