Skildare: A different kind of HR company,
A different kind of HR advice and support
Hi there, we’re Diane and Adam Loong, the founders of Skildare. We’re one part Irish, one part fighter pilot, and together our goal is to make our people soar so our clients can take off.
Hey, we get it. We’re business owners just like you. When we started Skildare, we knew it was an all-in kind of situation. You pour everything you’ve got into building a business. There are sleepless nights, unrelenting pressure and uncertainty at almost every bend in your journey.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. When you’re running a successful business that’s powered by an engaged team, it’s worth it. Knowing that your people love your business as much as you do is priceless.
It all starts here
Skildare has hand-picked
Skildare has hand-picked
HR experts ready to help your business thrive
What does working with Skildare mean for you? Simply put, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your business is HR compliant and that the best interests of your people and your business are protected.
You’ll be working side by side with a team of friendly and talented HR consultants who love their job. They stay up to date on the latest employment laws, regulations, HR technologies and business practices – so you don’t have to.
Di Loong | Director
Diane is our fearless, fun and hands-on leader here at Skildare. She’s built Skildare from the ground up with one thing in mind – treating her clients’ business like it’s her own. She genuinely cares about getting the best results for her clients, and she’s nurtured her exceptional team of HR consultants to strive for the same.
Diane describes Skildare as ethical, caring and high achieving. And she loves mentoring and making a difference in her team members careers just as much as she loves helping her clients, their businesses and their employees.
More on Di…
She’s always wanted to publish a book
The first trophy she ever won was for a 100-metre sprint
We Are the Champions by Queen is her theme song
She was pretty sure she’d grow up to be a nurse (just like her mum)
One thing that you should know about Diane is that she’s knowledgeable, easy-going and completely approachable. Combine this with her 25 years of experience in the HR industry, and you’ve got the best in the business helping you with all your HR needs.
Brooke Reynolds | General Manager
Brooke is our General Manager, our resident travel guru and the queen of multi-tasking. She’s well known for keeping all the balls in the air with our team and managing the broad range of services we provide to our clients. Brooke’s favourite part of working at Skildare is the relationships that she develops with the team and our clients.
When it comes to delivering exceptional experiences for our clients, Brooke firmly believes that this starts with really understanding their business and their culture. And, with over 15 years of experience in HR, we’re inclined to believe her.
More on Brooke…
She’s a closet travel agent
Her office superpower is using her intuition
She married her childhood sweetheart
Lollies are Brooke’s weakness
Brooke loves working with inspiring and strong leaders across successful Newcastle businesses. There’s nothing that motivates her more each and every day than making a positive impact on their business.
Nicholas Adams | HR Business Partner
Nick is not only our go-to guy when we need help shifting furniture, he’s also our heavy lifter when it comes to all things risk management, compliance and assurance. Nick loves working at Skildare because of the interesting work and the sense of achievement he gets from helping business owners make sense of all things HR.
With a combined seven years’ experience in industrial and employee relations and HR, a Bachelor of Law and exceptional knowledge of workplace legislation, Nick is a knowledgeable and highly respected member of our team.
More on Nick…
His proudest moment was becoming a dad
Travelling to the US for an NFL game is on his must-do list
You might be surprised to know that he’s got a green thumb and loves to garden
Nick loves helping businesses fill that HR compliance gap so they can do what they do best – building their business.
Jessica Gossage | HR Business Partner
When it comes to delivering exceptional experiences for her clients, Jess thrives on helping them overcome the complexities of HR by keeping the process simple. Jess is always looking for opportunities to go above and beyond for her clients and prides herself on being able to form strong working relationships with Senior Leaders, Line Managers, and employees. With over 13 years’ experience in HR, combined with her Bachelor of Business, Jess is passionate about supporting her clients with:
-Building Leadership capabilities
-Workplace Restructures and change initiatives
-Workers Compensation Claims and Injury Management
-Automating HRIS systems
More on Jess…
Jess spent some of her early 20’s living abroad in the UK and is now a mum to 2 very adventurous and energetic boys. On the weekends, you will find Jess entertaining at home with her husband, family and friends, sharing her new passion for espresso martini’s or busy planning her next holiday, most likely involving spending time with her family on a boat or chasing her boys down another ski slope.
Samantha Russell | HR Business Partner
Having worked in HR for 15 years, it takes a lot to ruffle our Sam’s feathers. Her calm and light-hearted nature makes her an excellent communicator and an even better HR consultant. Sam might struggle to park her car at Skildare each morning, but she’ll always bring her A-game when it comes to partnering with clients.
She loves building great relationships and really getting to know the heart of every business she works with.
More on Sam…
Bring the tissues for tear-jerker movies
Spreadsheet budgets are her thing
When she was five, she’d thought she’d grow up to be a writer
We absolutely love her funny and energetic personality, but don’t be fooled; she’s seriously smart, hardworking and dedicated to delivering exceptional service to her clients—Every. Single. Time.
Sarah Tyler | HR Business Partner
Sarah starts her day at Skildare with a coffee in hand and a desire to make a real difference in her clients’ lives. How does she do it? By really getting to know them and their business, and then finding practical solutions to their HR needs. In fact, engaging with local business owners is what Sarah enjoys most about her role in HR.
And, having come from a background in hospitality, you’ll find her to be friendly, honest and no stranger to a good conversation.
More on Sarah…
Sarah’s hidden talent is playing the piano
If Hollywood made a move about her life, Zoey Deschanel would be the lead actress
When she was 5, she was going to be a hairdresser when she grew up
Sarah’s worked in HR for 11 years and contributes a tremendous amount of experience and professionalism to the Skildare team. For Sarah, the most inspiring part of her job is seeing other people become confident in their role.
Kate Minns | HR Consultant
Kate is our resident spreadsheet super-nerd, and it’s her attention to detail and the research skills that make her stand out. She’s been with Skildare since 2013 and loves collaborating with the team on all things award compliance.
Kate’s clients commonly ask her about employee entitlements. Of course, she’s quick to respond with the right answer and knows how to support her clients without being salesy. Kate finds working with people who have built successful businesses to be genuinely inspiring.
More on Kate…
Kate loves leopard print
If she had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of her life, it would be plain sea-salt chips
Her superhero power would be teleporting
If she were a pasta, she’d be Penne – consistent, reliable and holds the sauce
Kate describes the team at Skildare as fun, smart and inclusive. Put simply, she loves her Skildare team, and we know you will too.
Kirsty Hughes-Narborough | HR Consultant
She graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business – Human Resources. With over 7 years’ experience working predominately in the Financial Services and Not for Profit Industries. Specialising in workplace wellbeing and mental health, she assists her clients with:
-Creating a mental health strategy
-Mental health related training
-Building Leadership capabilities and understanding around mental health
-Coaching Leaders / Teams through challenging teams
More on Kirsty…
My key life achievements include winning the Best Health and wellbeing Program at the Australian HR Awards for a program I was instrumental in implementing, and putting a ring on my now husband (he lived for the bachelor life!)
Kirsty genuinely cares about her clients and their people and she is passionate about creating inclusive supportive and thriving workplaces.
Brittney Mason | HR Consultant
Brittney brings her HR experience from both Disability Services and the Building and Construction Industry. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources all the way from the University of South Australia!
Brittney is collaborative and passionate about delivering exceptional service to both stakeholders and clients alike. Brittney always ensures best practice methodologies are applied and thrives on developing effective relationships to drive fresh and innovative business strategies and achieve business objectives.
More on Brittney…
Brittney is both a student and teacher of yoga – when she is not in the office you will find her on her mat or by the ocean.
Stevie Smith | HR Consultant
Stevie graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Human Resources. She has over 8 years experience working within the Financial Services Industry with a strong focus on generalist HR.
Stevie has a passion for building strong relationships with her clients and stakeholders to truly understand the business and providing practical support to ensure its people contribute to its ongoing success. She loves the diversity that working within HR brings and that no two days are the same.
More on stevie…
Stevie is also a mum to a busy one year old, so when she is not in the office, you will find her spending time with family, running around after her toddler, or planning her next camping adventure.
Jess Butler | HR Consultant
Jess graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Industrial Relations and Human Resources. She has 11 years experience working in generalist HR roles across a variety of industries. Most of her has been career spent living in the Hunter Valley working within the Black Coal Mining Industry, however, she also has experience in Finance and Advertising Industries as well.
Jess is passionate about building strong working relationships and providing practical people-based solutions with stakeholders. She loves the variety of working in HR and the sense of satisfaction that comes with supporting leaders and solving complex problems.
More on Jess…
She recently returned from living abroad in the UK, unfortunately, COVID-19 hindered the experience of living and working abroad. After living away from Newcastle for the past 10 years, she enjoying living and working back in her hometown. She is a keen traveler, and when she is not at work she loves to travel. Loving all things food, her weekends are spent at the farmer’s markets and exploring the new restaurants and coffee shops.
Courtney Perry | HR Officer
Court’s office super power is anticipating and completing a task before she is asked. Or being given a task and not just doing what she is asked but also the next three steps. When the workload is high, GM Brooke would be swimming around in circles without her.
Variety is the spice of life according to our Courtney, and it’s why she loves working at Skildare. Having worked with us for just over two years, Courtney has gained exceptional skills across a broad range of HR projects. Her clients and the rest of our Skildare team find her to be supportive, a good listener and super helpful.
Courtney’s favourite part about working at Skildare is our unique and fun team.
More on Courtney…
Courtney has a Bachelor of Business – Human Resource Management and Sport Management from the University of Newcastle. The proudest moment in her HR career was a well-deserved promotion to HR Officer in January 2020. But, if she didn’t love HR so much, you’d probably find her blogging about all sorts of scrumptious food.
Ashlee Sunderland | HR Officer
Ash commenced with Skildare in January 2020, and despite the change of a pandemic two months after her commencement, her initiative and outstanding client service (amongst other things) have proven that she is developing into a brilliant HR practitioner. She graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Human Resources and Marketing. Ash chose a career in HR as she loves to problem solve and that no two days are the same!
More on Ashlee…
Ashlee might be new to HR, but she’s no stranger to the issues that can impact a business and its employees. Having worked in the hospitality industry and freelance marketing on the side, Ashlee’s broad knowledge base, positive attitude, and commitment to customer service really shine.
Julie Cvetanovski | HR Administrator
Julie graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources and Management. She commenced with Skildare in February 2021 as HR Administrator and has a special interest in Awards and legislation. The thing she loves most about Skildare is the diversity of clients and people, that all our staff enjoys working at Skildare. Her strengths are building strong relationships and she loves the fact that she is the first person visitors meet at Skildare, whilst managing the front desk. In her short time at Skildare, she has learned so much and is rapidly expanding her HR knowledge and supporting many of our clients on a daily basis.
More on Julie…
On a personal note, after graduating from university, she spent some time raising her children before jumping into her HR career. Out of the office, you will find her checking out the newest cafes and restaurants with family and friends. Between her kids’ birthday parties and entertaining friends and family, she loves all things event planning!
Asha Sparrow | Accountant
As an accountant, Asha’s a real numbers girl at heart, and accuracy is her secret weapon here at Skildare. But what inspires her most is getting to know the rest of her team. Asha’s a bit of a newbie to Skildare, having been here for only six months. But in that time she’s developed a solid reputation for being easy-going, approachable and, did we mention, a genius?
More on Asha…
Her proudest moment was holding her son Lennon for the first time
If she wasn’t so damn good at her job, she’d be a stand-up comedian (she’s our Little Miss Funny, that’s for sure).
Folding a fitted sheet is her hidden talent
If she won the lotto tomorrow, Asha would head off on holiday
Asha describes Skildare as fun, hard-working and relatable, which is why we know she’s sticking around.
From humble beginnings
It started with a leap of faith
Di started out in a home office, working directly with clients including Whitelaw McDonald and Regional Road Express.
The birth of Ciara
Di and Adam's daughter, Ciara Louise was born. Di created a great detail of flexibility in her role as mother and businesswoman.
Move to USA
Di and Adam headed off to North Carolina with the Defence force. Di worked with clients from afar.
The birth of Rory
Di and Adam welcomed their son Rory Adam while still in USA. Homelife expanded as did the responsibilities with 2 children and a business!
Return to Aus
Di and Adam returned from the USA and she resumed Progress Through People from home with a select group of clients.
Adam resigned from the RAAF and joined Di full-time. A home office changed to a serviced office + their first employee - Kate!
Moved into our first office space that needed a lot of work (!!) but with lots of TLC we made it into an office to be proud of!
King St Office Purchase
The Skildare office that you see today was purchased. It was an amazing milestone to reach - and gosh we were proud!
Move to King St
Renovations inline with our corporate image were completed. It was a great time as the team were very excited about the move!
Where we're at
From 6 to 21! The growth is in the Skildare HR side of the business plus the development of Skildare Defence with Adam at the helm.
Our heart and soul
Building Skildare from
Building Skildare from
our people up
Our people are the heart and soul of our business.
They’re the key to our success.
And they will be for your business as well.
The reason? Human resource management can be emotionally charged and tricky to navigate. It’s even harder if you don’t have the skills, systems and processes in place.
What if you didn’t have to feel that way? What if you could have your HR functions performed by the best talent in the HR industry?
Now we’re talking, right?
We created Skildare so busy business owners could feel supported by a friendly, expert team of HR specialists.
We’re focused on delivering down-to-earth, easy to understand HR advice and support to ensure your business is compliant and your HR functions run like a well-oiled machine.
Reducing HR headaches and
Helping our clients
Helping our clients
succeed is our biggest motivator
We’ve been very deliberate with the culture we’ve created at Skildare. To support our clients in the best way, we needed a culture founded on being friendly, knowledgeable and not salesy. That last point is non-negotiable for us and it’s what makes us different.
You see, when you’ve built a stellar team founded on values like these, they’ll deliver exceptional outcomes for your customers and clients.
Nothing motivates our team more than reducing HR headaches and seeing our clients thrive.
It’s why we keep doing what we do.
We all show up at Skildare because we love it. And when the majority of your new clients come to you as referrals, well, you know you’re doing something right.
HOLD UP ...
What do being Irish and