About The Sanctuary of Embracing Difference

We have different coloured skin, religious beliefs, nationalities, traditions and sexual orientation; still we are all human beings. We all deserve access to good health care, equal rights, education that speaks to our way of learning, social and emotional wellness; and as we aged, good quality aged care.
This organisation, a not for profit benevolent institution, was founded by Leanne Phillips, whose work in the community encapsulates her giving heart and desire to create inclusive, healthy and successful communities.

Our Purpose

The Sanctuary of Embracing Difference provides creative and sustainable solutions to communities and peoples by successfully delivering a holistic social and emotional wellbeing approach to mentoring, training, assessing, and coaching including natural therapy programs and strategies specific to each diverse demographic; partnering with various Indigenous and non indigenous peoples and companies.

Creating relationships and networks within these communities with honesty, trust, and commitment.

Our Vision

To provide relief in diverse ways to the following peoples:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples
Women at risk of domestic violence and incarceration
Children at risk of domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse/abuse
Elderly at risk of elder abuse, or loneliness and helplessness
Job Seekers rebuilding self-esteem growing hope, addressing helplessness
Men who perpetrate domestic violence, or who are homeless



Leanne Phillips


“If I can make a difference then I have succeeded”

Healer, Teacher, Mentor, Guide and Connector….Leanne Phillips has dedicated her life to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people…a passionate campaigner for a holistic approach to humanity, she is a creator and serial entrepreneur.
Her expertise lies in developing and delivering social and emotional wellbeing programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as migrant Australians.
A professional mentor, trainer and assessor; her commitment to awakening people’s potential is strong. Over the past 10 years, she has started a number of successful organisations that focus on helping people eliminate the box of society and reach towards a sustainable self.
As CEO of Healing to Employment, founder and Managing Director of The Sanctuary of Embracing Difference and Oasis of Inner Light, her focus is always on bringing people together. Her most recent project  with Sanctuary of Embracing Difference  is working towards building a multi-purpose aged care facility that will provide services for LGBTQISB people. Her mission is to create a place where acceptance and love know no bounds.
Leanne’s approach to mentoring and leadership is a reflection of her spirit and heart. She believes a mentor is more than just a person to focus on one area of life; her mentoring is a unique blend of confidant, best friend, coach and parent; a truly holistic approach.
She believes that to grow the seed of self, and to live as one community, we need to heal the spirit of individuals. The path to healing is paved with forgiveness and acceptance of all.
Her career has spanned multiple agencies including government, helping her develop programs that can assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with education, employment and life skills. As an Aboriginal woman, her insights into real issues have helped her hone the services she provides with a focus on personal responsibility, life skills and social pressures.
Leanne is certain she can make a difference by providing creative and sustainable solutions for her communities and peoples. Her understanding of issues underpins the work she does helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reconnect with their spirit.
Her Living Cultural Heritage Workshops, Women’s Business Workshops, Retreats, Reconnecting with The Land Workshops, and understanding the aging population of current LGBTQISB Elders and a need to grow the next generation of leaders are well attended and well respected.



Yvonne Orley

Yvonne-OrleyYvonne takes pride in her Aboriginal background with family in the G/Kamiloroi area (Sth Qld and Nth NSW).  She has four children and eight grandchildren.

Yvonne is a Registered Nurse, has a Graduate Dip in Health Education, Diploma of Disability, Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training and Frontline Management. She has worked in government as a policy and project officer and worked in community development with the establishment of NGO self-help groups.

Yvonne is the Spiritual leader of the Westside Spiritual Haven based at Camira, Ipswich; she assists people with their spiritual development through guest speaking, group work, meditation and one to one sessions.

Yvonne is owner of Orley Supported Accommodation which provides support to people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and acquired brain injury in the form of housing and support services.



Catherine Stillwell – Director of Research and Innovation

Catherine Stillwell – Director of Research and InnovationSince arriving in Australia from Scotland in 1988, Cathy has grown her expertise working with health, education and humanitarian organisations. She is an accomplished consultant, facilitator and coach who is driven with a passion to motivate, mentor and coach individuals, teams, groups, communities and organisations to be the best they can be. Through facilitation and coaching, Cathy encourages people to connect with the ancient wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Indigenous cultures around the world and from this connection, identify solutions that will increase health and wellbeing, raise self-esteem and confidence and enable the building of respectful relationships and partnerships; all of which are necessary for living a prosperous life and running a prosperous business.

As a consultant, facilitator and coach, Cathy has gained extensive experience, working in partnership with individuals, communities, and organisations to identify the change that must take place for success to be realised, and to support each person through their change for them to achieve the vision they have set. To this purpose, Cathy brings strong leadership, relationship building and facilitation skills which, coupled with her values of courage, compassion, authenticity and truth is what makes her work successful.

Cathy envisions a world where we all value and embrace our own and each other’s unique and diverse contribution to society and where we walk authentically in service of each other, our families, communities and organisations .With a learned knowledge of ancient healing modalities and wisdom, Cathy works to inspire and guide people to restore their health and wellbeing, to embrace their true potential and from that place of awareness, recognise that it is time for a different way of walking and being in the world; a way that serves, unites and empowers us all.


Aunty Christine Konomie – (North Wind) Barney

Aunty Christine KonomieAunty Christine Barney is a Woppaburrra Elder from the Great Keppel Islands. She has lived in Brisbane for 50 years and is recognised as a Brisbane Elder. Aunty Christine brings experience from working in the Department of Communities as a Review & Evaluation Officer reviewing systems in the social justice arena, as a Principal Policy Officer, Primary School Teacher, Secondary School Guidance Counsellor and Community Education Counsellor for Education Queensland. Her latest employment role was in Murri Watch as a Senior Counsellor in the Healing Centre for Aboriginal Health Services and she continues to work as a consultant on Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander areas of need.
Aunty Christine has 5 children who follow in her footsteps working with and supporting Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander communities in their specialist fields of construction, finance, horticulture, and communications. She was the first President of Wandarrah Pre-School and Community Centre in Inala, the first autonomous Aboriginal Kindergarten in Queensland. It’s a role she has recently taken on again and the centre will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023. Aunty Christine embeds a high-level expertise, knowledge and experience in governance, employment, human resources, and communication strategies enhanced with historical cultural knowledge and community connections.
All her employment roles throughout Queensland in local and remote areas as an educator, assessor, counsellor, and employment strategist have focussed on Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander community members.