Meet the leadership team | Sarina Russo

Meet the Leadership team

Get to know the Sarina Russo Group leaders passionately committed to your success.

Meet our team

The Team

Founder & Managing Director

Sarina Russo

Sarina‘s passion, persistence and self-belief transformed her from a fired legal secretary into a fired-up international entrepreneur in education, training, recruitment and property. For over 40 years she has grown her small typing school into a global $100 million business and become Australia’s largest employment and apprenticeship provider employing over 1000 people.

CEO - Sarina Russo Group

Kathleen Newcombe

Kathleen‘s a passionate advocate for lifelong learning, Kathleen has over thirty years of experience in the Higher Education, Vocational Training and Employment sectors both in Australia and the USA. Kathleen also spent three years in leadership roles in the Insurance industry where she successfully managed a Health Insurance business catering to the International Education sector.

CEO - Employment

Dianne Fletcher

Dianne’s passion is to support the disadvantage into work to help them become economically independent. Prior to joining the Sarina Russo Group, Dianne spent 30 years in the Australian Public Service including 12 years within the Senior Executive Service.

National Human Resources Manager

Maria Berlese

Maria’s skill set is to attract and develop the best talent in the education, training and employment industries. Maria has the responsibility to foster the careers over 1,000 professional and dedicated staff – in doing so she directly influences the lives, and careers, of tens of thousands of people every year.

Director Corporate Finance

Tony Thomas

Tony has overall responsibility for all financial aspects of the Sarina Russo Group. His strategic and financial leadership is a great asset for the business particularly when the business experienced rapid growth from 27 sites to 93 sites in 2015. Tony has over 32 years’ experience in corporate finance having previously worked for the Brisbane Broncos and Smorgons.

COO ​and Company Secretary

Mark Berlese

Mark‘s is an absolute motivational powerhouse when it comes to enhancing the lives of Sarina Russo’s customers. His can-do leadership style sparks new ideas that deliver sure-fire results for customers – getting them that job. Mark has undertaken executive studies in the USA at Stanford, Cornell and Harvard University in the areas of Leadership, Marketing and Human Resource Management.

Legal Counsel

Justin Sharp

Justin has 20 plus years’ legal experience acting exclusively for clients in the Employment, Education and Health sectors. Justin has an in-depth understanding across these sectors including contractual requirements, governance and regulatory, privacy, data security and risk management.

Quality Assurance

Vanessa Chapman

Vanessa has worked in the employment services industry for over 25 years. She joined the Sarina Russo Group in 2004 and is responsible for quality assurance and contractual compliance of government contracts across the group.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Sarina Russo Group acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.