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).

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 brings more than twenty years of experience in the disability sector, and more than fifteen years of experience in senior-level executive support, office management and communication roles.  Prior to commencing at AFDO, Cheryl worked for the National Disability & Carer Alliance which AFDO is a founding member, and also worked for ten years with our member organisation - Blind Citizens Australia. Cheryl has also worked in the HIV sector, as well as with local government.  

Cheryl holds a Diploma of Business, a Certificate III in Professional Writing & Editing, and has undergone training in Change Management with Leadership Victoria, Dealing with Difficult Behaviours with Australian Institute of Management, and Writing and Pitching to Journalists with AAP Medianet.

 

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.  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. 

 

Ramona Mandy

Project Officer - NDIS & Special Projects

Ramona has a Bachelor of Arts with a Double Major in linguistics from Melbourne University, which included study of the linguistics code in both braille and as tactile representations of print. Ramona has a long career in the print disability sector, working at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (RVIB) in the mid-1990s as an adult braille instructor and more recently at HumanWare providing training on assistive technology to people who are blind or have low vision. Ramona has been Convenor of the Australian Braille Authority, Victorian Branch and a member of the National Executive of the Australian Bralle Authority.

  

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.

 

Victoria Strachan

Diversity Field Officer

Victoria Strachan has a Bachelor of Economics and Commerce from University of Melbourne and worked in the stockbroking, banking and finance sectors early in her career. Over the past 18 years, Victoria has run a successful small business in the legal industry as well as consulted to the health, hospitality, IT and arts sectors. Victoria has 20 years of experience within community organisations with board experience in a rural health service, local government committees and arts organisations. Victoria was born in Geelong where her family has lived for generations and has worked with the Diversity Field Officer project since pilot in September 2015. Victoria has a strong interest in building an equitable and inclusive society within the Geelong region and is particularly keen to improve employment outcomes for people with disability.