Paul Kelly - Chief Executive Officer

CHESS CEO Paul Kelly has over 25 years’ experience as CEO, Company Secretary and Director in the employment services sector; human and disability services; and financial services and banking.

As an Adjunct Professional Fellow of Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human Science, Paul is an active contributor to research into disability service delivery models as well as representing CHESS Connect on the North Coast Primary Health Network’s Consortium – Centre for Healthcare Knowledge & Innovation

He is a past Co-Chair of the mid north coast mental health collaborative that was established to drive systemic improvement in the delivery of mental health services through integration and collaboration.

Outside of CHESS Connect Paul devotes his personal time to family and surf lifesaving.

Chris Jones - General Manager Employment Services

Chris commenced with CHESS Connect in 2009 as an Employment Consultant in the Coffs Harbour DES (Disability Employment Service) team. Spending time as the Site Manager in Coffs Harbour, Chris’ current role as the Manager Employment Services involves overseeing the operation of all DES and Smart, Skilled and Hired sites from Port Macquarie through to the Clarence Valley.

Having grown up in regional Victoria, Chris and his family relocated to the Coffs Harbour area in 1999 where they spent the next 12 years running a successful family business while raising their two children.With over 20 years of management experience in different industries, Chris enjoys the challenge of his current role, while knowing that the result of CHESS Connect’ combined efforts is assisting people to improve their current situations and supporting them towards a common goal – A “Strong Life”.

Jonathon Pettigrew - General Manager NDIS

Bringing a wealth of management experience, former NZ local Jonathon Pettigrew joined CHESS Connect in 2021.

A keen volunteer in the disability sector; a Bachelor of Psychology and with a background in business and operations, Jonathon was drawn to the General Manager role within CHESS Connect due to his first-hand recognition of the importance of effective support networks and services.

Jonathon uses the skills and experience he has developed over his career to make a positive impact in the disability sector and increase his contributions to society.

When not at work, Jonathon enjoys spending time with family, surfing, snorkeling and fishing off the beautiful Coffs Harbour coast.

Catherine Watson - Executive Manager Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary

Cath Watson has a diverse background – from a single parent raising three children to Master of Commerce (Professional Accounting) and Graduate Certificate in Internal Auditing. Her broad range of experience spans from Treasurer of a small preschool to Audit Manager for a mid-tier regional accountancy firm delivering services across the northwest of NSW.

Her time in accounting and auditing, both an external and internal auditor in the not-for-profit sector, has honed her skills in reading and interpreting Acts and regulations and development of policies and procedures, systems and operations.

Wanting to be back closer to family has bought her to CHESS Connect where she is able apply her passion for the sector and specialised skills to manage Quality Assurance, Finance, Compliance and Governance.

Away from the office, Cath spends her time in two places: in her kitchen serving wholesome family meals, and her vege patch – battling the weather and the weeds!