Management and Staff

Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is managed by a National Management Committee, which is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting. All members are women with disabilities. The WWDA National Secretariat is managed on a day to day basis by an Executive Director, who reports directly to the National Management Committee. WWDA Management Committee members and WWDA staff are detailed below.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Karin Swift

President – Karin Swift

Karin has worked in a wide variety of roles in both community and government settings, across a number of key areas including: women’s issues, advocacy, disability, housing, mental health, futures planning and tertiary education. Karin is currently employed as a Project Officer at  Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN).  Karin has presented nationally and internationally on key gender and human rights issues on behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), including speaking at the 1st International Conference: One Decade after the UNCRPD and Women and Girls with Disabilities in Seoul, South Korea in 2016, and representing the Australian Government at the United Nations, New York at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013, and co-delivering training with the Australian Human Rights Commission to women with disabilities and other stakeholders in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012. Karin currently serves as a Board member of Ending Violence Against Women Queensland (EVAQ) and Secretary of AMPARO Advocacy.


Iva Strnadová

Vice President – Iva Strnadová

Dr. Iva Strnadová is an Associate Professor in Special Education at the University of New South Wales Sydney, School of Education. Her research aims to contribute to a better understanding and the improvement of life experiences of people with disabilities. Overall, she has authored 115 publications across all publication categories. She has been awarded over 20 competitive grants (either as Lead Chief Investigator or as Co-Chief Investigator) in Australia and Europe. Prior to her academic career, Iva worked for 7 years with adults with intellectual disabilities and with autism. Her ongoing research interests include transitions in lives of people with disabilities, women with intellectual disabilities, across the lifespan experiences of families caring for a child with a disability, the well-being of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, inclusive research, and mobile technology. Iva Strnadová is also a Vice-President of the NSW Committee for the Australian Association of Special Education (AASE).


Pamela Menere

Treasurer – Pamela Menere

Pamela lives in Corryong in North East Victoria and has been involved with WWDA for many years, having held positions of Secretary and Treasurer of the Management Committee. Pamela has been involved with several advocacy and disability related groups including the Victorian Women with Disabilities Network, Towong Shire Community Access Committee and the Hume Region DHS Disability Advisory Committee. Pamela is also actively involved with numerous other community organisations in her local area. She has worked in part time paid employment as an outreach employment counsellor with a disability employment agency.


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Secretary – Vacant


COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Margherita Coppolino

Margherita Coppolino

Margherita Coppolino is a disability and diversity consultant. With an outstanding network of contacts in government, business and social justice organisations, Margherita has a proven ability to inspire and influence a wide range of stakeholders on disability and diversity issues. She has strong commercial acumen and ability to frame disability and diversity issues in a commercial context. Margherita is also a powerful speaker and motivator. Margherita is a tertiary-qualified and industry accredited Trainer and Mediator. During her consultancy career, she also has honed & developed specialist skills in project management, mediation, facilitation, recruitment, case management and keynote speaking. Margherita’s life and work have been profiled in The Australian (Lifelines section), The Gold Within by Noel Waite, Women’s Business, Women’s Wealth by Amanda Ellis. In 1999 Margherita was also the inaugural recipient of the Olive Zakharov scholarship for women in management.


Bonnie Millen

Bonnie Millen

Bonnie is highly active in the disability space and has been proudly representing WWDA on the Management Committee for 2 years, with a keen focus on girls and women with disabilities in Australia. Currently based in Canberra, Bonnie is a Policy Officer at Advocacy for Inclusion and the current President of People with Disability Australia (PWDA).

Academically, Bonnie is almost complete in her Masters in Social Policy and Applied Social Research via the Macquarie University. Bonnie is passionate about public policy, both internationally and domestically. In her work and studies, she is a seeker of new challenges and experiences and believes that in every area of policy, no matter how intellectually hard or easy, it is people that matter.

As her ‘me-time’, Bonnie is an active Girl Guides Leader, who continues to encourage girls with disability aged between 7-17 years of age to become involved in the large, supportive girls-movement.


Jess White

Jess White

Jess is currently a PhD student at the University of Canberra, where her legal research examines sexual violence, intersectionality, legal theory and sentencing. She is an early career researcher, having graduated with a Juris Doctor (Honours) in 2016 accompanied by her first publication in a peer-reviewed law journal. Currently based in Canberra, she has been working in international public policy in the APS and has joined the board of Advocacy for Inclusion.

As a woman with disability, she is especially passionate about access to justice and employment issues. She has volunteered with WWDA in the past on policy processes covering both of these areas. Jess is also passionate about the out-of-home care system and equitable access to education, and pursues these interests through different community roles.


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Monique Crowden

Monique was co-opted to the WWDA Management Committee in April 2017.


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Suzy Keene

Suzy was co-opted to the WWDA Management Committee in April 2017.


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Cherohn Rule

Cherohn was co-opted to the WWDA Management Committee in April 2017.


STAFF


Carolyn Frohmader

Carolyn Frohmader

Executive Director

Carolyn Frohmader is the Executive Director of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and has held this position for more than 17 years, working at the national and international levels to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Under Carolyn’s leadership, WWDA has received a number of prestigious awards for its ground-breaking work including the National Human Rights Award and a number of national and state violence prevention awards. Carolyn also has an extensive background in women’s health, health policy, primary health care and community development.

Carolyn has a Masters Degree from Flinders University where she won the inaugural Michael Crotty Award for an outstanding contribution in Primary Health Care. In 2001, Carolyn received the ACT Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of women’s rights in the ACT. In 2009, in recognition of her human rights work, she was inducted into the Tasmanian Women’s Honour Roll, joining her late mother Wendy, who was posthumously inducted into the Roll in 2008 for services to education. In late 2009, Carolyn was selected as a Tasmanian finalist for the Australian of the Year Awards (Tasmania). On International Human Rights Day, in December 2013, Carolyn was announced as the winner of the National Human Rights Award [Individual] for her work for and with women and girls with disabilities at the national and international levels.


Christopher Brophy

Christopher Brophy

Director Strategic Communications

Christopher is employed by WWDA as Director of Strategic Communications. The role was created in order to support WWDA to develop communications infrastructure and systems to meet the increasing demand and profile of WWDA at national and international levels. Chris also assists with WWDA’s role as a member of the Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) and contributes his knowledge, skills and experience to the policy, research and project work that WWDA undertakes. Chris is a social worker by background and has previously worked in the disability, academic, and LGBTI sectors. Chris is based in Melbourne.


Cashelle Dunn

Cashelle Dunn

Project Officer, Manager WWDA Youth Network

Having previously worked in a range of vocations, and studying in New York for two years, Cashelle is currently completing a degree in Human Rights at Monash University and is residing in Melbourne. She experiences epilepsy and psychosocial disabilities and has been dealing with them since 13 years of age. An active member of several women’s and disability organisations in Victoria, Cashelle was proud to initially represent WWDA at the 2014 United Nations Seventh Session COSP to the CRPD in New York as part of the Australian Youth Delegation.

In late 2014, Cashelle represented WWDA as part of the Civil Society Delegation for the United Nations CAT Review of Australia in Geneva. Fiercely passionate about the rights of women with disabilities, particularly young women and girls, Cashelle looks forward to initiating the WWDA Youth Network in 2015. She plans to continue to acquire knowledge, raise awareness, and advocate for equality.