Dwayne has an extensive history working in diverse roles across the community sector. Prior to his role as CEO at NEDA, Dwayne worked in a senior management role at the Richmond Fellowship, and also held the position of Executive Officer at the National Brain Injury Foundation. Previously, Dwayne has held the position of Chair at Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI), and has also been a member of the ACT Chief Minister's Disability Advisory Council.
Since 1983, Dwayne has worked with marginalised communities both domestically and internationally (Sweden, USA) in homelessness, child protection, refugee, criminal justice, disability and mental health sectors. Dwayne holds several qualifications in Disabilities Community Sector Management and is passionate about social justice and allowing people to be heard over the white noise of the sector.
Dwayne has an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI/TBI), a disability he has lived with since being assaulted in 1999.
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Lara is the Executive Assistant to NEDA’s CEO, Dwayne Cranfield. Lara joined NEDA with extensive experience working for and with not-for-profit organisations, most recently as a Governance Officer.
During this time Lara has worked closely with organisations supporting the disability sector including Music for Canberra and their Music for All Abilities program and Rebus, a mixed-ability theatre company stimulating social change and healing through theatre.
The child of immigrant parents, including her father from a non-English speaking background, Lara shares experience of a culturally and linguistically diverse background which supports her advocacy and commitment in the CALD space.
Lara graduated from the ANU (Australian National University) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
Brian has an undergraduate degree in social science and postgraduate degrees in Urban Studies and Social Work. He has extensive expertise in human services ranging from homelessness to disability. He is one of Australia's leading human services social cartographers being responsible for the maps and data analysis for the publications by the late Associate Professor Tony Vison on social disadvantage. This work also produced the first interactive electronic map to be included in a print publication. One of his publications 'Shadow People' was the only Australian publication referenced by Habitat on homelessness.
Brian is a strong advocate for improved data collection/analysis and provides advice to Government to ensure various survey and administrative data collections have adequate measures of disability, ethnicity and gender.
His expertise in data visualisation has made NEDA Australia's leading agency in disability estimate for CALD communities. His work in disability estimates influenced the Commonwealth revising the NDIS estimates to a higher number. He is also one of the first recipients of the NEDA medal for his contribution to the development of CALD disability statistical approaches.
Policy and Project Officer
Dominic is a strong advocate of the disability and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community, with more than 17 years of experience in community work, cultural development and multicultural affairs.
Dominic is a person with lived experience of dual disability, being hearing impaired and living with cerebral palsy. He is from the CALD community, originally from Vietnam and migrating to Australia as a baby in the 1970s.
In the past 17 years, Dominic has had extensive work experience within the disability space, providing support and accommodation to refugees with disability.
Dominic has also worked with small NGOs, doing state election multicultural outreach and providing local council community support. He has worked in two separate DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) programs - adoption/wardship records and disability, subsequently developing a passion for social policy and service delivery to marginalised communities.
Dominic has two postgraduate degrees – one in social work and the other one by research on intercountry adoption and race. He has also completed a University of Melbourne fellowship (2018) report on refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities for refugee survivors and ex - detainees.
Neha holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and a Master of International Relations, where her research focused on human rights, human security and refugee policy.
Neha joined NEDA in August 2019 to help manage the Community Radio Engagement Project that focused on creating awareness about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services amongst people with a disability from refugee backgrounds. The project used a co-design format to engage with speakers of Arabic, Farsi, Assyrian, Chaldean, Burmese and English in Sydney and Melbourne.
Currently, she works as a Contract Administrator, where she prepares tender documentation and manages paperwork associated with contracts, projects and services provided by NEDA. She serves as a first point of contact for all contractual matters and maintains contractual correspondence, notices, claims etc. for contracts, contractor, and subcontractor organisations.
Her experience includes working as a settlement officer, leading legal literacy programs, legal aid camps and advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees.
ILC Project Officer
Lingyun is a culturally sensitive social worker with considerable experience working in the disability, domestic violence, aged care and community services sectors, mainly in Queensland.
Ling’ personal and professional beliefs in social justice and equality gave her a strong desire to support vulnerable people, especially those from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Her previous work experiences include providing support to people with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people affected by domestic and family violence, low-income families and asylum seekers and refugees.
After working in the disability sector as a frontline worker, Ling worked for an organisation providing support to CALD people with a disability, especially CALD parents who have children with disabilities.
Ling holds a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Film Production) from Sichuan Normal University and a Master of Social Work from Queensland University of Technology.
Before coming to Australia, Lyn has worked for different media organisations in China as a journalist and as a film production assistant.
Her previous experiences working with vulnerable people in both Australia and China, as well as her life experiences have developed her experience on how to support disadvantaged groups to achieve the best quality of life.
Ling joined NEDA at the end of 2020. At NEDA, she works on the linkages and capacity building (ILC) project, facilitating NDIS workshops for interpreters and multicultural organisations across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Project Officer - ‘Our Voices, Our Lives, Our Way’ Project
Al (they/them) is a queer asylum seeker with a disability living on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country, also known as Canberra. They have been living in Australia since 2015 and have been active in advocating for the rights of queer, refugee, working people’s and people with disability’s rights since. They are passionate about working to contribute to the aim justice being achieved by those who need it the most.
In 2019, Al worked on an ILC project called ‘Supportive Decision Making’. This was a community development project targeted towards women and non-binary people, to build self-confidence and increase their capacity for self-advocacy.
They have also work with Tranz Australia, a collective that provides services for training and education to businesses and organisations regarding their policy and treatment of LGBTQIA+ employees. Al also produced a documentary project discussing domestic abuse with Companion House. This project centred the voices of migrant and refugee youth, and it received the YOGIE Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Youth Participation’ in 2020.
At NEDA, Al will be the Project Officer supporting the creation and implementation of the project, ‘Our Voices, Our Lives, Our Way’. They hope that they will be able to use their past experiences and skills to help this project thrive and reach the people who will benefit from it the most.
Senior Research and Policy Officer
Blanca has a deep sense of commitment to service and access to justice for all. Being the child of undocumented Mexican immigrants and having lived experience with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), Blanca is acutely aware how various issues and policies intersect within the migrant community. Blanca is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Blanca holds a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) from Azusa Pacific University in the US, and a Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the University of Newcastle. During her studies she volunteered at several legal clinics and centres, helping marginalised members of the community. Blanca is also a veteran of the US Navy and deployed on multiple tours to the Middle East.
She was admitted into the ACT Court in February 2019 and has previously worked at the National Disability Insurance Agency as a Freedom of Information Officer, as well as a Lawyer with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal branch.
Blanca worked at NEDA as the Project Officer for the Embrace Mental Health Project and has re-joined NEDA as the Senior Research and Policy Officer in September 2021.
Ana holds a PhD in Law and is an awarded researcher. She is originally from Brazil, but she has lived in Australia for many years. Ana has experience teaching at graduate and post-graduate levels and giving public presentations in Australia and internationally, including during international programs in Japan and Brazil. She speaks Portuguese and English and has experience with Spanish and Italian, and she is currently learning German.
Ana is passionate about social justice especially protecting and improving the rights of marginalised communities, using evidence-based research and strong advocacy skills to bring about legal and policy change. As a professional and a CALD woman, Ana is culturally aware and sensitive about the unique challenges faced by people from CALD backgrounds in Australia.
At NEDA, Ana is the Research Officer. Ana’s current research focuses on good practices for people with disability from CALD backgrounds. This project is funded by the Disability Royal Commission and is a partnership between NEDA and UNSW.
Zain manages communications for NEDA and is the main contact for media inquiries. He is a graduate of the University of Canberra, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Communications/Journalism.
Zain enjoys writing and photography, and has had his work published in the Canberra Times.
He is a keen advocate for social justice and was an active member of the University of Canberra’s Refugee Action Club. During this time, he published articles interviewing prominent Australian refugee activists in his University Magazine.
Being from a CALD background himself, Zain understands the importance of CALD representation within the disability sector.