Our Staff


Ross Joyce

Chief Executive Officer        

Photo of Ross Joyce                                                                     

Ross is a Fellow of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Leadership Program and a Certified Professional of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Ross is the Principal and Founder of Verve – Empowering Solutions providing management consultancy to not for profit, community service, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He is also a Director at annecto, Co-Founder and former Executive Director of the charity UrCommunity, and former Executive Director of UrCommunity Initiatives. Some of Ross’ previous roles include Chief Executive Officer of PivotWest, Macedon Ranges & North Western Melbourne Medicare local, and Hume-Moonee Valley Regional Library Corporation.


Cheryl Gration

Personal Assistant to CEO

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Cheryl has worked in the disability sector for over 25 years and has worked with 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. Having multiple disabilities, Cheryl has a strong dedication to the disability sector.


Jessica Zammit

National Manager - Workforce Participation                 

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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

National Manager - Innovative Service Delivery

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Robyn has over 20 years experience delivering education,employment and training services for people with a disability. She is a former Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia, the national consumer representative organisation of and for people who are blind or vision impaired. Prior to joining AFDO, Robyn was Coordinator of the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU), which developed and provided information and resources to support the work of funded independent disability advocacy in Victoria.

Blind since the age of eight, Robyn is passionate about supporting people with disability to play a leading role in shaping the services they want and need. 


Catherine McAlpine

Senior Manager - Disability Loop project 

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Catherine has been active in the disability sector since 2005, starting as a volunteer Board member and fundraiser at the local early childhood intervention service. In 2007 she was appointed as Executive Officer of Down Syndrome Victoria and in 2011 was appointed the inaugural CEO of Down Syndrome Australia. Catherine held both positions for around nine months before moving solely to the national position. From 2010-2013 Catherine served on the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and has also been a member of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities and Additional Learning Needs. Catherine is very fortunate to be in a position that combines both her professional skill and personal passion. She has three sons and her middle son, Julian, has Down syndrome.


Kirsten Deane

National Manager - Communications & Engagement

 Kirsten Deane

Until recently, Kirsten was a Director in the Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) team at the National Disability Insurance Agency. Before joining the NDIA, she served as the inaugural Executive Director of the National Disability and Carer Alliance and the Deputy Campaign Director of the Every Australian Counts campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She also served as Co-Chair and Deputy Chair of the National People with Disability and Carer Council. She has been a long term board member of both Down Syndrome Australia and Down Syndrome Victoria. A former journalist turned academic, Kirsten has three children and, as a result, has excellent conflict mediation skills. 


Carl Thompson

Project Officer Disability Loop project

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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

Communications Officer Disability Loop project

Photo of Jean Cotchin

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 identifies as having a psychosocial disability, and also identifies as belonging to the LGBQTI community. She is passionate about making quality information 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.