Today Drought Angels is overseen by three Executive Directors, Tash Johnston – Founder, Jenny Gailey – Chief Operations Officer, and Steele Johnston – Warehouse Manager.
All three Directors bring with them experience and knowledge from diverse work placements throughout their careers. This has enabled them to confidently guide Drought Angels through a rapid growth phase during 2018/19 when the drought arrived on Sydney’s doorstep and awareness of the plight of drought stricken Aussie farmers hit the front pages. Donations soared and the applications for assistance from farming families across Australia quadrupled almost overnight raising the number of families requiring assistance from less than 500 to beyond 2000.
From the devastation of the North Queensland floods in January 2019 to the unprecedented and catastrophic disaster of the bushfires during Australia’s Black Summer of 2019/2020; you will not only find Drought Angels there during the times of crisis – they’ll also remain long after the initial disaster has passed, continuing to provide assistance during the extensive recovery periods when the need is often the greatest.
Guided by Tash, Steele & Jenny, Drought Angels will always be there to ensure no Aussie farmer facing adversity due to natural disaster, will ever be forgotten!
Local Hero Australia Day Award Recipient
In November 2020 our Founder, Natasha Johnston was honoured to be awarded Qld Local Hero for 2021 at the Australia Day Awards.Her dedication and passion for Australian farming families is reflected in everything she does and has been the constant heartbeat driving Drought Angels to where it is today. We could not be more proud of ‘Our Tash’ with her passionate commitment to always be a voice for our farmers.
WE BELIEVE IN SUPPORTING THOSE THAT WORK SO HARD TO PUT THE FOOD ON OUR TABLES AND THE CLOTHES ON OUR BACKS.
CEO|FounderRead Tash's bio
Tash is the beating heart of Drought Angels… Born and raised on 40 acres on the south side of Brisbane, Tash attended school in Mansfield until year 10 before completing her senior years as a boarder at The Glennie School, Toowoomba. Many weekends and school holidays were spent at her parent’s properties at Beaudesert, Cooyar & Leyburn.
Commencing her career as a receptionist she performed admin duties for various companies including Canon where she met lifelong friend Jenny Gailey in 1994. Her career transitioned to Accounts at Thiess where she remained for 5 years before moving to Chinchilla in 2004.
Tash met Steele on a Saturday night at the Criterion Hotel in Brisbane – the 14th of January 1995. She spotted him across the room and thought he was pretty cute; little did she know 2 weeks later he would be moving in and the rest as they say is history….
Marrying in March 1998 they moved to Chinchilla to be closer to Steele’s family, Tash continued working in Accounts and Payroll until making the change to retail where she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with customers.
She opened her own successful gift shop which she later sold to take on shopping centre cleaning contracts along with other part time jobs. One of those part time jobs was at Jamaica Blue where she first met Nicki. It was through hearing the stories about the drought from the farmers who frequented the café, that the idea of Drought Angels was first born.
MILE BY MILE,
LIFE’S A TRIAL.
YARD BY YARD,
IT’S NOT SO HARD.
INCH BY INCH,
IT’S A CINCH
General ManagerRead Mitch's bio
Mitch loves working with people that want to make a difference in this world… I am passionate about helping primary producers and helping the Drought Angels team be prepared to support Aussie farmers through the toughest times of their lives.
Over the past 20 years of working in the non-profit sector, and in consulting roles, I have partnered with charities of varying size and complexity and enjoyed the challenge of working with mission-driven people to plan and implement the most ambitious strategies to transform people’s lives. Opportunities such as droving 500 head of cattle for nine weeks and flying “City Slickers” from Brisbane onto the drove to see and experience the challenges of rural and regional life. Helping to organise a free charity dinner for 1,800 people that raised over $800k. I have collected, sorted, and distributed 7,500 hampers in 8 weeks to provide Christmas in a bag to people doing it tough and seen the appreciation and hope in their eyes as they returned home to their families. I have sat with the homeless over a three-course meal and listened to their struggles and appreciation for a warm blanket and a hot shower thanks to a generous benefactor.
I have trained local communities in the art and science of fundraising, coached CEO’s, mentored leaders, advised charities on three continents, and received seven figure donations from generous benefactors and corporations. I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Business (Non-profit & Philanthropic Studies), a Bachelor of Leisure Management (Tourism & Event Management and a Certificate IV in Workplace and Business Coaching.
I am a father to two teenage children. I love the outdoors (especially camping and fishing), a good coffee, and working with people that want to make a difference in this world!
SOMETIMES THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THE MOST SUPPORT ARE THOSE WHO ARE LAST TO ASK FOR IT. WE’RE HERE FOR THEM.
Chief Operations OfficerRead Jenny's bio
Jenny is a self-confessed city chick with a country heart… Born in London she immigrated to Australia at the age of 2 in 1971. Raised in Brisbane she completed her schooling at Balmoral State High School.
Her first job was at Canon Australia as an Accounts Receivables Clerk, where over a ten-year period she worked her way up the ranks to Credit/Finance Officer. It’s at Canon where she met Tash in 1994.
With the loss of her Mother who passed away at age 51, Jenny took to the skies and travelled the world for 12 months until it was time to come home and restart her life. During this time, she worked at Price Waterhouse London and within weeks of returning to Australia she found employment with OneSteel Reinforcing expanding her finance knowledge and finally becoming PA to the National and State Managers. It was during her time with OneSteel that Jenny honed her organisational skills and business awareness in the corporate world.
Whilst at OneSteel she met local Wynnum boy Peter Gailey. If you are ever to meet Pete, you could be forgiven for thinking he’s from the country… So it wasn’t a surprise when one day they decided to sell their house and business and move with their two kids to the small country town of Chinchilla which they now proudly call home.
Jenny volunteered at the family support centre before becoming a full-time employee. Her compassion and desire to help others had found a home for five years until the opportunity arose to help Tash run Drought Angels as Director & Chief Operations Officer. Jenny’s life experiences have shaped who she is today. Her passion will always be that of helping others, and the understanding of their stories, her school.
IT’S A PRIVILEGE TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH OUR AUSSIE FARMERS
Warehouse ManagerRead Steele's bio
Be careful when you tell your wife to get a hobby… When Tash came to Steele saying she felt as though she could be doing more to help people, that’s exactly what Steele suggested she do to fill in her spare time. That hobby is now a non-profit organisation assisting thousands of farming families across Australia.
Steele grew up in Drillham Qld where, like most bush kids, daily chores set him up with a healthy work ethic. He remembers the axe being bigger than him when he first started cutting firewood for the kitchen stove.
Completing his early schooling at Drillham and senior years in Miles he then moved to Brisbane to complete his four-year building trade. It was whilst completing his apprenticeship that he met Tash at the pub who conveniently lived just five minutes away from the new build site on the southside of Brisbane. Being that he was renting on the north side, “good economics called for me to be closer to work, that was the premise for me lodging with Tash. That was two weeks after we met, and I just never left!”.
Six years after their marriage, Tash & Steele relocated to Chinchilla in 2004 purchasing 40 acres just outside Chinchilla.
Steele remained self-employed for the next 8 years contracting to local builders and direct to the public. In August he was given the opportunity to join QGC and spent the next 9 years performing various roles including contractor management and planning/scheduling.
Steele resigned from QGC in February 2019 with the intention of joining Drought Angels, however three days later was offered the opportunity of a lifetime as Shutdown Manager for an Oil company in Iraq. Eventually he returned to Australia and joined Drought Angels in March 2020.