Management and Staff
WWDA National Management Committee 2015/2016
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 staff and the current WWDA Management Committee members are detailed below.
Karin Swift – Vice-President
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 Worker for the Ready to go project, the NDIS Participant Readiness Initiative project of 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 co-delivering training with the Australian Human Rights Commission to women with disabilities and other stakeholders in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012, and representing the Australian Government at the United Nations, New York at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013. Karin has been a previous President of WWDA, the peak organisation for women with all types of disabilities in Australia. Karin currently serves as a Board member of WWDA and AMPARO Advocacy.
Pamela Menere – Treasurer
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.
Iva Strnadova – Committee Member
Dr. Iva Strnadová is an Associate Professor in Special Education at the University of New South Wales, School of Education. She is also a Honorary staff member at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Education and Social Work. Since 2005, Iva Strnadová has conducted in more than twenty different research projects at national and international levels. She published two professional studies books in the field of special education, co-authored eight other books, and co-edited two books. 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, and inclusive education. Iva Strnadová is also a Vice-President of the NSW Committee for the Australian Association of Special Education (AASE)
Margherita Coppolino – Committee Member
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 – Committee Member
Bonnie Millen currently lives in Adelaide, South Australia and is active within the disability community in her state. Prior to entering the advocacy domain, Bonnie worked in public service in roles within SA Police. Bonnie is Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired, and wears a cochlear implant and hearing aid.
In recent years she has felt a need to become more active in the disability realm, and is currently sitting on a number of disability-related boards and youth committees. Bonnie was chosen as a youth delegate to represent PWDA at the United Nations Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in New York in 2014. Academically, she is currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Policy and Allied Social Research via Macquarie University and hope to extend into a Masters of Social Work or a Masters of Human Rights in the future. She would like to broaden her skills in policy, social research and strengthen international ties in disability work and advocacy. Her passions lie in promoting inclusive and mainstream education for all children and young people with disability, promoting equality for women and girls with disability and improving disability social justice in the community.
She is a busy mother to a 6 year old future advocate with a hearing impairment (just like her!), and 2 year twins. 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. Bonnie loves to read (a good knuckle-chewer!), a good wine/coffee, foreign films and the great outdoors.”
WWDA has four paid staff members including an Executive Director. Carolyn Frohmader and Chris Brophy are based in the national WWDA office, which is located in Hobart, Tasmania. Cristina Ricci is based in New South Wales and Cashelle Dunn is based in Victoria.
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.
Chris has periodically worked with WWDA as a consultant. Chris is now employed by WWDA as director of strategic communications in a part-time role. 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 Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) and contributes his knowledge, skills and experience to the policy, research and project work that WWDA undertakes.
Chris is a social worker by background, has worked in the Tasmanian disability sector for some years and has taught social work at the University of Tasmania. Chris has also worked in the LGBTI sector for some time and currently works part-time in a quality assurance, project coordination and education role with Working It Out, Tasmania’s gender, sexuality and intersex status support and education service.
Cashelle Dunn – Project Officer
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.