“Where I am now is a culmination of new learnings and taking opportunities to step outside my comfort zone. Full story.

It’s not just a matter of ‘moving up the ladder’ in education anymore. It’s more about looking for alternative paths to improve myself and achieve my goals.

For me, being a school leader is not just about having an impact on my class, but about having an impact on teachers, who have an impact on their class. I’m even starting to have an impact on other school leaders, who are having a positive impact in their schools. I think that’s the power of leadership. You can make a difference on a broader scale. It makes you feel like you’ve been able to grow. Most of the time I'm able to have a positive impact on someone else, which is the result of something I’ve learnt and had to put into practice.

At the heart of it, I just want to keep improving. It’s just a matter of not being satisfied with what I have achieved. I’m not going to stick the flagpole in the ground and say, 'I’ve arrived'. I want to keep powering on so that I can set up our lives and go on to have a family. Then it becomes about motivating my children and giving them opportunities to start from a higher platform and successfully achieve whatever they’re inclined to do.”



“I released that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. Full story.


“Even though I was born with cerebral palsy, my Mum and Dad raised me just like any other child. Full story.

When you grow up in a normal environment and you’re exposed to everyday life, you develop normal expectations like going to school, to Uni and one day getting a job. I owe them so much because I’ve met a lot of people who haven’t had as many opportunities as I have. These people are often living in supported accommodation. I will not live my life that way. I refuse to allow my disability to stop me from living a good life.

I chose to be independent. I couldn’t imagine getting people to help me with everything for the rest of my life. That’s not me. I’ve always been determined, I think it’s because other people have always told me that because of my disability I won’t be able to do certain things. I won’t be able to do VCE, get employment, buy a house and that I would always need support doing everyday tasks. Over the years, I have worked so hard to do all of those things and I won’t give up now.

If I say I’m going to do something, then I’m going to do it.

I had always wanted to go skydiving. I was so terrified on the plane but that didn't hold me back from jumping. I’ve learned that in life there are so many fears and you can either let the fear rule your life and stop you from doing the things that you really want to do or you can live through the fear and do it anyway.

I'm just living my life the best way I know how to.”



"When I got the role, I couldn’t believe it. I started crying. Full story

All I could think of was wow… I can’t believe that I’m going to be working at the National Gallery. This is it! To think that I’ll be working in a place surrounded by art which is what I love, it’s phenomenal.

When I finished my Bachelor of Arts there weren’t many job opportunities to pursue gallery work, so that’s why I got into education initially. Although I do I love teaching and it will always be part of who I am, since I started teaching I’ve hardly produced any artworks or read about any art. This had been playing on my mind.

The first session with you, mapping out our goals and what we wanted to achieve was alarm bells for me. It reignited the flame. It made me want to pursue my passion and have a go at it. I hadn’t forgotten but it sparked that flame again. It got me thinking about the 'what ifs'. What if there is an alternative career to teaching? It was a trigger.

When the role came up at the National Gallery of Victoria a few months ago, I thought to myself, it’s now or never. This is my chance.

Arts is something I’ve always wanted to do. I loved art as a child. I’ve always loved doing artworks and drawing. It’s an escape for me. When I start my own artwork, I get into a zone and I shut off from everything else. I love that feeling of just being in the zone."



“As soon as I finished work, I started looking after my Dad." Full story

He really wasn’t well and looking after him took up a lot of my time. There wasn’t much balance.

Being an only child, you feel like you’ve got to do as much as you can. Initially, I think I was my own worst enemy. I was battling with that for some time. I didn’t sleep properly for two years. Now, after much convincing from family, I feel proud. We all do the best that we can.

Given his health has now improved, I can really start enjoying my retirement.

For it’s a combination of travelling and being able to take as many photos as I possibly can.

I love travelling through the countryside and I love history. I love to see old buildings and beautiful old ruins.

Scotland is a magnet for me. It’s a place that I really love. There’s something about the place and the people that I’m drawn to.

I write a journal at the end of every day when I’m on holidays. I also draw landscapes and sketches of trees and mountains. It’s the only time I like to draw. I think it’s because I’m away from being the daughter, the mother, the housewife, the carer of the dogs. I’m on holidays and I’m just Olivine.

I don’t have any cares in the world.”



“My job had become stressful, tedious and no longer challenging." Full story

My passion is the Arts and I was teaching in the Arts but needed a change and new horizons. I was quite fearful of making a change at my age because, well, I’ve been around for a while now.

When I finally decided what I wanted to retrain in I didn’t know where it was going to lead. I just had to jump off the cliff and try it. It was very frightening but with change there is always new and unexpected opportunities.

I’m now learning something that I’ve always been interested in which is languages and other cultures. I’m helping migrants to learn English and it’s quite a buzz.

Having come to Australia with only a little money and really having to live by my wits before I got my first job in the theatre, I understand how daunting it is. How difficult it must be for someone who has to learn the language, the culture, fit in, find a job and survive. That’s a huge thing to do. By helping people learn the language you’re really giving them a step up in their journey. The students are very motivated and appreciative. It’s very rewarding.

I now feel renewed and shaken up which is a really good thing later in life."



“In my late teens and early twenties I was very narrow minded in a lot of my views." Full story

It wasn't until after a few trips to the UK to visit family and after experiencing the 'big city' lifestyle, that I realised I wanted to see more of the world.

I spent three years living in London, travelled all throughout Europe, and finally set my eyes on Central and South America. After moving around third world countries, it really amazed me how welcoming and giving the people were, even when they had nothing themselves.

Returning home to my old life was difficult. In my absence, nothing had really changed but my thoughts and opinions of the world had altered. I felt like I was a totally different person and knew I couldn't stay. I was really choking.

Growing up in my hometown, all I had known was the 'old school' mentality of work, work, work. 

That wasn't enough for me anymore.

I want a healthy balance.

I want to see the wold.

I want to do all the things that I want to do.

Obviously, working is necessary to get everything I desire in life, but I cannot forget that I only have one life to live. Go out and do as much as you can, meet as many amazing people as possible, and never stop having adventures.

That is me at my core.”



“When I was a little girl my purpose in life was to work in a tall building, wear nice clothes and boss men around." Full story

I wanted to be successful.
I think this coincided with the first time I saw the movie ‘Working Girl’. I loved the whole underdog story and how in spite of Tess’s education, appearance and lack of breeding, she just had a driving ambition to make it. This is how I saw myself in my late teens. I was on the dole but knew I wouldn't be forever.
I eventually worked my way up to senior marketing roles for leading corporates. I remember travelling to CeBIT in Germany in my early twenties and at the time I felt like I'd made it.
Then a few years ago, I put my career on hold to become a mum.
It changed my perspective on everything.
I now have much more empathy, patience and humility. Kids just have a way of doing that to you.
My daughter is five now and I'm fortunate enough to be working for a company that affords me tremendous flexibility.
I'm now less ‘working girl’ and more ‘working mum’.
That’s perfect for me right now, but I am curious to see where life will take me next.”


"I truly believe that I can achieve whatever I want in life." Full story

In hindsight, a big part of that is probably my parents. They've always made me feel that as long as I'm prepared to do the work then I can have it.

I want to have lots of different ventures. I want some to succeed and I want some to fail but as long as I keep learning and sharpening the pencil then I'm really excited. For me, it's just a sense of opportunity. If I can see something, I just want to chase it down.

It’s because I don't see a ceiling when I think about what I can achieve through business that I want to be able to help everyone in my life.

I want to help my mates, friends, family, Mum and Dad, I just want to be able to give back to all of them.

For me, the key to that is to just keep working hard and make the right decisions.

I don't know what's going to happen in the future but I know it’s going to be big. I'm really pumped and I love that!"



"I think for me now, everything is about calmness." Full story

I’ve had a lot of internal turmoil all my life. It hasn't been the fault of others, it's just how I am and how I developed. I've learnt how this internal battle saps your energy and means you're then not able to engage with people or life in the way that you’d like to. That’s why I value calmness so much.

When I think about my voluntary work engaging with people in turmoil, it’s been one of the calmest spaces I’ve ever been in. It was the calmness of having found a niche that just felt right for me.

For fourteen years I was taking calls from people who felt they were in crisis, from being totally overwhelmed and not in a good space through to loneliness and isolation. I think I do it well because I genuinely care for people.

Along with being a parent, crisis counselling has probably been the most pivotal experience for me and the relationship that I have with myself.

I’ve come along way but there’s still a long way to go. It’s an ever evolving journey but I feel more capable of dealing with whatever unfolds."



“I want to be someone more than a Mum." Full story

I want to use my brain for more than just baby talk and what’s on the Nickelodeon channel.

Having three children a year apart, it takes over yourself, over who you are. You’re just consumed with changing nappies and putting them first.

I mean, being a Mum is amazing and being a stay at home Mum is even more amazing because not many people are lucky enough to be with their children while they grow up.

But it’s the simple things you miss. I miss eating meals at the right time and having a proper discussion with adults. It’s the hardest job I have ever done and will ever do, but it’s amazing at the same time.

I wouldn’t change it but I do really want to get myself back.

I want to put my degree back in action. I used to teach at a low decile school in New Zealand. The community was really poor. These kids were coming to school with no breakfast, no lunch, no shoes. It was really, really bad. I spent more on the kids in my class than I earned. That’s where I’d want to be.

That’s my passion.”



"I've never felt like law has been a calling for me." Full story

My ambition as a child was to be a veterinary surgeon but then I got a much higher tertiary entrance score than I was expecting and my Dad convinced me to try being a lawyer.

When we started KHQ the biggest driver was to be independent in our professional lives and not be employed by someone else. Perhaps for me it’s in the genes - I come from a long line of self-employed people. Certainly, it's just not in my genes to be an employee!

For me, starting and growing the business was a way to express my creativity and my desire to make something worthwhile. From day one we had a dream we would have a law firm that was a nicer place to work.

During the GFC we had to go a few months without pay so that we could pay our people. We thought that if we make people redundant in this environment then they might be unemployed for ages and could lose their homes. That really weighed heavily on us. We didn't want people who worked for us to suffer that unless we were also suffering that. Proudly, we got through without having to lay anyone off.

When things picked up we had the right people in place and we were able to take off again."



“Somewhere in Year 10 the light bulb just went on and I said, I have to be in Science." Full story

I ended up getting a short term job in CSIRO in what I deemed to be the country’s pinnacle scientific research organisation. For me this was like winning the lottery and I have had a career that I have loved for 47 years until my recent retirement.

I'm very keen to maintain contact with my field and engage in small amounts of work that continues to provide some intellectual stimulation. It’s not so much about the money as it is about meeting up with old colleagues at conferences and importantly, feeding back the stuff that I know into the new parts of our community; a real handing over of knowledge.

I feel it’s my duty to give back to the young people now. I’ve always had the attitude that you should support the communities that support you, I feel that strongly. One of the ongoing projects I have will be to write a small book aimed at raw beginners in our field.

More than anything, I'm looking forward to some genuine retirement activities with my wife, doing various things including investigating places we've not been too. The time that is lost in a busy working life and when you're raising family; now that those things are off our plate I really want to spend some years just me and my partner and do many of the things that we want to do.

This is going to be my number one priority."



"We love to travel, and are always craving the next adventure." Full story

Travel for us is mostly about food - that's where I get a lot of inspiration.

As soon as I return, I immediately set about trying to recreate, adapt, and learn from what I've experienced. It's a great way to expand my repertoire; I love it. I also love cooking what David grows in our backyard. Gardening is his passion, which fits well with my passion for cooking.

It was only when I left my career in the law a couple of years ago that I started thinking seriously about writing a cookbook about our food experience with the kids. It was really David's prompting and belief in the project that gave me the encouragement I needed.

I've now almost finished the first draft and am working with a publisher to have it published. It's incredibly exciting for me and not something I'd ever imagined doing. The book is really a chronicle of food in our home. How and what we grow in the backyard, recipes I've developed, and sharing of the strategies that worked for us with the kids.

I want it to be something I'm really proud of."


Corey Wastle

Co-founder and Financial Adviser

Corey is a Certified Financial Planner and a co-founder of Verse with experience providing advice to people at each stage of life.

Renowned for his authentic and personal approach, he is committed to helping Verse clients get the most out of life.


From learning to save at a young age and borrowing to invest by his teens, Corey was drawn to financial advice to help others achieve the ambitions that are most important to them, without financial constraints. 

Having spent a number of years advising clients at one of Australia’s largest financial institutions and a continuing commitment to profession education, Corey has amassed a diverse range of skills and expertise in financial planning.

During his time in the industry, Corey has developed strong ideals on how advice is best delivered to clients to enable them to recognise and determine its value; these ideals are now foundations of Verse’s unique advice approach.

He now ensures that all Verse clients receive advice in a transparent and genuine manner that is focused on addressing their individual challenges and achieving clearly defined outcomes that are meaningful to them.

Passions and pastimes

Corey is passionate about keeping fit, eating well and a enjoys range of sports. He is a devoted fan of the St Kilda Football club.

His bucket list includes shooting under par in a round of golf, presenting a Ted Talk and skiing the world.

He spends his spare time with his partner Kristy, playing golf, drinking green tea and travelling.


  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Communications, Monash University
  • Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning
  • Graduate Certificate of Applied Finance
  • Self-Managed Super Funds Specialist Course
  • Margin Lending Certification 
  • Member of Financial Planning Association (FPA)
  • Member of Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)

‘Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count’

– Albert Einstein

James O’Reilly

Co-founder and Financial Adviser

James is a co-founder of Verse and holds a Master of Applied Finance having previously held a diverse range of advisory roles

He now partners with clients to provide guidance in all aspects of their financial life and help achieve their individual ambitions.


James began in the advice profession at the tender age of 14, working in the family’s independent financial planning practice.

Since venturing out of the family business, James has worked at both small boutique practices and major financial institutions, winning several prominent awards along the way. These experiences have helped him to establish strong principles on the delivery of financial advice and shape Verse as a trusted and industry-leading advisory firm.

James’ strong leadership skills are coupled with a distinct knowledge of both financial planning and investment management to enable him to deliver a very high quality advice experience to any client.

His passion to improve the lives of those around him flows into his professional life and ensures that Verse clients receive the advice and expertise needed to meet their personal goals and achieve financial freedom.

Passions and pastimes

James leads an ultra-active personal life combining cycling, weight training and basketball on a regular basis.

His bucket list includes meeting Paul McCartney, fluently learning another language and hiking the 3,500km Appalachian Trail that meanders through 13 states of the USA.

In the summer you will find James fly-fishing in the Kosciuszko National Park or enjoying time with his wife Louise and their two Dalmatians, Bella and Millie.


  • Master of Applied Finance (double-major in Financial Planning and Investment Management)
  • Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning
  • Advanced Diploma of Financial Services
  • Self-Managed Super Funds Specialist Course
  • Margin Lending Specialist Course
  • Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)

‘What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving your goals’

– Henry David Thoreau

Monique Baines

Client Experience Manager


Monique is the Verse Client Experience Manager.

She is committed to ensuring that every Verse client receives a personalised experience and the process remains easy and enjoyable throughout. She holds a Bachelor of Finance with a major in Financial Planning and is in training to become an advisor in the future.  


Monique joined the Verse team in 2015 as the firm’s Client Experience Manager.

A self described ‘saver’ from an early age, Monique has always had a genuine interest in financial strategies and investments. She has previously held roles as a junior analyst in corporate governance and completed a Financial Planning internship with Platinum Asset Management in early 2015. 

Her drive to join the advice profession comes from a willingness to help others, in particular the younger generation. Monique is intent on ensuring young Australian’s get more financial education, not just strategies. Her focus is on providing the teaching, guidance and coaching necessary to help them live out their goals. 

Passions and pastimes

Monqiue has a passion for animal welfrare (dog person) and dedicates her spare time to the RSPCA, helping to re-home animals. She also recently spent three months volunteering at an animal shelter in Heart Tokushima in Japan. She plays competitive netball as well as enjoying DIY craft projects, recently refurbishing a desk as a birthday present for a close friend.

Her bucket list includes travelling to every continent, becoming a board member and building a tiny house in the future. 

Qualifications and achievements

  • Bachelor of Finance (major in Financial Planning)
  • 2015 Platinum Asset Management Financial Planning Scholarship 

Hayley Knight


Hayley is the Verse team’s Paraplanner.

Her focus is on continually finding simpler and more effective ways of providing advice and passing on knowledge to Verse clients, empowering them to make better financial decisions and achieve more. 


Hayley has always been good with numbers and was drawn to financial services shortly after finishing school. After starting out at the local credit union she learned more about financial planning and has pursued it ever since.  After a number of years Paraplanning, Hayley took over an outsourcing company and restructured it to have less input and more time with her family.

During her time in the industry she learned how money is really just a tool in obtaining the life that we want and strategising the most effective way of achieving our goals.

Passions and pastimes

Hayley loves spending quality time with her young son Bryce and husband Chris. 

Her bucket list includes seeing Silverback Gorillas in the wild, celebrating Bastille Day in Paris and writing a book.

In her down time, you will find Hayley reading personal/business development books and enjoying a glass of wine.


  • Advanced Diploma Financial Services
  • Diploma Financial Services
  • Certificate 2 & 3 in Financial Services


‘Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count’

– Albert Einstein