Chief Executive Officer
BSC (Genetics); MBA
Jerry has been the CEO of Participate Australia for 17.5 years, joining us in October 2003. Originally from Canada, Jerry worked in the corporate sector before moving to Australia in 1995. At this time he decided to change careers and joined the non-profit sector, where he has held senior management positions with the Institute for Sustainable Futures, Carnivale (NSW Multicultural Arts Festival) and The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. Throughout his adult life Jerry has been very involved as an international volunteer in the Arts, HIV and Human Rights. He is the former 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.
Chief Operating Officer
BA Economics & Public Policy, CIMA, AGIA
David joined Participate Australia in January 2020 as Executive Manager, Special Projects and Finance, prior to being appointed Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer in July 2020. With a strong background in the commercial sector in governance, finance and strategic planning, David also brings to bear his diverse experience in senior roles acquired across the NFP sector. These include FOUR paws; Sisters of Saint Joseph; Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) and Medecins Sans Frontieres. David has executive responsibility for the Support Coordination, HR, Quality & Safeguarding and Finance teams and is currently leading a project to assess opportunities for revenue growth and diversification.
Executive Manager, Support
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & Performance Studies)
Thom is a proud First Nations Australian, a member of Kungarakan people from Darwin, NT. After moving to Sydney in 2005 and completing his studies at the University of Sydney, he joined Participate Australia in 2009 as a support worker and quickly found a passion for the sector. Thom and the Support team aspire to a world focused on ability, inclusion and achievement, where people with disabilities feel they belong, are inspired and feel supported to make choices and live their best lives. They strive to maximize opportunities aligning with the goals and aspirations for people with disability in an innovative, empathic, person-centred and rights-based approach. Thom has a strong interest in human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of First Nations people; people with disability; the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and LGBTQI+ rights. He supports these areas through various philanthropic work and advisory boards.
Executive Manager, Community Liaison;
Ryde Area Supported Accommodation for Intellectually Disabled
Erika worked with the community to establish Ryde Area Supported Accommodation for Intellectually Disabled people five years ago. Since that time she has been responsible for providing support to the15 residents who live here. Erika has been working in the disability field for the past 16 years and is passionate about it, having come into the disability field through her studies, where she was required to complete 280 hours practice work in disabilities. The sector has now become her profession and passion.
SUPPORT COORDINATION TEAM
Manager, Support Coordination, Support Coordinator
Cert IV Disabilities
Michael has been in the disability sector for over 12 years and has worked in a variety of roles including supported living/accommodation, complex behaviours and intellectual disabilities. He has experience as a Local Area Coordinator and Local Area Team Leader prior to joining Participate Australia, where he built first plans in partnership with the NDIS. Michael supports participants directly and provides training and guidance for a team of Support Coordinators in the ever changing world of the NDIS.
A/Assistant Manager, Senior/Specialist Support Coordinator
Bachelor of International Studies (Child Rights and Child Protection)
Sanaa joined Participate Australia in 2018, with a professional background in banking, mental health, aged care and community health. Sanaa has a number of areas of expertise, including working with people connected to the criminal justice system. A fluent Hindi speaker, Sanaa is passionate about helping people. She is a keen community sportsperson and is currently undertaking a Masters in Criminology.
Senior Support Coordinator
With a background as an NDIS consultant, Kelly also has strong experience in case management from her work in the marketing and advertising context. She has a particular expertise in supporting and managing complex family dynamics, setting expectations and providing transparent communication.
Bachelor of Commerce (Human Resources); Bachelor of Psychology (Hons)
Henry has a background in psychology, using Applied Behavioural Analysis to support children with autism and volunteering with the Centre for Emotional Health. He works with participants to connect people with services that make a meaningful life impact.
Bachelor of Social Work (Hons); Grad Dip Business
Ivania has a background in social work and experience as a support worker and hospital administrator. Ivania has a keen interest in working with participants from CALD backgrounds and is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Bachelor of Education; Masters of Commerce
Shikha has a background in teaching and as a support worker. Her experience helps her to build solid foundations and excellent rapport with participants and their families. Shikha is skilled at connecting participants and their families with a range of services. She is fluent in English and Hindi.
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & Sociology)
Tanya has experience working with a Developmental Psychologist in private practice in the education context. In her work in schools, she assisted with assessments for learning disabilities and worked to ensure supports were provided correctly. Tanya has a keen interest in working with participants from CALD backgrounds.
Certificate of Education; Cert IV Assessment & Training; Adv Dip Disability; Adv Dip Community Services Management
Marcela has a background in working with community day programs, accommodation for complex mental health needs and crisis intervention. She primarily supports participants living independently or with their families in the community.
Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems); Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
Rickey has a background in psychology, delivering Applied Behavioural Analysis supports to children with autism. He primarily supports participants within the Young People In Residential Aged Care and Supported Independent Living/Specialist Disability Accommodation cohorts. Rickey has particular experience in transitioning people to more suitable accommodation and a keen interest in working with participants from ATSI backgrounds.
QUALITY AND SAFEGUARDING TEAM
Senior Coordinator, Projects and Operational Development
BA Political Science & International Relations
Matthew joined Participate Australia in May 2014 after previous positions in the arts and not-for-profit sector. Matthew supports Participate Australia to maintain ongoing certification with the NDIS Quality & Safeguarding Commission. Alongside this Matthew assists with a range of other issues including systems training and support, grants and events.
Manager People and Culture
This position is currently vacant.
Coordinator, Corporate Services
Bachelor of Commerce; Bachelor of Law
Emily joined Participate Australia while completing her studies at the University of Wollongong. She has since developed a strong interest in Industrial Relations and Human Resources within the disability sector. She particularly enjoys being in the Centre and being greeted by our participants throughout the day. Emily is to be found at Reception, where she undertakes a multitude of essential tasks including staff training and Support Worker recruitment.
Bachelor of Economics (Accounting)
Eric joined Participate Australia in 2013 as finance coordinator after working in a range of accounting and finance roles in a number of industries. In 2017 I was promoted to Assistant Finance Manager and subsequently Manager, Finance. He enjoys working at Participate Australia, and together with the team, he maintains high ethical standards. Eric has have a young family and an interest in autosports.
Luke joined Participate Australia in May 2008 starting as a support worker after working in the arts and hospitality. He has worked in a variety of roles and departments. In his role as Manager Support he works with a team dedicated to ensuring the people we support engage in meaningful activities of their choice. Luke is passionate about equality and social justice and enjoys cooking, travelling and arts.
Bachelor of Psychology, Masters of HR Management
Irene oversees the operations of the activity team and has a background in the community services sector, focusing on social engagement and mental health in the multicultural community. She joined Participate Australia in 2012 as a support worker and moved to the coordination team in 2014. Irene was the Learning and Development Specialist and Human Resources Coordinator at KPMG Indonesia for 4 years, is fluent in both English and Indonesian and is currently learning to speak Korean.
Assistant Manager, Activities
Cert IV Disabilities; Cert II Auslan
Damon joined Participate Australia in 2010 . He helps develop and deliver our community engagement programs, overseeing program delivery, staff and the development of future initiatives to drive our activities into the future. Damon has several family members who have a disability which range from intellectual through to physical. Reflecting on their needs and challenges provides valuable insights into how best to support our participants and carers.
Senior Support Facilitator
Jodie has been with Participate Australia since October 2015 as a Coordinator in the Support team, coordinating the Flexible Respite Packages. She has worked in the disability sector in varying capacities for 14 years, including working in the Hunter region where she gained experience with the NDIS. Jodie has a background and qualifications in Art Therapy and Counselling .
Senior Activities Coordinator
Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies; Masters of Human Services
Joanna joined Participate Australia in 2012 as a support worker, working across all programs within the organisation before taking on a role within the Activities Team in 2016. In this time Joanna has designed programs that provide valuable and new experiences for participants. She seeks out and maintains partnerships with external organisations, assists with grant applications and grant implementations. Joanna is passionate about keeping children safe and incorporates this knowledge into the planning and development of programs offered by Participate Australia. Joanna is fluent in English and Arabic.
Helen joined Participate Australia in November 2016 and worked as a support worker in disability sector for 4 years. She studied Social Work and Community Services and has a passion for working in the welfare sector.
Cert IV Community Services
Gabriella joined Participate Australia in 2016 as a support worker and has worked as a Team Leader in adult group activities, school holiday activities and individual support. She became an Activities Coordinator in October 2017, focusing on individual support. Gabriella has a strong passion to give back to local communities whether it is setting up a community garden with a fellow support worker or volunteering.
Donette Ashok Kumar
A teacher by profession, Donette has 15 years experience in the education sector. She began at Participate Australia in 2011 as a Support worker, working across all programs and in March 2017 started as a Support Facilitator. She is passionate about supporting people with disabilities and their families and dedicated to ensure the best opportunities and best outcomes.
Reena Ashok Kumar
Reena started working at Participate Australia in April 2014 after working in the hospitality and events industry for 2.5 years. She is in the process of completing her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and International Relations.
Bachelor of Computer Science; Certificate of Teaching
Lily joined Participate Australia in 2015 as a support worker. Her many years of teaching overseas has shaped Lily’s desire to develop and help others. In her current role, she designs and facilitates programs to improve an individual’s social inclusion through goal orientated activities aligned to NDIS plans, working closely with participants and carers to achieve this. It brings Lily tremendous joy to see participants engage with our activities in a meaningful way. Lily is fluent in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, and also speaks Hokkien at home.
Bachelor of Arts (English)
Nicolas joined Participate Australia in 2018 as a support facilitator following a decade of customer based, health focused roles. He has worked with families, fitting baby seats to cars; in ergonomics, fitting supportive seats to bad backs, and most recently he supervised a Hearing Clinic in Marrickville.
Since joining Participate Australia as a support worker in 2016 Luke has developed a deeper understanding and passion to support carers, families and individuals with disabilities. During his time here he has been involved in supporting a local charity Street Growth which builds community and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds through gardening. Luke has worked school holiday programs in Central Australia with indigenous communities engaging with music, sport and various other recreational activities.