WWDA is proud to announce that we have four new WWDA Management Committee members: Jen Hargrave, Margherita Coppolino, El Gibbs and Bonnie Millen. These women join our existing managmenet committee team of Rayna Lamb (President), Cashelle Dunn (Vice-President), Pamela Menere (Treasurer), Karen Swift (Member) and Iva Strnadova (Member).
As an organisation run by and for women with disabilities, it is vital that at the highest level of our organisational structure we have a range of women who are passionate about working for change to improve the experiences of all women with disability in Australia and Internationally.
Each of these women come with years of wisdom and lived experience in the disability and women’s sectors. WWDA has no doubt that we will grow ever stronger and wiser with the welcome addition of these amazing women at the helm.
Please join us in welcoming Jen, Margherita, El and Bonnie.
Jen Hargrave is Policy Officer on violence against women with disabilities at Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV). She has represented WDV at the International AIDS Conference (2014), at Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence (2015), at Parliamentary Inquiries and at key State advisory committees (such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Disability Advisory Group and the Family Violence Statewide Advisory Committee). Jen is keen to see sectors working together to reduce violence against women with disabilities, and so has delivered many cross sectoral professional development sessions. In addition, Jen is currently managing WDV’s Communications as she has a growing interest in how technologies can facilitate greater social and economic participation of women with disabilities.
Previously Jen worked in Disability Liaison Units supporting accessible tertiary education for students with disabilities. Jen was born with a vision impairment and so is pleased to have had opportunities to promote disability and gender rights through her career. She is excited to now be part of the national systemic advocacy organisation of women with disabilities through WWDA’s Committee of Management.
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.
El Gibbs is a freelance writer specialising in the area of disability and social services and has over 15 years experience in the community and NFP sector, as well as politics. She has written for a wide range of publications including the SMH, Guardian, ABC RampUp, Crikey, Junkee and the King’s Tribune – find these and more here. She also recently was the winner of the second Gavin Mooney Essay Competition with an essay about mental illness and housing and a contributor to US magazine Model View Culture on the topic of disability and technology.
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.