Maria Brett has more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the non-profit sector. In addition to her leadership capabilities, Maria brings to Lirata her passion for social justice, and a suite of leadership and organisational development services she has developed in her consulting work. Maria’s expertise adds to the breadth and depth of Lirata’s service offerings.
At the age of 28, after a major life upheaval, Maria went in search of meaning. This took her to meditation and a 30-year exploration of mindfulness. Inspired to make a difference in the world, she had a brief career in the law, then moved on to campaign for causes close to her heart – the environment and human rights – and to work as a mental health professional. This led Maria into several leadership roles in the non-profit sector, where she has been an influential leader.
With qualifications in law, politics and counselling, Maria has had a diverse career managing the delivery of human services in Australia and in the UK, including child and family welfare services, counselling, and community mental health services. She has also delivered organisational capacity building programs for the volunteer sector in the UK, and has worked in private practice as a psychotherapist. At executive level, Maria was Executive Director of the East Timor Human Rights Centre and Executive Director of International Social Service Australia.
In her last executive role, Maria was CEO of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, the national peak body for the counselling and psychotherapy professions. Over ten years, she led the organisation through a period of major change and achieved significant organisational growth, advocating for increased access to mental health services, and building a purpose-driven organisational culture grounded in ethics and resilience.
Prior to joining Lirata, Maria was consulting in her own practice, Maria Brett The Growing Edge. Her consulting work has focussed on leadership and organisational development for non-profit organisations. This has included Maria’s Courageous Leadership Program, executive coaching and mentoring services, and keynote addresses on topics including People-Centred Culture, Courageous Leadership, and Thriving in the Age of Disruption. Maria now offers all of these services through Lirata, adding to Lirata’s suite of services that aim to strengthen people and organisations.
Maria has integrated a lifetime of learning about mindfulness, resilience and leadership, and her own development journey, to design people-centred consulting services, and to support individuals, teams and organisations to build their capacity and increase their impact for the communities they serve.