Jerry McNamara

Chief Executive Officer

Joined Participate Australia in October 2003. Originally from Canada, hold a BSC in Genetics and a Masters of Business Administration Degree. Worked in the Corporate sector until moving to Australia in 1995. Since 1995 I decided to change careers and work in the non-profit sector holding senior management positions with the Institute for Sustainable Futures, Carnivale (NSW Multicultural Arts Festival) and The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. I have also been very involved all of my adult life as a volunteer internationally in the Arts, HIV and Human Rights. Currently I am the Vice President of the Board of Koorana and the President of The Australian Heart Lung Transplant Association, the latter as a result of being very fortunate to have had a successful heart transplant in 2007.

Erika Aravena

Executive Manager, Community Liaison

I have been working in the disability field for the past 16 years and I am very passionate about what I do.  My job is a learning experience every day.  I came into the disability field through my studies, as I was required to do 280 hours practice work in disability, never knowing that it will become my passion.  I love walking and reading, I have 2 beautiful children.

Thom Calma

Executive Manager, Support

I am a proud Aboriginal Australian, hailing from the Northern Territory and a member of the Kungarakan tribe. I joind Participate Australia in 2009 as a support person, I have been working in the support coordination team since 2010. With a strong interest in social justice and human rights, I have worked with the Participate Australia Self-Advocacy Committee since 2013 and I work with participants, families, workers and the community to help transition into the new world of the NDIS.

I currently sit on the Board of Management for the Settlement Neighbourhood Centre in Darlington and I enjoy travel, cooking, staying active and rearing my pet geckos.

Lorraine Baldacchino

Manager, Corporate Services

I commenced with Participate Australia in August 2015, and I have been delivering human resource outcomes for over 28 years in various organisations, including the State government, the not for profit sector and commercial organisations.  I first worked for a not-for-profit organisation in 2004, where I developed my passion for this sector.  I have completed a Masters of Business, majoring in Industrial Relations, I have a Professional Diploma of Human Resources and a Graduate Certificate of OH&S.
I recently joined the Board of a community organisation supporting women.  This has provided me with valuable experiences that I can bring to my role as Manager, Corporate Services at Participate Australia.
I hail from Scotland originally and I have two children. My daughter has travelled the world with the OzScot Highland Dance team and I am also a member of the Central Coast Highland Dancing Committee.

Kelly Grasso

Manager, Community Engagement

I have been with Participate Australia since February 2008, while completing a Diploma of Welfare. I started as a support worker, working across various programs. I initially requested to complete my work placement hours within the Participate Australia office, where I had the opportunity to develop the skills to become a coordinator. I have coordinated many different programs throughout my employment with Participate Australia in particular the Day Options. I have a passion for Motor Sports, adventure and reading books.

Enrica Irene 

Manager, Support

I joined Participate Australia in December 2011 as a support worker after completing a Community Service course. I worked mainly in after school care, vacation care, and supported living. Since November, 2013 I have worked with the community access team focusing on life skills programs. I have a big passion for travelling and I love to try new foods from all over the world.

Luke Leonard

Manager, Support

I joined Participate Australia in May 2008 starting as a support worker after working in the arts and hospitality. I have worked in a variety of roles and departments. Currently I am working as a Senior Support Facilitator and working with a team dedicated to ensuring the people we support engage in meaningful activities of their choice. I am passionate about equality and social justice. I enjoy cooking, travelling and arts.

Eric Hong

Assistant Manager, Finance

I joined Participate Australia in 2013 as finance coordinator after working in a range of accounting and finance roles in a number of industries for more than 8 years. In 2017 I was promoted to the role of Assistant Finance Manager.

I enjoy working at Participate Australia, and I am working with a great team and other staff across the organisation. We maintain high ethical standards and provide a flexible working environment. I believe that as a role model for my colleagues, I need to provide support and direction, as well as opportunities to acquire new skills.

I hold a Bachelor of Economics and Finance Degree with major in Accounting from the University of Western Sydney.

I have a young family and an interest in autosports. Beside my family, I spend most of time on my cars.

Donette Ashok Kumar

Facilitator, Support

I am a teacher by profession and have been teaching for 15 years. I started at Participate Australia in 2011 as a Support worker, working across all programs and in March 2017 started as a Support Facilitator. I am passionate about supporting people with disabilities and their families and dedicated to ensure the best opportunities and best outcomes.
I am an athletic person and love playing sport. My favourite sport is basketball. In my spare time I love to spend time with my family watching movies, baking amazing cakes and desserts with my children and listening to instrumental music. My hobby is being a home interior decorator for family and friends.

Michael Collins

Senior NDIS Support Coordinator

I joined the support coordination team at Participate Australia in October 2017. Previously I worked in an NDIS LAC program, but have spent over 8 years working hands-on with people with intellectual disabilities. I am a big fan of the NDIS, as people with disabilities now have the same choice and control over the services they use as everybody else, and are now protected under consumer law. I am passionate about empowering people to access the supports they need to improve quality of life and achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Outside of work, I love taking my Jeep off road, camping, or anything out of the city.

Damon Collum

Assistant Manager, Activities

I joined Participate Australia in 2010 and in my current role as Assistant Manager I help develop and deliver our community engagement programs. My work entails the oversight of program delivery, staff retention and training and the development of future initiatives to drive our business into the future.

Joanna Kazzi

Senior Activities Coordinator


I joined Participate Australia as a support worker in July 2012 during my first year of university studying a Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies. I have worked across all programs but primarily focused on School Holidays and the Life Skills programs. I have a passion for travelling and spent some time volunteering abroad. I am currently completing a Masters in Human Services and hope to use the knowledge gained from that in my new role in the Support team

Jodie Harmer [parental leave]

Senior Support Facilitator

I have been with Participate Australia since October 2015 as a Coordinator in the Support team coordinating the Flexible Respite Packages. I have worked in the disability sector in varying capacities for 14 years, including working in the Hunter region where I gained experience with the NDIS. I look forward to utilising my experience with the NDIS to assist participants and families through the NDIS transition here at Participate Australia. I have a background and qualifications in Art Therapy and Counselling and I enjoy making all types of Art, in particular painting, in my spare time.

Matthew Vierboom

Senior Coordinator, Projects and Operational Development

I joined Participate Australia in May 2014 after previous positions in the arts and not-for-profit sector. I have a degree in Political Science and International Relations from UNSW and I have a large penchant for all things music, politics and sport. I hope to help our Participate Australia families through the transition towards the NDIS as smoothly as possible.

Helen An

Support Facilitator

I joined Participate Australia in November 2016 and I  worked  as a support worker in disability sector for 4 years. And I studied Social Work and Community Services. I have a passion for working in welfare industry especially disability sector. I love travel and outdoor activities. I am excited to join Participate Australia and look forward to working with all participants and their families.

Gabriella Antelmi

Activities Coordinator

I joined Participate Australia in 2016 as a Support Worker after completing a Certificate IV in Community Services. I worked as a Team Leader in adult group activities, school holiday activities and individual support. I became an Activities Coordinator in October 2017 focusing on individual support.
I have a strong passion to give back to our local communities whether it is setting up a Community garden with a fellow support worker or volunteering at a community garden called Street Growth.
In my spare time I love spending time with my friends, going to dog parks without a dog and eating copious amounts of pasta.

Reena Ashok Kumar

Support Facilitator

I started working at Participate Australia in April 2014 after working in the hospitality and events industry for 2.5 years. I am in the process of completing my Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and International Relations. I have a passion for dance and I train Odissi and the Brazilian Samba. I love to learn new styles of dance in the future.


NDIS Support Coordinator

I joined the Support Coordination team at Participate Australia in March 2018. Prior to my role here I worked in various roles including multiple positions within NSW Health Department and the Finance Industry. I enjoy learning new things every day and can’t go a day without laughing. I am a people person and enjoy meeting people from all walks of life.

Nicolas Fodor

Support Facilitator

I joined Participate Australia in 2018 as a Support Facilitator following a decade of customer based, health focused roles. I’ve worked with families, fitting baby seats to cars; in ergonomics, fitting supportive seats to bad backs, and most recently I supervised a Hearing Clinic in Marrickville. I have a BA with a Major in English, and am currently moonlighting as a wannabe successful artist. I love going to the movies, sleeping on the beach, trying strange new food, and visiting weird parts of the world.

Emily Lucas

Coordinator, Corporate Services 

I have recently joined Participate Australia in December 2016 as a Coordinator of Corporate Services. You will often find me at reception when you come into the office. I am currently a fourth year university student studying at University of Wollongong in a Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Commerce. When I am not at work I will be outside, at the gym or just with friends and family. I look forward to helping the Participate Australia community in the transition into the NDIS.

Luke Palmer

Support Facilitator

Since joining Participate Australia as a support worker in 2016 I developed a deeper understanding and passion to support carers, families and individuals with disabilities. During my time here I’ve been involved in supporting a local charity Street Growth where through gardening we build community and assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. I have also worked school holiday programs in Central Australia with indigenous communities engaging with music, sport and various other recreational activities. In my spare time I like to play music, take photos and play badminton.