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 an Inclusion 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 inclusion issues. She has strong commercial acumen and ability to frame inclusion issues in a commercial context.  Margherita is a tertiary-qualified and industry accredited Trainer and Mediator. During her career, she also has honed & developed specialist skills in project management, mediation, facilitation, recruitment, case management.

Margherita has undertaken the Australia Institute of Company Directors training and has sat a several Boards in Executive and non-executive positions. She was elected as NEDA President in 2017. Previously, she held the position of Chair on Arts Access Victoria and AFDO Boards.  Non-Executive positions on Spectrum Migrants Resources Centre and Action on Disability Within Ethnic Communities, Women With Disabilities Australia and Short Statured People of Australia.

Margherita is first generation Australian, born to Sicilian mother who migrated in the 1959. She was born with a Short Statured condition and is a proud feminist and lesbian.

In her spare time you will find Margherita either taking photos, volunteering, playing Boccia, working out in the gym, travelling wine and whisky tasting and chilling with friends.


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.


Cherohn Rule

Cherohn Rule

Cherohn is an active member of Women With Disabilities Australia, volunteering for data entry and various other tasks as required. Cherohn has lived experience as a woman with disabilities and she also has the experience of being a sister to and daughter of women with disabilities. She identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA community and believes we are all born free and equal. Cherohn believes the world would be a better place if all nations put into action the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Women. She says. “We are as much a person as any man and should have the same opportunities rights and responsibilities.”


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. Carolyn is based in Hobart, Tasmania.


Christopher Brophy

Christopher Brophy

Director, Strategic Communications & Policy

Christopher has worked for WWDA for a number of years in a policy and communications role. Christopher contributes his knowledge, skills and experience to the communications, policy, research, and systemic advocacy work that WWDA undertakes. In addition, he undertakes work for WWDA as a member of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia), manages WWDA’s online and social-media presence, and designs WWDA’s publications and graphics. Chris is a Social Worker by background and has experience in the disability, academic and LGBTI sectors. Chris is based in Melbourne, Victoria.


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. Cashelle is based in Melbourne, Victoria.