Our Staff

 

Kat Reed (they/them/theirs)

Chief Executive Officer

Kat is a human rights advocate, community builder, avid intersectional feminist and political performance artist. They were recently awarded 2021 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year.

Their activism and community building work spans many different intersections. Since the age of 17, they have advocated for the rights of people of colour, queer youth, trans and non-binary people and people with disabilities. Kat has also made appearances on ABC Radio, Canberra Times and Win News speaking about survivor rights and sex education.

Kat’s leadership experience is diverse – they’ve held positions of leadership in both local and national organisations including the ANU Students’ Association and led the Australian Queer Students’ Network as the National Co-Convenor. Kat was a Council member on the ACT LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council and advised on issues affecting queer youth from 2015-2018.

 

Megan (she/her/hers)

Policy & Advocacy Officer & “A Better COVID Legacy” Project Officer

Megan joins us as our new Policy & Advocacy Officer. She is also researching the gendered issues that arose for women with disabilities in the ACT during the pandemic and recovery period as part of the COVID Legacy Project. Please send an email to policy@wwdact.org.au if you want further information.

 

Ruth (she/her/hers)

Admin & Communications Officer

Ruth O’Brien is the Admin and Social Media Officer for WWDACT. In this role, she conducts and organises a range of tasks, including scheduling social media posts for Facebook and Instagram, curating the monthly e-bulletin, researching information for grants and team projects, proofreading, managing member information and designing images and documents in Canva. Ruth hope that she’s able to assist WWDACT in the best way she can with her skills and ideas. She is passionate about removing barriers for women with disability and, through lived experience and working in the area of accessibility for close to 5 years, has many solutions for how to do this.

 

Ruth is responsible for our social media, our newsletters and communications and for supporting the team.  Please send an email to info@wwdact.org.au if you want to get in touch!

 

Sophia (she/her/hers)

Project Officer (Disability Royal Commission Project)

Sophia is working on our new engagement project for the Disability Royal Commission. The project will involve providing information to members on how to submit to the DRC as well as some research on the issues CALD, LGBTIQ+ and First Nations women with disability in the ACT experience. Please an email to drc@wwdact.org.au if you want to connect.

 

Our Board

 

Kerry Marshall (she/her/hers)

WWDACT Chair

Kerry is a wheelchair user and has been a Canberra resident for over 30 years. Following a 20 year career in the Commonwealth public service where she led small teams and worked in many areas of social policy including gender equality, child protection, disability, and reducing violence against women, Kerry left in 2015 to undertake a Masters in Social Work.

Kerry now works as a school counsellor. She is passionate about improving the profile, status and lives of women with disabilities in the ACT and Region and has a keen interest in access to employment and education for women with disabilities, mental health, mentoring, inclusion, human rights and social justice. Kerry joined the WWDACT Board in 2017 and became Board Chair in 2020.

 

Dianne McGowan (she/her/hers)

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.

 

Isobel Moss (she/her/hers)

WWDACT Director

Isabel is a young woman with lived experience of disability and an advocate for the Queer* community. She is passionate about promoting intersectionality, especially to ensure neuro-divergent young women and young Queer* people are provided a platform and an accessible space to advocate for change. 

Isabel is a current Bachelor of Arts/Science student at ANU, majoring in Sociology and Genetics. In 2018, as a first-year, Isabel was a Queer* Officer for the UniLodge Residents’ Committee and collaborated with the Community Services Portfolio to establish an inclusive and accessible wellbeing and sexual health program and peer support network. Isabel was also the Deputy Officer for the ANU Queer* Department in 2018, spearheading a major review into the Department’s privacy policy to improve trans-inclusivity which was ultimately adopted by the National Association of Australian University Colleges. As acting Department officer for the ANU Queer* Department in 2019, Isabel drafted the 2019 budget including the organisation of the Department’s attendance of the National Queer* Students Conference.  

In 2019, Isabel was appointed to a Senior Resident role in Warrumbal Lodge. She provided guidance and wellbeing care to 50 students and provided personalised support for members of the community with disability. Drawing on these experiences, in 2020 Isabel took on the role of Human Relations Officer for the Canberra Student Housing Cooperative, working to maintain accessible and affordable housing for students. In particular, Isabel led the review of the housing application process to promote racial, sexual and disability inclusivity. 

From her studies and work in policy, Isabel has a strong background in the systemic issues that are facing women with disabilities, especially Queer* women in the ACT. However, her work with students, and her own background, has also exposed her to the many lived experiences of women with disability in the ACT and the importance of empathy when approaching peer support. 

 

 

Katie Shoemark (they/them/theirs & she/her/hers)

WWDACT Director

Katie is an experienced disability, mental health, and human rights advocate and activist. As a physically disabled woman living with complex mental illness, she is passionate about the intersection of mental health and physical disability. Informed by her first-hand experiences engaging with paediatric, adolescent, and adult health care, she is a systemic advocate with a view to improve systems and services for future generations of children and adults with disability. Katie believes evidence-based, community-approved changes are key to achieving successful reform.

She is a recognised community leader in advocating for the full participation of people with disability in society, from reproductive rights to women in sport. She reflects her lived experience within the LGBTIQ+ community, and seeks to amplify the views of a range of identities and experiences which she has not lived. She believes in ‘not about us without us,’ the principles of disability justice, and the social model of disability.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. She lives on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country and serves on a range of government advisory committees. She presently works in policy, advocacy and project management in the community sector.

 

Josephine Jannsen (she/her/hers)

WWDACT Director

Josephine is a Senior Consultant in PwC’s Transformation Design and Delivery business, with experience in delivering change management to ensure successful business transformations. She has worked on large transformation projects in the public sector supporting strategic communication, change activities and stakeholder engagement. Josephine is deeply passionate about gender equality and has dedicated much of her adult life towards it; co-finding the ANU Women In Leadership Initiative for students and the ANU Women’s Alumni Network. She is interested in cultural reform, particularly in the uptake of more diverse and inclusive policies and behaviours. As a young woman living with a chronic illness Josephine is eager to combine her personal and professional experience with her passion for supporting all womxn. 

 

Louise Bannister (she/her/hers)

WWDACT Director

Lou has been advocating for herself and other people with disabilities most of her life, and has been working in the ACT disability community sector for more than 20 years.  She is passionate about women’s health and wellbeing; and the right for individual choice and control; and creating a fully inclusive community through leadership, mentoring, education and advocacy. December 2020 saw Lou finishing her two-year appointment as Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women (MACW); and her term on the ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG).  In 2021, Lou was appointed to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA). She is a long serving member on the Board of Women With Disability ACT (WWDACT); and Health Care Consumers Association ACT (HCCA) Executive Committee.  She is a member of the Board for Rights & inclusion Australia (R&IA) and the newly appointed Chair of their Opening Doors Project Reference Group. Lou continues to work closely with ACT Health, and local government to improve women with disabilities’ access to housing, services, and education. Lou has been recognized for her work in the community. She was awarded the Chief Minister’s Award for Inclusion by an Individual (2012), and was a Finalist in the Women of Spirit Awards (2009), and a National Finalist for the Australian Centre for Leadership of Women Leadership Achievement Award (2006).

LewChing Yip (she/her/hers)

WWDACT Director

LewChing (LC) grew up in Singapore and came over to Canberra in 2017. She is  studying Psychology at the Australian National University and completing a Cert IV in Youth Work at CIT. She also intends to pursue a Masters of Social Work upon graduation. LC currently works as a Youth Worker at the Canberra Youth Residential Services.

LC grew up in an environment with a lot of stigma surrounding mental health and she was not able to seek help or diagnosis until she arrived in Australia. Her experiences have sparked her interest in advocacy.

LC is the former International Students’ Officer in the ANU Student Association and a former board member of the ANU Academic Board where she advocated for the needs of International Students during the start of the pandemic and border closures. She currently also sits on the Program Advisory Panel in Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT). LC believes every board needs to be a representation of its members and community, and she wants to highlight the voices of people of colour

 

Christina Ryan (she/her/hers)

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.