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Hi, we're

Culture Hero

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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 idea failed.

Instead of being discouraged, Dara repurposed the camp idea to be a place for professionals to unleash their inner creative. AHA! That worked.

And so Project Play was born in 2016. Three years later, 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. 

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Dara Simkin
Founder
Chief Play Officer 

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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.

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Danny Ginsberg
Managing Director

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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. 

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Merrilee McCoy
Director Learning
& Culture

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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. 

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Phoebe Bond
Head of Communications

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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

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Rachel Botsis
Lead Project Manager

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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. 

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Josie Hardy
Project Manager

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Josie is someone who delights in diving into great projects with great people, taking every opportunity she can to do just that. With experience and hobbies spanning from writing and ceramics, to meticulous project delivery and system optimisation, Josie finds almost any challenge or task deliciously interesting. Josie has produced niche, youth-oriented brand activities, brought to life furniture and homeware ranges and high-end product designs, she has worked with logistics and developed and managed brands. She's grateful that her two loves, people and learning, are never in short supply.

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Anne Pensalfini
Instructional Designer

 

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Based in Brisbane, Anne is a facilitator of human transformation and learning. Using play and empathy to unlock deeper levels of trust, she develops cohesion in teams and connection between diverse individuals. Professional experience in Theatre, Improvisation and Early Childhood Education have given her a unique skillset.  Ten years of training in Compassionate/Nonviolent Communication gives Anne a nuanced sense of empathetic and reflective listening, and the ability to understand both complex group dynamics and individual needs. 

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Maisie
The Wonder Dog

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Maisie is a Golden Retriever and is the apple of Danny's eye. She loves belly rubs and long walks on the beach. She's passionate about diversity and inclusion, one of her best mate's is a cat. When she isn't hanging out at the Culture Hero headquarters, she's strolling down the street and making lots of people smile.