Mindful Margaret River Board

Marilyn Hopkins

Marilyn Hopkins


As a lawyer and mediator, Marilyn has always had a sense of fairness which has been demonstrated by her passion to see everyone given the opportunity to access education whenever they are ready in their life. 

As a result, Marilyn has spent many years participating in organisations which give second chances for education.  These have included 15 years’ service on the Board of Canning College and 6 years’ service on the Governing Council of South Regional TAFE.

There is no doubt in Marilyn’s mind that those left behind in education at a young age, for whatever reason, are more likely to struggle with confidence and self-esteem in later life.

As an inaugural member of Canning Youth Community Connection from 1993 until relocating to Margaret River in 2006, which connected young, disengaged people with the community through the collaboration of various services and organisation, Marilyn strongly supports collaboration between organisations.

Marilyn has many other interests and carries out many other roles, amongst which are secretary of the Rotary Club of Margaret River, treasurer of the Margaret River Rowing Club, secretary of Above the Line, member of the Margaret River Senior High School Board, volunteer coach, adjudicator and committee member for SCRAM, the Schools Conflict Resolution and Mediation program and trainer for Resolution Institute’s mediator training program.

Marilyn enjoys being a part of the Margaret River community with her husband Chris who is a member of the Margaret River Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service.

Miriam Avery

Miriam Avery

Vice Chair

She has seen, firsthand, the struggles that farming families deal with and the difficulty in receiving mental health assistance.

Miriam is a businesswoman, a mother and co-founder of the program “Open the Gate” – specifically created to educate and raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention in Scott River, Augusta, Karridale and Nannup and how these communities can get assistance and where.

“I am extremely passionate about my community and its welfare and am willing to do whatever it takes to improve mental health services cohesion in this beautiful corner of the world.”

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Dr Peter Durey


I am a family doctor who trained in England but came out to Australia in 1976 and has practised in General Practice since then, and retired at the age of 70 two years ago. I have mostly worked in a rural setting with various procedural skills, and special interests in paediatrics then men’s health and psychological issues and then sports medicine, then palliative care and geriatric medicine. I have used a more collaborative, problem solving approach. I started working in Margaret River in 2004.

I feel that I can offer experience in the practical and medical approach to the early presentation of mental illness, and I am excited about working with the group to get a positive outcome in the near future.

Brian Middleton 1 Scaled 1

Brian Middleton

TREASURER Managing Director, Middleton Business Advisory

Brian operates an accounting practice in Margaret River and is active in many local community organisations. 

He has previously served as a Shire Councillor with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and as a Commissioner with the WA Conservation Commission. 

Brian is currently treasurer of Rotary Margaret River and deputy chairman of Margaret River Men’s Shed steering committee.


Mike Wood

Dr Mike Wood


Dr Mike Wood has been a journalist, academic, senior public servant as Public Service Commissioner, head of the Department of Local Government, chair of the WA Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, director of his strategy company and Dean of the Curtin Business School.

He recently completed a period as chair of Member (trustees) for Ruah Community Services, having been the founding chair of its board in the 1990s.

His responsibilities in relevant roles have involved the development and implementation of strategy, the recruitment of leaders and the subsequent assessment of their performance. As a board member of incorporated organisations, Mike has contributed to governance structures and the clarification of responsibilities between boards and management.

Prior to buying here in 2004, Mike was a regular visitor to Margaret River.

Judith Maechler

Judith Maechler


Judith migrated from France to Australia in 2010. After spending eight years in Perth practicing as a dispensing optician and after the birth of her second child, she moved down to Margaret River.

Her own experience of perinatal (pre-and post-) stress and anxiety made her uncover the difficulties women experience due to parenthood (most of the time long before even becoming a parent) and prompted her to volunteer as a peer supporter in various programs and organisations. She also realised that the personal issues women experience result from much broader narratives that foster mental health issues and impede their well-being. As a result, she has a keen interest in gender and women issues, perinatal mental health, discrimination and prejudice, and representation of diversity in society. She believes that addressing and managing such matters would directly positively impact the mental well-being of community members. 

She has put aside her career as a dispensing optician and occasional singer and is currently undergoing psychology and social science studies. She is committed to taking an active part in her community to improve the well-being of its members. As a migrant, a woman, a woman of colour, a mother, a worker, a student and a community member, she feels like she is in a good position to understand the issues most of us may face at one point or another.

Martn Ringer 2019

Martin Ringer


For as long as I can remember I have been curious about what makes human beings ‘tick’. Soon after graduating as an engineer, I moved careers to work in the field of human services and education.

My active involvement in mental health began in 1986 when I was appointed as Director Te Raroroa O Taitokerau – an ‘adventure therapy’ national research pilot program in the north of New Zealand. This was a bi-cultural experiential community-based intervention with major input from local Maori elders. Despite its success, the program was closed in 1989 and I moved to live in Perth.

Since being in Western Australia I have taught group work in the Schools of Social Work at UWA and at Curtin University, taught in the Edith Cowan Masters in Psychoanalytic Counselling and Psychotherapy, consulted to the Royal College of GP’s, ran dozens of adventure therapy and group facilitation workshops in many countries around the World, and provided ‘reflective space’ sessions for two CAMHS multi-disciplinary teams as well as for the CAMHS metro group of psychiatrists.

I have published extensively in the fields of adventure therapy, experiential learning, organizational culture, group dynamics and community dynamics. See www.groupinstitute.com for an archive of publications and previous clients.

With my involvement in Mindful Margaret River, I hope to be a catalyst for those whose passion is empowering community members to engage with each other in ways that increase community resilience, connectedness and psychological and emotional well-being.


Yen Hawkes

Co-Founder & CEO, Intercultural Action Group Inc.

Yen is a multi-passionate entrepreneur, a foodie, has travelled extensively for work, was based in the US, Spain, Jakarta & Malaysia which helped broaden her horizons. Yen has spent more than 30 years, managing multicultural teams in the corporate sector; a banker with the Development Bank of Singapore & Citibank for 15 years, managing 5- star hotel benchmarking in the Asia Pacific region for STR Global, market research consultant for AQ Services International – project managed large scale customer service initiatives for key international clients in Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. 

An Australian, Yen was born in Singapore and speaks English, Malay and Bahasa Indonesia fluently. Yen migrated to the Southwest region in 2012 with her Australian husband, Peter & her mom and have lived in Margaret River since 2014. Yen was the first Asian migrant from the Southwest WA who was selected and sponsored by the National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) for their program RRR Women’s Canberra Muster in 2019; a premium Leadership & Capacity Building program designed for Rural, Remote & Regional women.

Yen is passionate about assisting migrants in Margaret River and the region in the areas of isolation and language barriers. Co- founding Intercultural Action Group Inc. in 2018 has provided Yen with lots of opportunities to be involved with other organizations. Yen is a member of the District Health Advisory Council, Harmony Alliance, FECCA, WACOSS Welcoming Cities & Connect Groups; to enable her to spread the word and highlight the challenges faced by migrants in the region. Yen is absolutely enjoying her journey while slowly building trust together with the migrant community in the region. Yen believes that every migrant has a story to tell; a story that either makes or breaks them.

Past Board Members

Stuart Hicks

Stuart Hicks

Mindful Margaret River

Stuart has variously served as:

  • Chairman & CEO of Transperth
  • Executive Director of Marine & Harbours
  • Chairman, State Shipping Commission
  • Director General of Transport, WA
  • Chairman, East Perth Redevelopment Authority
  • Chairman, South West Development Commission
  • Deputy Chair, WA Regional Development Council
  • And as a Western Australian Planning Commissioner

He has also served for many years as Chairman of the Australian National Transport Commission and is an Executive Board member of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. He has advised on policy and management matters to a wide range of organisations and individuals, including WA Police, Aboriginal groups, ALCOA, Rio Tinto, Department of Fisheries, Kings Park, Department of Housing & Works, and the WA Premier.

He is former Chair of Swan Cottage Homes and National President of Children’s International Summer Villages. In 2006, Stuart was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to industry, government and the community. Stuart and his wife live in Margaret River. They have three adult sons.

Di Ritson

Di Ritson

CEO, Lishman Health Foundation

With a health science, medical education and senior management background, Dianne Ritson has held leadership roles in health and disability across government and not-for-profit sectors in Western Australia and Victoria. As a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the United Kingdom, she has held academic roles in allied health at Curtin University and at the School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame.

She formulated the strategy to lead the initial implementation of legislated Disability Access and Inclusion Plans across State and Local Government in Western Australia; and facilitated the supporting community awareness media campaign. She represented the State Government Disability sector on a strategy committee at the Department of Premier and Cabinet to develop a unified approach to the procurement of disability, health and community services.

As a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors, she recognizes the principles of sound corporate governance and brings her clinical management background to guiding clinical governance, clinical risk and optimising safe clinical practice.

Having grown up in a rural area, she has recently moved to the South West and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Lishman Health Foundation. She is keenly interested in the significance of health research that is translatable to the health and well-being of regional communities and seeks to improve health outcomes for regional communities.