Documents

WWDACT Constitution [pdf]

WWDACT Director’s Report 2019 [docx]

 

Our Board

 

Kerry Marshall

Acting WWDACT Chair

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.

 

Dianne McGowan

WWDACT Treasurer

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.

 

Vanamali (Mali) Hermans

WWDACT Director

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).

 

Katie Shoemark

WWDACT Director

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.

 

Belinda O’Connor

WWDACT Director

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 Bannister

WWDACT Director

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.

 

Christina Ryan

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.

 

 

Our Staff

Chief Executive Officer

WWDACT is looking for a new CEO!

 

 

Ajar Sana
A photograph of Aji Sana
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.

 

 

Amy Fahey

A smiling woman wearing glasses and a colourful topProject Officer (Parenting Project)

I’m Amy! As the Project Officer at WWDACT, I’m running a peer support group for WWDACT members who are parents or planning to be parents. In this group, we’ll be able to share tips and tricks on navigating parenthood with disability in the ACT, build friendships and learn more about services that can support us on our journey through planning, pregnancy and parenthood. Please send me an email at projects@wwdact.org.au if you want to be involved!