Meet The Board

ARTA is governed by a voluntary Board of nine elected representatives. The four Executive Board members are President, Vice President, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. The other five Board member positions will take the lead in driving a portfolio of interest.
Currently the portfolios which have been identified are:

  • Education and Training
  • Marketing
  • Care and Support Services
  • Disability and Mental Health
  • Governance and Professional Scope

Board members are drawn from all areas of our membership – although only Certified Members can serve on the Board. Annual elections are held, usually at the AGM. Currently ARTA Board members are:

Renee Smith

Renee Smith

I have been working within the aged care sector for the past 22 years, holding roles such as Recreation Officer, Degree Qualified Diversional Therapist (2003), Diversional Therapy Manager, an Allied health consultant and private consultant, TAFE teaching, and presently working for HammondCare, in positions with Dementia Support Australia as a Dementia consultant and as Residential Engagement Lead, for HammondCare homes.

When I commenced my Bachelor in 2000, I signed up as a student member of ARTA, this was where my first glimpses of the passion that our members have for our profession were experienced. During my years as a Diversional Therapist, I have been a board member for DTA NSW, worked with a team of members within our professional body as National Chair through the birth of Diversional Therapy Australia, our National Association.

Knowing the benefits of Diversional Therapists in Dementia Care have, I went on to complete my Bachelor of Dementia Care in 2017, as ongoing learning and professional development is key to strength and expertise.

Each role I have been privileged to be a part of, have provided experiences, challenges, and opportunities to learn and to teach as well as motivating opportunity for change and growth within an ever-changing industry. At every opportunity I have gotten, I have always aimed to educate my peers, colleagues, friends, and family about how beneficial our profession is and always advocated for our place, as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.

I am excited to continue the dedicated work of all members of the board, as a team moving ARTA into the future of recognition with our place in the allied health and international arenas. As members, I seek your passion and support as well, as we venture into this strong new chapter of the Australian Recreation Therapy Association.

Board Portfolios

ARTA’s Board is comprised of nine voluntary members. Four members from the executive and five Ordinary Board Members.

The Board meet via video conference each month. At the Annual National Conference which is held in a different city each year, the Board holds an all day face to face meeting.

There are so many aspects to governing, guiding and administering a national not for profit organisation – the work of the ARTA Board is much appreciated by ARTA staff, Board members and membership in general.

To help manage the tasks involved, the ARTA Board often establishes projects. While the president and all the Board are kept appraised of the progress of each project – a Project Leader from the Board takes responsibility for ensuring the project is progressing and completed.

Vice President

Kim Bromley

Kim has been working as a Diversional Therapist for the past 20 years within a residential aged care facility in NSW. She has also worked for the past 14 years for TAFE NSW as a trainer in the Cert 4 in Leisure and Health course. During her career she has worked with music therapists and art therapists and has seen how the multidisciplinary allied health professions work so well together to provide person centred care, support and most importantly meaningful activity engagement.

Kim also had the pleasure of assisting the late Dr Peter Spitzer ( co – founder of the “clown doctors” in hospitals and the “Humour Foundation”) in introducing humour to aged care via the ARTA with focus on the benefits of “humour for residents with dementia.” This study known as the “smile within” was a great success, showed positive results and was the first of its kind around the world. The study used specially trained diversional therapists and recreational activities officers (aka “laughter bosses”) to assist the implementation of the trained performer (aka “elder clown”) in initiating and implementing the humour visits, the laughter bosses would then encourage laughter prompts, sessions and activities in between the “elder clown” visits with great effect.

Kim has a strong passion for aged care and the important role we play in the allied health field. She would like to contribute to future conferences, education sessions and concentrate on the marketing of the Diversional Therapy Profession to the aged care commission and quality and safety commission to ensure that all leisure and recreation staff are trained and are appropriately staffed, funded with specific leisure and recreation hours.

Kylie Rice

Kylie Rice

Kylie completed her Bachelor of Health Science (Therapeutic Recreation) at UWS and has been a member of the association since 2007. She has worked in her current role as Diversional Therapist at a mental health inpatient unit for the past 8 years specialising in children and adolescents. She has also had extensive experience working with disabilities including cerebral palsy and autism. Kylie has had further education in the fields of Art Therapy and Sensory Integration, helping to improve the quality of life for many children and their families. She has had an active involvement with her local network group since starting in her current position and has been co-group leader since 2013. Her involvement in the network group has greatly enhanced her knowledge, skills and networks both professionally and personally.

Since joining the ARTA, Kylie has seen Diversional Therapy grow and develop as a professional body, and with her involvement on the board as the NSW state rep she can help to continue the improvements in the standard of Diversional Therapy practice and continue to raise our professional profile in the community. She has a passion and enthusiasm for education and believes that everyone should have access to ongoing education and professional development, and through this we can create a solid professional base for the future of Diversional Therapy.

Renee Rizzo Photo1

Renee Rizzo

Daniella Greenwood Bio Pic
Board Member

Daniella Greenwood

Daniella Greenwood is an international consultant, speaker and published author specialising in human rights policy and practice in residential aged care. In 2020 Daniella graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Hons 1). Her Honours dissertation looked at human rights as it relates to people living in the later stages of dementia in residential aged care. Daniella was awarded the Diversional Therapy Prize when she graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Leisure & Health) in 2011 from Charles Sturt University. She holds a Diploma of Diversional Therapy (2010) and a Cert IV in Health and Recreation (2008).

Emma Preston1
Board Member

Emma Preston

Emma has been a Diversional Therapist for almost 20 yrs. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science – Diversional Therapy and Master in Health Management – Aged Care both from WSU (previously UWS). Post Graduate Certificate in Education Studies (UTAS). She has an extensive work background across three states and across the entire lifespan. Emma has experience in Aged Care, Mental Health, Corrective Services, Disability, GP Networks, Event Management and Education. She has an interest in education along with health as she believes we always need to continue to learn to maintain our best practice with industry and look towards our future focus.

Board Member


Qualifications: Bachelor of Health Science (Therapeutic Recreation), Graduate Diploma in Dance Movement Therapy & Cert IV Training & Assessment.

Since graduating, Carmen has worked primarily in residential aged care, aged care consulting, disability & education. She has been a member of the association since 2009 and she is passionate about pushing our profession forward and establishing our name amongst our allied health  counterparts. Over the last few years, she has been the newsletter editor for our association, and she is interested to hear more from our members and connect with others.

Michael Murgolo Headshot
Board Member

Michael Murgolo

Michael brings to ARTA over 8 years of aged care experience, working as a Diversional Therapist within the sector. Graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science, Michael began his career as a facility DT for an 80-bed aged care home at UPA, assisting with the lifestyle and cultural needs of the home for 5 years. From there, Michael then moved into a management position role for the Mark Moran Group, where he currently acts as their head of leisure and lifestyle over 3 aged care homes and 1 retirement living facility, which accounts for over 460 residents. During Michael’s extensive time within the industry, he has experienced 5 commission visits with the new aged care standards, successfully passing with full marks for all visits. Along with commission experience, Michael also has a high degree of knowledge and key strengths around cognitive impairments, behaviour management, and validation therapy, leading many teams in developing appropriate strategies for those living with impairments, ensuring quality of life is the forefront in ensuring no person is disadvantaged to living a quality day to day life.

Outside of Michael’s professional career, he currently is studying a Masters of Health Service Management, with a goal to one day become a facility manager within the aged care sector. While he also enjoys his time with sport, both playing and coaching rugby league as part of his leisure time.

As a board member of ARTA, Michael aims to continue to be a leading voice for the recognition of recreation therapists across Australia. While also providing strategies to improve resources provided to lifestyle staff across all industries within the country, and a goal to continuing to ensure all recreation therapists have the vital support needed from ARTA to be successful, providing quality of life to those they care for.

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Board Member

Kayla Garside

Kayla graduated with a Bachelors of Health Science (Therapeutic Recreation) in 2008 from UWS. She has been working as both a Diversional and Recreational Therapist ever since in both NSW and Vic in residential aged care and disability in metro and regional settings. She also has a Diploma in Business and Cert IV. in Community Services.

Kayla has been a member of the association since 2006 and has volunteered as network coordinator for the St. George and Sutherland shire network group, Conference Committee, Marketing committee, Vic Board Representative and Vice President 1. In July 2021 she was appointed DRTA Executive Officer, which allowed for greater representation of the profession nationally.

Kayla is very passionate about the Diversional and Recreation Therapy profession and she hopes to do her part in moving the profession to greater recognition.

Meet The Office

Charlise Bennett
Executive Officer

Charlise Bennett

Charlise started working in aged care in 1993 as a RAO and AIN in a number of hostels (low care) and nursing homes (high care) in Sydney before getting a part time RAO position in a nursing home with 88 residents. She completed an Advanced Certificate (now known as a cert 4) in Working With Older People at Kogarah TAFE in 1993 and 1994 while working. In 1996, she started the Bachelor of Applied Science (Diversional Therapy) at WSU as a mature aged student and working part time. She then worked at Port Kembla Hospital in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation. In 1998, she travelled with a colleague (Kathleen McConville) to Ireland, consulting to the Irish Health Board at a number of different hospitals across the country and organising DT workshops.

Upon her return to Australia, Charlise started working for the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) at Bankstown Hospital, completing a Master’s in Health Services Management through distance education. While working for ACAT, she also started lecturing in the therapeutic recreation program at Western Sydney University. She worked casually (every semester) at the university until 2013, when she moved over to a full-time position at WSU, The College as the Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the health science and nursing programs. Charlise is also currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Philosophy at Western Sydney University with her research based on Clinical Reasoning in Diversional Therapy Practice.

DRTA Office Administrator

Diana Tocknell

Diana joined ARTA in 2013 and is currently works part time as the Office Administrator.

Diana has always worked in accounts, administration and credit control in various industries including banking, insurance, engineering, manufacturing and most recently in a clerical role at the local school.

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Office Assistant

Jodie Nunes

Jodie's working background was in Administration Management which she took a step away from when she had her first child.

Jodie started working for ARTA in 2010 collating and mailing all the workshop mailers from home!

Jodie continued to do this until both her children started school and has been working at the North Ryde office as ARTA's Office Assistant from 2017.

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