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MHFA Multicultural Ambassadors

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Aruna Sampath HewagamaGeneral Committee

Veronica EvaGeneral Committee

Ashok SherwalGeneral Committee

Ashok Sherwal is a corporate leader, achieved quota across verticals, delivered stringent KPI’s/SLA’s in AnZ region. With 15 plus years of experience , managed both technical and non-technical teams and lead through several challenges in corporate environments. Having worked in Sales, Management and Advisory roles, he could steer the team in line with corporate policies.

Stephanie PanagopoulosGeneral Committee

Stephanie is the president of a Greek elderly club, and have seen first-hand how a mental health program can benefit the elderly.  Her passion in helping others in our Greek community has become much greater due to the unconditional love and support that she receives within our members. She would also like to expand her support and knowledge further than our elderly club to others who might need support and comfort and help in anyway with improving their mental health.

Irene BauerGeneral Committee

Irene represents the Lithuanian community and is studying Mental health Diploma. She has a medical background and worked in medical field for more then 30 years and I have knowledge and I think I highly skips for this position.

Dimitrios KaragiannisGeneral Committee

Born in Greece, Dimitrios relocated in Melbourne in 2015. He can speak Greek, English, French, German language. Worked as a store manager for 14 years and leader at HACCP for 15 years. Participated in major events with Scouts from different countries and backgrounds.

Sharn BediGeneral Committee

With more than three decades of work experience across Global markets, and broad range of industries, Sharn previously succeeded in roles as Vice President APAC and Managing Director APAC, before deciding to change her career to follow her purpose - ‘to give back’, through supporting the 'whole self' personal development of people to lead happier, healthier and more meaningful life.

Sharn is a executive coach, life coach, and am currently studying Cert IV Mental Health. She also has extensive experience supporting women in leadership positions and supporting individuals to advance their careers with career development and career transition support. She also anchored three TV program series in Hindi and English.

Laia MendozaDeputy Leader

Having achieved exceptional academic results as a driven professional, Laia actively pursuing a challenging opportunity as a Multicultural Ambassador within the MHFA Multicultural Ambassador Program 2021. Eager to make a positive addition to the MHFA team, she has demonstrated experience in managing the implementation of policy, coupled with strong analytical and synthesising skills, demonstrating agility and innovation and the capacity to deal with complexity. 

Safia Farsana Shabeer Multicultural Ambassador

Safia Farsana Shabeer studies at James Cook University. She was previously a youth ambassador at Mental Health Foundation Australia.

Marnie HiggsMulticultural Ambassador

I am an energetic and enthusiastic person - I work in the NFP sector and also am a watercolour artist. I started painting when I was being treated for depression and anxiety in hospital in 2016. I volunteer a lot with local Scout group (Chairman), community arts group (President), school (class representative) and beyondblue (Speaker). I strongly believe in positive messaging around mental health and that everyone deserve the chance to lead the fullest and most content life possible. In my previous life, before my years struggling with mental health issues, I was a marketing manager for two global companies over 10 years. Now I’m working as a part time marketing coordinator for Interchange Incorporated which I love! I have two children, 7 and 10 year old boys. I love playing the piano, seeing musical theatre (a passion of mine), spending time with my boys and reading. I am lucky enough to have a group of strong people around me who have loved and supported me through my journey back to health. 

Mayumi Polgahage DonaMulticultural Ambassador

Sam AtukoralaMulticultural Ambassador

Department of Primer Cabinet’s Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion Unit. As a Strategic Engagement Coordinator I am working to strengthen community engagement, social inclusion, economic participation and settlement outcomes, through:
· Strengthening existing programs, by gaining a better understanding of the needs and concerns of communities in the Goulburn region.
· Developing partnerships with key agencies, NGOs and the three tiers of government.
· Liaising with DPC to strengthen policy advice, service gaps and improve programmatic coordination.

Key Community Service and Development Involvement in the Goulburn Valley Region:

• Committee member of the Goulburn Valley Health Community Advisory Group.
• Vice President the Bourchier Street Primary School Council.
• Member of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, Greater Shepparton.
• AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador.
• A member of the Shepparton Education Plan – Integrated Student Services Support Working Party.
• A member of the Mitchell Shire Council’s Social Justice Advisory Committee
• A member of the Rotary Club of Shepparton Central
• A member of the Greater Shepparton Safe Communities Advisory Committee
• Founder and President of the Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley Incorporated and Curator of the inaugural Wesak Celebration in the Goulburn Valley Region.

CHarles OguntadeMulticultural Ambassador

Charles Oguntade is a Forensic Specialist of over 20 years of professional practice as a credentialed mental health nurse and he currently work for Goulburn Valley Health, Australia.Charles has a master degree in mental health nursing from the prestigious Monash University, Melbourne, a certificate in leadership and management in health, diploma in alcohol and other drug management, a certificate in health care training and assessment. He is a member of Australia College of Mental health Nurses and he has presented papers in different international health conferences. Charles is actively involved in work place professional development and clinical supervision. He has passion for community development, volunteering and youth mentoring. Charles currently volunteers for different community and government organisation in which he was recently appointed as global goodwill ambassador for his humanitarian work and a democracy ambassador for community engagement on social needs and civic education. Some of the organizations he has served and continue to serve in various capacities include; Vice President Nigerian Society of Victoria, Secretary, Nigerian Society of Victoria, Secretary General-Global Operation for International Association for Psychiatric Nurses, Co-Founder, Inspire Nurses Network Africa, President, Shepparton Ethnic Community Council board, Vice President, Yoruba Heritage and Cultural Association of Victoria, Chairperson, Goulburn Valley African Community Task Force and Goulburn Valley African - Australian Community Organisation , and Member Shepparton Rotary Club. He is also The Director of Program-Care Africa Australia and Fairley community Leadership Program alumnus

Mariam SharobeemMulticultural Ambassador

I am a migrant woman who migrated from Egypt to Australia 10 years ago with my husband and our two precious kids. I completed a double degree of Bachelor of Human Service and a Master of Social work.  I am highly interested in mental health and wellbeing therefore I chose mental health was as a major study in my final year of master. I am part of the Family Service Team at Anglicare Hume Morland.  As a family service practitioner, I work with those living with mental illness and their families. I worked collaboratively with some internal and external colleagues in running parenting and therapeutic groups for people from CALD background. Majority of those people are from asylum seekers and refugees background.  I have obtained in depth knowledge and experience working with CALD communities throughout my personal and professional interaction with people from all walks of life. Empowerment and advocacy are two of my greatest passion which I believe they have become deeply ingrained in my personality by my personal and professional experience.  knowledge is power therefore psychological education about mental health and wellbeing as well as related evidence -based interventions are essential aspects of my practice.  

Arun THomasMulticultural Ambassador

Arun Thomas is an inspiring and emerging leader in the healthcare sector who has a strong focus and passion for leadership, governance, advocacy, mental health & aged care.

A Registered Nurse, he became one of the youngest public hospital directors in Victoria when he was appointed by Health Minister in 2017 at Stawell Regional Health, where he continue to provide strategic direction and clinical governance expertise. In 2018, Arun was awarded Victorian state-wide Celebrating Aged Care Leadership Award and became a finalist - Excellence in Leadership by Victorian Healthcare Association for championing resident care and safety. In 2019, he was nominated and awarded the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year and became the recipient of Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria Regional & Rural Health Achiever Award. In the same year, he was nominated for Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards where he became a finalist in Regional Development Victoria Leadership & Innovation Award and became a winner in People’s Choice Award.

Arun is an example of the power of dedication, hard work, resilience and support of others. And his mission now, more than ever, is to help and empower young people through mentoring along with championing and advocating mental health along with health care safety and quality for vulnerable people in rural and regional Victoria. Arun is an accredited Youth Mental Health First Aider and got a strong passion to tackle and assist mental health issues through empowerment and education.

Hayriye UlucaLeader

Hayriye Uluca is a Senior Associate practising in Superannuation and Insurance litigation at Maurice Blackburn. She is passionate about creating awareness of potential insurance entitlements her clients may have especially when unexpected illness or injury forces them to prematurely cease work before retirement age.

Emma StobleMulticultural Ambassador

I am a hard working professional who has overcome some tough times and mental health problems, but am a walking, talking example of how you can live a happy, fulfilled, successful life, despite having mental health troubles. I would love the chance to work with others on their personal journey with mental health.

Shae BrennanMulticultural Ambassador

I am a kind and empathic person, passionate about mental health in Australia. I am currently hoping to start my masters degree in psychology beginning in March of 2020. I also write a blog dedicated to mental health awareness, coping with mental health problems, and improving quality of life. I would be a great asset to this program as I am a driven and highly movitated individual hoping to make a difference in the community. I have admired MHFA and have been a part of the Walk for Mental Health for a number of years. By being a part of such a profound program I hope to put my knowledge to great use and contribute to positive community health outcomes, as its what I'm most passionate about.

Louisa LinMulticultural Ambassador

Currently a Commerce/Law student working casually at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Involvement in many mentoring programs (including AIME Mentoring focusing on Indigenous Australian and African Australian high school students.

In University, I am a peer mentor for Access Monash as well as Monash Law Students' Society. I enjoy being involved and helping people out!

Tonnou WG GhothaneMulticultural Ambassador

I am Lawyer by profession.
Also Qualified Education Agent and Registered Migration Agent.
Director of TWGG Melbourne (www.twgg.com.au) and Ghothane Lawyers (www.ghothane.com.au).
Involved with Mental Health Awareness in Nepalese and South Asian Community.
Due to Suicides and Depression in Nepalese community and costing productivity, as a President of NRNA Australia, established first Mental Health Awareness Committee in NRNA Australia.
Mental Health is a health issue that stigma is attached in South Asian community so victims are not open. Awareness and Information is vital.
Currently Patron  of NRNA Australia (www.nrn.org.au).
Immediate Past President of NRNA Australia - 2017 - 2019.
Nepalese Background.
Speaks English, Nepali and Hindi.
Arrived in 1996 as an international students and migrated to Australia on 2000.
Been involved with Community since 1997. Past Joint Secretary of Nepalese Association of Victoria and Found Club Manager for First Nepalese Soccer Team in Victoria - Yeti FC
- Member of Basketball - Melbourne United, Cricket - Melbourne Stars. Football - Collingwood FC and Soccer - Melbourne Victory.
- Privileged to be Provisional Member of Member Cricket Club (MCC).

Simaima Tavil-Melachon - VICMulticultural Ambassador

Gwyneth GanMulticultural Ambassador

I’m an international student currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the university of melbourne doing a double degree in psychology and criminology. Hailing from Singapore, I decided to study in Australia due to the better mental health climate and reduced stigma against mental health. As a university student going through depression and anxiety, it was heartwarming to see the differences between my home country and Australia when it came to giving support in my university life; be it providing extensions for when I have mental health problems to being able to discuss with my tutors about my health conditions in a safe space.

Paolo GirardiMulticultural Ambassador

I am one of ten children born from Northern Italian parents, who migrated to Melbourne in the early 1950s. I have recently retired from my government Child Protection job, as a social worker for 26 years. This position was with the Department of Health and Human Services, working in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

I have three university degrees, a Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Arts in Multicultural Studies and a Diploma in Counselling.

I have worked as a police officer in the Victoria Police, both in the uniform section and as a detective. I also was employed as a private fraud detective. (Both jobs being for ten years in total).

My hobbies include making You Tube videos of anything and everything. I have also travelled to many countries and write frequently to many people internationally.

I have been part of the Mental Health Foundation Australia's mood disorders support group for five years and am the co-ordinator of all support groups, since 2019

Vinodhram Rangaswamy - VICAmbassador

I came to Australian in Aug 2005. I work as a IT Project/Program Manager for Telstra and also, have an Indian restaurant in Narre Warren which I'm quite passionate about. I love meeting new people and maintaining relationships.

I'm also a proud Father of 3 kids, and I enjoy spending my leisure time with my wife and kids attending their sports and other activities.

Dr Priyanka Gahlot - VICAmbassador

Priyanka is a radiologist with over 10 years experience. She did her education and Delhi and Singapore to relocate to Melbourne 4 years ago. As a medical professional, she has been how mental heath impacts people’s daily lives and is very passionate about giving it back to the society in some way. Being MHFA ambassador offers her a platform to do this. 

Sutina Sukumaran - VICAmbassador

I’m a stay at home mum with three children aged between 9-14 years. I’m involved in the community that I live in and manage the local neighbourhood fb page. People’s stories fascinates me. Whenever possible I travel to soak in difference cultural experiences from diverse communities and immerse myself in it. 

Rhiannon Drape - VICAmbassador

 A single mother to a beautiful baby boy, who has suffered from postnatal depression and anxiety after giving birth early last year. Shortly after this experience I started a mental health blog (herhappinessproject) via Instagram. To create awareness for parents, especially single parents who struggle with their mental health. I am looking forward to beginning study in social science in mid 2020 and would like to work within the mental health sector once I graduate. I have always been passionate about helping myself (through therapy, self analysis) and love to support people within the community. The thing that I enjoy about doing this online, is the fact that I can reach a wider audience and connect with others who are experiencing similar mental health issues to my own, overseas.

Natasha Devonish-Jordan - VICAmbassador

Originally from the United States I moved to Australia on my own in my twenties. I have worked in the arts and education for over ten years and recently completed my Masters in Arts and Cultural Management. In 2014 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Complex PTSD. Since then I have completed a year of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, a one month in patient schema program, EMDR and ongoing trauma therapy. In September of 2019 I was hospitalized for a month following the sudden onset of a functional neurological disorder. I am currently still in treatment for that and interested in raising awareness about the condition and its affects on daily functioning and mental health. 

Maria Dimopoulos - VICAmbassador

Worked and Volunteered as a Consumer Advocate for twenty years. Since 2010 a Consumer  Advocate for Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) Reference Group. Through VTMH I developed my first lived experience power point tittle "Recovery a Life Journey." Currently a Consumer Advocate for Lived Experience And Partners (LEAP) and I have worked as a Consumer Consultant at Inner West Area Mental Health.

Worked with Well Ways as a Lived Experience Public Speaker for six years, developed "Living with Bipolar" power point presented to year 10, 11 and 12. Spoke to parents who are caring for a person with a mental illness. When I left Well Ways I started my own public speaking engagements to Psychiatrist Nurses and University Students I now have  my own website: mariacontact.com. Mental Health and Art practice (which I continue to be involved with) feature in my website.


 

Dr Donato Diele - VICAmbassador

Italian migrant that came with my family in Jully 1969 and settled in Melbourne West. I have 5 sisters and one brother, I am the third oldest among my siblings. Father died in 2001 and my mother is still living, she is 89years old. I am 63 years old married male and husband and father of 4 biological children and 4 stepchildren. Grandfather of 11 grandchildren. Live in Bacchus Marsh Victoria since 2015. I am a local  Counsellor Psychotherapist in private practice. Volunteer with Beyond Blue as an online Blue Voices Team and Mental Awareness Advocate and volunteer Member of Red Cross Australia. I am involved in community outreach dealing with Homelessness and Mental health issues.  Member of the local Church and community advocate for mental health awareness and Member of Accredited Mental Health First Aiders.
 

Muradiye Selvi - VICAmbassador

Muradiye Selvi is a Consultant Psychologist with over 28 years of experience working in the mental health field and was the first Turkish speaking Psychologist to establish a private practice.

Her earlier jobs involved working at Royal Park Hospital and the Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit, extensively studying the prevalence of mental health disorders within ethnic communities. She is also experienced as a health and welfare officer, disability worker, and a trainer and supervisor of telephone counselors for Melbourne Life-Line.

Muradiye has continued to develop her skills in psychology and pursued interest in the areas of cross-cultural counselling, counselling victims of crime and trauma, counselling traffic accident victims, rehabilitation of injured workers, and chronic depression in migrant/ethnic women. She is a trained relationship, marriage and family educator and has more recently been working with families and youth in the problem areas of drug and alcohol abuse and mental health.

She works extensively with adults, youth, adolescents, couples and families and along with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), uses a variety of therapeutic modalities as she strives to meet the individual needs of her patients.

Muradiye is a non-judgmental, ethical, supportive and sensitive therapist who will provide unconditional positive regard and respect to all those she tries to assist. She is a senior psychologist who has gained the respect of her colleagues and patients’ and remains an invaluable asset to the community this clinic strives to service. She is also a regular speaker on community ethnic radios and television and provides seminars, lectures and workshops on psychological issues within the Community.

Muradiye has a passion for making sure that mental health services are easily accessed by all community member's especially by those who's first language is not English. This passion has dtiven her to establish bilingual psychology services in several community languages and has been instrumental in making sure information on mental health issue is available in community languages.

She currently runs a dynamic and comprehensive  clinical private practice as the principal senior psychologist providing extensive psychological services and Total Psychological Care to members of our culturally and linguistically diverse community.
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Sabiha Nazli - VICAmbassador

I came here on student visa, completed my Graduate diploma in Counselling. Started my career as Aged care worker then moved to Mental Health Sector. Started working as a residential support worker with Wellways Australia and still with the same organizations. So it's my sixth year working with Wellways. I worked in different role as well as in different state and enjoying my role of supporting and advocating for people with mental health conditions.
Wellways sponsored me and my family for permanent residency. Now I will be taking oath on 26th January for Australian Citizenship. So proud of myself of achieving too much in last six and half years and supported by Australians in all aspect of my life.

Ashveen Chand - VICAmbassador

I am a driven, ambitious individual who strives to be the best version of myself.

I come from immigrant parents who were fortunate enough to migrate to Australia from Fiji in the 1980's. Growing up in a rough neighbourhood and watching my parents struggle helped me respect the finer things in life. My dad used to work 3 jobs an my mum used to work 2, the hard work paid off and they know own multiple properties and a family charity.

I love social activities and playing sport, in my free time away from work i enjoy being outdoors and active. I studied finance and management at Deakin Uni, but recently changed jobs to be in the multicultural industry as it is my passion.

I enjoy being out in the community and giving back whilst attending events at my local temple.

Atman Okan Okyay - VICAmbassador

I suffered from mental health conditions such as insomnia, obsessive compulsive thinking and severe anxiety in my early 20s. Then I started my spiritual journey and explored nature of human mind. I have been meditating over 10 years and doing regular yoga for last 6 years. I am running donation based events to help people to get out of their minds, to crack patterns and embody new habits. My purpose is awakening consciousness as I believe consciousness is the single solution to all problems.

Bruce D'Aprano - VICAmbassador

-Past corporate career, last positions as CEO in Australia & Malaysia.
-Rotarian for 39 years,
-Volunteered 3 years on the Australian District Rotary Health Foundation, talking to Rotary clubs and at Rotary conferences on men's mental health.
While born in Australia, speak fluent Italian due to Italian born parents.

Judy Kameri - VICAmbassador

My name is Judy, born and raised in Nakuru, Kenya. I am 25 years old, passionate and very much interested in mental health. I'm currently studying a mental health Diploma course in Melbourne and very much enjoy the knowledge I've gained so far so as to pursue my dream career of being a mental health advocate and an asset in community and the world at large. I am a volunteer with Beyond Blue Foundation and participate often in campaigns and walks organized by mental health organizations for raising awareness and funds. My main goal in life is to be a force of change in matters affecting the mental health sector and people suffering from mental illnesses; also help prevent future loss of life from suicide and drug abuse, which is the main issue right now.
i enjoy reading books and doing research as I enjoy the topic of psychology and the science behind it. my hobbies also include traveling, making crafts and playing guitar.

Jacqueline Bennett - VICAmbassador

In 1963 I was born in the UK to Australian parents. We returned to Australia when I was 5. I'm a teacher who has worked and traveled for more than 5 years all over the world, to many developing countries. I'm Founder and Director of Humans in Geelong Inc a not-for-profit, we inspire, connect and strengthen our community by telling the powerful stories of our diverse locals who are making a difference. Our stories showcase cultural diversity, sustainability, health & wellness, equity, creativity and opportunities. On the first Sunday in October we hold the Humans in Geelong Expo.

Elvah VelascoMulticultural Ambassador

I am currently the Manager - Quality & Operations for AMAZe - peak body for Autism.  I have been in community services with a focus on disability for almost 5 years.  I originally come from Philippines - moved & lived in South Africa for 16 years then went back to the Philippines to complete my studies and work.,  I have been in Australia for 12 years.  Working in community service sector is my chosen vocation and I am excited and extremely passionate about helping others especially the most disadvantaged and most vulnerable people in our society. I want to make a difference in people’s lives and to contribute to society and communities.  I am currently studying my Masters in Rehabilitation Studies with a view to work with people with permanent disabilities from physical to psychosocial to assist them to become productive and fulfilled members of society through enabling them to participate economically and socially through work and/ or entrepreneurship 

Arlene LucasMulticultural Ambassador

I am a well rounded mother of 2 grown up, independent individuals who have inspired me to work harder and be a better person.  I like gardening, cooking for my family and friends and being involved with many different community affairs like Mornington Rotary Club, Peninsula Arts Society; an active supporter of Cancer Society and other non-profit organisation.

Founded and President of Skylark Foundation Australia.   ACNC registered with a motto:  Let’s step forward, reach out and help one another;  with a mission of assisting underprivileged students in the Philippines  and to encourage the continual lifting up of women in our lives and community. 

I have travelled extensively which have expanded my perspective in life.  It helped me to discover many different cultures which makes me more adaptable with people of various nationalities. 

Heather ThorneMulticultural Ambassador

I am an educator with experience working in conjunction with representatives of multicultural communities to raise awareness of dementia and combat stigma surrounding the condition. My interest in both dementia and mental health conditions was born from family experience.  I advocate for a greater emphasis on preventing dementia and mental ill-health through community education and awareness raising.  

Jennifer Rapada RpmMulticultural Ambassador

I’m Jennifer Rapada 43 years old lived in the Philippines a registered Psychometrician a mother of 4 children who lived permanently in Melbourne, Australia. I stayed in Australia for almost 15 months as a tourist. Currently working At National Center for Mental Health as a Mental Health Crisis Responder. 

Tessa Gatt-RutterMulticultural Ambassador

My current diagnosis is bipolar 1 affective disorder, however, I have experienced bullying, anorexia, bulimia and depression in high school and PTSD after a car crash that almost killed me before my first year of university. I am half Nigerian and half Maltese and I have experienced discrimination based on my ethnicity and my mental health diagnosis. I started my academic career studying Medical Science at The Australian National University, but following three psychotic episodes, several depressive episodes, a mixed episode and mania, I decided that it would be best if I transferred to a Science degree at The University of Melbourne, so that I could be better supported by family, my healthcare team and friends. My major is genetics, my minor is psychology and my area of interest is the intersection between genetics and psychology/psychiatry. My goal is to reduce stigma and promote quality universal mental healthcare, no matter what career I find myself in, and I like to inspire people through sharing my candid story of failures and triumphs. When I am not studying I like to draw and I write poetry, some of which that has been published at The University of Melbourne Dax Centre. If I were to sum myself up in three words I would say that I am resilient, perseverant and determined.

David LowMulticultural Ambassador

Semi retire. Teaching swimming to pass time. Running a Mental Ministry in Singapore before migrate to Australia. I have participated Walk for Mental health consecutively for 2 years. Looking forward to contribute more work for Mental health. Have encouraged friends and church members to join the mental walk .
Have closed friends who are suffering from mental disease and hope to support them . 

Cr Prue CuttsMulticultural Ambassador

I am currently an elected Councillor of the Whitehorse City Council in eastern metropolitan Melbourne serving over 175,000 residents. I represent 35,000 people living in the Springfield Ward which covers Mitcham, Nunawading, Forest Hill and Vermont. I am a registered teacher, and have worked in education settings much of my life. I have also worked as a vocational psychologist for almost 20 years and have combined this with my time in schools and in tertiary institutions. I've had my own careers consultancy practice for many years and worked as a consultant for HR companies. I have also worked in sales and been involved in volunteering for over 10 years - initially at the Box Hill hospital for the Red Cross, then the RSPCA and most recently as the Chair of the Heatherdale Creek Parkland Advisory Committee. I currently hold a board position with the Berengarra School in Box Hill. I was elected to Whitehorse Council at the last elections in 2016 and I stood to MAKE A DIFFERENCE to my local community and to the broader Whitehorse community. My last 3 years as a councillor have totally changed my life and I have found my voice as a politician speaking out about issues which have are important to me - mental health and wellbeing, active engagement of youth, being an inclusive society, gender equality, multiculturalism, retaining our tree canopy and open spaces, and heritage among other issues. I have an 18 year old son who is completing Year 12 this year. 

Shane RobertsMulticultural Ambassador

I live in a small rural town (approximately 550) that is over 100 kilometres from the nearest city (approximately 15,000). I live with my partner and we have three children, their ages are 9, 4 and 2. I am community minded and I am a committee member of two DELWP committees of management. I am also a non executive director of two local not for profit organisations. In addition, I am also a Councillor with the Yarriambiack Shire Council and currently the Deputy Mayor. My partner was born over seas in the Solomon Islands and only moved to Australia in 2009. I was a founding member of the Tri-State Wantoks; an incorporated association that supports people living in North Western Victoria, South Western NSW and Eastern SA from that are from PNG, Solomons or Vanuatu. I currently work part time as an ambulance officer and nurse. Outside of work I have an interest in most sports and have participated in many sports through out the years. I have a keen interest in photography and I am also hold the position of media officer with my local camera club - which is about 120 kilometres from where I live!

Qusai - VICMulticultural Ambassador

Clinical & Forensic Psychologist | Lawyer | Founder & Managing Director of Psylegal | Founder & CEO of Cyber Clinic

I am a psychologist passionate about increasing access to mental health services for all Australians. I believe that accessing trustworthy expert mental health help should be as easy as a mouse click. And, I hope for an Australia where seeking mental health support from your employer is applauded and not stigmatized.

When I began working as a lawyer 20 years ago in India my aim was to help people. I found myself at the pinnacle of my profession, practicing as a criminal defence lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. But, so many of the people I defended needed help long before they reached the criminal justice system. Not all were bad people – many just needed support that never came.

I moved to New York and completed a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology. I combined my love for the law and my belief in the power of mental health support and worked with hospitals, prisons, general and forensic mental health and local communities to help people turn their lives around.

Now, with a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology from the University of Melbourne, my wife, two boys and I have made Australia home. Since 2006 I have consulted extensively with the legal and corporate community through my business Psylegal (www.psylegal.com.au) to improve access to mental healthcare in workplaces, disadvantaged communities and for the criminal population.

But, working in both the medical and legal sectors in Australia for the past 12 years has made me realise two things: mental health professionals keep our communities strong and save lives, but accessing expert help is a lot harder than it should be and the stigma of mental health still exists in many communities in Australia.

Cyber Clinic (www.cyberclinic.com.au) is my attempt to get more help to more Australians where and when they need it. Founded in 2017 Cyber Clinic is an AI-driven online mental health clinic dedicated to supporting clients through their entire treatment journey – from finding the right mental health professional, through to the consultation, and to helping them track their wellbeing long-term. Since our launch we have now been working with government and community based organisations, insurance companies, educational institutions, mining and legal sectors to improve access to mental healthcare all across Australia.

During this devastating bushfire season that has seen 1000's of people impacted across their homes, businesses and livelihoods, with what we know will be significant mental health impacts we pledged 2 free sessions to ALL Australians affected by the bushfires through our network of mental health practitioners. We are also providing bulk-billing psychologists to provide medicare funded sessions to bushfire communities so that no one is out of pocket while seeking help for their mental health.

My goal is to destigmatise mental health and make sure that people receive high-level mental health services especially in disadvantaged communities and using technology to facilitate this.  Through my role as an Ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation I would hope to continue to spread this message within multicultural communities that have very little access and knowledge of mental healthcare. I want to make sure that no one feels alone no matter where they are in our vast and beautiful country.

Rama Rao - VICMulticultural Ambassador

I am a singer and the founder & artistic director of Krishna Ravali School of Indian Music. Established in Melbourne in 1984, Krishna Ravali currently has about 100 students. Over a span of more than 3 decades, I have performed extensively both in India and in all the major cities of Australia. I am one of the pioneers of the provision of live vocal music support for Bharat Natyam & Kuchipudi dance concerts in Australia. I had a successful international concert tour in 2018 – Canada, Netherlands, and India.

I have initiated and actively participated in a number of music and dance concerts to raise funds for humanitarian and other worthy causes for charity. In recognition, I have been honoured by a number of social & cultural organisations including Telugu Association of Australia, Tamil Society of Melbourne, and Dravida Cultural Association. In 2009, I was conferred with the “Excellence Award” from the Victorian Multicultural Commission for meritorious service to the community through music. Also, received the FIAV Community Services Award for Women. I was the president of the Federation of Indian Music and Dance, Victoria (FIMDV) for 3 years – from 2014 to 2016. Under my leadership and direction, FIMDV held music and dance concerts to mark India’s Independence Day and showcase the best of Indian music and dance both north and south Indian genre to the wider Australian community. In addition to performing and teaching, I have been a guest speaker at a number of music and dance concerts.

With a Ph. D in polymer chemistry, I had a distinguished career over a span of 30 years as a
senior research scientist, currently focusing my energies and volunteering my time in enabling and empowering school children to pursue science as part of “CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools”; and
“Commonwealth Government’s STEM” programs.

I currently serve as the chairperson of the Victorian Division of Surface Coatings Association Australia.

Participated in grueling 30 KM Melbourne Coastrek Walk to raise funds for the Fred Hollows
Foundation in spite of a dodgy knee.

Married to Jagannath Rao and we have two daughters – Neha and Nita.

Markos HasiotisMulticultural Ambassador

I'm a creative Greek/Australian who loves to write and create content. I'm curious about everything and have worked/volunteered in several areas, including a space program. I'm passionate about facts: I tweet facts (@FactBuffet), I worked as a fact-checker for the show "Mastermind Australia" and I won "Hard Quiz" in 2017. I love finding and sharing interesting information and fighting against stigma and lies. I have battled mental ill-health but have received treatment and now function very well, I want to work with the MHFA and help others to function well too. 

Abegail JusonMulticultural Ambassador

As a self-reliant mental health advocate, I develop and conduct training and workshops on mental health/ self-awareness and breakthroughs to children, teens and adults; I facilitate the Emotions Anonymous Program in the Philippines working towards better mental health, recovering from various emotional difficulties. It has allowed transformational growth through experience in terms of people skills, touching base on emotional and adversity quotient and incorporating necessary skills to develop life competency as a productive individual of the community. This also ensure individuals to have the best chance of implementing their recovery plans by working closely with the services to meet each individual’s unique needs. I focus on obtaining and maintaining stability, manage difficult symptoms, live a fulfilling life which aligns with their values and making the transition to independence as empowering and permanent as possible. The personalized and specialized trainings that I use gather people from the different corners of the globe, which has given me the opportunity to build the confidence and the humility within my person, the understanding and the acceptance of life generally and specifically. I build rapport to which I help individuals overcome various obstacles in their way.

Yeojin ParkMulticultural Ambassador

I am a person who loves relationships between people and sharing happiness with others, as I could get over difficulties in my life when I was supported by my families and friends in communities. I believe that I am lucky enough to be loved and feel happy to be able to support others with my skills and knowledge. I keep continuing self-reflection on my days and work and am very committed to the work, thus, sometimes I got stressed because of the things I am responsible for. However, I always value the sense of achievement, which makes me feel passionate and motivated for the next move.

I love challenges and that is why I tried to create completely new environments for myself through travelling over 25 countries and volunteering for almost 10 years, and the experiences changed my personality and beliefs slowly and I could become more persistent and understandable about other lives outside of my world. It has been over five years living abroad by myself and the time being helped me to be braver and more challenging while confronting risk at the same time. Moreover, I believe the power of communities so proactively participated and found a community organisation with my friends for well being of Korean communities in Australia last year (2019).

Rumali KularatneMulticultural Ambassador

I'm a Sri Lankan who was raised in United Arab Emirates and I moved to Australia after receiving a Merit Scholarship in 2016 to complete a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University. I've majored in Media Communications and completed minors in Psychology, Behavioural Studies and Marketing. Throughout the course of my education, I lived at the University residential halls where I volunteered as a Residential Adviser for 2 years. Upon graduation, I started work with the University as a project officer working on gender-based violence prevention efforts and am currently also working an after hours role as Deputy College Head within a Residential Hall on campus. I am currently really passionate about enhancing student's experience and well-being within the tertiary education sector and given my two roles within the University, I am fortunate to have an outlet to develop my skills and expertise in this area. 

Sharan VelauthanMulticultural Ambassador

I am a mental health advocate pushing for awareness and ways of improvement through social media. I have personally gone for therapy and I want to help as many people as I can using my voice. I am a full time master's student studying at RMIT and I'm from Sri Lanka. I have been spreading a positive message on social media for quite some time and currently working on getting free therapy and counselling in Sri Lanka by trusted counsellors. As right now good and free therapy and counselling is hard to find.

Natasha PepesMulticultural Ambassador

I am third year Commerce/Property and Real Estate Student at Deakin University. I currently work in the hospitality industry and as a casual research assistant at Deakin University. I am highly organised with a strong work ethic and passion for learning whether it be related to business trends or current social causes.

Kamini SaberwalMulticultural Ambassador

I am a working mother by the day and an actor/ Emcee/ Paegent winner by the night :) I relocated to Australia 7 years ago for good and absolutely love living here, always wanting to do more for this amazing country.

In 2016, I won Mrs India Australia, and since then I have been a part of numerous large social and community events in Australia as Volunteer/ Emcee/ Model/ Actor  

In my day job I work as Human Resources Manager dealing with People a lot, where I also got acrredited as a Mental Health First Aider.

I have two young sons and a very caring partner, who are all my support system. 

Amy YuenMulticultural Ambassador

I am an AASW registered social worker with the qualification of Master of Social Work, Monash University, Australia.  I have had over 35 years working experiences on social work professional settings such as social security, community centre, hospital, child protection, youth probation, mental health, family services centre, domestic violence, disability, aged care.  My current job is working very closely with homeless people.  In 2015, I discovered that the mental health issues in the community were increasing when I met three clients within one week who were suffering from severe depression.    With the encouragement of my Australian friend, Krishna Dutton, owner of the Wellness Barn in the Basin,  I set up a social work private practice company, named as Serenity Life Balance Advisory Pty Ltd in September 2015.  For the last four years, more than 2000 people were benefited from the Serenity Life Balance programs, particularly for those who were culturally and socially isolated.  I could see their changes particularly when they suffered from anxiety disorder and depression.  Serenity Life Balance provides services such as individual consultation, groups(eg. healthy living workshop, Chinese calligraphy club,  photography club, and life balance programs).  Serenity Life Balance also organised community workshops such as Community and Connection Program (Melbourne) in 2016,  Flourishing and Motivational Workshop (Sydney) 2016, Spirituality through life journey (Brisbane) 2017, Healthy Living Workshop (Sydney) 2018 and regular healthy living retreat to Brisbane.  Recently, Serenity Life Balance is developing a mentoring program supporting young graduates to get more working experiences and empower them in the workplaces.
 
Since 2003, I have been actively involved with multi-faith activities.  I was a committee member of Whitehorse Interfaith Network, Manningham Interfaith Network and current member of Knox Interfaith Network.    I am sure this is the valuable assets for me to work closely with all cultural groups.  I am the current member of Knox Multicultural Advisory Committee.

I have been working for Villa Maria Catholic Homes for more than 15 years and still holding the position as a case manager for Assistance with Care and Housing Program (ACH).  For the last 15 years, I actively advocated for the ACH program.  I joined the National ACHA workers network and approached the Canberra government.  Ended up the ACH program was successfully approved to be a permanent program under the Commonwealth aged care system.  I am also actively involved with aged care network as well.

From 2003 - 2015, I used my leisure time to support the Buddhist temple activities such as running a children Buddhism class, getting involved with interfaith and community programs and setting up a charitable group to care for the community.  I was a graduate of Fo Guang Shan Hong Kong Buddhist College and Buddhist Srimala College, Fo Guang Shan Taiwan.

Since 2017, I also supported National Anti-poverty Week every year to raise the community awareness of the local and global poverty issues.  In 2019, my first attempt was to organise a Chinese Community Forum to motivate the Chinese community to discuss about domestic violence and local poverty issues.


Prince BagumaMulticultural Ambassador

I'm 25 old and passionate person about helping others people and community engagement I'm the founder of Hope for Refugees in Action. We work with refugees and migrants. I wanted to to help African communities by training and  understanding about mental health, I got my standard mental health certificate and I would like to learn more about it.

Cr Michelle KleinertMulticultural Ambassador

Michelle Kleinert is an accomplished trainer, facilitator and public speaker, with a wealth of experience across a broad and eclectic range of industries. Backed by an Australia Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Training and Assessment Certificate IV In Frontline Management and Diploma of Management, Michelle is a naturally engaging professional whose empathetic and assured approach delivers positive interventions and change.
A fixture of local Government, Michelle has served variously as Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor of Manningham Council for over seven years, where she remains a passionate advocate for many community issues, with a specific interest in matters affecting young people. As Mayor, Michelle's legacy was creating city awareness of mental health issues of our youth in Manningham and championed headspace to offer direct services.  Raising over $100,000 at the Manningham Mayoral ball, it was the highlight of her year.
Along with an impressive array of long-standing local and international volunteering roles, Michelle’s highly regarded consultancy practice and tailored, hands-on programmes have achieved remarkable results for individuals, teams and organisations. She owns and successfully juggles the day to day operations of two businesses - a Melbourne based styling boutique and busy restaurant in Hong Kong. Whether it’s hands-on or via targeted FaceTime meetings, Michelle embraces her leadership and management roles with energy and commitment.
Michelle’s background in theatre, where an adroitness in the improvisational theatre-sports arena showcased a talent for creativity, imagination and intellect, reinforced the importance of teamwork and vision. Her ability to coach and mentor comes from a true belief in the inherent worth of the individual.
In her capacity as Vice President (2015- 2019) and President respectively, Michelle is currently engaged with both the Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA) and the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA), working on issues of equity in the workplace and government.

Lyn Richardson - VICAmbassador

I am originally from Singapore and migrated  to Australia 20 years ago. I have a very mixed background. My mum is a filipino-chinese and Dad is portugese -chinese. I am very passionate with my culture specially our foods. I love cooking, baking and travelling. I do believe that i have obsession when it comes to food no matter what cuisine.

Mirjana Masic - VICAmbassador

Serbian background, born in Croatia, arrived to Australia as refugee, fluent in English and couple of other ex-Yugoslav languages, graduated university in Australia and have been working in the community services sector with people from different backgrounds. I love learning about other cultures. Living in Geelong area which has a diverse community.

Yvette Medina - VICAmbassador

My family and I migrated to Australia in 2013. I have a background in brand management and ESL teaching. I started out as the Multicultural Education Aide at Staughton College in Melton 6 months later, and became the CALD Engagement Officer last year. I am passionate about helping CALD families, being one as well. We have run Cultural Diversity Week and a Cultural Family Picnic at our secondary school annually, where our staff and students get to try authentic traditional cuisine, sing and dance, and join a fashion parade.  I also presented the Filipino Community Profile for council, and paneled for Foundation House's Refugee Education Support Program for the Caroline Springs cluster.  I thoroughly enjoy mentoring our students who receive scholarships from VICSEG New Futures Multicultural Secondary Student Engagement and Scholarship program.

Georgia Pepes - VICAmbassador

I am a second year Bachelor of Property and Real Estate/Bachelor of Commerce student. My acceptance and participation in the Deakin Vice-Chancellor's Professional Excellence Program emphasises my dedicated mindset, strong work ethic and constant strive for academic excellence. My hospitality experience at Vanilla Cakes & Lounge, has assisted me in enhancing my strengths including attention to detail, and further develop my organisational skills. This role has also enabled me to excel my communication abilities, learn and adapt to changing work environments and demonstrate exceptional customer service with my ability to work efficiently in teams. I am passionate about the built society in which we live and work, and how the property environment changes in the face of diversity. I am also very passionate about society and discussing mental health and its importance among my family, friends and greater peers. I am passionate about opening conversations regarding well being and mental health, thereby aiming to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. I am a lover of socialising with friends and playing sports, particularly netball; I am passionate about netball as it allows me not only enhance my fitness yet also my own well being and my team members well being through team play.

Marco Fedi - VICAmbassador

Marco Fedi is the CEO of CO.AS.IT., Italian Assistance Association, a community organisation involved in the delivery of services in the education, heritage and aged care sectors. He has had extensive experience with community organisations and has been very active in the welfare and cultural sectors since his arrival in Australia in 1983.
Marco has been involved for over thirty years in the human services area, information and communication technologies and administration of the non-Government sector. Marco lived and worked in Adelaide and then Melbourne before his election to the Italian Parliament. Marco Fedi served as a Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 2006 to 2018 and has been a member of the Foreign Affairs Permanent Committee and also the President of the Italian-Australian Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Barbara Minuzzo - VICAmbassador

I am an internationally recognised expert in allied health, youth and community health, and safety with particular expertise in unintentional and intentional injury, community engagement, and health sector knowledge in training, course design, media liaison, public advice-giving and multi-cultural outreach with solid social media experience.   I am passionate about holistic health-driven to make a difference and improve community well-being.

Poonam Arora - VICAmbassador

I am a trainer and assessor also working with Women of Wyndham. I am a culturally competent individual who tries to promote cultural diversity in the classroom as well as in other aspects of life. I am participating in a cultural event to be held in Point Cook and would love to take this role. Being a migrant, I understand the experience that CALD communities have and face initially in Australia. I have worked in customer service sector for a long time as well so I understand the needs of people coming from overseas and the natives as well. 

Judy Tang - VICAmbassador

 My previous/current roles include:
- Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)
- President, Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC)
- National Covenor, Australian Psychological Society (APS) Psychology and Cultures Interest Group
- Director & Clinical Neuropsychologist, Jurmaine Health
- VMC Multicultural Champion 2018

I am extremely keen to use my connections and skills to help improve mental health for our multicultural communities.

Dale Cosgrave - VICAmbassador

I'm a positive, empathetic and compassionate man. I live a values based lifestyle and I care about people's well-being. I'm purposefully driven to share my experience and strength to give people hope that there are solutions to whatever issues they are facing.

I have lived an worked across the world and pride myself on being able to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. From this experience I have understood that regardless of people's perceived differences (culture, language, religion etc)  they all crave to be connected and belong. My life' work is to connect people to this realisation and to help build the bridges to make this happen.

In my personal life I spend time working on my personal development and I'm an active member in the community. I frequent Rotary meetings, 12 step fellowship along with mentoring and coaching people with addiction issues.

I have a loving partner, great friends and family. In my spare time I enjoy yoga, surfing and travel.

Grace Chao - VICAmbassador

I work as Behaviour Therapist for autism early intervention. I'm at the second year of Bachelor of Counseling. One of the main reason for me to study counseling was because all the parents of those autistic children I work with, have suffering from depression and anxiety, therefor, studying counseling gives me the knowledge to help those parents.

Cathryn Hooker - VICAmbassador

I'm a Senior Mental Health Occupational Therapist; with a Post-Grad Cert in Mental health and Addictions. My background is Cook Island; Chinese and Pakeha. I work in private practice in a few places; I work for Headspace in a clinic and in high schools (currently McRob High) which is a select entry girls school with a high Asian population; and I work as the ICALD Wellbeing Supervisor for Parkville College (the school inside the youth detention facilities in Victoria) - in this role I support all the staff of colour whom work for the school in groups and 1:1. I'm passionate about Wellbeing and in particular supporting POC in effective, culturally safe and appropriate ways; this often means challenging and advocating for change within the organisations I work for. 

Nathalie O'Sughrue - VICAmbassador

Over the last 20 years, Nathalie has been featured across a variety of media incl. newspapers, radio and television speaking about a range of issues including but not limited to; body image, mental health, sexual assault, addiction, bullying, and the cause most dear to her heart: standing up on behalf of the disadvantaged.

Nathalie is an International speaker, life and business coach with over a decade of strong sales and business management experience. She specialises in providing business owners with tailored solutions to meet their business needs and implementing strategies to increase revenue.

As a single mother, a survivor of rape/ addiction/ bullying/ and depression, Nathalie has a deep understanding of the issues in our society and how we can minimise the harm/risk. Nathalie genuinely wants to help the disadvantaged and currently  offers one-on-one coaching and group workshop settings to individuals to help identify their hidden triggers, recognise their symptoms and implement management strategies to reintegrate into society after adversity.

Nathalie is regularly seen engaging in conversation about the main issues preventing people from being able to move forward and working with them to change their perception surrounding their situation, themselves and others.

Nathalie is best known as Ms Universal 2016, who stripped herself of her International title, publicly resigning and inadvertently leading a charge of beauty queens worldwide to stand up against bullying in the pageant industry by relinquishing their titles. You may also recognise her as the size 8 model who was body shamed publicly and labelled "fat"by designers during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in 2013. Rather than sitting back and saying nothing, Nathalie stood her ground and made national news again, becoming an advocate for women and fighting industry standards on body image and how it is negatively impacting the future generation.

Nathalie has built her reputation on not being afraid to be the voice behind the conversations that need to be had out loud. She has a huge focus on community involvement and awareness, having volunteered and been involved in many charity fundraising events over the years from hosting trivia to raise funds for JDRF, to attending the Bully Zero Annual Gala Ball, to attending events to raise funds for Heartkids Australia. She is a striking, exceptional woman with practical and progressive thinking, intellect and possesses a strong sense of self confidence and who she is. Nathalie has humility, the power of thought, awareness, education, sincerity and a genuine vivacity for life and an infectious ability to reach the community.

Antonnette Wamukoya - VICAmbassador

Marcia Knipe - VICAmbassador

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. In private practice since 2012. Married with 3 children. I have worked in Private and Public hospitals, also worked at Headspace in Narre Warren for about three years. Designed a Violence Prevention Program for  young males at risk of entering the Justice system. I have a strong interest in empowering Migrant women to be the best they can be. My main practice is in Glen Waverley but my biggest practice is in Lynbrook which has a high migrant population. Being  a migrant myself, I can relate to some of their struggles adjusting to a new country. I lok forward to offering my services and seeing where this this role leads.

Moses Ronyi - VICAmbassador

I am currently working as Youth worker with Junubi Wyndham, a program funded by Victorian government to support Sudanese or South Sudanese families and youths. As well as Project leader for COVER-US project, a project supported by Department of Premier and Cabinet and other services such as Equatorian Community Association.

COVER-US is platform where African communities has ability to discuss their issues/ problems or a space where solution may be discovered. We have engaged and created network with other services including Micare, Headspace and Wyndham Community Education Centre focused on promoting services and mental health awareness.

As creator of COVER-US Project I currently working on project regarding creating mental health youths who will  have ability and capability to  inject a positive vibes to the community where they are able to engage to formulate discussion within School environment or within their homes.

Madhavee Hetti Arachchige Dona - VICAmbassador

I completed my master’s degree in public health from the Victoria university to expand my basic medical qualification towards community-oriented profession and I am very passionate and keen to upgrade my understanding and experiences in mental health promotion and to expand further scope of my career at both institutional and field levels through strong working relationships while promoting mental health through out the community.

Myat Noe Han - VICAmbassador

I am was recently graduated from the university of Melbourne with a bachelor in biomedicine majoring in neuroscience. I am passionate about improving mental health of the youth and helping people get the help they need in order to strive for a better self. I am doing Honours in neuroscience this year at unimelb and I would love to spend my free time advocating for something I feel strongly about.

Darrell Yeo - VICAmbassador

I work in the infrastructure construction industries for the last eight years in Melbourne. Work in the city full time Monday to Friday. Weekends love spending time with family, going walking and swimming. Sunday go to church and catching  up with friends. Originally from Singapore migrated here nine years ago.  Speak and write English and Mandarin.  Enjoy working with the youth and children. 

Saranbeer KaurMulticultural Ambassador

I am a humanitarian and social social work professional , worked with wide variety of diverse communities right from Aboriginals to asylum seekers , international communities and Indians and Australians.. I am PhD in social work and has worked in different welfare roles in Australia. Currently teaching social work in university and I am also a steering committee member of family violence Project for Sikh faith.communities in Victoria in addition to other volunteer work.
 

Priti KansalMulticultural Ambassador

I am a very enthusiastic and energetic person who loves meeting people and being active in society. Currently I am working for Australian Financial complaints Authority as complaints Manager but previously have been dealing with Death and Disability claims for HESTA superannuation. I have assessed the cases very closely and a few of them were of Mental health disability too

Leonora DuqueMulticultural Ambassador

Suveetha SuveethaMulticultural Ambassador

I am currently pursuing my Masters in Social Work at La Trobe University. I am interested in volunteering in the field of mental health especially in relation to the multicultural community in Australia. I have a Bachelors degree in Dentistry from India. I have lived and worked as a dentist in India and Saudi Arabia and have been involved in multiple community health and social awareness projects in India, which sparked my interest in pursuing Social work as a career. I can communicate in five languages other than English, including Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Urdu. I have experience engaging with different communities both abroad and within Australia. Recently, I volunteered with Himilo Community Connect, which is a Somali Australian community agency and have been able to actively engage with the local Somalian community in Victoria. In addition, I was involved as a student representative and advisor in the drafting committee of La Trobe University’s current Student Mental Health and Well Being policy. As a result, I have had the exposure and interaction of working with people from different communities in a culturally inclusive manner. I am passionate about spreading awareness on Mental health issues and the various supports available to the ethnically diverse communities in Australia. Particularly, to reduce the stigma and improve culturally aware support systems that can reach the community members effectively. I have been looking for a platform to volunteer in this aspect and would welcome the opportunity to be a part of the Multicultural Ambassador program. I hope to be able to represent Mental Health Foundation of Australia and pursue my passion of being a part of the larger agenda of improving community awareness and access to mental health services across Australia.

Cr Dot HaynesMulticultural Ambassador

The work I have been doing here in this country for over 50 years is extensive within community groups and business. I also have cerificates of different Psychology fields. My passion being Positive psychology. I also help people from all cultures cut through the beaurocracy of our systems. I have also published some books regarding some of the events within the journey of life and my most recent is "People Matter". There is so much to share about who I am. MY greatest passion is ensuring people know that we are all different and yet connected. I am able to bring people together and make each feel valued. I prefer real conversations and encourage all to talk directly. I have a very free private life and make my public life very important. The Mental Health Foundation work I have followed and supported with events and bringing the diverse community leaders to events. 

Tony K. FrettonMulticultural Ambassador

I am currently a Lead Tenant for McKillop Family Services mentoring a young person suffering from Mental Illness and a Full Time Community Liaison Officer for a Disability Employment Service Provider. I am the President of the largest Pacific Islander LGBTIQA+ organisation and we focus on Suicide Prevention for Pacific Islander and Maori Youth as well as Mental Health Awareness programs for our Pacific Islander and Maori communities. I am the Secretary for Miss Samoa Victoria, a cultural platform that uplifts and empowers young women and I am the President of a National LGBTIQA+ Organisation, UTOPIA Australia. I currently run my own Podcast Show as a hobby (which focuses on multicultural storytelling) and I am an advocate for supporting our community to engage in the Arts & Music. I am a proud uncle of 5, a brother to 5 siblings and a son to Parents who migrated to Australia and worked in Factories. I am proud to be Australian and I am proud to contribute to our Multicultural community.

Monica UribeMulticultural Ambassador

I have been living in Australia after five years, initially came as an international student and decided to stay. My first jobs in Australia as most people were in unqualified roles and then started working in the education industry, where I have worked for education agencies, RTOs and Universities. Through this experience Mad my own experience I have realised of the amount of pressure experienced by foreigners in the country due to financial or personal circumstances and I think that providing them support to have a good mental health can have a massive impact in their lives. I interact with people who struggle with mental health and I want to be an advocate of the importance of seeking help and support.

Karishma SinghMulticultural Ambassador

My name is Karishma Singh and I'm 29 years old. My background is Indian and I take great pride in my heritage. I currently work as a Local Area Coordinator with the National Disability Insurance Scheme and I was a Bollywood Dance Teacher for many years prior to that. I am passionate about promoting good mental health, not just in my community but the greater population.

Nitesh VyasMulticultural Ambassador

My name is Nitesh Vyas. I’m an IT Project Manager. Currently, I am working as the Scrum Master at Latitude Financials. I've lived in Melbourne for last 10 years.
I have a keen interest in community services and outside my office, in my personal space, I've been actively involved with community organization.

I was the President of Rajasthani Kutumb (RAJKOV) for two years. During my tenure as the President, I interacted with Mental Health Foundation Australia and thats when I got to know the impact of Mental Health and the need of mental health awareness in our community.  With RAJKOV experience under my belt, I’m looking for an opportunity to take the next step in my community service journey. 

Anju DuggalMulticultural Ambassador

I am married with  2 beautiful kids Ashita my daughter 18 years and son Mohit 15yrs both are doing immensely and inspiring with their passion to help others and from their father my husband Sunny Duggal who is a Multicultural Ambassador Mental Health Foundation Australia for over 4 years and resilient worker helping community at large with recent bushfires helping at the front of highly affected communities and doing so through NIRANKARI Mission volunteer Incharge for over 20 years plus been brought up in Australia ???? I really believe this country has so much to bring happiness and prosperity towards other and being Ambassdor this role will help bring my inner passion and commitment towards community growth  

Ljiljana RistevskiMulticultural Ambassador

I am volunteering in WCC in broad range of departments as Transport, Emergency Relief, Reception(admin, customer service, phone and email correspondence, data entry, assessment - interviews for participants related with receiving some help they need)etc... and am volunteering in City of Whittlesea in Aged and Disability Department with Dementia group. I assist with the serving them meals, engage with them in communication, assist  when they need to stand, sit... with arts and craft, playing a games as well. I am advisory member of Women from CALD background group in Whittlesea Community Connections(WCC). We are approving a grants for different groups of women.
In the same time i am doing training in prevention of violence against women.
I am very happy in doing all of this and assist to the Community.

Arzum CaglayancayMulticultural Ambassador

Hi! My name is Arzum Caglayancay and I am a Mental Health Advocate, Acceptance Ambassador. And currently hold the title of Mrs Turkey Globe 2018. Since beginning my own journey with mental illness, I have worked very hard and learned to accept that I am not broken, I am not my medication, or defective, I am my experiences, and strength.

My complete journey of becoming a voice for all sufferers of mental health began publicly, through my journey in competing in Mrs Australia Globe, in Melbourne in September 2018 as a National Finalist.


At the Mrs Australia Globe 2018 National Finals in Melbourne, I was privileged to be crowned and 3rd National Runner Up in the contest. In October 2018, I was in utter shock upon receiving a call from Mrs Globe office requesting if I may be interested in representing Turkey as Mrs Turkey Globe 2018 in Shenzhen, China on the International stage for Mrs Globe. As there were some personal matters of the contestant that was to attend from Turkey, she was unable to travel and as a dual citizen I was honoured to take on this responsibility.

The reason i was apart of the Mrs Australia Globe 2018 and accepted the title of Mrs. Turkey Globe, is to be a voice and use my privileges to continue to be a public servant, to all people from all walks of life.

I have a saying that I always refer back to everyday;

“Never judge a soul, lend a hand where you can, pick up someone who has fallen, and unify. Unity and people power cannot be purchased but felt within your heart and soul, then comes the changes we all thought were never possible.” Arzum Caglayancay

More importantly this is a journey that my sister, Archie (R.I.P) planned to take together therefore it is my passion to continue our promise to the vulnerable

Rhonda SidaouiMulticultural Ambassador

I am  a Clinical Psychologist with over 28 years experience, currently working in private practice in Reservoir located in GP rooms. Over the years I have worked in various settings both government and non-government settings. As I became an experienced Mental Health Practitioner, I eventually obtained the role of managing a virtual team of Psychologists located over West Victoria. As a result of these wide and varied roles, I have had opportunities to not only provide clinical services but also have had to undertake presentations and talks to employees and managers, to promote, educate and increase awareness of mental health issues. I also have a Lebanese background and  have in the early stage of my career been a member of the Inaugural Australia Arabic Festival (1992). I was also a member of the Islamic Women's Welfare Council (1990), whereby I also conducted education sessions on mental heath. I have seen the changes within various communities and society regarding the understanding and the stigma associated with mental health. This role offers me the opportunity to not only promote mental health in the wider community but to also increase awareness. 

Sara Yuk Lin LeeMulticultural Ambassador

I am Sara from Hong Kong.  I perceive to be a social worker / human service practitioner as my life career. I have worked as a social worker (school social worker and mental health case manager) for over 8 years in Hong Kong. In 2014, I left my position and achieved my dream - obtaining a working holiday in Australia and travelling around the world. I fell in love with Australia during the 2-year stay of my working holiday. By reason of Australia's unique nature, kind people and animals, cultures and lifestyles, I decided to stay in Australia and started my Master study.  I have graduated from the Master of Social work course at Monash University in December 2018.  Currently, I work in a women agency called Project Respect as case coordinator and outreach worker.  In addition, I personally interested in the relationship between climate justice and poverty, gender equality and the promotion of mental health awareness.  

Vasundhara KulkarniMulticultural Ambassador

I am a psychologist of Indian origin based in Melbourne  presently working in the community heath sector. I believe in change through empowerment and that empowerment of communities has direct links with their well being in physical, mental, social and cultural domains. I also believe that a healthy sense of identity has roots in a strong sense of belonging-which is the integration of the process of assimilation and pride in one's own heritage.

My work within refugee, migrant and disadvantaged communities alongside my involvement in community projects and volunteering reflect the above beliefs.  My work experience as a psychologist and a counsellor spans adult, children and youth population groups across the community care, not for profit and the school systems. 

My work experience at organisations such as Diwa Asian Women’s Network, (a not for profit in the UK ) Doncare Community Services, Doncaster and as a group facilitator at InTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence, Richmond has contributed to my strong skills in working with communities from CALD backgrounds.

I was involved in a project called "Ghunghat" in 2011, an initiative funded by the University of Melbourne to explore cultural attitudes around family violence particularly as it relates to barriers around accessing family violence services within the Indian Community.  As part of this, I was part of a theatre project which explored attitudes using the format of forum/Interactive Theatre.

I have been fortunate to have lived in different countries and have been humbled by working with diverse communities in India, Australia, US and the UK. This life experience and engagement has given me a richer appreciation of multiculturalism. 

Rudi BajzekMulticultural Ambassador

I am born in Melbourne, Australia. My parents migrated from Croatia. I speak fluent Croatian. I am married with two adult children. My wife is a Filipino and I support Filipino Events by attending the events and supporting my wife's charity volunteer work. I work full time. I am a North Melbourne Football Club Supporter. 

Alex SyMulticultural Ambassador

I'm a migrant from the Philippines who arrived in 1976 with my Parents. I studied and worked hard to carve a Profession here in Melbourne. I'm an experience General Manager / CEO from various Companies with strength in Leadership and Transformational Changes. I also involved myself with various Multicultural groups as well as Community Groups. I was part of the State Government Multicultural Engagement Committee. I'm currently Vice President of Life Activity Club of Victoria helping people over 60yrs old to avoid Social isolation. I'm also a current Board Director and Vice President of the Australia Philippines Business Council, connecting Companies doing business in the Philippines and Victoria. I'm currently active within the Filipino Community and founding President of the Cebuano Association of Australia. My focus of being a MHFA is to provide and create Mental Health awareness within the various Community Groups.

Nathan SpiteriMulticultural Ambassador

Yvonne BajzekMulticultural Ambassador

Zakarye MasonMulticultural Ambassador

Pras Acharya - VICAmbassador

Sebastian Idarraga Valencia - VICAmbassador

Zekija Glamocic - VICAmbassador

Yogi Thurairatnam - VICAmbassador

Abraham Mathew - VICAmbassador

Sagar Hira - VICAmbassador

Sukhvinder Duggal - VICAmbassador

Karthick Thanigaimani - VICAmbassador

Dabessa Gemelal Gemelal - VICAmbassador

Yogen Lakshman - VICAmbassador

Sury Prakash Soni - VICAmbassador

Lorraine Baloyi - VICAmbassador

Amarasekara - VICAmbassador

John Gulzari - VICAmbassador

Jalpa Dattani - VICAmbassador

Jacqui Bennet - VICAmbassador

Samantha Lim - VICAmbassador

Christina Pitter - VICAmbassador

Jasmin (Minnie) Dhillon - VICAmbassador

Ronald Perera - VICAmbassador

Ellen Hyein ChoMulticultural Ambassador

Mayur MeshramMulticultural Ambassador

Mahaadhevan SaisankarMulticultural Ambassador

Imaan ToorMulticultural Ambassador

Aanchal MahajanMulticultural Ambassador

Subra RamachandranMulticultural Ambassador

Maniskandan JayaramanMulticultural Ambassador

Bwe ThayMulticultural Ambassador

Karan GandhokDeputy Leader

Abinaya SrinivasanGeneral Committee

Abi Srinivasan worked in the Pharmacy industry in Rural, Regional, and Metropolitan Victoria over the last few years. She has been involved in the Indian Music community through singing and dancing and has performed on multiple platforms.

Stephen YinGeneral Committee

Malaysian born and UK educated, Stephen brings diverse experiences from his legal and political training to forefront in positions he is appointed to. He was formerly the Group Chief Legal Officer of a listed public company group in Malaysia and Singapore.

As group Chief Officer for legal / corporate compliance and administration to the board, he was also the group MD’s special advisory officer for corporate negotiations / business development /joint ventures domestically and within the Asia Pacific region. Stephen is committed to the multi diverse Australia vision and a strong advocate to preserve and protect Australia’s way of life and its founding principles.

He is presently Director, Strategy, Growth & Assurance at Advance Strata Consulting group including Business Ambassador  to Malaysia, Singapore and neighboring countries.  He actively serves the community through his involvements as Multicultural Ambassador of Mental Health Foundation Australia, Vice Chair, Australian Multicultural Community Engagement Forum, member of the Knox Multicultural Advisory Committee, Chinese Professional & Business Association Victoria, Singapore Australia Association, Lions Club Blackburn, Neighbourhood Watch scheme, Ethnic Communities Recruitment, Victorian Police, Event & Fund Raiser, Multicultural Liberal Business Club and is also involved in community engagement programmes  in the electorates of Deakin & Aston.

Sunny DuggalMulticultural Ambassador

Sunny is a Volunteer In Charge and Working Committee Member with Australian based Saint Nirankari Mission Based in Rowville. Sunny has personally been awarded Volunteer of the Year 2012 in Knox City Council and Red Cross Youngest Volunteer and also sits on Board with many more Community and Volunteer Organisations. Sunny is the Senior Sales Manager, Land Specialist and Project Development manager at FVRREALTY.

Christina ChiaDeputy Leader

A change-maker, Christina is entrepreneur by heart who finds joy by serving and leading communities via diversity, fairness & improved outcomes for social innovation.  A Malaysian born Chinese who resides in Melbourne for over 26 years, Christina is passionate about people and positive mental health. She sees her talents as a communicator, influencer & building meaningful relationships to maximise connections locally and globally. She loves to inspire and empower to get the best out of people. Multilingual and married mother of two daughters, Christina held a number of leadership & Executive roles over the past 15 years, including current role as General Manager of North Shore Coaching College, an international education institution. She is the Rotary Governor Assistant D9810 and President of Australia Asian Family Association. Christina holds a MBA and a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

Philip TanDeputy Leader

Before migrating to Australia, Philip was an active community activist for social enterprise activities work for Singapore (SCORE) under Singapore correctional system working together with Singapore Prison, enhancing the employability of offenders and preparing them for integration into national workforce. 

Phillip is also active in the service of Jesuit Refugee services in caring for the internally displace people from Burma and Sri Lanka. His last community service was with Habitat for Humanity re-building homes for the 2005 Tsunami‘s victim of  Banda Aceh , Indonesia. A passionate believer in the creed to do one's best in all endeavour entrusted upon, he serves the community through his involvement as Pubic Relations Director of Chair of  Australian Multicultural Community Engagement , Vice President of the Chinese Professional & Business Association Victoria,  Executive member of the Multicultural Liberal Business Club and as an Advisor to Singapore Australian Association of Victoria.

Varan Freestone - VICVice-Chairperson

Varan particularly recognises the importance of working cohesively together, whilst injecting fun. She takes every opportunity to highlight the importance of being inclusive and of how to welcome people into her network. She knows and understands the value of sharing, caring, and of being kind to each other. Authenticity is part of her DNA.
Varan has always been, by nature, a compassionate, nurturing individual. Even as a child she had the maturity and a ‘sixth sense’ to know how best to help family members cope with challenging situations. It is core to the way she lives her life. These nurturing past experiences and her innate ability to create lasting relationships, has inspired her to help other people nurture themselves.
Varan opened her first business Dharam Events in 2001, the nature of which provided her with the flexibility to allow her to spend quality time with her son, Tarun. Her insatiable appetite for work and her love for organising, managing and facilitating events have been an asset to the success of her fledgling enterprise.
Varan’s desire to give and nurture others runs deep, so it is no surprise that her business, WISE, is wholistic and bespoke. Based on the principles of encouraging women to look within, taking charge of their health and well-being, exploring their goals and dreams whilst actioning change. They do this by embarking on a unique journey of self-discovery. The women are supported to change their mindset, re-ignite their confidence and to forge collaboration with mentors and supporters. The importance of women supporting each other unconditionally without judgement, is paramount to the success of the journey.

+ QLD

Dona HalahakoneMulticultural Ambassador

Dona Halahakone is from Sri Lanka and currently pursuing a Master of Health Management at QUT. Dona has completed her medical education in 2018 from Tver State Medical University in Russia where she spent nearly six years of my life. While in medical school, she won the 62nd All Russia Intercollegiate Students Scientific Conference 2016 – Category Disaster Medicine- “Psychological Effects of Terrorism”- Conference presentation and poster. She has previously worked as a junior doctor and was mainly involved with migrant workers seeking employment in the middle-east. The role involved counselling individuals on how to cope up in new working environments and educating them about their previously unknown medical conditions.

Amiel NubahaMulticultural Ambassador

Born and raised up in a refugee camp, Amiel is based now working in Cherbourg, former Aboriginal Mission Settlement.  At such a young age, he found his passion and his calling to empower but most importantly support people from multicultural community share their story. 

Actively involved through organizing youth events, cultural events, educational programs. He currently sit on many advisory committee including Youth Advisory Committee for Hon Shannon, and also active member of the Queensland Multicultural Youth Council where we advocate for the need of young people from refugee/CALD background throughout queensland. Focus on youth empowerment.

Surendra PrasadMulticultural Ambassador

Surendra has been working with the communities for last 59 years. Served in many organisation in Queensland and he is now the President of Fiji Senior Citizens Association of Queensland Inc have 80 members about 15 of them over 80 years old. He is also the director of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland and the Former President of Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland, Director and he now advices the Hindu Council of Australia, and World Art Multi-Culture Inc.

Sonia MinnieconMulticultural Ambassador

Sonia is an Australian born South Sea Islander with heritage from Vanuatu. A Descendant of the Kabbi Kabbi people of South East Qld. She currently is the co-founder of Saltwater Club and General Manager Of Cape York Employment. She is passionate about helping people find out about their family and tell their story to help them understand their value to this country. She is passionate about how education, training and employment is crucial to supporting people, and would like to use her skills to support in this area.

Ching-Hsin ChouMulticultural Ambassador

Ching is a migrant from Taiwan who have live in Brisbane for more than 10 years. She was a working holiday maker, international student who experienced isolation, discrimination, unfair work environment. Therefore, she understand the difficulties for people from CALD backgrounds to settle in Brisbane. Moreover, the mental health impacts on people who move to a new country, such as lost of sense of belonging and family/friends connections, language barriers. She overcame these difficulties by the support of her community and further study. Hence, she wants to support people from CALD background who experience mental health issue and raise the awareness.

Dr Esther Bganya Multicultural Ambassador

Dr Esther Bganya is psychiatrist of African descent, with 20 years of experience and have previously worked with CALD communities in South Africa and New Zealand. She also has special interest in Addiction and Lifestyle Medicine & Spirituality .Qualifications include MBCHB; Masters in Psychiatry; Postgrad Diploma(Addiction); Postgrad Diploma ( Theology); Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.

Nasrin Sadegh-VaziriMulticultural Ambassador

Migrated from Iran in 7th July 1990. Starting community connection and involvement in 1993, Joining to the field of academic in 1996. Holding Bachelor Degree in Communication and Master Degree in Sociology, completed number of major and smaller community projects, Centenary Federation Medal Holder from Commonwealth Australia and Ambassador for Peace from Australian Peace Foundation. Key achievement in community connections, community relationship and engagement, initiating and completing community cultural projects and activities, utilising arts as a communication tool in the done projects, contributing to multicultural communities as a member of Medicare Community Advisory Committee and Gold Coast Cultural Advisory Committee.

Chaminga DhanapalaMulticultural Ambassador

Chaminga Dhanapala is a Senior Psychologist at Evolve Mindfully Today. 

Anthea BalfourMulticultural Ambassador

Speaking to international audiences on Love, Sex &  leadership, Anthea is captivating, informative and inspiring in her message and her mission to empower humanity through the reclamation of our sexual sovereignty. As a trauma informed Sexological BodyWorker & Somatic Psychotherapist, Anthea offers men, women & couples a new way to honour their human experience and to become embodied creators of their lives. Anthea's areas of specialisation include: Energy Healing, Human Sexual & Social Behaviour, Subconscious reconditioning, Orgonomy and Psycholinguistics; using these resources to empower, strengthen & build long lasting emotional & intellectual resilience in organisations & individuals alike.    Sought after for her refreshingly unconventional approach to corporate & personal leadership training, Anthea teaches focus, alignment and harmony as the new paradigm in innovative organisational culture and trains high performing teams and executives to go beyond great to full potential Leadership, that empowers companies and connects communities. her playfully functional style is underpinned by her reverent & seamless implementation of the ancient spiritual, physical and psychological wisdom of the Tantric & Taoist arts. 
 

Lourdes Maria GomezMulticultural Ambassador

Lourdes Maria Gomez is a policy, research and strategic planning professional. She arrived to Australia from El Salvador at a young age and is passionate about social justice, peacebuilding, mental health and wellbeing, sustainability and human rights. She has completed a Bachelor of International Relations from Griffith University, Graduate Certificate in International Studies and Master of Development Practice from the University of Queensland. Her professional experience includes working at the Australian Red Cross, Queensland Government, Beyond Blue and the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health.

Pushpinder OberoiMulticultural Ambassador

Launched GOPIO Gold Coast inc in 1917 and have been appointed President since 2018. Was awarded “The Outstanding Contribution Award” as an appreciation of the contribution to the gold coast Indian Community As the President of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, Gold Coast Chapter and member of the Australia India Business Council and Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland.

Pushpinder was appointed Honorary Ambassador Community for Indian delegates and As Hon. Indian hockey captain to overseas in promoting of Hockey game in GC 2018 and involved in direct sales of where Team India was participating. Pushpinder is also a member of Chambers of Commerce Gold Coast, AIBC Queensland, and a Rotarian.

Sarah IngramMulticultural Ambassador

Sarah has previously worked with Polynesian Communities, including New Zealand citizens on the Gold Coast for the past 15 years as an event manger deliver arts, cultural and community wellbeing initiatives. Have managed events for all ages that range from Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Prevention for youth, youth outreach, suicide prevention, social and emotional wellbeing, crime prevention to name a few. She is a trained Deadly Thinking and Lovebites programs facilitator. Her local area on the northern Cold Coast, where hold my free community events has the largest population of New Zealand citizens in the entire state of Queensland. She also works closely with Indigenous community members on the Gold Coast.

Nancy WinesMulticultural Ambassador

Nancy has been a teacher and mentor in Nottingham, London, Dubai, Sydney and Northern NSW. With a continued interest in mentoring young people Nancy mentored at a Social Assistance school on the Gold Coast. Nancy currently studies psychology with an interest in Animal assisted therapy with the hope of becoming a psychologist one day soon.

Vera R PottingerMulticultural Ambassador

Vera rejoined the Australian Multicultural Ambassadors Program this year. Vera is very passionate about community engagement and as leader, she always wants to bring people together. She is doing the best in establishing Indonesian Australian community well accepted within the society and commit to build stronger society in supporting multiculturalism Queensland. Vera is also passionate about Mental Health and Wellbeing. Since she works for an NGO focusing in Mental Health matters, Vera has an extensive knowledge on Mental Health networks, Mental Health matters and programs. This is very beneficial in return to promote the the importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing to her community and diverse community in Brisbane.

Zahrah AtchiaMulticultural Ambassador

Zahrah is doctor by profession, with 2.5 + years experience. She recently completed a Master of Public Health at LaTrobe University and Australian Catholic University and passed AMC Part 1 exam and studying for the part 2 so that in the aftermath of these exams, I can practise medicine in Australia. Likes to keep updated to new medical research including those that concerns mental health. Indeed, hery MPH thesis was on mental health of Indigenous Australian Adults.

Reena AugustineMulticultural Ambassador

Miss Reena Augustine, had a dream, a long-held belief to unite people from all walks of life. To remove racial barriers and replace them with a sense of belonging. This dream of Reena’s was as simple as it was beautiful. She wanted to create Australia’s first multicultural fashion show, but not just a little gathering of close friends, she wanted to do it in style and make it memorable—and did she ever achieve it.The winner of the 2018 young community achiever of the year at India Australia community and business awards, Queen’s Baton bearer 2018 CWG and 2016 Brisbane Women in Business Award for Community Dedication she has continued to blaze a trail in her quest for equality. From a shy and reticent public speaker to event MC, to fashion show coordinator, Reena has overcome her fears in spectacular style to do what she loves most and in the process offer hope and inspiration to thousands of people as she does so.One vision, one goal and one dynamic young lady behind it, to unite the multicultural community of Australia.

Mitika BajwaMulticultural Ambassador

A mom to 2 teenage boys and a 4 months old Fur Baby. Migrated to Australia from India in 1998 and lived in Canada and USA as well. Passionate about giving to the community and helping other. Life Coach and Real Estate COnsultant on the side along with working full time in IT. Over 20 years IT experience as Project/ Program Manager, CRM, Data warehousing and BI as solution architect, analyst, technical lead, and team lead. Results focused, highly accomplished and experienced Leader delivering complex technology solutions aligned with business strategy in complex organisations.

Preetham KrishnappaMulticultural Ambassador

Preetham Krishnappa has completed his Master of Information Systems from Central Queensland University and Master of Business in Sports Management from Griffith University. And has been an active member of various community organisations offering my services towards community well-being. At present, he is serving Federation of Indian communities of Queensland as Festivals and Events Manager and in Kannada Sangha Queensland Inc (KSQ) as Vice President. In addition, he was past Secretary and Vice president of KSQ 2015-16 and 2016-2017, respectively.

Bernard ReffautSocial Media/Community Engagement Coordinator

Bernie bring fresh perspectives and out of the box thinking to automotive, caravan and camping businesses as Account Director at a Brisbane-based marketing firm. A bridge builder for people of different cultures as Vice President of the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds Inc.

Passionately, Bernard bring emotional intelligence and allow individuals freedom to laugh, cry, and vent; as an accredited Mental Health First Aider and is committed to actively reducing the stigma surrounding mental health in the community and in the workplace. Major achievement: successfully showcasing my culture to communities in Greater Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast via a quarterly dinner dance and touring a 17 member traditional dance troupe across South East QLD at various public and private events.

Shona Leppanen-GibsonMembership Coordinator

Over many years, Shona has been highly active in the local and international community, and lead and advise numerous business and industry groups, multilateral bodies and community organisations, including as President of the Australia Malaysia Business Council Qld Inc and co-founder of the Nordic Forum of Australia.

In her work, she specialises in training and vocational education, leadership and executive development, as well as international business relations. Across many communities, as well as business and government sectors, she has seen the impact of mental health issues on individuals and families. As a person of multicultural background, a mother of four children and a business person and professional, she hopes to contribute to destigmatising mental health and encourage others to speak more openly about mental health issues.

Pushpa VaghelaLeader

As a leading expert in innovation, creativity & leadership, Pushpa inspires audiences to shift their thinking about how to succeed in today's fast-moving society. She has delivered presentations around the world, to diverse audiences for personal, business, organisational and long-term sustainable growth to increasing the bottom line. Pushpa commends her expertise further afield in understanding human behaviour and is dedicated to developing others. The driving force of her work is the liberation of human potential that too often is ignored.

Krishneel MaharajQueensland Ambassador

Krishneel is a Registered Psychologist with a special interest in Anxiety Disorders, Well-Being and Performance. He has close to a decade of experience in the Mental Health field, working with clients experiencing a range of difficulties across school, government and community settings. 

?He brings an eclectic mix of experiences, including as a former athlete, sports coach and Psychologist. He has a particular interest in working with high-performers, including athletes, teams and businesses. Krishneel is from the Island nation of Fiji (Paradise!), and was the Performance Psychologist for Team Fiji's best athlete's competing in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

??Krishneel works predominantly from a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework, but also incorporates components of Solution Focused Therapy and Mindfulness based interventions. He is currently part of the Queensland Multicultural Ambassadors Program of Mental Health Foundation Australia.

??Krishneel is an avid traveller and counts climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, as one of many highlights. 

Girish MenonMulticultural Ambassador

Girish has been in Townsville for over a decade and during this period he has gained a strong and credible reputation in the market for my honesty, integrity and high level of service.

Being in the real estate industry he has been able to grow my network extensively within the community. As a result, he has a wide network of doctors and nurses both within the General and Private Hospitals who have become good friends of mine. He believes he also do have a good relationship with the community service providers of Mental Health in Townsville.

Reena AugustineQueensland Ambassador

As the winner of the Brisbane Women in Business Award for Community Dedication 2016 and winner of India Australia award for young community achiever 2018, I have continued to blaze a trail in my quest for equality. Coming to Australia from India as a student, she is now an Australian Citizen and has a deep and lasting love for Community. She has gone on to support community events for over 10 years volunteering my time, energy and goodwill along the way and continue to do so in her role as founder of Red Carpet Functions-Multicultural Fashion show since 2015. One vision, one goal and a team to unite the multicultural community of Australia were achieved through the award-winning Multicultural fashion show w 2015.


While doing all this, challenging the stereotypes of beauty and fashion and work positively towards breaking down those stereotypes through celebrating all men and women, no matter what cultural background, shape or size. She says, the ability to share my view and have a voice to bring people together is very challenging, and this challenge is the main driving force, “let’s make it happen” comes to my mind whenever I see the challenge.

Sarah YipSocial Media Coordinator - QLD

Sarah Yip is the Managing Director of the KEASE International Group Of companies,  specialises in providing Leadership development acceleration and support programs and involved across a diverse range of industries and are passionate about teaching others to apply emotional intelligence to boost wellbeing. Mental wellness is a key driver for her.

Sarah is a mother of two young children who both have autism. She was born in Australia, with both my parents originating from HK. A foodie, love to travel and follows the rugby.

Habib JamalQueensland Ambassador

Born in South Africa and graduated as a teacher of Accounting and Business Economics at the end of 1974. Taught for 14 years in South Africa before migrating to New Zealand with his wife and 2 children. Lived in New Zealand for 10 years before moving to the Gold Coast, Australia, purely for climatic reasons.

Worked in the Accounting sector for a few years before purchasing a medical centre which he currently manages, with his wife being one of the doctors working in the practice. Graduated at SCU in 2012 with the Master of Business Administration degree. In terms of community work, Habib is a Qualified Justice of the Peace. I serve as a Trustee of the Gold Coast Mosque Trust.

He is also currently the Treasurer of the Islamic Society of the Gold Coast, a position which I have held for the last 19 years. In February of last year, he was elected as the President of the Islamic Council of Queensland. ICQ is an umbrella body made of 23 organisations from the Gold Coast in the South to Rockhampton in the North and Toowoomba out West representing approximately 55,000 people.

Committed to working in the best interests of those in our community that are less fortunate or are need of assistance in some form or the other. Currently undergoing COVID19 Community leaders Mental Health Training with QPASST. Habib is currently a member of Queensland Multicultural Ambassadors Program.

Prakruthi Mysore GururajDeputy Leader

Prakruthi Mysore Gururaj strongly believes in serving the community to make a difference in people’s life; to bring changes that will encourage people to overcome their challenges. Through her servicing around Queensland, she has earned the respect from people in the community for her contribution to multiculturalism, hence seen as an integral part of the Brisbane community. 

Prakruthi has served at Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland as Vice President in term 2016-2018 and as PRO in term 2014-2016; President of Kannada Sangha Queensland Inc., 2017-2018, Executive Committee Member of Damini Woman’s Association, part of Fiji Senior Citizens Association and support other multicultural community.

To expand on her community involvement, she currently serve as the Multicultural Ambassador for Red Carpet Functions; and is considered as one of the Community leaders in Queensland who works alongside many multicultural communities. She is currently the Membership Coordinator of the Queensland Multicultural Ambassadors Program, MHFA.

Narasimhan RaviDeputy Leader

Narasimhan Ravi is a highly self-motivated, focused and hardworking individual, passionate about health, fitness and sports – currently pursuing a double bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Business (Sports Management) at Griffith University - Gold Coast, Australia. As Career choice stems from one’s deep-rooted interests, he is exploring sport from the angle of science and management at Griffith University with the prestigious Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Academic Scholarship (100%) (only International student awarded).

Sport has always been part of Ravi’s life since the age of 5. He has won over 83 trophies and 45 medals (and counting) in a wide range of sports including Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Basketball, Cricket, Chess, Cross Country, Football, Squash, Swimming and Table tennis to name a few. He honed his public speaking and leadership skills by serving as the President of two gavel clubs under Toastmasters International and held multiple leadership positions within Griffith University’s student representative committees. 

In January 2019, he was fortunate to go on an official visit to high schools in India as the International Student Ambassador sponsored by Study Queensland and Trade & Investment Queensland to strengthen International relations and promote tertiary education in Queensland. He is extremely grateful to be part of the Multicultural Ambassadors program and his area of interest lies in elite athlete mental health.

Dr Sudipto RoyVice-Chairperson - QLD

Dr. Sudipto Roy is a successful researcher, academic and trans-disciplinary consultant working across Australia and Asia. Evidence-based decision-making principle and agile approach inform his holistic vision for a resilient future that is achieved by improving the outcomes of ‘coupled human-natural systems’, including green and social infrastructure.

Dr. Sudipto Roy is well connected and active across multiple network platforms that enables him to regularly reach large number of people from diverse social, cultural, economic and professional background and deliver a positive impact by improving mental health, wellbeing and quality of life through practice of mental stillness and resilience. He is currently the Vice-Chairperson of Queensland Multicultural Ambassadors Program.

Dr Ram MohanMulticultural Ambassador

Dr Ram Mohan is among those Indians in Australia who have not only excelled in diverse fields but even made their mark in serving those in need. A marine scientist and an academic, now a businessman living in Australia, Dr Ram Mohan, who was born in India, has been living in Australia since 1998.  

Dr Ram Mohan has been in leadership roles all through his adult life, besides volunteering and serving the Indian and multicultural community. He has been instrumental in inspiring many youngsters to excel in fields such as education, sports and community work. In his illustrious career he has served as the president of the Indian Cultural Society in Darwin. He has been the vice president of the Tamil Association of Queensland, and has also served as the president and vice president roles of the Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland (FICQ). Currently, he is serving as the adviser to FICQ.

As the president of FICQ, he worked hard to strengthen FICQ member organisations and wants to foster multiculturalism in Australia. He is also running the community newspaper for the Indian community, India News and Indian News Queensland, successfully with a view to bringing together the Indians living in Australia.  He is currently the Chair of Queensland Multicultural Ambassadors Program, MHFA.

+ SA

Steve NovakMulticultural Ambassador

Maria BatnagMulticultural Ambassador

Tamar HowardMulticultural Ambassador

Rakesh GuptaMulticultural Ambassador

Arshdeep Singh IsharMulticultural Ambassador

Rajinder SinghMulticultural Ambassador

Subramanian KannanSocial Media Coordinator

Dharuv KumarDeputy Leader

Estela FuentesMulticultural Ambassador

I have worked in the human services field for a number of years, my strength is in community development and community education. I have experience as a broadcaster in community radio. I have worked as a trainer at TAFESA as well as with Northern Volunteering and more recently with Carers SA in the wellbeing team as a team leader.

Satya Srija AllamDeputy Leader

I am currently a student doing MBA in International Trade and Development with coursework in Marketing, Accounting, finance, Trade and Etc. I am currently working on a project as a business consultant for a client based in Adelaide and have also worked as a software tester for few years before.

Kalyan PantMulticultural Ambassador

Kalyan Ballav Pant Job role: Health care worker Experience: 5 years Qualifications: certificate III in aged care Certificate IV in Ageing Support Diploma in Nursing Job role : 6 years in kitchen support Skills: typing, event management, translation, computer knowledge, Ms office, Language: Hindi, Nepalese, English Sports : soccer, basketball, cricket, swimming. Snooker etc.

Kush ShresthaMulticultural Ambassador

Qualified Orthopaedic Surgeon General Secretary: ANMDA Founding Chairman: AussieMed foundation Very active in Nepalese Community health issues in Australia and New Zealand. Been advisor to NT Clinical Senate advising on health policies Professional Achievement: Director of training, Vice President of Royal College of Surgeons NT branch. Member of Australian Orthopaedic Association committee: Asia Pacific Committee NT clinical Senator: 2015-2019 Head of Unit, Department of Orthopaedics RDH: 2015-2017 Current Deputy Director.

Aida GarciaMembership Coordinator

Retired lawyer (Philippines and Australia) and Registered Migration Agent. Been community leader since arriving Australia in 1978. Founding Chair of the Filipino Settlement Coordinating Council of SA; Founding Chair of Filipina Network of SA; President of national Filipino peak body, Filipino Communities Council of Australia; and Adviser to Sto Nino de Filipinas, a charitable organisation supporting 8 orphanages in the Philippines.

Patricia WhitelawLeader

I was born in Mexico, I migrated to Australia in September 2008, I have lived in Adelaide all this time. In Mexico I was working in outdoor advertising, but in Adelaide started working with people with disabilities in the community. I then progressed to study a Diploma in Enrolled Nursing and worked in a rehabilitation centre, particularly with people with acquired brain injuries. In 2020 I completed a Master Degree in Occupational Therapy and I secured a job in the Mental Health graduate program.

Tatiana MarteloSocial Media Coordinator

My name is Tatiana Martelo and I am originally from Bogota, Colombia. I’m currently working for the South Australian Government as a Community Engagement Officer at the Department for Infrastructure and Transport. Additionally, my passion for community work has been further developed due to my involvement with the Hispanic Women’s Association of South Australia, Colombian Community Adelaide and my volunteering role at the Australia Red Cross.

Christopher LuongMulticultural Ambassador

Christopher Luong is a young and energetic entrepreneur, operating a multi-faceted business consultancy in Adelaide, SA. Growing up in a CALD environment, Chris had to endure many hurdles (societal, familial and cultural) in order to achieve the success he has had to date. From working with multicultural youth in community programs, to volunteering with local CALD communities to enhance skillsets in business, Chris has made sure to leave a lasting impact wherever he goes.

Khin SoeMulticultural Ambassador

Caroline Soe is a dedicated high school senior student passionate about mental health and the wellbeing of multicultural communities. She previously resided in Myanmar before migrating to Malaysia as a student and eventually arriving in Australia for further studies. She has volunteered in Matthew Flinders home and had a substantial experience with Headspace, a non-profit organisation for the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Zulfiya AbdullaMulticultural Ambassador

Zulfiya Abdulla is a social worker and mother to five children. She works with the Uyghur community and a principle of an Uyghur Language School. She is a social person who loves working with people of all ages. Zulfiya speaks 6 languages including English, Uyghur, Uzbek, Tatar, Kazak and Turkish. Zulfiya hobbies are spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading and going for walks.

Ommar SintMulticultural Ambassador

I am an international post graduate medical doctor specializing in Family Medicine, and I have had several years of experience in general health and the mental health field and provided help to many patients with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and counselling as required in my GP clinic. I am keen to share best of my knowledge to our community as well as various multicultural communities.

+ WA

Amit MehtaMulticultural Ambassador

Amit Mehta is a Quality Assurance Professional, working with the community more than 25 years. He teaches language and culture to younger generation. His articles and talks are published on SBS.

He served as the President and Trustee of Gujaati Samaj of Western Australia. He is also working with Mast Cultural and Language Association. 

Miley NguyenMulticultural Ambassador

Miley is a community ambassador for mental health, NDIS and AOD support to deliver useful information and provide help to someone in need in her community. By sharing the helpful resources, she assists the residents in getting mental health care plan to improve their health and wellbeing, cope with challenges and build resilience. She is also working on Community Capacity Building to empower a strong community and improve personal well-being of community members through meaningful activities to create a sense of belonging for all members especially in the event of COVID-19 and social isolation. She created activities to show that society care for children, people love each other and no one left behind.

Shashini Pramodya Multicultural Ambassador

Sarah BassMulticultural Ambassador

Mary GurgoneMulticultural Ambassador

Mary Gurgone was the Director of the WA Partners In Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC-2016-2020) and founded the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services. She was appointed to the NAATI Board in 2014, contributing to NAATI's expansion and global recognition in interpreting and translating certification, particularly relating to quality, application of technology and Aboriginal languages. She is the Director of the Centre for Capability and Culture with extensive executive experience in Government, private sector and community organisations. She is a founding member, Fellow and former National President of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators. 

Simone NindMulticultural Ambassador

During her social work studies and employment, Simone gained extensive experience and skills that has assisted her to work with people of all ages in therapeutic and high risk settings. As a social worker, she strives to empower an individual’s development to reach their full potential and have their best interests advocated for. She conducts this through a person centred and a strength based approach which ultimately supports recovery. She has also been fortunate enough to experience this work within both metropolitan regional contexts and voluntarily overseas in developing countries.

Tara LordMulticultural Ambassador

Mary ChengMulticultural Ambassador

Mary enjoys writing and she is curious about the societal issues that we live in today. Discrimination and mental health are two big topics that she is interested in and in which she wants to make a difference. She is part of the "Wellbeingness" committee at her workplace. She strives to make a difference in this world.

Subrata SahaMembership Coordinator

Subrata is a Chartered Engineer, moved to Australia 8 years ago. He is a founder and past president of Probashi Bengali WA Inc and in the management committee of Gurukul WA Inc which has been instrumental to promote multiculturism through showcasing performing arts in different events. His passions include social activities, helping people in their difficult time, mentioning and to create opportunities for the whole community to come together as a means of enhancing community connection, strengthening social connection, and encouraging community.

Kylie PearsallMulticultural Ambassador

Kylie is a FIFO physiotherapist and wellbeing coordinator offshore, using her various qualifications in sports medicine, rehabilitation, injury prevention and management, fitness, yoga and mindfulness to holistically support the workforce on site. Her interest in human performance and leadership has seen her return to further study, currently adding a post graduate in psychology to her list of credentials. She is especially interested in the intersection of mindfulness and mental health and how we can harness ancient wisdom for modern lives.

Mary KanyingiMulticultural Ambassador

As a mental health nurse, Mary has experienced first hand people from culturally diverse backgrounds struggling with mental health. From lack of awareness of available services and organizations to falling through the cracks of the health system as other priorities take precedence as people try to set up their life.

Morgan DalyMulticultural Ambassador

Morgan is a 35 year old American Girl, have been acting and singing since the age of five and currently work within the health and fitness industry. She loves being the one to brighten people's days and would love to bring this cheer to the Ambassadors Program.

Dr Layla AlMulticultural Ambassador

She is a passionate women, understands the complexity of living in new environment and call it Home. Her background in academia and research helped her in analysing this problem into its elements, and identify some of the root causes hence the possible solutions. Recently, she managed a project of a program using a grant awarded from Lotterywest for refugee women about mental health. The outcomes were amazing. When it come to mental health, she believes addressing the problem is a big part of the solution.

Vidhu SharmaMulticultural Ambassador

Vidhu Sharma is a Lecturer in the field of Mental Health, Age Care and Community Services. She is engaged with the CALD Community working on social causes like Mental Health, Health and Wellbeing, Domestic Violence, promoting Ayurveda, the cultural heritage of India to the wider community in Australia. She is well qualified in the field of Ageing Support, Community Services, and Mental Health, and is well known in the Community for her philanthropic work.

Loretta HoMulticultural Ambassador

Loretta Ho is a migrant from Hong Kong who came to Australia on scholarship. She graduated from UWA.  She values many things (e.g. freedom of speech and clean air) Australia offers me. She speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and French.

Kasma Elvi GodfreyMulticultural Ambassador

Kasma used to be a sales of technology industries (AP GREEN REFRACTORY - American products) while she was in my country (Indonesia). Moved here in 2002 to Australia, Kasma was working as a purchasing officer at Roche Mining company who dealt with Rio Tinto Projects, etc. Now she is working for Real Estate as a sales representative in Perth WA.

Luul IbrahimMulticultural Ambassador

As a community activist,community leader and cald background, she stands up for mental health awareness, to break the stigma through survival, hope and resilient, as it can create a powerful force that can inspire others.

Isabella AmbroseMulticultural Ambassador

Isabella Ambrose is an experienced Project Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organisation management industry. Skilled in Health Promotion, Research, Data Collection, and Public Health. Strong community and social services professional with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours focused in Rural Sri Lankan respiratory Health from University of Melbourne.

Irene MutuneMulticultural Ambassador

Irene is a fun loving, well educated Kenyan lady with a Social Work background, willing to tackle and take issues surrounding Mental health in CALD communities to another level. Mental health issues especially withing CALD communities largely go undetected and eventually untreated, leading to premature deaths attributed to drug or alcohol abuse. Improper reporting structures and support systems exacerbate these issues, making it a key issue that needs to be addressed.

Norma FalconerMulticultural Ambassador

Norma Falconer has career of over 30 years in the Financial Services Industry. Norma is passionate about converting complexity into simplicity and uncertainty into empowerment. With experience in advising on regulated investments, business insurance, personal insurance, estate and retirement planning; her focus is on helping clients achieve their investment and retirement goals within their estate planning and business succession liquidity strategy, leaving them with more time to enjoy life. Norma founded and operated her own successful financial planning business for several years, worked in portfolio management, and built and lead teams at established banks and financial planning practices in South Africa. She has been a spokesperson for investment planning and wealth management, has been a guest on CNBC Africa television, a radio presenter covering daily economic news and done many client presentations in her career.

Hanin AbboudMulticultural Ambassador

Hanin Abboud has an Arab background, originally from Iraq but grew up in Lebanon and started calling Australia home in 2005. With an Architecture and Project Management background, Hanin has always aspired to make an impact on the Construction industry through my work. I am also on the WA Chapter of NAWIC – National Association of Women in Construction. The non for profit organisation is focused on minorities in the Construction industry. My passion lies in advocating for women and minorities of different backgrounds.

Bindiya ManchandaMulticultural Ambassador

A sincere, enthusiastic and pleasant person with a positive and balanced outlook towards life. Have strong communication skills in verbal and written forms and successfully interact with people of various ages, backgrounds and cultures. With the knowledge and command over three languages - English, Hindi and Punjabi and a natural flair for public interaction Bindiya is a confident public speaker. 

Razia OsmaniSocial Media/Community Engagement Coordinator

Razia Osmani, born in Afghanistan has a double major in Journalism and Politics & International Relations. She is currently doing my Master’s in International Relations and National Security. She has been a carer of a loved who suffers from mental health issues for the last 7 years, she has advocated for them and understands how the system works and what needs to be done in order to improve it and provide better outcomes for vulnerable people.

Ramkrishna BansalDeputy Leader

As a past member of Minister for Multicultural Interests' Multicultural Advisory Group (WA) and past President of Indian Society of WA, Bansal feels it has given him perspective working with various cultural / ethnic groups. He rejoined the Australian Multicultural Ambassadors Program this year.

Evia AringoJunior Leader

Councillor Nige JonesMulticultural Ambassador

Cr Jones was a Multicultural Ambassador with the Foundation last year and was proactive organising and promoting the fun walk. As a local Councillor he interacts with key stakeholders in the community on daily basis. In 2008, he was an Australian of the Year Finalist for the good work done in his community. He had worked in over a hundred schools, sports clubs and prisons delivering a healthy living message. The last 5 years he is been working as a Councillor with the City of Joondalup serving the community.

Rashmi WatelLeader

Rashmi immigrated to Australia, eight years ago. She has a technical background, an Electronics & Telecommunications Engineer, a Project manager (PMI) and have an MBA from Curtin Graduate School of Business. After having worked in the corporate, government, not-for-profit and Energy sector for close to two decades. She has become a entrepreneur. 

Her passions are public speaking, helping others speak confidently in public, Meditation, Yoga, Empowering women from Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD). She has been a mentor with the Ishar-A multicultural women health organisation.

Having faced postnatal depression and mental health issues myself she has chosen to volunteer Mental Health Foundation Australia. She volunteered in my daughters school P & C committee. 

Ron DengAmbassador

I am a carer consultant in Perth, WA. Passionate advocate for improving services in mental health/AOD in hospitals and community. Promoting a co-design model of lived experience equitable engagement and funding. Participated in numerous international conferences, workshops, forums and advisory committees. Facilitate support groups and conduct mental health literacy and wellness courses. A board member (NGO), Children’s Home in Kenya and volunteer in local church community support programs. Originally migrated from Singapore, has three adult children and two granddaughters. Take leisure in art, painting, mindfulness activities and bush walking.

Cr Sara Saberi - WAAmbassador

I am Originally from Iran and was elected as a councillor for  the City of Canning in 2017. With a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, my passions are environmental matters, sustainability and health & well-being. Outside of my role as a councillor, I work as an Environmental Health officer and enjoy helping  people in both my roles!
I have had the privilege of and enjoyed working and volunteering with various not for profits such as humanitarian groups as well as local natural resource management groups.

Brianna LeakeMulticultural Ambassador

I am a motivated and driven young Australian professional with a passion for all things mental health. I currently work as a Senior Project Administrator working on the Karratha Life Expansion for Woodside with Worley. Whilst working for Worley I have completed Mental Health First Aid training becoming a Mental Health Champion 2 years ago. I am part of the Worley Life Mental Health Network and the WA Mental Health Focal Point. I have a passion for fitness, running a small fitness business instructing group fitness classes. I completed my Certificate III in Fitness in 2020 and am currently studying my Certificate IV in Fitness online. I am a Bookings Manager and Dance Instructor for a small Perth dance business and I coach multi-sport programs for children aged 2-6. In 2018 I completed my Certificate IV in Youth Work and attended a junior youth camp through the Salvation Army as a Youth Leader. In 2019 I travelled to New York, USA and combined my passion for Fitness and Youth Work working as a Fitness Instructor at a summer camp. I joined the Multicultural Ambassadors program because I want to expand my knowledge and skills in the youth and mental health sectors and am very excited to be a part of the MAC and YAP committee.

+ TAS

Esra GunyelLeader

Nicole PerezDeputy Leader

I am Nicole and I want to advocate mental health awareness. To encourage the community to come forward and break the stigma. To remove fear for the vulnerable people who needs professional help. As a pharmacy assistant / technician, this is something that I would love to give importance in the pharmacy aspect. MENTAL HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL TO OVERALL WELL-BEING.

Alderman Brendan BlomeleyMembership Coordinator

CEO, Tasmanian Racing Club (September 2019 - present).

Alderman, Clarence City Council (October 2018 - present).

Adviser to the Commonwealth Assistant Treasurer (Jan 2019 - July 2019).

Chief of Staff, Office of the Chief Government Whip in the Senate (Jan 2016 - Jan 2019).

Strategic Partner, FONT PR (April 2015 - Dec 2015).

General Manager Government Affairs, Asciano Ltd (Oct 2012 - March 2015).

Executive Director, EPSA (Jan 2011 - Oct 2012).

Group Manager Corporate Affairs, Federal Group (Oct 2000 - Dec 2010).

Alderman, Clarence City Council (Oct 2000 - 2008).

Adviser, Commonwealth Government (Feb 1998 - Oct 2000).

+ NSW

Rea SinghMulticultural Ambassador

My name is Rea Singh and I am a 25 year old, Fijian-Indian woman. I travelled to Australia with my family when I was 2 years old and have grown up with a supportive network. I am currently working as a Consultant for a multicultural communications, engagement and research Agency that seeks to connect and strengthen CALD communities. Having worked in this sector for 3 years, and apart of the CALD community, I recognise the lack of awareness and acceptance of mental health. The topic remains a taboo and I believe, along with so many others, that we are at an important point of starting conversations, no matter how difficult and uncomfortable they may be. Everyone's mental health is important and everyone should be speaking about it.

Maria PereraMulticultural Ambassador

Claire Gil-MunozMulticultural Ambassador

Councillor Gus BallootMulticultural Ambassador

Claire Gil-MunozMulticultural Ambassador

Gurprit GandaMulticultural Ambassador

Hayfa BakourDeputy Leader

Swarnali SikderMulticultural Ambassador

I am an Indian by origin but a human by heart . I believe in Diversity . I am a recruiter working for the NSW Chamber of Business and i am a featured model and stylist , having my own social media site with more than 20 k followers . I am involved with UNICEF and do a lot of charities especially in this trying times . I Run my startup in Sydney with my business partner as well . I am a positive happy and positive person and I believe in treating people with respect and expects the same.

Sonia Sadiq GandhiMulticultural Ambassador

Sonia Sadiq Gandhi is a serial entrepreneur and champion of diversity and inclusion.

She is the founder and CEO of multi award-winning marketing and event management company Gandhi Creations Pty Ltd, and has over a decade of experience in strategic marketing, public relations and end-to-end event management. Her work directly promotes a more diverse Australia by engaging with multicultural communities. Sonia was appointed to the board of the Multicultural NSW, (2017) the peak government agency whose purpose is to build and maintain a cohesive and harmonious multicultural society that enriches the lives of all the people of NSW.

Sonia was appointed an Australia Day Ambassador in 2018 (Ryde Council) I 2019 (Glen Innes Severn Council) I 2020 (Campbelltown Council) and in 2021 (Warrumbungle Shire Council – Coonabarabran).

Wenise KimMulticultural Ambassador

Wenise Kim is a proud Korean Australian, whose professional background lies in the field of human rights and international development. She has served in the domain of foreign services in countries such as Sri Lanka and Sudan previously. Having been personally affected by trauma and weak mental health due to working with vulnerable groups, as well as being a family carer, she believes there is no better time than now to make meaningful contributions back in home-soil in the domain of mental health advocacy and early prevention, including crisis counselling. She lives in Sydney.

Ana GarciaMulticultural Ambassador

Sai ParavastuCommunity Engagement and Membership Coordinator

Joy Rahab SinclairLeader

Joy is a 42 year old Kenyan born woman with 3 children. She came to Australia as a student in 2005. She holds two degrees in Law obtained in India, an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality and Event Management from TAFE, a Cert IV in Human Resources, as well as a Diploma in Community Services and currently studying a Diploma in Mental Health. Joy has worked in aged care, palliative care, and disability over the past 15 years.

Joy is a member of The African Women's Group Sydney, the Multicultural Women's Mental Health Panel, the Board of Central Coast ARAFMI, the Central Coast Council Disability Inclusion Access Reference Group, and a committee member of "Happiness habits" as a CALD and Mental Health representative. She also volunteers with the Red Cross and the Central Coast Environmental Council.

Joy brings with her a passion for recognition of Human Rights, equality and inclusion. This passion stems from her 8 years lived experience of mental health issues, and her experiences within service provision. Joy is driven to employ her skills and knowledge to advocate for her community to combat stigma and educate service providers and the public.

Emma WilsonMulticultural Ambassador

Hello I'm Emma, I see myself as being fun and bubbly on my best days but also being moody and quiet on my low days. I understand mental health is something we all struggle with but through my own lived experience and professional qualifications as a Counsellor, I believe I can use my voice to change how individuals feel about asking for help and to normalise mental health.

Rajan WaliaMulticultural Ambassador

I have gone through mental health issues myself very intensely. Still struggling and trying to get better every single day. I deeply understand how it feels and what kind of need people need to improve their mental health. I am also a certified yoga teacher and a meditator, which can also be a big help in order to help people suffering from mental health and most importantly I am 100% dedicated to give that help to others which I couldn’t ever get myself.

Josephine AlamaMulticultural Ambassador

I am a survivor and experienced mental health issues at a young age to mid adult years and recovering through counselling & my faith in Jesus Christ. I have a lot of experience dealing with family members & friends that have mental health issues diagnosed with PTSD, DID, Borderline Personality, Depression etc which stems from sexual abuse, domestic violence, suicide, abandonment etc and continue to support and help them through their healing journey.

Usufono FilipoMulticultural Ambassador

Usufono Filipo is a content Senior Capability Development Support for Sydney Trains Customer Operations team in Burwood NSW. Usufono develops staff capability through training, coaching, mentoring, assessment and learning skills at an optimum level. These people are empowered and encouraged by Usufono to serve the greater NSW community on the frontline. As local resident to the Campbelltown Area Usufono proactively attends events and supports the community. Usufono strongly believes everyone is important with a purpose and deserves a future. She is passionate about people growing, overcoming obstacles and being part of the journey in any platform of support and guidance. She aims to to simply leave a lasting impression on kindness and care for all people. Usufono enjoys working with people and advocates trust amongst any team she joins. On a day off Usufono is exploring different routes and tracks in NSW to explore with her family to encourage exercise, health and relationships. Her strengths are empathy, emotional intelligence and honesty.

Indranil HalderSocial Media Coordinator

Indranil Halder is a Corporate Consultant, global heritage tourist and former Ambassador of Fabrics of Multicultural Australia. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his multicultural family and travels between India and USA for his transnational family. He has degree in BioMedical Science and MBA. He loves to keep fit and healthy. He is a social influencer who celebrates the India and Australia bilateral relationship with his updates to bring the two nation closer together. He has written his international student memoir: Warrior in The Sanctuary to promote high quality Australian education. He also founded the Halder Chowdhury Prize to award the merited archaeology, finance and medical students at the prestigious Macquarie University.

Ashish KumarDeputy Leader

I am a Pharmaceutical professional and an Entrepreneur. I have been involved in various community programs run by SES, Red Cross, Marine Rescue. I also organise my own events to support community. Serving community is what we have learnt in our family since I was a child. It gives me peace and pleasure to give something back to community.

Irfan YusufMulticultural Ambassador

Irfan is a lawyer and award-winning author. He has worked as a lawyer in 5 different states in private, government, legal aid and community legal practices. Apart from a book, Irfan has been published on a range of subjects (politics, books, culture, the law and religion) in various publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Crikey, The Drum and 10Daily. He has also been interviewed on RN Breakfast, The Project and Triple J's The Hack.

Narasimhan ViswanathanSocial Media Coordinator

Vish Viswanathan – Brief Profile

Community Engagement: Well known in the Australian Indian community in NSW, Vish Viswanathan is a Director of Syd West Multicultural Services, Blacktown Sydney an organisation established to support refugees and multicultural migrant communities. Vish has served in executive roles in many community organisations over 25 years such as President of United Indian Associations (UIA), President of Federation of Australian Indian Associations (FAIA) and Secretary of SRI OM Foundation for Indian Seniors, Founding Director of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Sydney Tamil Manram, Hindu Council of Australia etc. Vish was a member of the Indian Consulate Committee for Student Affairs and the NSW Premier’s Community Consultative Committee and actively worked with various State and Federal Government agencies in identifying resolutions to complex student issues. Vish is also involved in many community charity initiatives and has organised the NDTV Greenathon event in Sydney for supporting rural villages in India. Vish was a key note speaker on Racism by Diversity Council of Australia. Vish won the “Multicultural Champion Award” – NSW Government Department of Planning & Environment in 2017.

Journalistic experience: Vish Viswanathan has journalistic experience over 12 years in Australia writing community columns and articles in popular Indian community journals in Sydney such as Indian Down Under, India Post and currently a senior writer and Editor for Indian Telegraph, Sydney.

Vish Viswanathan is a Winner of Premier's Multicultural Media Award 2015 & Finalist in “Journalist of the Year” Award 2016 – Multicultural & Indigenous Media Awards Vish

Viswanathan as the first Indian journalist participated in the Australian journalist mission to Israel and Palestine during November 2016.

Professional: An electronic engineer by profession Vish has 48 years of experience (17 years with leading Indian business groups such as the TATAs and KELTRON, Government of Kerala and over 30 years with NSW Government as senior procurement specialist roles managing high value and sensitive procurements in many industry categories and contract management.

Vish Viswanathan (Vish) is a long-standing member of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and serving as a Management committee member of AIBC NSW . Vish is passionate and committed to promote the Australia India Business and Trade and participated in many AIBC initiatives. Currently Vish is the national Chair of the Make in India Chapter for AIBC.

As Country Manager of International Business Division of the Department of Public Works & Services, NSW Government Vish was involved in transfer of Water & Waste Water treatment technology to Government of Karnataka in Bangalore India.

Feda MoussaMulticultural Ambassador

Feda is a Careers Adviser & high school teacher with over 14 years of teaching experience. She strives to connect with people from all backgrounds and cultures. Feda love challenges and always raises her hand for a new one. She also runs Mindful workshops within Sydney, where she helps parents from diverse backgrounds to strengthen their relationship with their children. She wants to help make a positive impact in different communities and will always find a way to connect with others.

Hira Aftab RaoMulticultural Ambassador

I am a Registered social worker with experience in disability, mental health and hospitals. I am passionate to work with people from CALD community to educate and empower them by building resilience through education and networking. I believe in empowering self and others. In this difficult times when isolation and social connections have affected, it's a time to reachout and help each other in day to day life. Physical and psychosocial safety is paramount to functional health. Only way to achieve is through promoting mental health to achieve healthy minds and body.

Penny AntonopoulosMulticultural Ambassador

Penny has over 20 years’ experience working in the health and community sector with vulnerable and marginalised communities, whilst managing diverse teams and services. Her experience includes capacity building, developing innovative service models, community development, and research. Penny also works in private practice as Director and therapist. Social justice principles underpin all her endeavours.

Cr Isabel Strutt - NSW Ambassador

I am a retiree.  My working life has been as a private secretary/bookeeper in private businesses; small business owner/operator with my husband; my husband and I served as Salvation Army Corps Officers for over 9 years and retired in June 2000 when my husband reached mandatory retirement age. It was as Corps Officers that we came to Uralla in 1995.  
I am a Councillor of the Uralla Shire Council since 2004.  I have always been involved in community organisations, and in retirement am a member of Red Cross Uralla Branch, Secretary of the Uralla Lions Club, and significantly involved in my church, the Anglican Church in Uralla.  My leaning is always towards community support and welfare.  
My childhood was spent on grazing properties in Queensland so I have a heart for the country.
My parents and wider family advocated love, acceptance, loyal friendships, honesty, hard work and the willingness to help others.

+ NT

Rosetta SmithLeader

I am a local Indigenous women with family ties to the (Larrikia, Wadjigan, Numbrididi) clan groups in the NT. I have completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Science Degree in Darwin and have worked in various departments, services, and organisation in roles as a Counsellor, Case-manager, Facilitator and Advocacy. In my roles I have engaged with indigenous people from different age groups, genders and communities in the NT and Interstate. I specialise in Indigenous Mental Health and have advance knowledge of Indigenous Culture and Indigenous Affairs. And have strongly advocate for better health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

Paul MachukiMulticultural Ambassador

Ma Cristina MagbojosMulticultural Ambassador

Mathews DavidMulticultural Ambassador

Mathews David MSW, DipCBCYP, GCert Aus Migration Law & Practice

Mathews brings 14 years of professional experience in working in mental health sector and worked with International organisations such as International Trade Union Confederation; the world's largest trade union federation. He also held senior positions in Therapeutic services under Department of Territory Families and Department of Health, Northern Territory Government of Australia.

Job Profile

• Team Leader of Social & Emotional Wellbeing Team, Danila Dilba Health Service – current job

• Former Child and Youth Therapist at Department of children & families,

• Former Acting senior clinician at NT Government - Department of Health

• Former Case Manager at Council for Aboriginal Alcohol Program Services Inc. (CAAPS)

• Former Project Coordinator at International Trade Union Confederation

• Former Visiting Lecturer for Counselling studies at St. Theresa's College, India

• Former Lecturer at MMNSS College

• Former Mental Health Social Worker & Project lead at shalom Care N Cure

• Former Mental Health Social Worker at Chaitanya Institute for Mental Health, Pune

 

Education

• Master of social Work, Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India

• Diploma in challenging behaviour in child and young people

• Cert-4 – Alcohol & other Drugs; Cert 3 – community Services

• Certificate Course in Aboriginal Cultural Education, TAFE

• Foundation course in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence

• GCert Migration Law at Griffith Law School

 

Professional Memberships

• Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, AASW -Membership No- 436822

• Associate member; Indigenous Allied Australia

• Silver Member of IANLPC (International Association of NLP & Coaching)

• Silver Member of IAHT (International Alliance of Holistic Therapists)

Edwin Lourdes JosephMulticultural Ambassador

I am the President of the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory and I have been an ambassador in 2019. Edwin is passionate about serving the community and being active in public life. He has got multidisciplinary education, including a doctoral degree. His experience is multifaceted, working for private and public sectors, including roles in education, HR, project management, community engagement, research, policy, etc. Having migrated to Australia as an adult, Edwin understands the problems faced by CALD people in Australia. He is also active in the migrant/refugee space, volunteering with Red Cross, Melaleucca Refugee Centre and DASSAN (Darwin Asylum Seeker and Advocacy Network). Throughout his life, Edwin has been volunteering for community groups, not-for-profit organisations and professional associations, often with leadership positions. He is the President of Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory, Deputy Chair of Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia and a board member of DASSAN (as Treasurer and Social Media Admin). He also serves on the NT division boards of Institution of Public Administration Australia, Australian Computer Society and Australia Day Council (as the Deputy Chair). He is the independent member for the Finance, Risk and Governance Committee of Carpentaria Disability Services.

+ ACT

Santosh MallaMulticultural Ambassador

My name is Santosh Malla. I am originally from Nepal. I have been living in Australia since 2009 and I came to Australia in a Student Visa. I have been working in a various job in Australia but my passion job is as a Chef and community work. I have been involved in different communication work specially my own Nepali community. I also work in Aged Care. I Enjoy my job, helping dementia residents.

Yoshoda PattemCommunity Engagement Coordinator

I am a mum of two kids and an entrepreneur and actively engaged in charity works in and outside Australia. Currently I own and run a restaurant in Canberra. Along with that I closely work with few charity and research organisations like Jeans for Genes, Starlight children’s Foundation etc and one of which is very close to my heart that is Helpchild foundation. We are group of three who sponsor and adopt kids in Phillipines and look after their daily needs.

Ania SvoradDeputy Leader

I have moved to Australia on the year 2002 from Poland. I am happily settled in canberra from past 12 years. Raising two beautiful children. I am coordinating and helping my husband small business. I am active in my Polish community. I would like to read books when I get free time.

I am activeon facebook with various groups which helps yo understand the current requirements.i am member of polish and slovakian groups. As i am mother two beautiful angels hence i am active on kids groups as well. Social network is quite large and reaches much faster in the current situation.

I have been community of polish , slovakian and moms group for better of my kids. Understanding the regular updates from social media based on the community space. Being mom i have to consciously check the community and understanding for the betterment for the children which is very and most important.

Sridivya NaiduMulticultural Ambassador

I am Sridivya worked in Dubai and moved to Australia in 2013. I worked in education industry as an Academic coordinator in Sydney. I have liaise with students from different nationality and various background to ensure smooth transition with the academic operation. I enjoying cooking, baking and travel country side.

Saimaharaj Chowdari KollaMulticultural Ambassador

Sahithi PaturiMulticultural Ambassador

I migrated to Australia as a skilled migrant and have been living in Canberra. I am currently in the women's Coordinator role in Federation of Indian Associations Canberra and a member of Navya Andhra Telugu Association. As a migrant from Andhra Pradesh - India , I believe I have reasonable understanding of cultural barriers that are stopping our community reporting health issues or seeking help. I can assist Government to reach out the community and advising the programs in place to educate, report and address the mental health issues.

Tanya SharmaMulticultural Ambassador

My name is Tanya Sharma. I am currently perusing psychology hons at Australian National University. I am also a Mum to a 4yrs old. I have been living in Australia from past 11 yrs out of which my first 7yrs were spent in Perth where I worked at a pathology lab for 6yrs. I worked there as team lead in the results dept. After moving to Canberra in 2018 Feb I have worked with few different organisations which include Diabetes Australia and NSW Teachers Federation.

Chittibabu DiviDeputy Leader

Justine MullerMembership Coordinator

Born in France, my background is in social policy and international development. I worked in various countries and teams including India, Algeria, Germany, Norway, and USA where I supported women empowerment and child labour eradication and respect of human rights. Until recently I worked in responsible finance where I assessed the sustainability performance of publicly listed companies. I now work with the Australia Red Cross as part of the humanitarian settlement program. Strategic thinker, my skills and experience include leading teams, monitoring and evaluating program implementation, training and supporting professional development.

Cara NgSocial Media Coordinator

I am an enthusiastic psychology undergraduate at ANU with a positive attitude. Seeking to harness my passion for mental health and deep love for creating a safe space for others to spread the message of compassion and the importance of meaningful connections. Having studied psychology, it has also taught me how critical compassion and active listening is when attempting to offer assistance. It is the corner stone to building rapport, creating a connection that has the potential to empower. I also studied development studies for two years in my academic career, which revealed to me the complexities and intersectionality within social issues. It has shown me that social justice requires persistence, constant reevaluation and the willingness to be flexible on the methods of execution when attempting to implement a new plan.

Ramakrishna KavuriMulticultural Ambassador

Varshini ViswanathCommunity Engagement Coordinator

Jane chimungeni-brassingtonMulticultural Ambassador

My professional background is in marine ecology and international law and I currently work as a senior policy officer with the federal government. I am passionate about community development and belong to several community groups locally and I also volunteer for a global service organisation where I have served as a president. My work in these positions as my way of giving back to society and also opens avenues for me to better understand the issues that need to be addressed in the various communities. I play the role of a parent for many young people from the CALD community.

Soelily consen-lynchMulticultural Ambassador

I'm a 43 yr old believer of equality of the sexes in all aspects of life. Advocacy has been my passion since my university years and besides my job as an assistant Director in ACT Government I'm a member of the Multicultural Advisory Council for the minister of Multicultural Affairs in Canberra and I'm involved in various women's organisations and engage with a broad spectrum of people in the ACT.

Dawn MbogoMembership Coordinator

Dawn is a mental health ambassador because she believes that every individual has the potential to live their best life by learning to think the right way. As someone who experienced post natal depression Dawn has the empathy for people with mental health illness. She wants to come alongside such people as a friend and let them know that she understands what they are going through. She can say with confidence that they can learn the right skills to deal with stressful life events and live their best life. Dawn loves travelling and spending time with family. She runs a personal blog to encourage healthy mental attitudes.

Hema MangadSocial Media Coordinator

Hema is a Communications Professional, with over 11 years of experience working with multicultural and multilingual audiences.

Before moving to Australia, Hema was not familiar with mental health illnesses and conditions, having lived in a culture where mental health remains a taboo.

As a Mental Health Ambassador, she hopes to use her experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse audiences and her own struggles with mental health to create awareness and break stigmas associated to mental health within different communities.

Madhavi PatilDeputy Leaders

Please use my application and short bio from the previous year 2020. I have already spoken with Project Officer Aneka Srinivasan regarding this requirement to be eased as we have already worked in the ambassador capacity for 2020. It will be a privilege if we have been given another chance to volunteer for 2021 where we can achieve great outcomes in the mental health support sector.

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