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.
National Manager - Systemic Advocacy
Jane has an extensive work history in disability and multicultural sectors both within not-for-profit organisations and government. Her interests, skills and expertise include systemic advocacy and social policy design, implementation and evaluation. Specifically, Jane focuses on public policy and human rights issues associated with the intersections of disability, migration, and culture.
Since joining our team in 2014, Jane continues to undertake a broad range of national and international advocacy activities for our constituency.
Jane's initial qualifications were in the area of Disability Studies (Certificate III & IV). She then completed a Bachelor of Arts degree (Anthropology & History) from the University of Southern Queensland and a Master of Arts (Research) in Anthropology from The Australian National University; she is a member of the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS).
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.
Hema Mangad joined NEDA in August 2018, at an exciting time of growth and change. In this newly created position, Hema spearheads NEDA’s communications, social media and media activities.
Hema is a senior all-rounder communications professional with over 11 years of experience handling complex and diverse communications projects.
She has held a number of strategic and operational communication roles before moving into the not-for-profit sector. Hema has worked for both big and small organisations across various industries, ranging from Tourism, Banking, Information Technology to Insurance in three different countries - France, Mauritius and Australia.
In her 11-year career, Hema has worked extensively with multilingual and multicultural audiences. Hema’s expertise is, hence, in working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) audiences to develop culturally appropriate content.
Her strength is also in building high level relationships with key stakeholders within the CALD space and designing targeted social media campaigns.
Hema moved to Australia in 2012. Being a migrant herself, she is fully committed to the promotion of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion. Hema is passionate about languages - she is fully bilingual (English and French) and has a sound knowledge of Hindi and Spanish.
Hema holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications Science from “Université d’Avignon et des Pays du Vaucluse”, France.
Policy and Project Officer email@example.com
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 graduated from the Australian National University with a master’s degree in International Relations, where her research focused on human rights and human security.
Prior to this, she pursued law with an aim to identify existing vulnerabilities in society and alleviate them through policy, legal reforms, and welfare programs.
Her work experience included working as a settlement officer and project coordinator at a Settlement Agency in Australia. Through her legal internships, volunteering experience, and leadership roles, Neha has led literacy programs, legal aid camps and conducted research that addressed the question of social justice.
Neha’s recent participation as a youth representative at the United Nations International Conference on Migration Youth Forum held in Marrakech and Quito has solidified her aspirations to build on this work and pursue a career in migration, multiculturalism and human rights.
At NEDA, Neha has managed 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.
She is currently overseeing the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) National Community Connector Program across New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
Blanca Rizo Ramirez
Blanca joined NEDA in April 2020, to support our growing team on multiple projects.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Azusa Pacific University in California USA, Blanca decided to serve her country by joining the United States Navy. She served for five years as a Surface Warfare Officer and during this time, Blanca was deployed on multiple tours to the Middle East.
Blanca began studying law in California while completing time as a reserve Naval Officer.
She moved to Australia in 2015 and completed her Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the University of Newcastle. During her studies she volunteered at several legal clinics and centres servicing marginalised members of the community.
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.
She was admitted into the ACT Court in February 2019 and began work as a Freedom of Information officer for the National Disability Insurance Agency.
Blanca will be representing NEDA on several projects, one of them being the Embrace Mental Health Project that we are currently a part of. The project is a partnership between NEDA, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and Mental Health Australia (MHA).
Oki is an accountant with more than 15 years of experience working in Australia.
Oki holds a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) qualification and has extensive experience working as a senior accountant in a public accounting practice after migrating to Australia in 2004.
He graduated from the University of Indonesia with a Bachelor of Accounting and holds a Master of Commerce from the University of Sydney. Prior to coming to Australia, he worked as an auditor in a Big4 company and as a risk analyst in one of the big investment companies in Jakarta.
Oki started to get involved in a community-based organisation when he did some volunteering work at a not-for-profit organisation in early 2014. While he still maintained his work as an accountant in public practice, he took a small step to work as a part-time finance officer at a multicultural radio station, where he could share his lived experience as a migrant.
Later, he joined another community-based organisation which provides services to refugees and migrants and has been working as a part-time accountant since 2015.
Although Oki has left public practice since December 2018, he still maintains his CPA membership, while continuing his passion to work for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) organisations.
Rikke Brøchner Andersen
Special Project Officer - National Community Connectors Program
Rikke holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern Denmark. Her degree focused on human rights and the impact inadequate access to proper health care in refugee camps has on the mental health of refugees.
Rikke moved to Australia in 2018 to take up a position at the Danish Embassy. She is very passionate about equality, diversity and multiculturalism, being a migrant herself and having worked with people from different cultures during her career.
Rikke also worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canberra, with a small team advocating for the rights of refugees and displaced people. Working closely with former refugees was an eye opener and encouraged Rikke to pursue a work in refugee rights.
Before moving to Australia, Rikke worked on a people-centric project aiming to change the way services were delivered to people with disabilities across multiple government departments in Denmark. Working closely with participants with disabilities and their carers to develop the project framework has given Rikke unique insight and understanding of people with disability.
Rikke aims to bring her academic expertise in human rights combined with her wealth of experience across multiple project management roles to support people with disability from CALD communities to navigate the NDIS.
At NEDA, Rikke will be supporting the implementation of the National Community Connectors Program (NCCP) across New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.