In 2008, I was fortunate enough to spend a few months living and volunteering in the far north of India. In this desert community, there was no running water, no electricity and no beds; everyone slept on the floor of their desert hut. Despite the fact these people had very little to call their own, I was continually blown away by how happy they were.

It was this experience, and subsequent post graduate studies, that have led me to some pretty simple conclusions about the things that we need to be doing here in Australia if we want to be happier. In a nutshell, I learnt in this desert village that practicing gratitude, empathy (compassion) and mindfulness leads us to a happier more fulfilling experience. Once I discovered these three principles were also evidence based, I thought it might be a good idea to turn this into a program for schools. Turns out it wasn’t just schools that wanted to hear this message!

Hugh van Cuylenburg


The Resilience Project delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based, positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness.

We have delivered programs to over 500 schools around the country and worked with many elite sporting teams including the Australian cricket, netball and soccer teams, NRL and AFL clubs.

Through presentations, wellbeing journals, school curriculum, teacher diaries and our app, we seek to help all Australians become mentally healthy.

To teach positive mental health strategies to help people become more happy

  • 1 in 4 adolescents have a mental illness
  • 1 in 7 primary schools kids have a mental illness
  • 1 in 5 adults will experience mental ill-health throughout the year
  • 65% of adolescents do not seek help for mental illness


Over 500 schools
300,000 Australians
Australian Cricket, Netball & Soccer Teams, all NRL clubs, AFL, A-League
Over 300 corporate groups


Hugh talking on stage

Hugh van Cuylenburg

Founding Director/Facilitator

Hugh has been working in education for over 13 years, teaching both primary and secondary in a range of educational settings. The highlight of his teaching career was the year he spent in the far north of India volunteering and living at an underprivileged school in the Himalayas. It was here that he discovered resilience in its purest form.

Inspired by this experience Hugh returned to Melbourne and commenced working on his own program for schools. ‘The Resilience Project’ was born. Having completed his post graduate studies, looking at resilience and wellbeing, Hugh has developed and facilitated programs for over 500 schools Australia wide. In 2015, the National Rugby League asked Hugh to run workshops at every single club in the competition. Since then, he has worked with the Australian Cricket Team, the Australian Netball Team, the Australian Womens Soccer Team, The Jillaroos and 8 AFL teams. Beyond the team environment, Hugh has been lucky enough to work one on one with individuals such as Steve Smith, Dustin Martin and Billy Slater.

Outside of schools and sport, Hugh has presented to over 200 corporate groups as a keynote speaker,  where he teaches the same principles  as he does when he is working with the prep kids in schools across the country.

His favourite past time is spending time with his partner Penny and their son, Benji.

Martin Heppell


Martin’s background is unique. He spent a considerable amount of time growing up in Borneo (whilst his father studied an Iban Dayak headhunting tribe). He was also educated in different parts of South East Asia.  He is heavily influenced by the morals and values that he and his family were surrounded by whilst living with the Iban.
After finishing high school in Melbourne, Martin spent 3 years in the AFL system, playing AFL football for St Kilda and Melbourne and then for Norwood in the SANFL. Subsequent years were then spent travelling the world backpacking for nearly 3 years, and upon return to Australia, Martin studied primary teaching.
After completing his degree at Melbourne University, he commenced teaching at Auburn Primary. After 4 years, he was appointed as the Assistant Principal at Auburn Primary where he held that role for another 4 years – focusing on student well-being, educational leadership and cultural change.
He has also coached AFL football at the Box Hill Hawks, and as First XVIII coach at both Carey Grammar and Xavier College. In all environments, he has thrived in situations that have presented challenges and have required optimism. He is passionate about children being given the opportunity to be raised in a positive manner that evokes confidence and a zest for life.

Ben Waterman

General Manager 

Ben has held a number of roles throughout his 13 years in the education and sports industries including teaching, educational leadership, student admissions, marketing and communications. He has a genuine care for people and is passionate about helping them achieve their full potential. His most recent role prior to joining The Resilience Project was as an executive at SEDA Group as National Marketing & Communications Manager. Ben’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Diploma of Education and a Specialist Certificate in Strategic Marketing

Mel Ng

Administration Manager and EA to Hugh & Martin

Mel has dedicated the majority of her working life to administration and customer service in the luxury brands sector,  most recently as a Senior Administration Officer in an international luxury Italian brand which has made her highly skilled in organising, multi tasking and problem solving – a perfect fit for her role at TRP.

Mel joined TRP in September 2016 and is widely recognised as the backbone of the company.  She keeps the office running smoothly as our clients’ main contact with her invaluable knowledge and experience in customer service. 

Antony Keely

Schools Program Manager

Antony is a trained Health and Physical Education teacher having finished his degree at ACU in 2014. Working at Mount Alexander College in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, Antony assumed a leadership position in Student Wellbeing and quickly realised why he decided to teach in the first place. He is absolutely committed to helping young people be their best, by being happy!
Antony also coaches Melbourne University Cricket Club in Victoria’s Premier Cricket competition where his passion for cricket and assisting in developing young people come together.

Penny Moodie

Community Partnerships Manager 

After completing her Masters in Global Media Communications, Penny worked in health communications, as a consultant for the Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva. Moving into Public Relations, Penny worked as a Senior Account Manager for a Melbourne based agency where she worked with a broad array of clients in the corporate, educational and not for profit sectors.

The role of Community Partnerships Manager is perfect for Penny as she loves developing relationships with others in the community and working together to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

Helen Frost

Accounts and Finance Manager 

With Bachelor qualifications in Accounting and Hotel Management as well being a CPA, Helen brings a systems oriented approach to ensuring the finances of TRP are in order. She has set up finance systems in some of Melbourne’s premier restaurants and hotels as well for a range of other clients.

Helen has a strong affinity with the positive and practical message of TRP and is pleased to be part of the team which enables it to be spread far and wide.

Laura Ng

Administration Officer

Laura completed a BA Honours degree in Literary & Historical Studies at Staffordshire University before her life path brought her to Australia.  She brings to TRP a very strong Customer Service background as well as highly skilled training capabilities and customer database expertise.

She is committed to the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents and is currently studying Cert IV in Child, Youth and Family intervention.

Lucy Richards

Senior Project Manager

Lucy has spent her career working in the intersection of health, education and technology – exploring ways to build and measure solutions that support health at scale.

Lucy spent three years as the inaugural General Manager of Smiling Mind. She was fortunate to be a finalist in the 2016 Young Australian of the Year Awards for this work.

Following this, Lucy headed to New York, and spent three years working in the tech scene (both start up and big agency) honing her knowledge of all things digital. This switch from health social enterprise to Corporate America was fuelled by a desire to learn best-practices in technology and innovation, and understand how to apply them in sustainable and scalable ways.

She now brings her health-tech knowledge to The Resilience Project, building and managing a new Digital Program in order to increase the accessibility and reach of our wellbeing curriculum.

Belinda Galloway

Education Manager

Belinda has spent her working life helping at risk young people and their families. She began her career as a family services worker in child protection at Mackillop family services. After seeing first-hand the incredible impact that schools and teachers had on the families she worked with, she was inspired to complete a Graduate Diploma in Secondary education and moved into the education sector as a teacher and Student Wellbeing coordinator.

Belinda’s passion for prevention and health promotion grew and she went on to complete further studies in health promotion. She has since been involved in several community education programs  including the AFL Respectful Relationships program and Baby Makes 3. Belinda has been integral in pulling together and updating all of our school curriculum materials and her role as Education Manager provides the perfect mix of working in prevention and education.