Our Staff

Senior Management Team

Sebastian Zagarella

man smiling and tilting his head. he wears a dark suitSebastian was appointed PWDA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in December 2020 and became permanent CEO in September 2021.

He has strong leadership skills and with extensive operational experience across corporate, membership and not-for-profit organisations – having held senior roles at UTS College, the NRMA Group of businesses, Qantas and Sydney Airport (Macquarie Airports).

With proven success in developing and implementing sustainable strategies, and with building cohesive, effective teams, his current focus is to provide the team at PWDA with the resources and support to empower them to deliver their best for PWDA and its Membership.

Sebastian is also an advocate for people living with HIV. He has been living with HIV for over 20 years and has been on the Board of Positive Life NSW, the state’s largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW, since 2016.

Karin Waldmann 

Karin Waldmann is Director, People Quality and Systems – supporting PWDA’s corporate services staff who manage everything from human resources to finance, compliance and operations.

Karin is an accomplished senior manager with leadership experience both in Australia and in Europe. She has significant experience in leading change to improve and streamline business processes, service delivery and organisational performance. Karin has worked for a range of education and not-for-profit organisations in senior management roles, including with the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee, Sydney Community College, Social Leadership Australia, The Centre for Social Impact and Epilepsy Action Australia. Karin has also taken up the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer at PWDA for a period in 2020.

Karin has a passion for social justice and was the winner of the Anton Mischewski Design for Social Innovation Prize in 2016 and has a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact. She speaks four languages and believes in their importance for understanding people’s connections and values.

Corporate Services

  • Hollee James – Operations & Administration Manager
  • Andrew Emmerson – Finance & IT Support Officer
  • Pete Darby – Governance & Compliance Officer
  • Sue Strasser – Reception & Administration Officer
  • Jana Dolezalova – Reception & Administration Officer
  • Adrienne Prazauskas – EA to the CEO

Mel Harrison

Woman in wheelchair smiling in front of a muralMel Harrison is the Training Manager. Mel manages and mentors a team of trainers who deliver PWDA’s external training as well as the communications and media staff.

Mel has over two decades of experience in working in the disability sector. She has spent the last 10 years managing and delivering the training program at PWDA. Over that time she has created and presented training packages covering a range of topics; including sought after disability awareness training, which is routinely delivered to government agencies and private sector businesses.

Diversity and inclusion are huge passions for Mel as she strives to break down barriers, remove stereotypes about people with disability and show that there is ability within everyone.

Mel has hosted and MC’d a number of events, including the Sydney and Hunter Disability Expo and has been a featured speaker at Amazon’s AWS Summit events.

Communication, Media & Training

  • Michael Badorrek – Marketing & Communications Manager
  • Lindsey Woollard – Communications, Development & Engagement Specialist
  • Indre McGlinn – Digital Marketing & Communications Specialist
  • Maggie Korenblium – DRC Communications Coordinator
  • Freya Higgins – Project Officer

Stephen Kilkeary

man smiling and tilting his head slightly. he wears a blue t-shirt and PWDA lanyard.Stephen Kilkeary is the Director of Individual Advocacy in NSW. He provides support and supervision to his team of individual advocates in the Sydney region. He is also the project lead for the Engage In, Group Homes, Assisted Boarding Houses and Redress Projects.

Stephen is a proud gay, Irish, social worker and survivor. He has over 40 years of experience as a disability rights advocate and has lived experience with disability. He is a strong and committed advocate, with significant experience in the sector.

Stephen was formerly an Official Community Visitor, Guardian Ad Litem and Member of the Guardianship Tribunal of NSW. He coordinated the Mental Health Legal Services Project at Public Interest Advocacy Legal Centre (PIAC) and the Safer Pathways Project at Victims Services NSW. He has held roles across the community and government sectors, focusing on trauma intervention, suicide prevention and domestic and family violence reforms.

In addition, Stephen is a creator/facilitator of over 100 training modules, workshops, forums in the health and community services space and a member of the AASW Mental Health National Advisory Panel.

Stephen has a passion for overseas travel.

Individual Advocacy & Projects

  • Ted Jensen – Senior Manager Individual Advocacy, Queensland
  • Jen Ruse – Senior Manager Individual Advocacy, NSW
  • Gareth Elliott – Advocate, NSW
  • Luke Gale – Advocate & Manager, QLD
  • Stephin Hargreave – Advocate, NSW
  • Lee-Anne Pringle – Advocate, QLD
  • Natalie Ross – Advocate, NSW
  • Ilona Wildauer – Advocate, QLD
  • Kien Tang – Advocate, NSW
  • Matthew Langman – Advocate, NSW
  • Karen Coughlan – Advocate, NSW
  • Robin Turnham – Advocate, NSW
  • Jessica Bell – Advocate, NSW
  • Margot McKnight – Advocate, QLD
  • Martin A’Bell – Advocate, QLD
  • Michelle Arapovic – Advocate, QLD
  • Danielle Santos – Advocate, NSW
  • Fran Krix – Information, Intake and Referral Manager
  • Karen Kobier – Manager & Specialist Advocate, Redress Project
  • Linda Wiseham – Project Officer and Advocate, Redress Project
  • Wanda Matthews – Project Officer and Advocate, Redress Project
  • Sunil Fernando – Senior Manager, Disability Housing Advocacy
  • Shaana Dekker – Advocate, NSW
  • Erin Webster – Advocate, NSW
  • Thara Pech – Advocate, NSW
  • Liesl Homes – Advocate, NSW
  • Jessica Small – Advocate, QLD
  • Sean Connelly – Advocate, QLD
  • Miia Tolvanen – Advocate, QLD
  • Miriam Aslan – Advocate, QLD
  • Tessa Newman – Project Officer, Information and Referral
  • Leonie Hazelton – Manager, Engage In
  • Jessica Saville – Project Officer, Engage In
  • Euna Kim – Project Officer, Organisational Capacity Building Engage-In
  • Rebecca Rongotaua – Information, Intake and Referral Officer
  • Garry Oates – Intake, Information and Referral Support

Systemic Policy & Advocacy

  • Giancarlo de Vera – Senior Manager of Policy
  • Amanda Ellis – Senior Policy Officer
  • Samantha French – Senior Policy Officer Follow on Twitter
  • Lisa Ira – Senior Policy Officer
  • Michelle Keogh – Senior Policy Officer