12 months with Mates4Mates

24 March 2023

General Manager, Emma Whitehead shares her insights and proudest moments from her first 12 months with Mates4Mates.

As I reflect on my first 12 months at Mates4Mates as the General Manager, I want to firstly say that it’s been an absolute privilege to be part of such a supportive and life changing organisation.

From our team on the ground in the centres and online, delivering social connection activities and clinical services, to our head office and leadership team, everyone’s passion to support the Defence community has inspired me every day since joining Mates4Mates.

Although scattered across the country, from the Northern Territory to Tasmania, the Mates4Mates staff have supported one another and worked together in the face of significant change, while continuing to put the wellbeing of clients first. This is what I’m most proud of during my time so far. Despite floods, relocations, building renovations, setbacks, and many other changes, they’ve remained positive and encouraging and kept our community moving forward.

Mates4Mates has a rich history that now spans over 10 years – it's been a lot of fun celebrating our 10th birthday this month – and I am honoured that I’ve had a chance to play a role in our more recent highlights as an organisation.

Focusing on our staff, it has been an incredible achievement to witness the high levels of engagement and job satisfaction amongst our teams. Through the recruitment of a complete Executive Leadership Team over the last 12 months, we’ve been able to provide more structure and guidance to ensure all staff are supported as they remain dedicated to our clients.

The opportunity to recruit a full team at our Palmerston, Darwin centre, while also building the Mates4Mates Veteran and Family Wellbeing Centre in Stuart Park, to help better support the Northern Territory Defence community has been wonderful. We provided support services to over 3,000 clients in Darwin in 2022 – that's just amazing! That’s 3,000 veterans and family members accessing services to help them adjust to civilian life or recover from the impacts of service.

Alongside this achievement is the opening of the new Family Recovery Centre in Ipswich. This exciting expansion for the team finally came about after months of planning and locating a site, and after officially opening the centre earlier this month, we are delighted to see the impact the centre is already having on the Ipswich community with new clients joining us.

There have also been smaller changes in our Northern Queensland and Tasmanian centres where we have expanded services in Cairns and run successful trials of Exercise Physiology services in Tasmania. Our teams in both Northern Queensland and Tasmania have been steadfast in their tireless dedication to our clients.

Looking to the future as General Manager, it is our intention to build Mates4Mates in line with our Strategic Plan, Journey to 2030, to be the go-to organisation for veterans and their families in Australia. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with key organisations including ex-service organisations and community services to increase accessibility to services for all veterans and families.

To those who have supported both myself and Mates4Mates over the last 12 months, thank you. The contributions that veterans and their families have made to our nation is significant, and I am proud, as the Mates4Mates General Manager, to have the opportunity to play a role in supporting them.

Latest news


Using practical apps to benefit your mental health

Many veterans have difficulty seeking support for their mental health, especially in a face-to-face environment. Practical apps provide veterans with a way to start working on their mental health from the comfort of their own home.


Queensland school kids are giving back to the veteran community

The eight student recipients of the 2024 Queensland Premier’s ANZAC Prize are working hard to raise money for Mates4Mates to give back to and support the Australian veteran community.


How exercise can help us sleep better at night

World Sleep Day, held annually in March, raises awareness of our sleep health and common sleep-related issues. Sleep is our internal reset button, and for veterans, sleep can be a critical factor in recovery.