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Welcome Shane Smith, incoming President of MAREAA

PREPARE/ENRICH director Shane Smith was recently elected to the role of MAREAA President, replacing outgoing President Denise Lacey, who whilst still on the Executive, has chosen to step-down from the lead role.

I am thrilled to welcome Shane to the role…. In November 2014, Shane was appointed as the Vice President of the Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA) and has been a wonderful support to me and the whole Executive. He is a natural leader, has passion and commitment to marriage and relationship education and will provide strong direction and creative for the future of MAREAA.

Shane has delivered a wide variety of parenting and relationship education programs since 2007 and with his wife Mandi, have grown PREPARE/ENRICH and CoupleCheckup to support over 8,500 facilitators across Australia, training over 400 new facilitators each year and supporting over 500 couple inventory completions each month. Supporting the technology and social media platforms, Shane has played a pivotal role in uplifting MAREAAs engagement with relationship educators, celebrants and couples across Australia through the provision of web, weekly social media blogs and regular newsletters.

Shane commented, “Given MAREAA believes and strongly advocates for the development and maintenance of healthy, committed, nurturing relationships in all their diversity, there is no better time for MAREAA to be part of public discussion, supporting and respecting the dignity of all individuals, inclusion, belonging and equality for couples irrespective of age, sexual orientation, cultural or religious background. As we continue to become a more diverse culture, making a long-term commitment to a partner, whether that be in marriage or a cohabiting relationship, overwhelmingly points to physical, psychological, emotional, social and financial benefits for men, women and children (and our society in general) and it’s a privilege to contribute and continue to advocate that.”

“For the Committee, I want to bring that all together in a highly collaborative and transparent environment… and we’ve started off the year just this way with our strategic planning meeting last month. For our members, we appreciate your continued support, clearly demonstrated at the highly successful National Conference held last November. Throughout this year and years ahead, we look forward to continually improving what we do, how we collaborate with each other and across the sector and with government and looking always to the positive impact on couple and family relationships”, Shane said.

MAREAA has a great tradition and history in supporting relationship educators and influencing the public agenda and I believe we can continue to positively contribute and advocate for the ongoing growth and provision for early intervention and prevention programs in Australia. We have tremendous knowledge and diversity within the leadership team and I thank the Executive and members for your continued support. I am still on the Executive and on the MAREAA Vic committee and very committed to Relationship Education. I will support Shane and the MAREAA Exec in everything we do.

As Director of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia and now President of MAREAA, in his spare time he is also an intentional husband and father of three teenage children. Shane works alongside many like-minded professionals and organisations who support and advocate for individuals, couples and families. He believes that all couples have the opportunity to develop and grow their relationship skills that assist them maintain strong and healthy relationships.

Shane has a broad understanding of digital technology (Unlike me!!) and the impact of the internet, mobile technology and social media has on couple relationships He is a regular writer and blogger on this topic. With over 20 years’ experience in IT and Telecommunications, Procurement and Contract and Commercial management, Shane has a Master of Dispute Resolution at the University of Technology (Sydney), a Master of Business Administration (Law) from the University of New England, a postgraduate certificate in Adult Education in Training and a bachelor’s degree of Applied Science in Information Studies from UTS.

Welcome and thankyou Shane for accepting this position.

Yours Sincerely,

Denise Lacey
(former) National President

Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA)