• An iniative of QLD charity Kanyini Connections Ltd

Our People

Volunteering on the Sunshine Coast
Our team consists of approximately 50 beautiful, kind, gentle and talented people – almost all of whom are volunteers. From Horse Care and Gardening to Mentoring, Fundraising and Grounds Maintenance they do it all! To join our Volunteer family, visit the Volunteer page where you’ll see all the current vacancies listed – we’d love to have you on the team.  


Barb Blashki - CEO

Barb Blashki – Founder & CEO

(Bachelor of Arts – Psychology, Diploma of Horse Psychology)
Barb founded the charity in 2009 after becoming frustrated at how many people were falling through the cracks of our health and welfare systems – with sometimes catastrophic results. She has an extensive corporate background in senior management positions within tier one national and international companies. Her ongoing interest in researching evidence-based complementary therapeutic interventions is extremely valuable as she casts a critical scientific approach to program approaches and efficacy. Importantly, Barb has lived experience of trauma and anxiety.

Olivia Gerritse - Program Director

Olivia Gerritse - Program Director for Veterans Programs

(Ex-Navy Veteran, Equine Psychotherapy Institute certified Equine Program Facilitator, Diploma of Horse Psychology)
As a Veteran feeling consumed by service-related PTSD, anxiety and depression, Olivia started volunteering at the sanctuary in early 2020. She realised that the time she spent at the sanctuary was resulting in profound changes in how she felt. She became passionate about facilitating that change for other people - committing to studying with the Equine Psychotherapy Institute and joining our program team - and has never looked back. Olivia is now a key member of our leadership team. Olivia has been on our board of directors since 2021.

Marie Rene - Program Director

Marie Rene - Program Director, Women & Girls' Programs

(Master of Marketing, Equine Psychotherapy Institute certified Equine Program Facilitator, Diploma of Horse Psychology)
Marie dealt with feelings of unworthiness to her late 20s and felt like she lacked the tools to express herself. When she realised what a transformative experience the way of horses proved to be in improving her mental health, she became passionate about sharing it with others. She studied with the Equine Psychotherapy Institute and joined our program team where she uses her empathetic and caring nature to guide other women and girls on their healing journey. Marie has been on our board of directors since 2022. 

Peter Blashki - Director

Peter Blashki - Director

(Bachelor of Applied Science, Grad. Dip. Management Systems, Master of Information Systems)
Peter is a senior professional with over 30 years of business experience across a wide variety of industries – culminating in reaching Director level roles with annual budgets in excess of $20 million and Asia-Pacific scale responsibilities. Peter has previous experience in the not-for-profit sector having held the roles of  General Manager, Director & Company Secretary of the Rattler Railway Company Ltd. Peter has been on our board of Directors since 2011 and his responsibilities include Facility Management and Information Technology.