Hi, we're

Culture Hero

Once upon a time...


It all started with play.


After years of coaching clients 1-on-1, our Founder, Dara, realised that there was something missing in many professionals' lives - a sense of wonder, adventure and curiosity that we have as kids, but slowly lose as we grow up. 

So she decided to put together a summer camp for adults, Camp Kidinyou (check out the article in The Age), that was designed to help grown-ups unleash their inner kid. The idea just didn't get legs. The camp was a flop. 

Instead of being discouraged, Dara repurposed the camp idea to be a place for professionals to unleash their inner creative. AHA! That worked. The weekend took 12 diverse professionals through a series of workshops and people loved it. They experienced the transformative benefits of play for their work AND their life. 

And so Project Play was born in 2016. Dara knew she was on to something and began designing play workshops for organisations. She landed gigs with companies including McKinsey, AGL and MYOB. 

After 3 years of Project Play, Dara was ready to evolve the business into something more. She brought on a team to help her realise her dreams of making work a better place. 

In 2019, she launched Culture Hero.

Now, as a team, we leverage our years of experience in the creative industries and intersect it with learning and development, coaching and facilitation - driving a true sense of belonging in your organisation.  

We love creativity and play so much, it drives every aspect of what we do. 


Are you ready to experience the transformative benefits of play for your culture? 

Dara Simkin, Project Play

Dara Simkin
Chief Play Officer

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Dara is Culture Hero's founder and a true play pioneer. Her unique energy and enthusiasm for making this world a more playful place enables her to create safe, supportive and engaging learning environments for groups large and small. Dara is an accredited Executive Coach and has helped to unlock creative confidences across four continents for thousands of professionals — giving them space to follow their joy. Her mission is to bridge the gap between work and play making room for greater purpose and impact.

Merrilee McCoy

Merrilee McCoy
Learning & Culture

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Merrilee is passionate about empowering learners to take charge of their own learning. and is a Master Archer of the kaospilot Learning Design methodology.  She has 15+ years of experience in narrative improv performance + training and gets her juice from helping regular people connect with the power of creativity. She’s performed and taught improvisation in AUS NZ, and the USA and has written and directed Sketch comedy shows. She’s also got a side gig with NYC storytelling powerhouse The Moth to delivering their Melbourne StorySLAMs.

Danny Ginsberg
Engagement & Development

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Danny is a passionate people  professional with a strong eye for organisational needs and workforce competencies. He has 20+ years of  experience in the corporate world with organisations like IKEA, Bunning's and SpecSavers. Danny is constantly acknowledged for his innovation and creative solutions for L+D, winning several industry awards over the last few years. In his personal life, he's directed more than 20 musical theatre productions and has been dabbling in the theatre world for decades. 


Phoebe Bond
Head of Communications

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Phoebe Bond is a communications whizz and a supreme organiser who applies energy and creativity to all that she does. Her zest for theatre, people and writing lead her to a strategic communications and marketing career spanning the past 15 years. Phoebe works as a freelance writer and spent three years developing and teaching writing courses for university and government clients. Phoebe loves improvisation, walking on her hands and working for organisations that care about their clients, their employees and the world we live in

Rachel Botsis
Project Manager

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Rachel is all about bringing ideas to life: as a Project Manager, she has a wealth of experience executing across a wide variety of concepts and campaigns for brands and projects across the globe. Much of her work has focused on youth, community and public engagement.  She has a knack for synthesizing complexities, and thrives off human-centered projects which require creative solutions. Rachel’s ‘x factor’ is that she is a trained African Linguist – an illustration of her passion for communication and culturally complex spaces.