Our Staff

Ross Joyce

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Chief Executive Officer

Ross brings significant expertise to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) from being the; Co-Founder and former Executive Director of the charity UrCommunity and former Executive Director of UrCommunity Initiatives both aimed at alleviating poverty, providing food security and inclusion; Principal and Founder of Verve – Empowering Solutions providing management consultancy to not-for-profit, community service, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); A long term Director at annecto – “connecting you to the right people”, a national service provider focused on inclusion in disability, Aged, Veteran’s and Carers services; and other Chief Executive Officer roles at PivotWest, a division of general practice (primary health care), Macedon Ranges & North Western Melbourne Medicare Local (primary health care), and the Hume-Moonee Valley Regional Library Corporation.

Ross holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, a Bachelor of Business, Certificates in ISO Standard Quality Assurance Implementation & Internal Auditing, is a Fellow of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Leadership Program, a Certified Professional of the Australian Human Resources Institute and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

 

Cheryl Gration

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Personal Assistant to Ross Joyce

Cheryl has worked in the disability sector for over 25 years and has worked for the National Disability & Carer Alliance, Physical Disability Australia, Blind Citizens Australia, as well as in the HIV sector. Cheryl holds a Diploma of Business and a Certificate in Professional Writing & Editing and has extensive experience in office management.

 

Jessica Zammit

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National Manager - Workforce Participation

Jessica has an extensive background representing the needs of people with disability to all levels of Government, public and private organisations. Her experience has included work at an individual level with people with disability, provision of in-depth advice to inform systemic reform (particularly around the NDIS and employment) and has developed and shaped policy to benefit people with disability. Prior to AFDO, Jessica worked with Blind Citizens Australia for over seven years in national and state-based roles with a strong focus on policy development, systemic policy, advocacy and communications. Jessica also has previous experience in both corporate and commercial sectors.   

 

Robyn Gaile

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National Manager - NDIS & Special Projects

Legally blind since the age of eight, Robyn has a personal experience of disability. When her eye condition was first diagnosed, she was sent to a special school for blind children. She didn’t enjoy the experience and moved back into mainstream schooling a year later.

Before coming to AFDO, Robyn was the Coordinator of the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit, operating out of the Victorian Council of Social Service. Roboyn is a former member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and Chair of the Vision Australia Accessible Information Solutions client advisory committee, Robyn strongly believes that the consumer voice is strengthened when there is well researched, readily available and accessible information and data about issues impacting on people with disability. 

 

Patrick McGee

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National Manager - Policy, Advocacy & Research

Patrick has been working with people with intellectual disabilities for thirty-two years having begun his career as a nurse working with people with intellectual disability at Janefield Training Centre in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Whilst he has worked in a range of different sectors such as homelessness and HIV, Patrick has always retained a focus on social justice issues for people with an intellectual disability.  Patrick has a strong commitment to Indigenous Australians with disability as he has lived and worked in Central Australia. 

Patrick began working as an Advocate / Guardian with the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate in 2004, where he developed an insight into the civil and political issues for people with cognitive impairments through the lens of guardianship. In 2007 Patrick became the guardian for a young Indigenous man from a remote community who was detained in a maximum security prison in the Northern Territory after killing a family member.  

Being this young man’s advocate and decision maker bought Patrick into contact with criminal justice issues for people with cognitive impairments, particularly Indigenous Australians and as a result he founded a national advocacy campaign called the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign now called Australians for Disability Justice. This has been a significant focus for Patrick's work over the last nine years. Patrick is looking forward to bringing this history and understanding to the position of the National Manager - Policy, Advocacy & Research.

  

Carl Thompson

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NDIS & Special Projects Officer 

Carl has an academic background in marketing and business, completing his Honours Thesis in ethical consumerism. With experience working within all levels of government, Carl has also been employed by community organisations and the private sector. Interested in assistive technology, disability employment, and systemic advocacy, Carl uses his lived-experience of disability to complement his professional roles.

 

Jean Cotchin

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Communications & Special Projects Officer 

Jean has been active in the disability sector in local, state and national service and advocacy organisations since beginning as a volunteer at Down Syndrome Victoria in 2008. Jean has lived experience of psychosocial disability. She is passionate about making quality information and resources more accessible and user-friendly, and improving portrayals of people with disability and other minorities in the media. Jean has a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art Photography. 

 

Rebekah Bryant

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Diversity Field Officer

Rebekah brings over 25 years' experience in project management, human resources and business development and has been consulting to small businesses across multiple industries for the last 13 years. Part of this background includes driving employment and vocational education and training programs for ACT government, financial services and hospitality industries; coaching women in business rural programs and reverse-marketing long-term unemployed individuals in northern NSW.

Before moving to Victoria in 2014, Rebekah managed community relations for the southern flight zone of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter (air ambulance) based at Coffs Harbour. With tertiary qualifications in management she opened the first regional office for a Melbourne based disability provider (RTO) to market, recruit, mentor and manage trainees and host employers in the Barwon region. She became aware of the Diversity Field Officer Service concept and saw this as a unique opportunity to be part of challenging existing mindsets in the business community and help to create much needed change for people with disability and has been part of the program since the pilot began in Sept 2015.