Meet the Candidates for Director

Meet the candidates who are running for the PWDA Board Director position. If you have any questions, find out more about the elections and voting process or contact us.

Katharine Elisabeth Annear

Person sitting with hands together and elbow resting on a backdrop. They wear glasses and a graphic t-shirt that says "Neurodiversity"

Why would you make a good Director?

I am a values driven leader who believes in grassroots participation and equitable systems. I believe that slow deliberative leadership holds best for organisations and that clear delineations between Governance and Operations lead to a healthy organisation. Healthy organisations can in turn be membership focussed, outward facing and proactive and responsive. I am committed to good governance and finding common ground across the disabled led sector. I am committed to listening to the quiet voices and the non-speakers and believe that an organisation is measured by how it treats its most marginalised members. I have extensive experience in dealing with conflict and have professional counselling and conflict resolution skills via human services qualifications. I am also skilled at lobbying, setting strategic direction and maintaining relationships with funders.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I have over 20 years experience in working in cross disability rights. I have collective Board experience of over 25 years in the not for profit sector. I offer this experience as well as academic experience being a former Disability Studies lecturer and holding a Master of Disability Studies. I have links in the USA, UK, Vietnam and Indonesia where I have participated in or led disability rights projects. I have designed policy for organisations and the South Australian Government and gender and disability policy analysis tools. I have worked for Australian Aid delivering domestic violence prevention training in Vietnam and frequently appear on panels for the Flinders University Gender Consortium. I have twice attended the International Gender, Disability and Development Institute in the USA where I presented and made links with global partners giving me a global network of peers working in disability and development. I bring an in depth understanding of gender and disability and LGBTIQA+ issues not only in Australia but in the Asia Pacific region.

What is your area of expertise?

I primarily bring 25 years not for profit governance experience in cross disability, Autistic led and Disability Arts organisations. I have a particular lens for policy, gendered experience of disability and critical disability studies. I have much experience in government relations, lobbying, positioning and working in politicised environments.

I sat on (six years) and chaired (10 months) the Minister’s Disability Advisory Council of SA, sat on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Students with Disability SA and the ACTU worker’s with disability committee. I currently sit on the Local Government Access and Inclusion Network SA and the Autism Advisory Group for the NDIA.

I am a member of the following:

  • The Institute of Community Directors Australia
  • The Australian Sociological Association
  • Developmental Educators Australia (Professional Association)

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand – Inaugural Chair Person and six years service. Establishing the organisation and its objectives and establishing relationships and formal partnerships with government and non-government organisations and representing the organisation on federal and international committees.

  • Autism SA – Six years service as client representative bringing user led focus to the Board.
  • Restless Dance Theatre – Six years service as disability expert.
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) 4 years service as WWDA representative.
  • Women with Disabilities Australia – 2 Years Service
  • Asperlutely Autsome Inc SA – Current Chair
  • Australian Services Union SA/NT Branch Councillor – current member (7 years) bringing local government and disability expertise.

John Abouw

Headshot of man with short hair and round glasses. Buildings in the background.

Why would you make a good Director?

As a person with CMT who has worked in several countries and travelled on business extensively, I have a broad perspective on how disabled people are catered for both domestically and internationally.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I have been a company director and company secretary of a publicly listed company and have advised corporations and state governments.

What is your area of expertise?

As a finance journalist, I have written extensively on finance matters and written a book on small business issues. As a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, I was the editor of Boardroom Report in the mid-90s and wrote many articles on corporate governance.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

As a company director of a publicly listed company, I learned first hand the vital issue of shareholder communication and was re-elected to the board.

Natasha Bearman

Headshot of woman with short dark hair and a straight dark fringe.Why would you make a good Director?

I am a recognised figure in the Far West as a passionate advocate and advisor. To say I am passionate seems a bit of a cliche as I live and breathe what I love and it is great to be recognised within the community as a changemaker and educator.

I live with a disability and quite frankly I love it and talk about it incessantly.

I can get a little feisty as a result of living in a regional/rural community where we have to work harder for services, funding and programs. It is a constant process in Regional Australia however I will always lead the fight for more.

I like to challenge how people think and put forward new thoughts to consider to move forward with change.

I organise events (Community Christmas Day, Ramps Project) to bring our community together and I am a media contact for local radio and television on inclusion and community issues.

I was also part of the working party and then committee who created the Broken Hill Councils Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I have extensive experience liaising in Regional Australia regarding all matters of disability, Inclusion and Community. I worked within the Ability Links program for 4 years that just changed my world. It gave me the opportunity to push boundaries and create remarkable change. I now work in Justice Advocacy for people with a cognitive impairment and have just started creating my own Social Enterprise so I can give more back to my community.

What is your area of expertise?

I have excellent contacts in the Far West and I can use these contacts when results are needed. My strength is Marketing, Social Media and Community Engagement.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I have not had board experience. It is a goal of mine to contribute to a board in making positive change.

Kevin Boyce

Man standing on a balcony, a building and a tree in the background. He stands smiling, and wears a tan colored button up shirt with a name tag.

I Kevin Boyce a past Board Member wish to apply for a Board Director position in the coming elections.

My time with the Board I created the new Members Kit and making the PWDA web more accessible.

A new People with a Disability Australia, the organisation and it front line workers have done an empowering Job in the area of advocating on the behalf of individuals with a disability and looking at the Systemic issues that drive the industry and individual to question the bigger picture of non-inclusion for all!

People with a Disability AUSTRALIA, to hold the title of a DSO AUSTRALIA it should have offices in all Major Capitals and to sustain the cost I propose that PWDA look at part time offices located in Capital sites, located in other DSO  branches staffed by students part time whilst they are studying for their Social Services Diploma or Certificates in Age Care or disability support areas, these students have to do placement time in the area of Management and structure and how to third party advocate with the help of a mentor.

Yes, PWD do not just live in Sydney and yes, they need a voice in their own living domain.

The NDIS, under the new system individuals with a disability can choose their own third party to advocate for them but having an advocacy with a National Background would add weight to their choice.

Members I have completed a diploma in Community education RMIT and Cert4 in disability work and I am a member of the leadership Plus fellowship and can supply certificates I received that lead me to roles as a Consumer Member of 4 Melbourne Hospitals Boards helping them to make the health system assessable to all, disability is not just a physical thing, some are Blind, could not hear or talk or have a cognitive issue with word and meanings, yes  disability is a Multi-Cultural issue also and one of my achievements was making these Hospitals Web Home pages Language changeable as with the PWDA web Home page.

The CALD % of the population make up a large component of people using the health system and yes, these CALD communities have parents or Kin with a disability so they too have systemic issues related to their Nationality that should be part of the Vision and mission of PWDA going forward!

I Kevin Boyce 67 and Married with 3 adult Children and a person myself with a disability from Victoria ask the members of PWDA to elect me to the Board of PWDA and to give my ask to develop a more National face to face Advocacy Organisation.

Why would you make a good Director?

I am a person that looks, learns, and listens to the issues and makes decisions that are in the best interests of people with disability.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

My role working as a consumer for Melbourne Hospital Boards gives me the knowledge of the protocols for the decision makers of government.

What is your area of expertise?

My area of expertise is governance. I have the ability of prioritising issues and to look at the systemic issues that are affecting people with disability at this current time.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I have prior experience of being a PWDA Director. I tried to bring PWDA member’s opinions closer to the Board decision making process.

In closing I have just been appointed as a Board Volunteer with Disability Justice Australia and I think there will be no conflict of duties with PWDA.

Regards and Stay Safe during this Virus lockout.

Kevin Boyce and his Guide Dog Nez and go the Tigers (smile).

Tanya Carroll

Woman sitting with a black and white cat on her lap.Why would you make a good Director?

I Speak up for those who have no voice or limited capacity in Speaking up for themselves too.

I am a person with lived experience of multiple disabilities – mental health, TBI and invisible disabilities.

I live 87 miles south of Cairns in a small town called Tully in far North Queensland.

I am well connected with a lot of disabled people and politicians.

I also know a lot of disability advocates.

I know there are not many people who speak for people like me and so I want to represent other people with invisible disability, mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities (and traumatic brain injuries).

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I am good at speaking out as a self advocate and an advocate for people like me and other disabled people.

I know about peoples rights and am good at speaking out about them.

I help other people understand their rights.

I work well as a team and I can bring my networks and connections to the Board.

What is your area of expertise?

I have had a lot of experience in meetings and often attend focus group meetings and online meetings.

I use the information that I get from meetings to tell other disabled people about what has been happening.

For example, in the last few weeks I have attended meetings with ACOSS, Raise the Rate Campaign, WWDA, Women’s Rural Network, Ausdocc and NDIS.

I have had experience with fundraising in the past.

I am on the Board of the Tully Red Cross.

I bring my lived experience of a person with a disability and also the experience of someone who lives in regional Queensland.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I have been on another disability board in the past and did this for a long time. I am also the Vice President of the Tully Red Cross.

I do a good job at representing people with acquired and invisible disabilities and telling other disabled people what is going on.

Andrew Fairbarn

Man wearing a bright orange tropical print shirt, holding a saxophone. He stands in front of a brick wall.

Why would you make a good Director?

I’ve had years of experience in the disability sector from both a personal and professional perspective. I’m an amputee and have a son with an intellectual disability – that gives me a perspective from a number of viewpoints. I’m also an optimist who believes passionately in disability rights, inclusion and making sure disabled people don’t experience discrimination and get the support they need.

On a board, I’m considered a levelling influence. I love networking and working with people, so working in teams is what I do best. My past and current work is very strongly informed by my rights based approach and my desire to work hard to support the disability community.

I think disabled people should set their own direction in life and have a strong voice and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

My years of experience on both the inside and the outside of disability systems and on boards and committees have given me a great understanding of what is needed to make a strong board. I have strong teamwork, innovation and negotiation skills and I have very strong networks across the disability sector with disabled people, family members and the not for profit and government sector.

I’ve also spent years working training organisations and working with peers. For example, I am involved in running a WA based peer group and am involved in delivering training nationally for Limbs 4 Life, training peer support volunteers. When someone loses a limb or needs peer support, Limbs 4 Life coordinates a peer to support that person through their recovery phase and helps them to navigate brand new systems. I love talking to people and our disability community.

I’ve also been very much involved in navigating some of those complex systems through other work roles. I have a qualification in assistive technology and have a thorough understanding of the NDIS, assistive technology and home modifications. Understanding those systems has helped me help many others.

I’m currently working on a project called Ramping Up for Work, a project that helps disabled people become employed. Employment is also an area I’ve had a lot of experience in – in my previous role as Diversity Field Officer for People with Disability WA, I helped businesses learn to be more inclusive and accessible. I’ve also worked for LeadAbility, a Leadership WA project which mentored disabled people and their supporters to become leaders in the disability sector.

I also hold a degree in Jazz from the WA Academy of Performing Arts as a saxophonist, am an avid jazz lover and play in two bands!

What is your area of expertise?

My primary area of expertise is around marketing and connecting with members and stakeholders. This is what I am best at – I believe very strongly that PWDA should be a strong and connected organisation that listens to its members and communicates inside and out. Members need to know who their representative organisations are.

If I am elected, I will work hard to make sure that happens.

I have strong national networks that I utilise well. I am also great at fundraising and promoting what I believe in. I think more people need to know who People with Disability Australia is and what it does and what it stands for – I am committed to being a transparent and engaged Director.

I’m also a graduate of both LeadAbility 2015, and Rising Leaders 2017 programs at Leadership Western Australia and am a Leadership Western Australia Alumnus.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your  directorship on the organisation?

I’m currently a member of the Limbs 4 Life National Amputee Advisory Council and have contributed strongly to the organisation as the WA based member, bringing feedback and recommendations from the amputee community to government and stakeholders.

I am the past Vice Chair of People With disabilities WA (PwDWA), the peak state body for disabled people in WA, am a board member of Diverse Leaders Inc. and am the co Vice President of Physical Disability Australia, the peak national body for people with physical disability.

In all my roles, I have worked hard to make sure we work together as a team and make real change for disabled people. My work has been acknowledged nationally and I am considered a leader in the sector.

https://www.limbs4life.org.au/peer-support/personal-stories/videos/peer-support-volunteer-andrew-fairbairn

Jane Gauci *Nomination Withdrawn*

Old headshot of woman with short dark hair, wearing a black dress and leaning with arms crossed

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I am a person with lived experience of disability since the early 80’s. I am currently studying at University of Queensland so I have good organisational and professional skills from my time working as a Health Information Manager at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in the 90’s before I became extremely ill with MS. I have incredible life experience and can bring that to the benefit of the organisation. I have an extremely in-depth understanding of the health system including the NDIS, both professionally and personally. I would like to help out and also to grow from this experience. I have not been on a Board before but am keen to learn as much as I can and to be a valuable contributor to the process.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

No at this stage I have not but I am quick to learn and I have the curiosity, interest and life experience to make a difference.

Shane Hryhorec

Black and white headshot of man. He wears glasses and black shirt and has a moustache.

Why would you make a good Director?

My name is Shane Hryhorec and I am a person living with a disability. I am also a businessman, philanthropist and an entrepreneur. I am passionate about making Australia more accessible and inclusive, and take pride in being an active voice and advocate within my own and the broader community. Since 2007, I have been a wheelchair user, after experiencing a spinal cord injury. This lived experience of disability has informed my work and personal life, and enabled me to share my positive outlook on life with clients, customers as well as friends and family. I choose to focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t, and enjoy working collaboratively to address challenges, remove barriers, and find solutions to create opportunities for individuals, families and communities to achieve greater accessibility and inclusion.

I believe I would make a good Director for multiple reasons. First, I am actively connected to people with disabilities, daily. In my positions both in the community, and in my professional and volunteer capacities, I have intentionally placed myself in central and accessible points where people with disabilities and their families reach out, connect and share their stories with me. Hearing stories and challenges people in communities around us are facing everyday, motivates me to advocate for change and identify solutions to access and inclusion obstacles. A fellow wheelchair user once told me a personal story about taking a family trip to the beach, and when they arrived at the beach he stayed in the car alone, while his wife and children played on the beach because the beach wasn’t accessible. The isolated picture he painted stuck with me and inspired me to look for ways to improve access and inclusion on beaches, and identify steps to make improvements for anyone, of any age, of any ability, to have access to Australia’s beautiful beaches. So in 2016, I found a charity called, Accessible Beaches Australia and to date we’ve helped to make over 50 beaches more accessible, with big plans for 2021 and beyond.

I’m committed to listening to people in our community and doing everything I can to help make a positive change.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

Over the last seven years I’ve been involved with making beaches all around Australia accessible for people with a range of different abilities. As the current Chair on the Board of Directors of Accessible Beaches, and understand what it takes to operate a charity and lead a Board. In this role, I oversee the governance, strategic planning and policy development, while supporting my fellow board members, and building relationships with relevant partners, including consulting with people with a disability. As a wheelchair-user I have extensive first-hand knowledge and expertise in assistive technology. As an NDIS participant and a national provider, I have extensive experience and knowledge of the evolving NDIS, and advocate for the choice and control the scheme is committed to delivering.

In my professional capacity as a business owner, I bring over 10 years experience in financial management, strategic developing, and change-management to achieve goals and objectives. As the Board Chair for a national charity, I understand the important role of leadership and governance at the highest level of authority but, also as an advocate, at the frontlines of service delivery and community engagement. Importantly, I also bring a deep understanding of assistive technology, and the important role it plays in the home, in the office, to the beach. I understand the experiences and the challenges faced by other people with disabilities. I understand both the global and domestic marketplace, and am committed to leveraging my knowledge and experience to find new ways to improve access to assistive technology by developing, sourcing, and innovating life-changing technologies that will inspire, empower and enable people with disabilities to achieve their goals.

What is your area of expertise?

Providing innovative assistive technologies to thousands of people living with disability, I have a very clear lens on risk management. Having a background in business, working with NFPs and charitable organisations, I am seasoned in managing budgets, grants and fundraising, creating business strategies, planning and executing marketing campaigns, facilitating co-design activities, and engaging with diverse communities across Australia, and New Zealand. I have a particular interest in business development and finding ways to improve efficiencies, streamline processes, and get things done.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I am the current Board Chair of Accessible Beaches Australia, established in 2016.

As Chair, Accessible Beaches Australia has improved the accessibility of over 50 patrolled beaches across Australia, and enabled thousands of people living with disabilities to access their beach and waterway communities around the country. Accessible Beaches has developed partnerships with Councils, Surf Life Savers Clubs, access consultants, media, and communities to raise awareness and improve access, inclusion and safety of dozens of beaches and waterways. Accessible Beaches has also created, and continues to manage, Australia’s only national accessible beach directory providing current, relevant and user-led information about patrolled beaches, from Port Douglas to Seacliff.

Tracey Hughes

Woman with thick round glasses and curly air tied back in a ponytail. She wears a black turtleneck.

Why would you make a good Director?

My name is Tracey. I am a 57-year-old, female, veterinarian, who was made a ‘differently abled-bodied’ person twenty-six and a half years ago.

Significantly, I am a person with an acquired, permanent, visible, physical, lived disability experience; with changing mobility issues, neurological concerns, and other things.

I appreciate the fact that all people are different and know that each person with a disability is also an individual; firsthand challenges with students and peoples with a lived disability experience has made me realise that now is a pivotal point in time that humanity may provide change to the disadvantage and social isolation that occurs for the 20% or so of peoples with a lived disability experience.

I have worked as a Study Skills Support Mentor and Research Assistant in the Student Equity and Disability Unit SEADU UNSW; and an academic in allied health care and medicine, Department of Anatomy, the Faculty of Medicine UNSW, and the Department of Anatomy and Histology, Sydney School of Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Science @ USyd.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

  • I work as a Study Skills Support Mentor and Research Assistant in the Student Equity and Disability Unit SEADU UNSW
  • Have integrity and ethics, that both give me the courage and creativity, and ultimately the inclusion, and respect that ALL our diverse peoples, undergraduate, and postgraduate students deserve
  • Possess vision and leadership skills that enable me to use my initiative, and exercise sound judgement related to role responsibility
  • Proven high level administrative, organizational and critical thinking skills
  • *Liaise with internal and external stakeholders’
  • Transparent, confidential and discrete always
  • Able to work with autonomy, always punctual and dependable
  • Able to work effectively and comfortably, with flexibility in a team environment
  • Proficient with IBM and MAC computers and with Windows-based applications such as Microsoft Office with Word Excel PowerPoint
  • Able to use Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle and Smart Sparrow learning design platforms in the workplace.

What is your area of expertise?

  • Governance
  • Finance
  • Risk Management

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

2019 Workforce Planning Review Project Working Groups _ Faculty of Science, University of Sydney.

The purpose of the Workforce Planning Review Project Working Groups was to develop a set of:

  • Faculty-wide principles for general academic workload issues, teaching, governance and leadership (formerly ‘service’)
  • Activity definitions and classifications for all teaching and governance and leadership (formerly ‘service’)
  • Fair & fiscally-responsible notional hours and/or scaling parameters for teaching and governance and leadership (formerly ‘service’) for common activities with consideration of discipline-specific activities.

Marayke Jonkers

Woman in wheelchair wearing a zebra print dress with long boots. she has long blonde hair that is curled. The background is white.Why would you make a good Director?

I am passionate about creating a world where people can fill our full potential, Achieving social justice and bringing my life experience through education lived experience And career to serving others. As the founder and President of a Queensland based not-for-profit and having so on numerous boards over the years I understand the workings of a board. Possibly most importantly right now I see this is a pivotal moment for pwda to unite members after two rounds of board members leaving. I can see that to move forward it will be imperative the new board work in a way that feels inclusive to and representative all members so we move forward focusing on key issues such as the NDIS , royal commission And issues that impact our members throughout the years ahead. I believe I would make a good director because this has been a passion of mine since at the age of 13 I had to take the Queensland government to human rights commission for the right to go to school (it was not a wheelchair accessible for high school so they told me I could be exempt from the law requiring students to attend school. They did not want to pay the $250,000 to make a local school accessible). As a 13-year-old while everybody else was reading babysitters club was reading international human rights law and when I want to write to go to school it’s f****d a lifelong passion to make sure everyone has the potential to live the life of their choice.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

  • Lived experience of disability I have had a spinal-cord injury since I was 8 1/2 months old and involved in a car accident. This means I’ve technically had sexy pink wheels since before most people were old enough to drive.
  • University degrees From University of the Sunshine Coast.
  • Bachelor of social science (Community work) including disability studies/gender and public health 2 Bachelor of arts (Communications) -public relations and journalism. A strong focus on public relations campaigns highlighting social issues and looking into how to get better representation what disability in Media.
  • Over 20 years only Australian Paralympic Team as a swimmer where I won three medals at the Sydney 2000 Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic games. These decades of speaking with athletes from around the world give me unique insight into many disabilities and how different countries provide opportunities to people living with disability.
  • Founder of sporting dreams and currently president.
  • Previous Board member of Sunshine Coast Sports Federation.
  • Previous board member of the Queensland government Q150 & commemorative events (including Queensland day multicultural awareness week Australia Day etc).
  • Young Queenslander and young Australian of the year finalist for Qld.
  • Member of the international women’s forum athlete Mentoring Program- this is where young leaders of the future from around the world are mentored by female leaders and attend conferences focusing on global issues.
  • Worked on the national injury insurance scheme Queensland.
  • Been part of the various community disability groups since childhood now aged 39. These have not just included Sport but local advocacy groups that you have anything such as accessible pathways parking fishing platforms Beach wheelchair access.
  • Copious amounts of time reading and professional development to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the sector in Australia and internationally. I wrote a book about employment for university graduates with disabilities I’ll graduate careers Australia which is in every library and university around Australia. This springboard into a Fed govpilot program. Employment consultant pwd.

What is your area of expertise?

  • I have a strong background in media, public relations social media and working with government/networking. Also speaking with the media being a spokesperson for understanding that I should not be and who needs to be and what the key talking points can be.
  • I have worked in various roles which involve working with the government liaising with people with disabilities or for the government on projects in the disability sector but including/advocating for people with disabilities. Doing this dance between government expectations in speaking government jargon while insuring the best interest of people with disability is something that I understand to be an essential part of a government funded organisation which needs to be representing members. I hope I can contribute this skill should I be elected.
  • Strong interest in representation in the media/employment.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I have been the president of Sporting Dreams since founding 11 years ago. The impact has been over 130 Grant and Mentoring To break down disability related barriers. Sponsors politicians family and friends have all become involved. Athlete outcomes have been celebrated for Dreams ranging from being able to ride a bike with siblings along the footpath through to being Paralympian.

Difficult to disclose contribution and other boards without breaching confidentiality however a major restructure which lead from that YouTube functioning with funds describes one of these experiences.

Gary Kerridge

headshot of man wearing a black and orange jacket and glasses

Why would you make a good Director?

I have 30 years experience in the disability sector as a disability professional and advocate. I have been on several Boards including Deafness Forum, Deaf Children Australia, Deaf Recreation Victoria (Chair), Royal South Australian Deaf Society and Deaf South Australia. I was also a member of the National Vet Equity Advisory Council advising the Federal Government and was a member of the Disability Advisory Group advising the Federal Government on the Digital Television roll out. Through my roles have completed governance training on several occasions. I was also a member of the Advisory Committee for the Disability Registrations Board that was charged with the responsibility if establishing a Disability Workers registration process for Victorians wishing to work in the disability sector with people who have a disability.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

  1. Advocate over many years, most recently involved in the successful Deaf Elders Campaign to obtain interpreting for community participation.
  2. Have worked in the disability sector over 30 years across all disabilities.
  3. Have sat on several Boards and advisory committees.
  4. Skilled Project Manager.
  5. Skilled Submission writer.
  6. Experience working in the NDIS in LAC and Delegate environments.
  7. Lived experience of disability.

What is your area of expertise?

I have sat on several Boards and completed Governance Training. I have been responsible for budgets and budget reporting as part of several employment roles. I have received risk management training, particularly in the NDIS roles.  I have been part of sub committees responsible for several projects and the marketing of these projects. I am familiar with fundraising strategies and legal requirements of charities and not for profit organisations.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

Yes, over many years, as outlined above. I have often been the sole disability representative on those Boards. It has been my role to hold these Boards accountable and to always consult and involve people with a disability in their processes. I took Deaf Sport Recreation to a position where they had in excess of $80 000 in grants and project funds. When I took over as chair they were $4000 in debt with only 5 members. When I left the role of chair they had over 300 members.

Nicole Lee

Woman in front of a bright yellow brick wall. She is in a wheelchair and wears a bright green patterend dress. She has long brown hair and a fringe.

Why would you make a good Director?

I have a solid foundation and understanding of policy and contemporary issues which influences decision making and problem solving, targeted at the lived experience of women with a disability. This knowledge has led me to participate proactively and effectively in policy work, consultations and presentations within the NDIS team at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), as an inaugural member of Victoria’s Victim Survivor Advisor Council (VSAC) member, and Safe Steps board.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

The position appealed to me as it highlights my skills which have evolved over the past 4 years since my appointment to be part of the first Victim Survivors Advisory Council for The Victorian Government, representing the lived experience of women with disabilities experiencing violence. I’ve been heavily involved within the Family Violence sector, and the women’s sector and would bring this knowledge with me to PWDA.

What is your area of expertise?

Governance and risk, currently on the governance and risk sub committee with my position as director at Safe Steps.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

In my position on the board of Safe Steps I’ve been able to offer guidance from an end user perspective that has helped shape their 2020 strategic plan.

Jarad Mcloughlin

Man sitting in at a table in with a sound system. There is a microphone and a sound mixing board in front of him, and a record player and computer in the background. He wears glasses and smiles at the camera.

Why would you make a good Director?

With representation of autistic and neurodivergent voices within the political, media and corporate consortiums underwhelming, restricted and exclusionary, I believe that re-electing me as a Board Director will encourage more transparency and accountability in proving that intersectionality matters when presiding over a nationally reputable disability advocacy peak body. I stride to speak for those who feel that they don’t have influence or persuasion over how state, territory and federal government departments and/or agencies respond to major social, economic and cultural issues affecting Australia’s disability community.

I’m defiantly unapologetic when denouncing prejudicial vitriolity, unconscious bias, vilification and discrimination underpinned by ableism and/or queerphobia. Being involved with grassroots sociopolitical activism, self-advocacy for over 17 years has prepared me for ensuring that disability inclusion, diversity and accessibility is at the forefront of supporting other directors, staff, employees and members of PWDA without malice or apathy.

Loyalty, mutuality and kinship are the core qualities of my professionalism. I tend to excel at teamwork skills through collaborative learning and forward-thinking, progressive leadership that acknowledges input from those who have lived experiences as a disabled person. But I do promise to respect all decisions (if appropriate) proposed, discussed and agreed to by the board and forego any political disparities within a professional capacity because it undervalues and misaligns PWDA’s constitutional principles.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

Through my activism and self-advocacy work, I gained a litany of skills including public speaking, critical thinking, social media management, radio broadcasting and production, mentoring, strategic planning and freelance journalism. Since 2003, I have engaged in supporting and working with local, state and national disability and LGBTQIA+ groups on numerous government funded/non-profit organisations and councils including the Rainbow Advisory Council, City of Adelaide Council’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel as an Individual Member and the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s EmployableQ Co-Design Project as consultant/advisor.

From 2012 until 2015, I served as an autistic self-advocate, executive committee member and elected Treasurer for the Australia New Zealand chapter of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN). Then I went on to became involved in the inaugural Future Leaders program at the 2013 Asia Pacific Autism Conference, honing my character-building and teamwork skills.

Guide Dogs SA&NT, City of Marion Council, SHine SA, JuIia Farr Association (Purple Orange), The I Can Network, Autism CRC and Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) are just several of the multiple organisations, associations and cooperatives I have lend a hand on improving and reshaping how people see, hear or think about disability, queer intersectionality, autonomy and neurodiversity.

What is your area of expertise?

During my previous stint on the PWDA board, I voluntarily served on four advisory groups for the NDIS, Governance, Events and Membership (as convenor) and Risk Management. While I cannot recollect the positional capacity in which I was proactive or involved in these groups, I did help to organise and facilitate some of these meetings virtually online using the cloud-based peer to peer video conferencing software platform, Zoom.

But I also demonstrate some impeccable, outstanding skills and qualifications in governance and financial management from my previous associations with ASAN and PWDA. As I alluded to in the prior question above, I come with previous experience in corporate governance, strategic, policy and project planning/development, impartial and expert monitoring/advice/consultancy and policy decision-making due in part to heralding voluntary, executive and freelance positions with the Government of South Australia, City of Adelaide Council and other government funded/non-profit organisations.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I didn’t accomplish much in my two-year tenure as Board Director for PWDA from 2016 until 2018. Although I did get to oversee it being structurally and systemically transformed into a company limited by guarantee and was selected to represent PWDA, Northcott and Cerebral Palsy Alliance in their entirety as a float ambassador during the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which was unforgettable for me as it was the first time I participated openly as a gay autistic introvert without guilt, regret or fear.

Apart from some teething problems over disruption or distrust amongst other directors, those incidents were diffused through mutual deliberation, intervention and cooperation between all affected parties. If I’m successful in being re-elected onto the board, I commit myself to highlighting and eliminating ableist and queerphobic rhetoric, vitriol from within all communities and institutions, as well as the prevention of disabled voices befalling to erasure, silence and censorship from political, judicial and/or corporate entities.

Christopher Meaney

headshot of man smiling at the camera. he wears a blue-grey dress shirt and tie.

Why would you make a good Director?

I have an extensive professional background in the disability sector, working with people from a variety of backgrounds. This has allowed me to grow a strong, non-exhaustive appreciation of the systemic issues people with disability face. I have experience in roles within Government that allow me to undertake systemic advocacy and seek meaningful change in the way services are provided to ensure best possible outcomes for people with disability. I take this systemic work extremely seriously, having had my own challenges in mainstream services, relating to my own disability and mental ill-health.

Now more than ever, my commitment to the Human Rights of people with disability is of extreme importance to the board. My systemic work seeks to not only remove barriers but actualise the rights that we are owed via the various United Nations Treaties and Conventions.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I have a significant history working within the Disability Sector (both under NSW block funding and the NDIS), and ass such have worked alongside a variety of individuals and have developed a strong understanding of a number of the issues that people with disability face when involved in supported environments. I have run Disability and NDIS Projects for State Government Departments and NDIS Providers to improve their disability literacy and address systemic issues impacting people with disability interacting with these services. I have in fact left roles due the manner in which organisations have treated and responded to people with disability, with specific reference to requests to undertake inappropriate restrictive practices.

I am a strong team player and have the ability to communicate with peers, but also the ability to inspire through storytelling. My involvement in Lifeline related documentaries and short-films, telling the story of my own significant mental ill-health resulted in Lifeline making me the face of their 2014 fundraising campaign. This passion and ability to capture and inspire will be critical to advancing the work of PWDA.

What is your area of expertise?

My primary area of expertise is risk management. This has been a constant in my Project Roles within Government, reducing foreseeable – and occasionally significant – legal risks to the organisation. I have been involved in and led a number of highly successful grassroots fundraisers for both Mental Health and Disability causes, and was a key feature of the 2014 Lifeline Fundraising program.

My current standing as Vice President of CMT Australia has exposed me to Governance and Secretariat functions.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I am currently the Vice President of Charcot Marie Tooth Australia, the peak body for people with CMT in Australia, and have increased the advocacy work done by CMTA for our members. This commitment I will bring to PWDA to ensure that the good work of PWDA Is nurtured and supported to grow.

Wilfred Prince

Man using a motorized wheelchair. He smiles and is waving at the camera. He wears a cap and a black tshirt with the Aboriginal flag. He holds a bag on his lapWhy would you make a good Director?

I would make a good Director, because I have a lived experience being a person with a physical disability as well as being from an Aboriginal Culture. This personal experience in both fields, gives me enormous insight and a wealth of knowledge which I can bring to the Board of PWDA.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I would bring first hand knowledge and experience from a person who has lived experience from an Indigenous, as well as non Indigenous, and Disability perspective, therefore closing the gap and bringing the cultures together.

What is your area of expertise?

I have gained Governance experience from various Board positions, and also attended the Good Governance and leadership workshops presented by Community Resources Unit Ltd – I can provide relevant documentation if required.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

I have previous (PWDA) Board experience. I currently sit on The Board of Link-Up Qld (Indigenous Organisation) as a Board Member. I am a Board Member of Speaking Up For You Inc. (Disability Organisation) former Board Member and Current Member of Queenslanders with a Disability Network Inc. I am also a Member of Queensland Advocacy Inc. I am a co-founder of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Qld. I am also a member of the Australian Labour Party in Qld. I am also an Honorary Member of Rotary International Qld.

Being a member of the above Boards, I was able to give insight and perspective, both from an Aboriginal as well as from a Disability Perspective.

Suresh Rajan

Headshot of a man with large glasses and white hair wearing a blue button down shirt. There is a circular graphic filter over the Image that says "Black Lives Matter" "Stop Deaths in Custody" and "End Police Brutality" in white, red, and yellow text.

Why would you make a good Director?

I am an accountant by training. I have been the Treasurer of PWDA before. I have been a director and board member on PWDA Board. I have financial skills and disability advocacy knowledge that would be of use to PWDA. I have also chaired a number of disability organisations in my career, including the National Ethnic Disability Alliance. I have strong governance knowledge as well.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

Financial, Governance and Advocacy skills at the highest level.

What is your area of expertise?

Finance and Governance as well as CaLD issues.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

Yes, I was the Treasurer and Board Member of PWDA. I have also worked with many NFP organisations both at the State and National Level. I am currently the Disability Chair for FECCA. I have well over 25 years of experience at this level.

Trudy Ryall

I am Trudy Ryall.  I am a disabled woman living in Melbourne Victoria.  I have over 20 years’ experience in disability advocacy and fighting for human rights for equal access for all people with disabilities.

My experience includes in the past history and currently serving on the following disability related boards as a director:

  • Women with Disability Victoria
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • Monash Council
  • Casey Council
  • Melbourne Council
  • Transerve Bus Services
  • Yarra Trams
  • Public Transport Victoria
  • DeafBlind Victoria
  • And many more.

I have been a committee member, a co-founder, a volunteer worker and employed as an Administration and Events Manager and Editor of monthly newsletters for DeafBlind Victoria which has been running for over 15 years. DeafBlind Victoria is run by deafblind people and for deafblind people Self advocacy.

I am hearing and vision impaired with mental health issues.

I am passionate and believe that advocacy is a great way to advertise widely and support people and groups with disabilities who face daily barriers.  This is about creating ways to present to organisations and communities that human rights needs to be respected and all people do have equal access to all services and places and  be socially included.  An example is that DeafBlind Victoria received a grant to design communication book for deafblind people to give out in the communities.  The book has tips how to sign some basic signs and how to approach a deaf blind person.

I have been involved in many campaigns and projects.

  • NDIS & NDIA Auslan accepted as a communication access
  • Public Transport access
  • Housing
  • Taxi services
  • Access to Health Care services
  • Carer Services
  • Auslan Interpreting services
  • Access to adaptable technologies
  • Communication access e.g. easy English
  • Disability research
  • Tertiary Education
  • Training in Deaf Blind world
  • And many more.

I have worked previously and currently in many disabilities related industries.  Vision Australia, DeafBlind Victoria, Expression Australia (Deaf Victoria, Deaf Australia, Self-Advocacy Resource Unit, Deakin University Equity and diversity department. and others.

I have completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.  From my experience of being on many boards I understand and have knowledge of the following areas:

  • Finances
  • Governance
  • Memberships information gathering
  • Risk management
  • Strategic planning
  • And other areas.

I am committed as a leader in the disability sector is to peer mentor and encourage groups of people to develop skills to self-advocate and have confidence to have a voice:

  1. Younger disabled people
  2. Women with Disabilities
  3. DeafbBlind communities
  4. Deaf communities
  5. Blind communities
  6. Older generations
  7. & other disabilities.

Yours sincerely Trudy Ryall.

Katielee Simpson

Woman with short dark hair and a short dark fringe and wearing glasses. She smiles at the camera, and wears a beige cardigan

Why would you make a good Director?

I believe that I would make a good Director of PWDA as I would bring a fresh and new perspective… through my experiences as a woman with a disability, and my Lived Experience of human right violations, discrimination and racism.

I am a current PWDA member, I have volunteered in the Enable in Project and actively use the PWDA services. I can see the gaps and where PWDA can grow, and I want to see PWDA be the organisation that it can be… that all people from all walks of life are represented. People with Disabilities from CALD backgrounds, Physical, Intellectual, Psychosocial, Neurodiverse, Homelessness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Vision and Hearing Impairments and anyone with a disability that feels marginalized. I apologise for anyone I may have forgotten.

I would ensure that members voices are heard and I would work hard at enhancing PWDA’s image as a leader in Human Rights of People with Disability. I want to see PWDA move forward and be more inline with what it’s members want. I have a great social understanding of the difficulties that my Peers face. PWDA should be an open place where people with disability are always welcome.

I believe I would add value to the PWDA Board and I would not use this position for my own personal gain.

I may not have the wealth of experience that other amazing candidates may bring to The Board of PWDA, though I bring with me my enthusiasm, my strong sense of justice and belief that together we can make change. I will use my voice for the voiceless and make sure that everybody is heard.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

The skills and experiences I would bring to PWDA are:

  • Being a Consumer Representative of Lived Experience Advisory Group in Mental Health for 2 years.
  • Working with an international team through my Lived Experience with PluS Alliance as a colleague in The Public Mental Health Strategy that combines UNSW, King’s College London and Arizona State University in the USA.
  • Being a Peer Facilitator through training at Wellways and Diversity and Disability Alliance.
  • Being a member of The Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association, where I was a Presenter and Community Educator.
  • My past work with The NSW Network of Women with Disability as the Editor of Venus and my involvement with Reclaim the Night and International Women’s Day Marches.

From the combined experiences listed above, I believe my skills in peer work, a strong belief that we should be equal (based on our own unique experiences), and my experience as a Lived Experience Researcher at UNSW, have given me strong communication skills in asking the right questions at the right time. I am also able to effectively communicate with a diverse range of people, who have a diverse range of disabilities and being able to clearly articulate their needs.

What is your area of expertise?

From the examples listed above, my area of expertise where I would add value is general Marketing / increasing community awareness.

I was a member of The NSW Network of Women for over 10 years and was the Editor for our Newsletter Venus. As part of the Newsletter we advertised for Women with Disability to join our group and events that we held. I was also apart of bringing awareness to Women with Disability through our stalls at events as Reclaim the Night and International Women’s Day Marches.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

Although I have not previously been a Director of a Board, I have had experience as being a part of many Advisory Panels and I do understand the importance of the role of Director. I would be willing to undertake training for this position by undertaking courses given by PWDA and also the great courses run by The Institute of Community Directors Australia (that also offer great advice on being apart of a Board of Non-Profit organisations).

As part of my Lived Experience Researcher position with the UNSW my team and I have implemented change to government documents that will now be used by the University and that was very welcomed by the NSW Government.

I have been a strong self advocate and in 2014 I made a Precedent at the Supreme Court of NSW. This was a great and much needed change for survivors of Sexual Assault going through the Court process in NSW.

Jennifer Smith

Woman smiling at camera. She wears a flower dess.

Why would you make a good Director?

Strong community networks and linkages.

Able to represent a broad range of views that reflect the diversity of the community.

Willing to contribute positively to meetings in a fair and unbiased manner.

I have mutual respect for other people and a strong ability to listen with an open mind to different perspectives, knowledge and expertise.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

  • Previous board experience – currently a board member of One Door Mental Health.
  • Member of Central Eastern Sydney Community Council & Mental Health Advisory Committee.
  • Experienced in systemic advocacy, governance, strategic/operational planning & implementation, policy development & review, service design & evaluation.

What is your area of expertise?

Systemic advocacy, Governance.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

Currently a director of One Door Mental Health I have my own lived experience of mental illness and experience within my immediate family over 30 years and contribute as a consumer representative.

Angela Williams

Headshot of women against a light orange background. She has long brown hair and wears a colorful knitted rainbow scarf.

Why would you make a good Director?

I would make a good member of the board because I care passionately about the rights of all Australians to speak and be heard. I also know that there are too many of us silenced because of our disability and that PWDA allows us to be heard around the walls thrown up by the mainstream. By joining the board of PWDA, I hope to help the organisation move forward in an ethical, responsible and accountable manner and to help the voices of all of our members be heard.

I am committed to the values of inclusiveness, participation, quality, fairness, openness and accountability.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

I am a high school drop out with a PhD and a long history of struggling to find a place in society. I have lived experience of a wide range of disadvantage, including child abuse, addiction, homelessness, prison, rehab and single parenthood.

I know resilience and how to keep going when everything looks too bleak to continue. I have complex post traumatic stress disorder and have lived around this – and its many earlier mis-diagnoses – by learning how to think critically and understand my disability as an outcome of Australia’s long history of punishing and excluding the neurodivergent.

As an adult, I have found my voice and learned to use it to speak loudly for those often silenced in mainstream conversations. My memoir of prison and abuse, Snakes and Ladders, was published in early 2020. This had given me a speaking position to emphasise the harms done in our correctional and community settings.

The strongest skill I will bring to the board is my ability to read, process and translate difficult and complicated documents. I read legislation and terms and conditions for fun and will be very useful in helping the board unpack the horrible stuff no one else wants to read.

What is your area of expertise?

My true passion, and reason for applying to join this board, is Governance. I firmly believe in the power of decision making by consensus and that open, frank and honest conversation is the solution to almost every governance issue.

I have a particularly sound understanding of how shame functions within and around the committee process and sound experience in group-based shame busting as a tool of change making.

I am also a media and communications expert, as evidence by the PhD, and have a very sound body of knowledge of Australian politics and how these levels of power interact with the media landscape.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

In 2009, I founded an incorporated Not For Profit organisation called Wollongong Illawarra Roller Derby. As founding President, I worked with an ad hoc committee to develop the league, including preparing our governance and incorporation documents. This role also included media, sponsorship and public relations.

In one year under my presidency, the league grew to over 30 fully paid members, started competitive play in a local venue, appeared across several local media sources and ran a training camp for the Southern NSW region. While I handed over the President role at the first elections, my work set up the league to enter the national tournaments in 2011 and join the international governing body in 2013.

Jesse Williams

Man sitting in front of greenery. He smiles at the camera, and is wearing a black shirt with a name tag on it.Why would you make a good Director?

I am recognised as a leader in the Western Australian Disability advocacy space and approach my duties with passion. I have a diverse range of experiences, professional knowledge and skills to bring to the position.

I am a qualified secondary teacher, with experience in teaching students from marginalised and low socio-economic backgrounds. I have also spent three years working in the higher education sector in student welfare and advocacy. I am also very adept at Government and policy work, currently working as a Principal Consultant for a Government agency.

I was the Executive Chair of the Youth Disability Advocacy Network Inc (YDAN), a leading advocacy organisation and the peak representative body for young people with disabilities in Western Australia.

I have also participated in advocacy in the LGBTI+ community, particularly for young members of the community – establishing the first Disability Pride float in WA.

Due to me skills and expertise particularly in education and disability, I was appointed as a Commissioner for the National Youth Commission Inquiry into education, employment and transitions.

What skills and experience would you add to the Board?

Having led an organisation I possess very good governance skills and knowledge, including the management of staff and knowledge in industrial relations.

I have also led teams in my work capacity and managed projects, including those through the NDIA and external funding agreements from design through to delivery and reporting.

I am proficient with technology and have designed and developed websites, and promotional materials.

Most importantly, I understand the value of lived experience and the importance of being a representative of a community.

What is your area of expertise?

I am skilled across a range of areas, having built an advocacy organisation from the ground up.

Having led an organisation made of young people with disabilities and for young people with disabilities I am particularly skilled at Governance and Marketing – ensuring communication is clear and accessible.

Do you have prior experience being a Board Director? If yes, what was the impact of your directorship on the organisation?

As the Youth Disability Advocacy Network (YDAN) Executive Chair, I facilitated its growth from a small group of passionate young people, to a fully fledged organisation that employs staff and delivers community engagement projects for young people with disabilities throughout WA. I also developed YDAN’s social enterprise strategy, creating employment opportunities for young people with disabilities who are often excluded from the workforce. Through my direct action, I was able to ensure YDAN became a key stakeholder in Western Australian Government decision making processes and ensure sustainable funding for the next three years.