WWDACT Constitution [pdf]
WWDACT Director’s Report 2019 [docx]
Sue is an educator and disability rights advocate, and has worked in both education and disability in Central Australia, Nepal, and Italy. She is a member of the University of Canberra Council, and the Independent Advisory Council of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She is the immediate past Co-Chair of the Disability Reference Group advising the ACT Government on the implementation of the National Disability Strategy. She has been an inaugural board member, and Chair of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, and a former president of Women With Disabilities Australia. She has advocated for improved access to services, education and employment for women with disabilities. Sue has the lived experience of disability after an accident in 1995. She was the 2015 Canberra Citizen of the Year, 2014 ACT Senior Woman of the Year, and a nominee for the 2014 Senior Australian of the Year.
Di is a qualified bookkeeper and has worked extensively in both the disability sector and the private sector. She has been a member of WWDACT since it was first formed in 1995 and has supported the organisation with financial advice since its inception. She worked as the bookkeeper for Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) for a number of years when the national office was located in Canberra. She retired from her employment as the Accounts Manager for Eric Martin & Associates, a specialist in access architecture at the end of October 2017. Di has lived with disability all her life, and from a young age she has known that keeping active is an important part of maintaining mobility. In her youth she was a keen netballer and tennis player. She continues to uphold this philosophy with two exercise classes per week and in retirement will do more exercise. In her down time she is an avid reader of mystery novels and loves to spend time with her three grandchildren. She will continue to support WWDACT in her retirement.
*new* Vanamali (Mali) Hermans
Vanamali (Mali) Hermans is a 21 year old Wiradjuri woman who was born and raised in the community of Murwillumbah, a small town in Bundjalung country on the Far North Coast of NSW, Australia.
Mali lives with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and fibromyalgia, and is a staunch disability rights activist. This work has largely been motivated by the death of her mother Julie Hermans, who was also a disabled woman. Julie died this year after medical negligence at the Canberra Hospital – her death is still being investigated by the coroner.
Mali’s community work is extensive, having been involved with advocacy work to reopen the maternity ward in her hometown, to refugee activism, climate justice work and prison abolitionist activism within Canberra. She strongly believes in grassroots organising and believes any analysis of disability in Australia should first and foremost take into account the ongoing impacts of colonisation.
Having graduated from the ANU with an undergraduate degree in sociology, Mali is now studying a Master of Social Work through Charles Sturt University. She hopes to promote disability justice and work towards ensuring equitable healthcare through this path. Currently, Mali works as a research officer at the ANU and at the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA).
*new* Katie Shoemark
Katie is a twenty-something who begrudgingly has come to realise that she embodies the sentiments of cross-stitch cushions such as “be the change you want to see in the world.” Katie is currently a trainee on the WWDACT board; through the ACT Government’s Audrey Fagan Leadership program, she was fortuitously matched with Sue and Di as her mentors. She has relished the opportunity to be more actively involved in the disability sector and would love to continue on WWDACT’s board in 2020.
She originally moved down to Canberra from Sydney in 2012 to study at ANU. Throughout university she was involved in a variety of advocacy positions and fought for a range of (often intersecting) social justice issues. Finishing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in 2017, Katie moved to Florida to intern at Disney World. While “making magic” everyday is one of the best jobs you can have, Katie felt the need to return to Australia to put her legal and policy skills to work.
Katie is passionate about tacking issues at the systemic level, but wrestles with how to work as a systemic advocate while also trying to see positive changes at an individual and community level. Having spent the last two years as a management consultant, Katie has recently moved into a policy position at a peak mental health body. In her (very little) spare time, Katie plays roller derby. She cares deeply about integrity in sports, of which inclusion and celebration of people with disability is core.
Having struggled with feelings of being “not disabled enough” or “too high functioning” to engage in spaces for folks with disability, Katie has spent her 20s trying to unlearn her internalised biases and engage with these spaces. Living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia and clinical anxiety, she has been so overwhelmed with the kindness and support she has found in WWDACT and wants to continue to give back to the organisation as a board member.
Nb. This bio uses she/her pronouns throughout but Katie also uses they/them pronouns.
Born with vision impairment, Belinda has forged a life of ongoing growth in personal self-advocacy as a person with disability and for people with disability. For the past 15 years Belinda has worked in various portfolios across the Australian Government, currently in public policy. She is passionate about improving disability workforce participation and inclusive practices, including through universal design and assistive technology. During this time, Belinda has been actively involved in disability networks and is currently working with other people with disability to establish with the Digital Transformation Agency a disability network for innovation and technology inclusion. In 2017 Belinda founded Bioptic Drivers Australia and is working with a multi-disciplinary team to advocate to formalise bioptic driving in Australia. As a recent member to WWDACT, Belinda has a growing interest in the intersectional challenges facing women with disability. She is keen to work with other strong women to advance human rights and inclusion for women with disability in the ACT.
Louise has been involved with WWDACT since 1998 and works to promote health and wellbeing for women with disabilities including improving access to women’s health screening services. She is passionate about right for individual choice and control and about creating a fully inclusive community through mentoring, education, advocacy, and leadership. Louise represents WWDACT on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women; and on the ACT Disability Reference Group. She is the former Deputy Chair of the Disability Advisory Council, and continues to work with ACT Health and the government to improve women with disabilities’ access to services and education. Louise has been recognized for her work in the community. She was awarded the 2012 Chief Minister’s Award for Inclusion by an Individual, and was a 2009 Finalist in the Women of Spirit Awards, and a National Finalist in the 2006 Australian Centre for Leadership of Women Leadership Achievement Award.
Kerry has been a Canberra resident for more than 30 years. After a long career in the Commonwealth public service where she worked in many areas of social policy including unemployment, child protection, disability, and reducing violence against women, Kerry began a Master of Social Work in 2016. Kerry has lived with disability all her life and has been a member of WWDACT for several years. She is a qualified counsellor and is passionate about improving the profile, status and lives of women with disabilities in the ACT and Region. A Victorian by birth, Kerry is a passionate Essendon Bombers supporter and an avid reader. She has a keen interest in mental health, mentoring, inclusion, human rights and social justice and is delighted to join the WWDACT Board.
WWDACT Public Officer
Christina is a leadership and executive coach who embeds inclusion and ethical frameworks across organisational structures & culture. She has held CEO, senior management & team leading positions across both government & non-government sectors for 20 years, is a high level strategic thinker & noted innovator, using design thinking & collaboration to build new approaches. Christina founded the Disability Leadership Institute in 2017 to create a professional hub for leaders with disabilities, so that Australia builds & supports its disability leaders. She has been a leader in the Australian disability community, working at an international, national & local level to change the diversity agenda, while coaching numerous people with disabilities to their own leadership success.
Chief Executive Officer
C joined WWDACT as CEO in 2018, bringing their skills in community engagement, online media and systemic advocacy. They have a particular interest in access to health care, equity in housing, and intersectionality in advocacy. They are a proudly genderqueer and disabled person, and are keen to work on the intersection of gender and disability. They were born and raised in Canberra and began advocating for their peers as a teenager on their school board.
C is particularly passionate about housing and health and has served on the board of Better Renting, and as a consumer representative with the Health Care Consumers Association of the ACT. They are a graduate of the Disability Leadership Institute Future Shapers program, and the winner of the 2018 Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Emerging Young Leader.
C can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Engagement Officer
Ajar is taking on the position of community engagement from her experience with advocacy of disability for students at the Australian National University. She will be conducting the WWDACT Representatives program and hosting all our engagement activities, so let her know if you’re interested in attending any specific events or workshops!! Her role is to make our voices heard so definitely get in touch if you have any comments. She is especially interested in access to education, restorative practices, and recognition of intersectional power dynamics.
Ajar can be contacted at email@example.com.
Organisational Development Officer
Eleanor hails from New South Wales, but she calls Canberra home while she completes her studies. Her background is in social research and policy communication and she excited about being able to apply and add to her skills in the disability advocacy sector. She has a particular interest in mental health inclusion and how we can make our education systems more accessible. She is keen to further her knowledge across all areas of inclusion and to share it through useful resources for our members and board. She looks forward to taking on board member suggestions for developing our capacity in both the short and long term.
“Hi everyone, my name is Natalee but everyone calls me Nat (she her), and I am a Peer Leader and Representative for WWDACT. I have lived in Canberra my whole life, working with different non-profit organisations since I was a child, from The Cancer Council to Meals on Wheels.
Before becoming a Representative for WWDACT I spent a lot of my time advocating and sharing the stories of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, mainly focusing on women* and the LGBT+ community using social media. During this time, I have had the privilege of talking to hundreds of people with all types of disabilities, chronic illnesses and conditions across the world. I have helped them with advocacy, finding help in regard to doctors and support networks, patient rights, research, and their rights regarding body autonomy.
I’m excited to use my knowledge and lived experience to help others within our community, as well as to work towards meaningful change. In my spare time I love drawing, painting – basically anything art related, spending time with my three dogs, and nature. Looking forward to getting to know you all! ”
“Heya everyone, name is Al! I use they/them/theirs pronouns, and I’m a new Peer Leader at WWDACT.
I arrived in Canberra in 2015 as a student, and grew to love the city and its people as my adopted home. My experiences as an asylum seeker here has cemented my appreciation for the community of support that exists here, and I hope I can pay that forward in my role with WWDACT!
I do work as an educator with Tranz Australia, have produced a documentary project about domestic violence for Companion House and was a recent Pride intern for UnionsACT. I am also a perpetual student, currently studying Bachelor of Arts at the ANU, focusing on Sociology and Gender Studies.
I am a queer, disability, refugee and workers rights activist, and I want to address the importance of the intersections of identities in social justice movements. I try to be loud and visible in embodying my identities, which I hope will serve as a visible representation of unseen and unheard communities.
Al Azmi (they/them)”
Communications and Administration Officer
Kathy comes to us with a diverse experience of customer service, administration and communications. She has a passion for making our community kinder and fairer for all people.