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Jerry McNamara

Chief Executive Officer

02 9799 4333

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

0401 657 576

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.

Peter Schneider

Executive Manager, Strategy and Communication

0401 039 022

I joined Participate Australia late in 2011 after twenty years in the community sector in Australia, in operations, supporter care and retention and executive management in organisations including Foodbank NSW, Charities Aid Foundation, The Smith Family and Ronald McDonald House.

I volunteer in the kitchen of Lentil as Anything, a vegan, pay-what-you-can restaurant in Newtown, and with Re-Gen, a grassroots environmental group linking communities with the natural environment by combining environmental on-ground work with music, performance and art.

I have a passion for language and literature, fringe music and good food.  I live in the Inner West with my two adult children and our cat Mikeš.

Susan Woodhouse

Chief Financial Officer

 02 9799 4333

I joined Participate Australia in 2006 with an extensive background in Finance and Payroll. I have worked in many industries, including Hospitality, Manufacturing, and for the last 16 years in the Not for Profit sector. Since joining Participate Australia, I have been involved in the development and implementation of new systems to accommodate the growth of Participate Australia. I am looking forward in assisting Participate Australia to be NDIS ready in the near future. I enjoy swimming (‘meditation’ time), walking and travelling when time permits.

 

Lorraine Baldacchino

Manager, Corporate Services

02 9797 5304

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.

Thom Calma

Manager, Support

0421 744 708

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.

Andrea Natoli

Manager, Partnerships and Development

0421 481 560

After working for more than 20 years in the Corporate medical sector I decided to utilise the skills I had learnt to move into the not-for-profit sector. I worked for two years in a community based nursing service before joining Participate Australia in October 2016. When not working I am studying law, going to the gym and enjoying time with family and friends. I hope that I can use my skills to support the team at Participate Australia and the wider Participate Australia community.

 

Kelly Rodrigues

Manager, Support

0402 668 469

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.

 

Damon Collum

Senior Activities Coordinator

0421 197 185

I joined Participate Australia in 2010 after having an eclectic range of jobs in various industries, and have since moved from being a support worker to a Senior Coordinator.  Having learnt at an early age to divide by zero, I realised that I was different from other people, possibly a spawn of some ancient being.  I practice yoga and love tea, music, reading, and photography.

 

 

Enrica Irene

Senior Activities Coordinator

0403 668 232

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

Senior Support Facilitator

0435 820 021

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.

 

Jade Magaling

Senior Coordinator, NDIS Support Coordination

0432 910 661

I joined Participate Australia in 2017, introducing Support Coordination services to assist participants to transition and navigate the new world of the NDIS. I started working in the disability services sector in 2012 as a support worker while studying Psychology as an undergraduate. Years and a Master’s Degree in Social Health and Counselling later, my conviction to utilise all my skills, training and experience to better support participants with a holistic approach is stronger than ever before.
In my free time, I like ticking off my bucket list items, conquering my fear of heights with aerial sports and bushwalking onto cliffs or having some down time with a good book, game or spending time with my family and friends.

Jodie Velthuys

Senior Support Facilitator

0435 925 237

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.

 

Helen An

Support Facilitator

0411 482 586

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.

 

 

Alisdair Bates

Activities Coordinator

0432 638 690

I joined Participate Australia family at the very beginning of 2016. In 2013, I gained my Cert IV in Community Service Work. Working in disability sector has been a life defining experience for me and I can’t imagine working in a field outside of it. In my spare time, I enjoy lazing by the beach, horror movies, “banh mi” sandwiches, reading music biographies, winning trivia nights & crisp white wines.

 

Chetna Baweja

Support Facilitator

0402 916 062

I started at Participate Australia as volunteer worker in September 2009 while studying a Diploma in Community Welfare Work, which motivated me to work with people with disability. This gave me an opportunity to work as Support Worker and later in team leader capacity, mainly in the Day Options, Teen Time and Vacation Care programs.I am originally from New Delhi; I have passion for cooking and creating new varieties of old favourite dishes. I love travelling and look forward to travelling to new destinations near and far.

 

Debbie Focas

Support Coordinator

0481 740 965

I joined Participate Australia in 2011 after completing a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales. Prior to this role I completed practicums at a hospital and welfare centre where I had the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that enabled me to work in the disability sector. As a coordinator, I have worked primarily in the individual support team and has now taken on new projects, such as; carers support group and brokerage. I have a passion for cooking and baking and I hope to do a bit of travelling soon, in particular I would love to go to Machu Picchu.

 

Joanna Kazzi

Activities Coordinator

0435 769 648  

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.

 

Shellay Mandla (Kanwaljeet) 

Support Facilitator

0421 760 690

I started at Participate Australia in March 2014 as a Support Staff and then I became a team leader with Day Options program. My first experience working in this field was at a summer camp in New York which allowed me to learn and experience the various challenges that people with disabilities are facing.

I have a Bachelor in Commerce, a Graduate Diploma in International Business Management and currently enrolled in a Certificate IV course studying Disability. I have a young son who has been diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy and as such I am involved with raising funds, awareness and volunteering with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I travelled extensively around North America, backpacked in Western Europe, South East Asia and New Zealand.

Yuna Park

Activities Coordinator

0432 358 299  

I joined Participate Australia team in 2016 as a Support Worker and then I had the opportunity to become an activities coordinator. I have a Masters in Business and worked in the business and corporate sector for a number of years. After being a mum, I had a passion to the community services sector and completed a Diploma in Community Services. I plan on furthering my education and knowledge within this sector. Prior to joining in Participate Australia, I was employed as a support worker in disability services, mental health, multicultural services and NSW Health services. I believe helping others is rewarding and makes me happy.

 

Eric Hong

Senior Coordinator, Finance

02 9797 5309

I have completed a Bachelors of Economics and Finance, majoring in Accounting at University of Western Sydney. I started at Participate Australia in March 2013 after more than three years of accounting experience in previous jobs. I always try to build and maintain internal and external relationships, communicate clearly with different parties and apply proven financial and administrative skills into my professional career.

I love auto sports and basketball. I am a father and husband.

 

Diana Khoury

Administration Assistant

02 9799 4333

I started working at the Participate Australia office as a volunteer in August 2014. Since Friday the 13th of February 2015 I have been working part time as a paid employee. Some of the things that I do are looking after reception and helping out others with administrative work. My hobbies are listening to music. In my free time what I like doing is dancing. I would like to go back to Beirut with my mum and dad and for a holiday.

 

Reena Ashok Kumar

Coordinator, Corporate Services 

02 9799 4333

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.

 

Chante Li 

Coordinator, Finance

02 9797 5310

I started working at Participate Australia in November 2015. Working in this sector is new to me and I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Participate Australia. I have more than 5 years of experience in Finance and Accounts with a strong customer service focus. I graduated from Macquarie University with a Master in Accounting. I look forward to contributing to Participate Australia at this very exciting time under the NDIS and developing my professional career. I have a passion for Yoga and music. Reading books, specially fiction, are also a must in my leisure time.

 

Monica Roseworn

Coordinator, Finance / Events

02 9797 5303

I joined Participate Australia in February 2012. My years of experience in other Industries like Construction, Marketing and Art have provided me with great experience.  I have a great love for the outdoors and completed in April 2017 a trek to Everest Base Camp. I live in Croydon and I am the Mother of two teenage boys and a Pug dog called Flash.

 

Chris Ng

Coordinator, Marketing and Fundraising

0402 540 980

I joined Participate Australia in 2016. Prior to that I was working in business sector. I have degrees in International Business Studies and Psychology and am glad that I can apply my knowledge and experience from previous job to my work at Participate Australia.  I enjoy travelling and love dogs. I volunteer as a dog walker in Doggie Rescue whenever I have free time.

 

Matthew Vierboom

Community and Business Development

0435 936 277

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.