Aroha Liebhart

I chose to join the WBF committee, not only because I am deeply passionate about enriching the lives of children and helping them grow, but also because I wanted to continue Pete’s legacy after being touched by his friendship in my time at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

I commenced on the committee in 2020 after being involved in events as an attendee for several years and have relished the opportunities provided to me and the experiences, I have been able to give to the children we meet.

Utilising my Bachelor of Journalism, Bachelor of Arts (Political Science,) and my Post Graduate Certificate in Digital Communications, I assist the foundation with digital communications, administration, and strategy. I am also currently completing my Masters in Counselling which will further enrich my ability to serve this organisation.

Having my own little White Bear cub in 2023, I am genuinely excited to see what the future holds for the White Bear Foundation.

Bettina Dungworth

Bettina is passionate about youth reaching their full potential. She believes our youth needs to be equipped with leadership skills together with foundational values and beliefs that will create resilient adults. Bettina is an author, poet, and business owner.

She is a strong advocate of personal growth and development and over the last twenty years this has been a focal point in her life. Bettina has travelled the world extensively. She has three teenage children and is passionate about touching the hearts of our youth and raising happy, successful, resilient adults. Bettina has served on the Committee of the White Bear Foundation since 2017.

Natalie Lee

My name is Natalie and I have a passion for working with and helping children from all walks of life. I currently work in Child Protection, and have previously worked as a Coordinator in OSHC, and in the field of forensic psychology. I hold a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) from the University of Queensland and I am currently studying a Masters of Counseling at the AIPC.

I have joined the White Bear Foundation as a committee member as I have a passion for helping children; offering them guidance and enhancing their skills to excel in life.

Alanna Philp​

When I attended my first White Bear Foundation workshop in 2015, I was a very shy nine-year-old. I have now become more confident, resilient and have excellent leadership qualities. I hold the position of Senior Leader Cub and the honour of becoming the first child to be on the WBF Committee.

Through WBF workshops Maria coached me which has enabled me to become more confident within myself to the extent of delivering speeches at our annual fundraising event to over 100 people, this has been a huge achievement for me.  

I enjoy being a part of this wonderful foundation because I know firsthand how much it can help even the shyest of kids, because with every workshop enables them to stretch and to grow in wonderful confident ways

Lea Philp

I enjoy being on the committee of the White Bear Foundation to help out at the leadership children’s workshops. I saw an incredible change in my child Alanna who has now participated in a number of workshops.

I have always loved children and enjoy helping the cubs at the workshop become involved in the various activities. My nature is naturally cheerful and I am a person who loves to laugh and find that I am able to encourage our cubs to have fun and enjoy living in the moment.

At the workshops I find that I am naturally able to help the cubs feel comfortable. The children gain so much enjoyment participating in the games. 

Seeing the smiles & giggles emerge on what was once shy faces is so rewarding! It’s such an amazing foundation and brings great joy to my heart!

Kelsey Wood

My name is Kelsey, and I have been on the White Bear Foundation committee since July, 2018. I have qualifications in business and nursing and am currently working as a nurse in Brisbane. I joined the White Bear Foundation committee as I feel the message of resilience and self confidence that the foundation promotes is incredibly important for all children in the community. 

It is extremely fulfilling participating and contributing in workshops, and is amazing to see the change from the children’s first hour of their first morning, to how self-assured, happy and confident they are leaving at the end of the weekend. I mostly work behind the scenes, by contributing to the foundation’s social media, website and preparation of fundraising events, and attending workshops where I can.

Gabrielle Taylor


Gabe is an Army Officer with a passion for developing leadership qualities in young people. Throughout her career she has led small teams in high-risk environments and is acutely aware of the value of resilience under pressure, and how it can be understood, fostered and grown. Gabe has instructed at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Afghan National Army Officers Academy, where she worked closely with junior officers to help them to know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to harness their attributes to achieve their goals.

Gabe is actively involved in her community and hopes to use her experience to assist the White Bear Foundation continue to work with children and young people to develop their self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

Paula Leighton

‘Hi, I’m Paula. I arrived in Brisbane nearly 2 years ago from Eastbourne, the sunshine capital of the UK!

I started my working life as a teacher and spent 20 years mainly working in a secondary school (11-18 yrs) as the Head of Art and Design. Craving a change, I decided to work with younger children and worked with 8-year-olds for a few years before wanting to try something new. I decided to return to University and completed my Masters in Occupational Therapy. This lead to a career working in housing, managing a not-for-profit company delivering housing support to older people.

Why join and support the White Bear Foundation? After speaking to an existing committee member, the ethos and aims of the White Bear resonated with my belief that all children have a limitless ability to succeed – but some just need a helping hand to believe in themselves and build their self-esteem and confidence.

I hope that I can bring my previous experience, and joy of watching children have fun while learning, to the White Bear. 

Petra Unger

I chose to join the WBF because of my passion to enhance the lives of children by instilling in them the skills to develop a healthy self-esteem, confidence, and leadership.

 I hold a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from the University of the Sunshine Coast, and am looking to study a Masters of Clinical Psychology next year. Previously, I was a business co-owner, and a tour host, and am currently enjoying time with my grandchildren while I take this year off from University studies.

Adelle O’Connor

I joined the White Bear Foundation, to support Maria in her quest to provide resilience and self-esteem for all children.

Having owned and operated many Beauty Salons, providing a supportive, nurturing, and caring environment for clients and staff, and guiding countless young women to personal fulfilment, I now bring these attributes to the White Bear Foundation.

It is very rewarding participating in the workshops, fundraisers, and various events throughout the year. The workshops make an incredible difference to the children, evidenced by their joy and self-confidence at the end of the 2 days, in comparison to their uncertainty and shyness on the first morning.


Megan Thorpe

Hi I’m Megan. I first became involved with the Foundation several years ago through my husband, Mike, when he began dressing up as a giant white bear and walking the Bridge to Brisbane with the White Bear Foundation. Since then, I have attended many events in support of the foundation and still do the Bridge to Brisbane every year with a giant white bear and now my two young children as well.

I have always felt a strong connection with the mission of the foundation to empower young people to be confident and resilient. I had a rocky start to my high school years, dealing with bullying and isolation but I was able to get through that and stay true to myself due to the amazing people I had in my life. So, at a very personal level I completely agree with the importance of building self-esteem, self-confidence, and resilience in the years before high school when everyone is trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world around them.

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