Meet The Staff

The Tribes Staff

Abe Bland​

Founder & Director​
Abe has a strong background in the community service sector facilitating innovative programs to address community dysfunction in marginalized family units. He has a proven record in managing government funding for Youth At Risk, Indigenous programs, Mental Health clients and people with a disability.

His previous community service roles included:-

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Carer Support Officer – Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre – Gold Coast​

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Young Carers Program – Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centre – Gold Coast​

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Mental Health Respite Program – Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centre – Gold Coast

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Project Director – Balunjali Pty Ltd Indigenous Tourism and Community service programs

Other Qualifications:

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Completing Bachelor of Business Administration (Psychology)​​

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Cert II in Governance

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Cert III in Infantry Operations

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Cert III in Leadership

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Mental Health First Aid Course

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Awarded the ASM (Australian Service Medal) and ADM (Australian Defence Medal) for overseas operational service​

Abe’s core focus is to facilitate strategies for individuals to improve their ability to function in society. This is achieved through extensive knowledge and networking with the non-government and government community service organisations.

Abe also has extensive experience in the Australian Defence Force as a Rifleman in the Army Reserve. He has been a member of 41RNSWR for over 14 years and has deployed on two Peacekeeping operations as part of RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands).

Natalie Johnson

Office Manager
Natalie is the dedicated and efficient office manager at Tribes. With her extensive experience and diverse background, she brings a unique skill set to her role. Originally from the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Natalie spent two decades in Perth before moving to the Gold Coast in December 2018 with her husband and two youngest children.

Her youngest son, Cooper, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when he was 9 and the experience of being his mother has had a profound impact on her family and the way they face the world and tackle the challenges involved.

Joining Tribes in 2019, Natalie has previously worked as a business analyst and software consultant in the finance and insurance industries. After spending a number of years raising her four children she balanced her responsibilities as a mother with working in finance, in various roles and, as a project manager in the arts and NFP sectors.

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys a range of activities from scuba diving to ballroom dancing and more recently has discovered a passion for pottery. She also loves to read and spend time at the beach.
Core Value: Wonder

I strongly believe that maintaining a sense of wonder about the world enables us to connect with our authentic selves, fostering a harmony with others and our planet. This mindset allows us to create opportunities for everyone, demonstrate integrity in all our actions and courageously tackle even the most daunting of challenges.


Vikki Bateman​

Operations & Wellbeing Coordinator​
Vikki, our vibrant Operations and Wellbeing Coordinator, combines her passion for helping others with her extensive experience in supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and her managerial background to excel in her role, benefiting the entire Tribes team.

Originally hailing from Liverpool, UK, Vikki and her partner Joe pursued their dream of travelling to Australia. They both fell in love with the country and in August 2018 applied for permanent residency and settled on the Gold Coast.

Joining Tribes in late 2018 Vikki embraced the positive work culture and wholeheartedly shares the organisation’s values. In October 2021, she and Joe experienced the joy of welcoming their son, Magnus into the world. Vikki gracefully balances her work and family responsibilities, finding fulfilment in managing both roles.

Vikki’s passions lie in outdoor activities and an active lifestyle including jet skiing, 4WD-ing, hiking and exploring nature’s wonders. She also cherishes relaxation at the movies and indulges her inner geek with challenging jigsaw puzzles.
Core Value: Harmony

I am passionate about the Tribes’ core value Harmony as I believe it promotes a positive and peaceful environment which enables a sense of inclusion that helps to build healthy, fulfilling and productive relationships and allows everyone to work together as one to achieve common goals.

Jamie Sherry

Finance/HR Officer
In late 2021, Jamie joined Tribes as the Finance Officer. With a solid background in accounting, she brings experience from her previous work in public practice and various bookkeeping positions.

Outside work, Jamie embraces the vibrant outdoor lifestyle of the Gold Coast. On the weekends, she immerses herself in activities with her family, such as swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, scootering, playing football and embarking on new adventures! Last year Jamie discovered Muay Thai and now aspires to step into the ring and partake in her inaugural fight later this year.
Core Value: Challenge

Setting goals and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone allows you to grow and it becomes a source of motivation. It instils a sense of confidence by knowing you can tackle obstacles and sets up a more positive mindset for future challenges.


Chelsea Plumb

Mentoring Coordination Manager
Chelsea is a dedicated professional with a strong passion for working with people, backed by her background in psychology. During her university studies, Chelsea gained valuable experience at a swim centre, where she excelled in teaching swimming, training staff and handling administrative tasks. Eager to make a difference in the community she then ventured into the community services sector, specifically in out-of-home care.

In 2020, after relocating to the Gold Coast from Melbourne, Chelsea joined Tribes as an Eco-mentor, after resonating strongly with the philosophy and governing values of Tribes. Her exceptional performance and natural leadership skills quickly led her to a full-time role in the Mentoring Coordination team, then moving to Team Leader in 2021.

Chelsea’s optimistic outlook on life and belief in the strength gained from adversity stem from her experience of temporary blindness as a teenager. Though classified as legally blind from the ages of 12 to 15, her eyesight regenerated enough to be able to wear glasses but more importantly, it left her with some amazing life lessons!

Outside of work, Chelsea indulges in various hobbies and interests. She enjoys learning Spanish and constantly seeks new challenges through activities like aerial silks, hoop, dancing, bouldering, and hiking.
Core Value: Challenge

I deeply resonate with the Tribes core value of Challenge because I have personally experienced the transformative power of overcoming adversity. I understand first hand, through my own personal experience, how facing challenges can lead to immense personal growth and learning. My own journey has inspired me to embrace challenges with resilience and determination, and I am passionate about helping others navigate their own challenges to unlock their full potential.

BJ Miller

Groups & Projects Manager
Born in Singapore and growing up overseas in various countries BJ, our Groups & Projects Manager, has lived an adventurous life. Among the places he has experienced, South Africa stands out as having had a profound impact on him. Immersed in the vibrant culture and traditions, BJ formed a deep and lasting connection that has shaped his identity.

After relocating to Australia in 2011, BJ spent time in Wollongong and then Melbourne before settling on the Gold Coast in 2021 and joining Tribes as the Groups Coordinator.

An ardent outdoorsman, BJ finds joy in thrilling activities such as hiking, surfing and spearfishing. He is refining his skills as a free diver and is eager to complete his scuba diving open water certification. Recently, BJ completed a half-marathon and is about to complete his first full marathon!

With over 15 years of experience in outdoor education and sports recreation, BJ has transformed his passion into a fulfilling career. Guiding young individuals to step out of their comfort zones and embrace nature’s wonders is his driving force as he strives to create transformative experiences with lasting impact.
Core Value: Challenge

Holding a special place in his heart, I believe that the inherent ability to overcome obstacles and the sense of achievement that accompanies this is life-changing, which is why I resonate with the core value of Challenge.


Ryan McNicoll

Mentoring Coordinator
Ryan is a driven individual with a mission to empower and unlock the potential of others. Joining Tribes in early 2021, he excels at engaging and supporting participants to pursue their passions and build their capacity to their full potential.

Originally from the UK, Ryan has studied social care and has supported adults with disabilities. This experience equipped him with a deep understanding of the importance of individualised support and fostering personal growth.

Prior to joining Tribes, Ryan had a successful career in the hospitality industry as a National Operations Manager for a restaurant group. During this time he oversaw operations for 15 restaurants across 4 states. Seeking a new challenge he settled on the Gold Coast, where he opened one of the largest and most successful ventures in the area. Ryan loves keeping active and fit and he has been involved in a myriad of sporting activities such as soccer, swimming, rugby league, hockey, badminton, tennis and bowling. He is also an avid snowboarder and skier, having spent a couple of seasons in the French ski resort Val D’lsere.

Outside of work Ryan leads an active and adventurous lifestyle. He embarks on exciting adventures, exploring the Gold Coast on his Harley motorcycle. In addition, he finds joy in small home renovation projects, putting his practical skills to use. Ryan’s love for the outdoors extends to bushwalking and walks along the beach with his wife, Kate and their two beloved Border Collies, Scout & Happy.
Core Value: Integrity

Integrity has the paramount importance to me and my role at Tribes. It establishes trust, ethical conduct and a commitment to maintaining confidentiality, all of which are crucial for fostering positive and effective participant and carer relationships.

Lee Mcsween

Mentoring Coordinator
Lee is the newest member of the Mentoring Coordination team! He brings a blend of professional experience with a friendly demeanour to his Mentoring Coordination role. Having previously worked as an Eco-mentor, Lee understands the intricacies of the job from both sides, which allows him to connect with our participants on a deeper level.

Joining Tribes in 2022, Lee hails from the employment sector where he assisted young people in preparing for their chosen careers, giving Lee a strong foundation in guiding and supporting others. His decade-long overseas adventures, primarily in India, has provided him with valuable insights and a rich cultural experience. During this time, he had a brief but exciting stint in Bollywood. These diverse experiences have shaped Lee’s perspective and given him the ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

In his spare time you will find Lee at the gym, reading and writing or playing any sport that will have him. He is also the proud parent of a very needy cat!
Core Value: Harmony

I believe that Harmony holds a great significance in my life, whether it is finding harmony in nature or promoting harmonious interactions in our daily lives.


Brittany Yalden

Groups Coordinator
In early 2023, Brittany joined Tribes as the Groups Coordinator for the Junior Programs. She brings a wealth of knowledge and holds degrees in Biodiversity and Conservation, as well as Psychological Science as a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar.

After growing up in Sydney, Britt moved to the Gold Coast in 2015 where she worked as a Marine Animal Behaviour Specialist in the tourism industry, where she facilitated conversation programs.

With a keen interest in environmental psychology, Britt is enthusiastic about being a part of the Tribes Ecotherapy initiative and is committed to positive change.

Outside of work and passionate about reducing her ecological footprint and actively maintains a worm farm while minimising her use of plastics. She also loves to spend time with her family, including her beloved Cocker Spaniel, Sebe!
Core Value: Integrity

My passion for honesty runs deep within me, perhaps ingrained during my upbringing. I strongly believe in the importance of aligning my actions with my values as it helps me to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of cognitive dissonance. By embracing integrity, I contribute to the well-being of my mind, ensuring a sense of harmony and authenticity in my thoughts and behaviours.

Christian Chester

Programs Coordinator
Our programs coordinator at Tribes, Christian brings a unique perspective to our team with an extensive background in Adventure tourism and a wealth of international experience. Originally from New Zealand, Christian made the bold decision to relocate to the vibrant Gold Coast in early 2022.

Before joining Tribes, Christian has embarked on exhilarating journeys across the globe, using rafting as a means of both work and exploration. Returning to New Zealand, Christian transitioned into managing tourism businesses, showcasing a strong commitment to the industry.

During his downtime, Christian engages in a variety of activities from hiking to sailing and is always seeking new thrills. Recently, he has developed an undeniable passion for freediving and finds tranquillity in walks along the beach.

Christian shares his home in northern NSW with his partner, Amy, and their beloved canine companion, Mojo.
Core Value: Challenge

I feel by challenging participants to step outside their comfort zones they are afforded the opportunity to expand their perspectives and explore the depths of their own capabilities.

Our Eco-Mentors​

An organisation is only as good as the staff it employs and at Tribes we pride ourselves on employing exceptional eco-mentors to mentor our participants and run our group programs.

What sets us apart is our diverse team of instructions who bring a wealth of expertise from various backgrounds. We have military trained instructors, teachers, fitness enthusiasts, outdoor adventure workers, disability support workers and health professionals, including those with cultural and indigenous heritage.

This eclectic blend of skills and perspectives allows us to deliver programs that are both unique and impactful.
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