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MHFA Multicultural Ambassadors

Hayriye Uluca - VIC

Chairperson

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.

Christina Chia - VIC

Vice Chairperson

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 Tan - VIC

Vice Chairperson

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 - VIC

Vice-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.

Alex Sy - VIC

Vice-Chairperson

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.

Abinaya Srinivasan - VIC

Secretary - VIC

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 Yin - VIC

Membership Coordinator

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 Duggal - VIC

Cultural Coordinator

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.

Rama Rao - VIC

Education Coordinator

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.

Rowena Hansen - VIC

Marketing Coordinator

A clinical specialist at an aged care facility with years of experience in intensive care, medical/surgical and palliative care. She is an aged care advocate. She is an active Filipino- Australian community leader.
She participates in community events and also assist in producing community events with the aim purpose of spreading multiculturalism.
Affiliations:
1. Mental Health Foundation Australia- Multicultural Ambassador: Social Media Chairperson 2019
2. The WOMEN Association Incorporation- President
3. Mrs Universal Philippines 2019 and Mrs. universal Diamond 2019
4. DearSes- Founder/vlogger
5. Queens jewelry- owner

Rashmi Watel - WA

Vice-Chair

I immigrated to Australia, eight years ago. I live here in Perth with my husband and two daughters ( future leaders ). I have  a technical background, I am 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.I have become an entrepreneur. 

 I am an entrepreneur by circumstances. I have held several leadership positions not just in the technical field but also with world organisations such as Toastmasters, BNI (Business Networking International).

 After 2 failed businesses and heaps of experience gathered I am now pursuing my passion in Public speaking. I not only speak myself, I teach and empower others to become public speakers.

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

Having faced postnatal depression and mental health issues myself  I have chosen to volunteer Mental Health foundation. I volunteer in my daughters school P & C committee.

 I am an author of an upcoming book named - My daughter is a BULLY.

 I am involved in my own community running free meditation, 21 day happiness challenges.

Ron Deng - WA

Ambassador

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.

Varshini Viswanath - ACT

Secretary ACT

Varshini Viswanath is a law/IR student from Indonesia, studying at ANU. She is passionate about social justice and law reform, particularly in refugee and asylum policy areas in Australia. As the international representative at Burgmann Residential College, advocates for Democracy in Colour, and co-leader of the Community Legal Education Program at ANU, she hopes to make a positive change in the ethnocultural community. 

Ald. Kelly Sims - TAS

Chair

My experience includes overseeing large and small organisations, scoping stakeholder requirements, mentoring business leaders, supporting and leading teams, developing and facilitating professional development, meeting various goals/targets and; marketing to, directing, supporting and engaging others. All of which are driven by legislative guidelines, a sound knowledge for approved frameworks and extensive operational experience via several industry platforms. 

What drives me to lead... well anything worthwhile really, such as:

1.) EMPOWERING OTHERS: Connecting with, representing and advocating for the community with integrity.

2.) OPPORTUNITY: I’m passionate about Tasmania, specifically the city of Glenorchy and are committed to working on the issues that impact us all.

3.) RESPONSIBILITY: Holding our current leaders accountable and driving change for the better at all levels.

Current Community Committees that I sit on:

Glenorchy Planning Authority

Glenorchy Arts and Culture Advisory Committee 

Glenorchy Sport and Recreation Advisory Committee

Glenorchy Youth Taskforce (served 2018/2019)

I come from a big family and live locally. I own two horses, “call” myself an artist (its definitely subjective), appreciate the outdoors (not as much as I should lately) and volunteer/with various community groups. I’m currently developing and running a local organic skincare business focusing on local, natural, ethical and vegan products (no exploiting earth or its earthlings). Although I’m mostly recognised as a child and animal advocate for my work within these areas.. 

I’m drawn to travel and thrive on learning, which led me to visit and continually support a Nepalese orphanage (2014 - Present). I’ve since been nominated for 3x Tasmanian Southern Cross Community Achievement Awards and was nationally recognised for work within the early childhood, charity and animal advocacy sectors. I then wrote various Early Childhood articles in support of Educators and Teachers achieving sustainability within their settings and have just recently been nominated as the Chair of the Tasmanian Multicultural Mental Health Foundation Australia Ambassador Program for 2020. I will continue to relish in the opportunity to positively impact those who need it most and utilise my current networks to better advocate in this space. 

Feel free to touch base anytime via my email because as we know “it takes a village” professionalclass@outlook.com 

 

Vivek Viswanath - ACT

Chair

Vivek is the newly appointed Chair of the ACT chapter of MHFA. He currently works in financial services/banking industry in Canberra. Having grown up in three countries and being exposed to various cultures, Vivek has a deep respect and appreciation of multiculturalism. Vivek has been actively engaged with the Ernst and Young Foundation as Treasurer over the last few years. Mental health is an issue that is very close to Vivek's heart and he is passionate about making a change and helping people when they need it.

Soelily Consen-Lynch - ACT

Vice-Chair

I'm Soelily Consen- Lynch 42 year old woman, wife, mother, strong believer of equality for all sexes in all branches of life, happy to call Canberra my home. 

I moved to Canberra with my family under the skills in demand program. Initially I took some time off work to settle in with my family before I commenced working in Australia.

Advocacy has been my passion from early on and from the student boards in high school, to volunteering at legal aid during my as a uni student to becoming a member on the advisory council of multicultural affairs, I always try to look for ways to support and empower people and improve people's quality of life where possible. 

Currently Manager Industrial Relations -CHS

Prior roles:

*Advocacy & organiser union

*Quality assurance officer, 

*Research and policy officer

*Legal counsel, union - the Netherlands 

Volunteer roles :

*Member on the Multicultural advisory council of Minister of Multicultural Affairs;

*MELT- women empowerment & support group 

Executive officer

Qusai - VIC

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.

Shane Roberts - VIC

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!

Cr Prue Cutts - VIC

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. 

David Low - VIC

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 . 

Marnie Higgs - VIC

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. 

Tessa Gatt-Rutter - VIC

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.

Jennifer Rapada - VIC

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. 

Heather Thorne - VIC

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.  

Arlene Lucas - VIC

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. 

Elvah Velasco - VIC

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 

Jacqueline Bennett - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Judy Kameri - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Bruce D'Aprano - VIC

Ambassador

-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.

Atman Okan Okyay - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Ashveen Chand - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Sabiha Nazli - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Muradiye Selvi - VIC

Ambassador

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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Dr Donato Diele - VIC

Ambassador

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.
 

Yvette Medina - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Mirjana Masic - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Lyn Richardson - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Cr Michelle Kleinert - VIC

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.

Prince Baguma - VIC

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.

Amy Yuen - VIC

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.


Kamini Saberwal - VIC

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. 

Natasha Pepes - VIC

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.

Sharan Velauthan - VIC

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.

Rumali Kularatne - VIC

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. 

Yeojin Park - VIC

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).


Abegail Juson - VIC

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.

Markos Hasiotis - VIC

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. 

Maria Dimopoulos - VIC

Ambassador

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.


 

Natasha Devonish-Jordan - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Rhiannon Drape - VIC

Ambassador

 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.

Sutina Sukumaran - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Dr Priyanka Gahlot - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Vinodhram Rangaswamy - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Paolo Girardi - VIC

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

Gwyneth Gan - VIC

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.

Simaima Tavil-Melachon - VIC

Ambassador

Tonnou WG Ghothane - VIC

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).

Louisa Lin - VIC

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!

Shae Brennan - VIC

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.

Emma Stoble - VIC

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.

Rudi Bajzek - VIC

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. 

Vasundhara Kulkarni - VIC

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. 

Sara Yuk Lin Lee - VIC

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.  

Rhonda Sidaoui - VIC

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. 

Arzum Caglayancay - VIC

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

Ljiljana Ristevski - VIC

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.

Anju Duggal - VIC

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  

Nitesh Vyas - VIC

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. 

Karishma Singh - VIC

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.

Monica Uribe - VIC

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.

Tony K. Fretton - VIC

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.

Cr Dot Haynes - VIC

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. 

Suveetha Suveetha - VIC

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.

Leonora Duque - VIC

Ambassador

Priti Kansal - VIC

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

Saranbeer Kaur - VIC

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.
 

Darrell Yeo - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Karthik Arasu

Ambassador

I am a Business Consultant by profession working as a Specialist Business Advisor for Benchmark Corporate and also Director of O8 Business Advisory and Oz Star TV Channel. After a successful career as a Business owner operator of service stations, I have started working as a Business Consultant & Business Broker in Benchmark Business Sales & Valuations.
With my experience in Retail Industry, I have mentored numerous small business owners from various community backgrounds, as a community service to help them achieve business success. I use my expertise to guide and mentor small business owners on their quest to build successful businesses from scratch.
I have great interest and inclination towards community and social advocacy issues. I am actively involved in community work through the participation in many community-based projects. I believe in empowering people to enable them to not only stand for themselves but also for others equally.
I had always felt strongly for people and areas that were unheard and neglected and nurtured a dream to be a strong voice for our community. With this vision, I entered the political fray to contest as an Independent Federal Senate candidate in 2016 Senate Elections in Australia. I am also the Founder Patron of Forum for Indian Australians, an organization which works for social advocacy and support for the Indian Australian community.
I am also a Mentor and Patron of various Community Organisations which are working for the well-being and betterment of the Indian Australian community both in India and Australia. I am passionate about serving the community, which has actively involved me with various initiatives for the Multicultural community in Victoria.
I strongly believe in Mahatma Gandhi's words – “The future depends on what you do today”. With these words resounding in my thoughts, I want to work together to secure a better future for each one of us in our community.

Myat Noe Han - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Madhavee Hetti Arachchige Dona - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Moses Ronyi - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Marcia Knipe - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Antonnette Wamukoya - VIC

Ambassador

Nathalie O'Sughrue - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Cathryn Hooker - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Grace Chao - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Dale Cosgrave - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Judy Tang - VIC

Ambassador

 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.

Poonam Arora - VIC

Ambassador

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. 

Barbara Minuzzo - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Marco Fedi - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Georgia Pepes - VIC

Ambassador

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.

Karan Gandhock - VIC

Ambassador

Bwe Thay - VIC

Ambassador

Maniskandan Jayaraman - VIC

Ambassador

Parimala

Ambassador

Subra Ramachandran - VIC

Ambassador

Aanchal Mahajan - VIC

Ambassador

Imaan Toor - VIC

Ambassador

Mahaadhevan Saisankar - VIC

Ambassador

Mayur Meshram - VIC

Ambassador

Ellen Hyein Cho - VIC

Ambassador

Ronald Perera - VIC

Ambassador

Suresh Marcandan

Past Master

Jasmin (Minnie) Dhillon - VIC

Ambassador

Christina Pitter - VIC

Ambassador

Samantha Lim - VIC

Ambassador

Jacqui Bennet - VIC

Ambassador

Jalpa Dattani - VIC

Ambassador

Pathik Mehta

Ambassador

John Gulzari - VIC

Ambassador

Amarasekara - VIC

Ambassador

Lorraine Baloyi - VIC

Ambassador

Sury Prakash Soni - VIC

Ambassador

Yogen Lakshman - VIC

Ambassador

Dabessa Gemelal Gemelal - VIC

Ambassador

Karthick Thanigaimani - VIC

Ambassador

Sukhvinder Duggal - VIC

Ambassador

Sagar Hira - VIC

Ambassador

Abraham Mathew - VIC

Ambassador

Yogi Thurairatnam - VIC

Ambassador

Zekija Glamocic - VIC

Ambassador

Sebastian Idarraga Valencia - VIC

Ambassador

Pras Acharya - VIC

Ambassador

Zakarye Mason - VIC

Ambassador

Yvonne Bajzek - VIC

Ambassador

Nathan Spiteri - VIC

Ambassador

Stephanie Hudson

Ambassador

Tien Truong

Ambassador

Asher Judah

Ambassador

A management, communications and policy professional with 18 years’ experience working for industry associations in property, construction, agriculture, transport and manufacturing. Asher has worked with, advised, and represented some of Australia’s top industry leaders and Ministers. He possesses a strong strategic mind, natural instincts for communications, and has run multiple private businesses.

Asher has been published on a number of public policy matters including local government, tax reform, tourism, technology, and infrastructure. He is a prolific writer who has contributed to three books as well as authoring his own, The Australian Century. With degrees in Commerce and Arts, Asher also manages his own consultancy and public speaking business, Bayside Presentations.

Matthew Guy MP

Ambassador

First elected to Parliament in November 2006, Matthew was re-elected in 2010. In the 2014 election, Matthew successfully stood for the seat of Bulleen in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Like many Victorians, half of Matthew’s family immigrated to this country to find a better way of life. Born and raised in Greensborough, Matthew went to Montmorency High School and then worked part-time to put his way through university. Matthew has a Bachelor of Arts in politics and history from La Trobe University and has completed post graduate studies in Ukrainian language and culture at Monash University.

Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Matthew had a variety of jobs including representing agricultural interests at the Victorian Farmers Federation, as well as working in the finance industry as a manager at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. He also worked in a number of political roles including for then Premier Jeff Kennett and the former Federal Assistant Treasurer.

In December 2010 he was appointed Victorian Minister for Planning and in March 2014 he was appointed Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship. These are two issues that Matthew is particularly passionate about – building a better, stronger Victoria that creates jobs, opportunity and improves the way we live, and celebrating Victoria’s vibrant, multicultural community.

Matthew is married to Renae and they have three children – Joseph, Samuel and Alex. He enjoys taking his sons to AusKick and he is a member of Plenty Valley FM, the St Kilda Football Club and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

To relax, Matthew enjoys running and exercising as well as cycling with his children.

Mayor Cr Jim Memeti

Ambassador

 I was born overseas. I moved to Australia from Albania when I was two and I have forged a great life for myself and my family.

I live in Dandenong South with my wife Mary. We have three adult children and four grandchildren who I am very proud of. I am a self-employed businessman who believes that by working hard and working together we can all achieve great things.

I was first elected to Council in 2005, driven by a desire to change perceptions of Dandenong.

During my time on Council I have been privileged to be involved in a number of key milestones for this city.

From the Revitalising Central Dandenong Project, which saw the State Government invest $290 million in Dandenong, to the redevelopment of the Noble Park Aquatic Centre and Tatterson Park in Keysborough, our city continues to evolve and grow.

In addition to these major achievements I am most proud of the $65.5 million Dandenong Civic Centre completed in 2014.

During both my mayoral terms in 2010 and 2014 I was a strong advocate for a new municipal building in the heart of Dandenong. To then see this project come to fruition was a real highlight for me. The five-storey building not only houses the Council chamber and Council offices but it also home to one of Australia’s premier libraries.

The Dandenong Civic Centre is a real jewel in Dandenong’s crown and is something Council and the broader community are very proud of.

During my third mayoral term I was pleased to be part of the Springvale Precinct Project. This significant Council investment will see the site of the former Springvale council offices transformed into a world-class community facility, providing a variety of learning, leisure and cultural spaces. I was extremely pleased to open the refurbished Springvale Town Hall in October 2017, which saw this iconic venue transformed into a more modern and functional space for the community to enjoy.

Throughout 2017 I was also responsible for instigating work on bringing an A-League team to south east Melbourne in conjunction with the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire Council. Together we are working to make this vision a reality for the football-loving population in this region and excitement around the project is growing rapidly. I look forward to seeing us progress this over the coming year. 

I am always committed to achieving the best results possible for everyone who lives and works in Greater Dandenong.

Josie Swaray

Secretary

Josie is a mental health clinician with over 20 yrs experience working in hospital, community and prison settings. She is the founder and Director of The Nyalima Project (TNP) which aims to promote mental health awareness and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness in the African-Australian Community. She is passionate about breaking barriers to seeking advice and support for mental health issues in the African Community. TNP also provides Life Skills Programs for CALD youths and free Mental Health Awareness and Drug and Alcohol awareness workshops.  Josie is also an accredited Mental Health First Aider for youth.  Josephine is a member of the African Day Australia Family Forum Committee and has recently been appointed as a MHFA Multicultural Ambassador

Sashi Sanmugathas

Secretary

Sashi came to Australia as an international student from Sri Lanka 20 years ago. During my university days he was a volunteer, student leader and a student representative in his University Student Union and National Union of Students. This gave him an opportunity to help fellow students where ever possible. At a later stage, Sashi wanted to continue to give back to the community therefore, he became a Freemason. Freemasons Victoria is one of the leading charities and they help the community and various other organisations in Victoria.  Currently Sashi is in numerous committees within Freemasons Victoria in State and District levels, that includes Freemasons Taskforce Executive Committee. Sashi is also an Ambassador for Royal Freemasons Homes. Through my community engagement he came in touch with Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA). It was an honour when for Sashi when he was inducted as a Multicultural Ambassador for MHFA in January 2018. Personally Sashi believes that mental health needs more attention and awareness because one in every five Australian suffers from mental health illness in a given year.

Gerard Felipe

Marketing - Chairperson

Enthusiastic and driven second-year Criminology and Politics student who is highly motivated and passionate in community leadership and the not- for-profit sector. Genuine, warm and can ensure responsible, efficient and reliable work ethic in all tasks with excellent interpersonal skills. Gerard is a passionate young person willing to make a difference in the community, and contribute to the positive change we need in our society.

Santi Whiteside

Social Media Chairperson

Santi was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Australia in 1999 with her Australian husband. Santi has three children with two born in Indonesia and one in Australia. Soon after moving to Australia, Santi became involved in the Indonesian Community as a volunteer and a radio broadcaster on Indonesian programs for 3ZZZ and 3WBC. She is also a writer for a number of Indonesian publications and a frequent participant in various multicultural parades and events such as Moomba, Australia Day and Harmony Day. Santi has appeared in two Indonesian movies including a film about the Bali Nine. She is now Vice President of the Indonesian Society of Victoria and aims to promote this organisation to increase participation in Indonesian cultural activities including promotion to other communities in Victoria

Lucia Hou

Events Coordinator

Lucia Hou lives in Melbourne and is the proud official ambassador for Project Karma, an Australian charity organisation that saves children from sex slavery & sex exploitation across South East Asia & Australia. Lucia is also currently awarded Woman Of The Year 2018 internationally and is Ms Oceania 2018 World Class Beauty Queen, Ms Oceania Globe 2017, a title awarded at the Mrs Globe international world finals by the largest and longest consecutive running pageant in the world for the Miss/Ms & Mrs.

Dr Ram Mohan - QLD

Chairperson - QLD

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.

Dheepa Awtani

Ambassador

A highly motivated CBA personnel & a creative leader, Young Female Achiever of the year-TIS Community Awards, Winning Film-maker at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne'13, Mrs.India Global Charming 2016, Director of Young Fighters Foundation; Ambassador for AFL, Cricket Australia, Clean India Mission, InternationalYoga Day at Victorian Parliament & multi cultural Community Engagements, Woman Forum Lead-India Australia Exchange Forum, an entertainment & media entrepreneur with a vision for society. With a vast professional experience as a Celebrity Interviewer & writer, she is Editor-in-Chief at BYSQ Itz Showtime (www.bysq.com.au,FB, Twitter, Insta, Youtube).Now as an Multicultural Ambassador for MHFA, she is keenly looking forward to continue to connect with the mass & empower them with the benevolent message of health & well-being.

Maria Perera

Ambassador

Director - CEO in civil construction. AFL Ambassador, RMIT Mentor, Women in Construction Ambassador and Speaker Sydney Build Expo 2020, Telstra Business Women's Awards nominee 2017 and 2020 etc

Erum Maqsood

Ambassador

I am the recipient of Wyndham volunteer award 2019 in the category of community engagement for engaging more than 10 thousand people in Victoria by organising open table community lunches and welcome dinners to bring newly arrived closed to established Australians and bringing people together on table of food for past 5 yrs.
Originally hailing from Karachi, the business hub of Pakistan, I became an Australian Citizen in 2019 and chose Wyndham as the place to raise her daughter Anosha. 
I am passionate about community, cultural food and living the best of my life. Bringing communities together and benefit others is the aim of my life.  I want to be the centre of hope for everyone irrespective of culture and faith.
With the educational background of commerce and IT, I am privileged to get full time employment in one of the top banks of Australia. I am running my own project “Welcome Place” along with a group of my friends to welcome everyone in Australia for a sense of belonging. I am AFL community ambassador and passionate about bringing community members close to football. I am the member of Central District Advisory Committee & Learning City Portfolio committee of Wyndham council. Holding the portfolio of secretary of Wyndham Interfaith Network, I am developing harmony to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different humanistic beliefs. I am involved in promoting understanding between Islam and different religions to increase acceptance of others.

Dr Sudipto Roy - QLD

Vice-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.

Harlin Gandhok

Education Coordinator

Harlin Gandhok has been working as a student wellbeing counsellor for the last five years. She has experience working with students from a range of backgrounds including refugees, asylum seekers and out of home care placements. Her daily role involves one on one counselling, group programs, social skills development and case management. She has previously worked as a family violence advocate, lifeline counsellor and in her spare time runs her own business.

Rishi Venkatraman

Information Technology Coordinator

Rishi is an IT Professional with over a decade of experience in Client Engagement Roles. Even in the early schooling and graduation days, Rishi been part of student committees and associations which has given him opportunities to serve and assist peers. Rishi has been associated with Mental Health Foundation Australia as a Volunteer in the beginning and had the opportunity to be employed for a couple of months post arrival in Melbourne. Having been a survivor of an accident, Rishi can understand what an individual or a family goes through in crisis and what assistance could be provided to them for a Better Mental Health. Rishi is excited to be representing the foundation as a Multicultural Ambassador and to serve the community for raising awareness and promoting Better Health For All and Wellbeing.

Dawei He

Coordinator

Accepted by the Shanghai Opera House as a junior student at the age of 9, two years later David started full-time professional dancing and performing arts training at the Shanghai Academy of Drama & Performaing Arts. David became the first overseas student received a scholarship admitted to the Australian Ballet School. Follow the graduation, David danced as a lead dancer in many international dance events and became the principal dancer in Canada and the Hong Kong Ballet at the age of 19.

Twenty years experience in the performing arts and show business has nourished David's complete understanding of what people to be expect from any event and shows, combined with my know-how this regarded as my knowledge base. Using this knowledge it has helped David run events or shows more efficiently, decrease financial risks and exploit opportunities to the full. David has been actively involved in the multicultural events in states of Victoria for entertainment shows, marketing and sponsorship campaigns. Including few Chinese Christian events in 2017. Over the years of his career in Hong Kong and Asia, David has organised and coordinated hundreds of events & shows. Worked with some major companies like (SONY, JVC, HUGO BOSS, I.T, PUMA, SAMSUNG, L’Oreal, etc.).

Narasimhan Ravi - QLD

Secretary - QLD

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.

Nilinka Amarasekara

Coordinator

Nilanka Amarasekara is a Director of N&N Group Of services since 2011. After graduating from University Of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka with Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 2004, Nilanka worked as an assistant lecturer at Department of Animal Science, University Of Peradeniya till 2005.

After she migrated to Australia in 2005, Nilanka started her postgraduate studies at RMIT. During her studies, she worked as a laboratory technician in a few private companies. After completing Master Of Biotechnology (Food Science) she joined the CSIRO

Always passionate about volunteer work in the community and places high value on building relationships with the people around her by understanding how to best meet their needs.

Santosh Yadav

Coordinator

Dr Santosh Kumar Yadav is an Ayurveda specialist and very well known in the community. He helped a several members of the Indian community in giving wellness advice whenever required.

 Dr. Santosh Yadav is founder of Ayurveda Yoga Wellness clinic Pty Ltd (AYWC). AYWC is an Ayurvedic Centre for wellbeing. Ayurveda Yoga Wellness Clinic was established in 2007 to promote the practice of Ayurveda in Australia. His goal is to popularise Ayurveda through Ayurvedic Medicine, Ayurvedic treatment, Yoga and Meditation. He has successfully established two clinics in Melbourne to serve the Australian community.

 He is interested in sharing valuable knowledge and wisdom of the ancient healing traditions of India. He is actively involved in disseminating this knowledge to the community in a simple way and has achieved this through radio, workshops, talks and seminars.

He is specialized in treatment of conditions Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Chronic Diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Eczema, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Weight loss etc. through the holistic approach of the Ayurveda, Yoga and Kareli Panchakarma Treatment (Detox Treatment).

Prakruthi Mysore Gururaj - QLD

Membership Coordinator - QLD

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.

Dharuv Kumar

Chairperson - South Australia

My name is Dharuv Kumar. I am born in Chandigarh, India & moved in Australia 2008.I have one Hotel Management in India. In Australia I had done Retail management. I am a volunteer In-charge and committee member of Sant Nirankari Mission Adelaide, Australia. I love to help communities & social working. I love & respect multicultural people in Australia.

Krishneel Maharaj - QLD

Queensland 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. 

Sarah Yip - QLD

Social 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.

Wathnak Vy

Social Media Coordinator - South Australia-

Wathnak Vy is a registered counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association who currently completing education in Bachelor of International Development and Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Adelaide. He was recently graduated from the Diploma of Counselling with the Australian Institute of Social Relations. 

Wathnak was born and grew up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with Vietnamese and Cambodian (Khmer) heritage. His family and himself immigrated to Australia in 2012 in support of his higher academics. His academic background includes interdisciplinary work in both anthropology and social sciences.


From 2018 Young Citizen of the Year at The City of Charles Sturt, finalist for Order of Australia Student Citizenship Award - currently, Wathnak is a counsellor doing both casework, case management, and counselling at the Relationships Australia of South Australia.

Lora Love

Ambassador

Lora Love has a self titled album in Philippines, but now based in Melbourne, performing with the very talented with Chunky Jam Band, a corporate band under Instinct Music, who are leading cover band in Melbourne, regularly performing at prestigious corporate events and awards nights, major sporting events, conferences, festivals, parties, weddings and charity fundraisers. Lora has performed at events such as Yarra Valley Food and Wine Festival, NYE at Crown supporting Mariah Carey and Les Clef D’or Concierge Ball

Su Mei Tan

Coordinator

Su Mei started life in the world of architecture which led to her co-founding a charity which brought third world countries building and design services. She realised that she enjoyed the time where she shared her passion of ART with the children. This led to a pursuit of a Masters in Art Therapy at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She is now completing a Bachelors of Fine Arts Honours of Social Practice and Community Engagement at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), Melbourne University.

She has had experience as an art therapist in the clinical setting at Northpark Private Hospital and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, working with patients who experience various forms of mental illness. Her speciality is with Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Eating Disorders. Su Mei is now working as a Mental Health support coordinator, helping NDIS participants out by connecting them to various supports that they need. She is also a trained Yoga Alliance instructor who did her RYT 500 training at Brahmani Yoga, India. She has shared her love of yoga in many countries around the world (Malaysia, England, Bolivia, Australia).

Her goal is to establish a network of creative art therapists and yoga instructors through her private practice www.artTEArapy.com who will be able to work with NDIS participants, using the power of creativity to empower those in need.

 

Azmiri Mian

Vice Chair - South Australia

I am an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker in Private Practice. I was born in Bangladesh and work closely with Muslim community from a multicultural background. I believe this role will enable me to support and educate the community about good mental health and reducing stigma in getting help when needed.

Rakesh Gupta

Vice Chair - South Australia

I am extremely connected with the Indian community in my region, and that is the best way to keep myself and my family content, having left all our relatives back home.

There are many diverse Indian community groups (linguistic) in Adelaide, and along with few friends, we set up a not-for-profit organisation 'Indian Professionals in Australia' with the basic intent to assist new and skilled migrants from India, help them to understand the cultural and professional changes better. It also offers as a networking platform for members and local communities to meet, and make new friends. All the events are mostly free, with no charges passed on to the participants. Our members pay a small annual fee, which helps cover our costs and meeting expenses.

I feel I have been able to achieve a lot in a very short span of time, and can have an open and frank dialogue with most of our community leaders.

Habib Jamal - QLD

Queensland 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.

Prakash Charan

Ambassador

Atkinson Prakash Charan is a well known Australian businessman and philanthropist. Atkinson Prakash, affectionately known as ‘Kash’, moved to Australia from Fiji with his family as a young child. Hardworking and entrepreneurial, Kash has founded and grown various companies. He and his wife Sally, also established the Charan Foundation in 2016, a national organisation dedicated to supporting and encouraging participation in sport. Assistance is provided to sporting organisations, individuals and initiatives through the provision of funding grants. To date, the Charan family together with the Charan Foundation has provided over half a million dollars in support – with many grants and funds being provided to clubs and programs which focus on supporting multicultural and minority groups, and the most disadvantaged across the country.

In addition, Kash, through his business interests, has sponsored many Australian sporting clubs including Melbourne United, Melbourne Victory, Geelong Football Club, among others, as well as a number of associations some which include: the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, Russian Ethnic Representative Council; and Fiji Social and Cultural Organisation of Victoria. An avid sporting enthusiast, Kash played soccer, Aussie rules football, basketball and cricket as a youngster and understands the social, health and economic benefits sport provides to individuals as well as the broader community. In particular, Kash is an ardent proponent of the importance of inclusion and engagement – and its positive impact on mental health and overall wellbeing.

Seema Dhanda

Secretary - South Australia

After my marriage, I moved to Australia, my husband was settled here before our marriage. We have two beautiful daughters 5 and 3 years old. We both are engineers and working full time.

I worked in technical field after completing my studies in 2006 and came here in 2010. I have worked with few volunteer organisations eg Conservation volunteer Australia and other communities.

Dr Edwin Lourdes Joseph JP

Vice Chair - Northern Territory

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 Social Media Admin). He also serves on the NT division boards of United Nations Association of Australia (as Treasurer), 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.

Shanice Hoang

Ambassador

I am a founder/managing partner of my firm Verity Law that mainly assist business and investment migrants to come to Australia and invest and do business. I am passionate about my job and the people that I represent as it is very satisfying when you are able to assist a whole family to redesign their future.

Cr Sara Saberi - WA

Ambassador

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.

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.

Arun THomas - VIC

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.

Mariam Sharobeem - VIC

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.  

Yousef Mohammadi - TAS

Ambassador

My country of origin is Afghanistan but have lived in Iran for 14 years and learnt their culture and language during these years. As soon as i finished year 12 i moved to India for higher education. I started my bachelor degree in Microbiology in one of the universities of India called Bharti Vidyapeeth University (During this course i get to know Indian culture as well). I finished 5 semesters of this course and during this time my family got their visa to Australia. My visa also issued after my family got to Australia and i had to leave my studies behind so that i can get to Australia, mainly because the visa had an expiry date and i had to enter Australia before that date. Finally after i received some advise from my teacher at Uni they advised me to go to Australia and then just come back for the final semester(sem 6). I have been trying to go back and finish my studies but because of the new virus out break that is no longer possible at this stage.
During my stay in Australia i have explored and gain a lot of different experiences in Mental health and suicide prevention activities and have been working with experts at Phoenix centre for about past 2 years.
After all of these, i find out that studying social since or social work or something similar might be some good path for me as i can see my existing skills in this filed.
I really look forward to promote my knowledge and skills in any way and hoping could get the opportunity to be apart of your exiting activities.

Esra Gunyel - TAS

Ambassador

My name is Esra Gunyel, I am eighteen years old and I am an Australian born Turkish Muslim who was born in Sydney, NSW. I have quite a lot of siblings, my dad was born in Turkey and my mum was born in Thailand, therefore I consider myself being a very bilingual woman. I am currently at college and I am aiming towards working in the helping field in either Nursing, Mental Health or Advocacy work. I've always had the passion to work in the helping field because I think that I can do a lot to help others using my own personal experiences. Especially with living my own experiences of mental illness.

Thon Thon - VIC

Ambassador

CHarles Oguntade - VIC

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

Sam Atukorala - VIC

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.

Mayumi Polgahage Dona - VIC

Ambassador

Akashika Mohla - QLD

Ambassador

With her soft diplomacy and high stakeholder relations, Akashika’s influence in 2014 -G20 influenced many changes ongoing policy changes for Overseas Indian Diaspora. As a volunteer community leader, and a local diplomat- she is passionate about using India Australia Business Community Awards and relations.

Akashika’s multi-talented work, experience and focus on IndoAus Political Diplomacy in myriad sectors and her distinguished experiences, deep insight into the key elements - has driven the potential.  Akashika represented Australia at the 19th China Chongqing “The belt and road international Cooperation Summit” Chongqing, hosted by Ministry of Commerce of People’s republic of China, in May 2016.

Cristina Magbojos

Chairperson - Northern Territory

I'm Cristina, originally from the Philippines and came to Melbourne in 2016 to pursue my MBA at Victoria University. I'm friendly, people-oriented, love to travel and learn about different languages and cultures.  Furthermore, I'm passionate about diversity, multiculturalism, women empowerment and have pursued many volunteering stints with City of Melbourne, Study Melbourne and at Vic Uni where I work as project officer for the Cultural Diversity Office, student staff with Student Life & Leadership and as a Student adviser/concierge for VUHQ Student Services.  I've worked many years in media and marketing communications overseas in highly specialised industries but pursued a business program in accounting locally. Having gone through some tough times myself, I truly understand the plight of migrants and international students.  There are so many mental health issues these days and concerning to know how the youth are affected. I have come to love Australia as my second home and have always been passionate about giving back to the community in my own little way. 

Sundaram Sivamalai

Ambassador

Sundram was born in Malaysia but he maintains his language interests in Tamil, Malay while learning Japanese, Vietnamese and Hindi

Elleni Bereded-Samuel

Ambassador

Elleni Bereded-Samuel is African Australian from Ethopian background who has focused her life’s work on strengthening and employment for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities (CALD) in Australia

Jamie Smith

Ambassador

Jamie is the Director of Crane Bin Solutions Pty Ltd, an industrial services company that specialises in proof loading and non detective testing of construction bins and lifting equipment.

Reena Augustine - QLD

Queensland 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.

Heather Marcus

Ambassador

Since arriving in Wyndham Heather has been involved in many exciting things and businesses. 1971 – 1976 she was a partner in a successful Building Business building new houses in the City of Wyndham

Hyon-Ju Newman

Ambassador

Hyon-Ju Newman has deep has deep connections in the arts and is very engaged with Melbourne’s Asian community. She is the President of Korean Society of Victoria.

Neha Mathur - QLD

Queensland Ambassador

Neha Mathur is a Public Health Professional with Masters from the University of Leeds, UK. She has practised dentistry in India and is currently working as a dental assistant in Australia. She has developed strong awareness and practice in advocacies that relate to the promotion of public health within communities and possess an international exposure to public health programs in India, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Currently working as a dental assistant in Australia, she interacts with patients of different backgrounds and hears about how mental health has impacted their lives. She is passionate about improving people’s mental health and wants to make sure that people, especially from the disadvantaged communities, receive mental health services. Mental Health is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.

Girish Menon - QLD

Queensland 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.

Atkinson Prakash Charan - VIC

Ambassador

Now one of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, as a boy Atkinson Charan had dreams of becoming a soccer superstar. Growing up in Suva, Fiji, young Atkinson played soccer with his friends barefoot, dreaming of playing for his country one day.

Atkinson has since gone on to have a hugely successful career in business. He was named in the BRW Young Rich List in 2015 and his company has listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Atkinson has now turned his hand to philanthropy. Revisiting his love for sport and reflecting on his own young experience with soccer, Atkinson set up the Charan Foundation in 2017 to provide financial assistant to nurture a new generation of youth talent.

Dadirai Jabangwe - QLD

Queensland Ambassador

Dadirai is a social worker however currently working in a role as a sexual assault counsellor and understands the importance to take care of yourself and part of that is asking for help when you need it. Sometimes one does not have a choice about what happens to them, however, what one has control over is how you deal with it. She believes its crucial to reducing the stigma associated with mental health overall is to increase everyone’s understanding of it.

Charles Walker

Ambassador

Charles is of Anglo Indian decent, migrated to Australia in 1986. Married to Patricia, they have two daughters Nicole and Rochelle. A Sound Engineer byprofession, Charles owns and runs Imperial Audio a company specialising in Audio systems for concerts and events. Having been involved with various communities and their events since his migration, Charles is now coming on board as a multicultural ambassador of MHFA.

Lucy Laurita

Ambassador

Lucy is one of Australia's most reputable boutique designers, focusing on simple, classic, couture beauty.  It was her mother's introduction into the fashion world that taught the designer a great deal about dressmaking and sewing, before going on to study fashion at RMIT.

Australian born, Italian heritage, Lucy Laurita has a strong focus on community wellbeing and is involved in fundraising for several charitable organisations as well as supporting events with emphasis on mentoring and nurturing young people to achieve their full potential.

Lydia

Ambassador

Lydia is a corporate professional with over 20 years of experience in the space of Human Resources, Organisation Development and Career Coaching. With extensive experience partnering with executive teams in Australia and Asia Pacific delivering people-driven business strategies, Lydia is passionate about team building and empowering others to achieve their full potential. As a leader in corporate and business, Lydia advocates leadership commitment to promote mental health and wellbeing at workplaces, endeavours to make employee mental health an objective of the business.

In her community, Lydia participates in various support and care roles of visiting those less fortunate in nursing homes and hospitals. Lydia is qualified with a MBA and a Bachelor of Business Administration, a professional member of the Australian Human Resources Institute. Above all, Lydia is inspired to make a positive difference in life with her personal values of courageous, passion and resilience.

Amandeep Singh Sethi

Ambassador

Being brought up in a first-generation Sikh family in Australia, I lived the majority of my adolescent life growing up in Australia and New Zealand. Being the very first Sikh boy to step foot into so many domains I had to learn the art of gracefully assimilating within a western culture whilst keeping my own values intact. I make this point because as a child, I was put into many situations which I had to endure. And besides having my hair pulled, turban knocked off, nose broken, spat on and the list goes on, I am proud to say that it is this very journey that has made me better and not bitter with the ability to stand tall and strong whilst having a heart filled with compassion.

Today when I look back, I realise that real life is not an easy journey for any of us. But there is strength within each and every one of us to help someone else. As an active member of the community, it would be my heartfelt honour to learn more, support more and bring more awareness to mental health and well-being issues for all no matter their race, creed or cast.

Joseph Kolapudi - QLD

Queensland Ambassador

Joseph is passionate about educating multicultural communities regarding good mental health, especially amongst youth.

He is currently on the State Youth Committee for Multicultural Youth Queensland, and also serves on the board of ARMCare (Australian Refugee and Migrant Care Services). In addition, Joseph is a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum; and currently write about mental health topics and community engagement as a creative contributor for the SAARI Collective, a South Asian Australian media platform.

Derya Guclu

Ambassador

My name is Derya Guclu, I work for CBA as an Analyst. Married and mum to 3 kids, 2 boys and a 4 year old girl. Llife has been good to me as I see it, even though there were so many times that I felt like I was in a corner, mentally challenged, sometimes depressed and sometimes probably bullied but somehow found a way to get up. 

I am positive in nature and like looking at the glass half full then empty, however there has been times I wanted to throw the tile and move on from whatever. There has been times I had to let go of things which I didn't wanted to. 

I guess I was lucky in many instances because I had good people around me, my family, my friends and just good decent people. This is why I wanted to get iinvolved as I believe that everyone needs someone to encourage them, if I could be one of those people I would be very happy. 

Julie Furlong

Ambassador

I have worked as a Child Protection Practitioner  in Victoria for several years. This was within the roles of the Response and Investigation team (frontline crisis - often resulting in the removal of a child). I worked with clients with mental health, family violence, substance abuse, neglect etc. I have also worked closely with the CAT and outreach program as well as APARCS, Monash psychiatric ward, the Mother and Baby Unit and Enhanced Maternal Health nurses. I have experience with Court Reports and Court related work. I have also extensive work and training in SAIT (Sexual Abuse and Investigation Team). In addition to these roles I have worked in the Adolescent Protective Team within DHHS one of only 2 specialist teams working with high risk adolescents.
These high risk adolescents have been impacted by and exposed to complex trauma who present with maladaptive behaviours. These behaviours include significant traits of early onset of mental health, criminal activity, sexual exploitation and frequent high risk absconding.

I have also worked collabratively with CYHMS, Headspace, Berry street, Child Hood Foundation and Monash Health to best support my clients. Most young clients had multiple stays in hospital, PARCS, secure welfare or Parkville.
Including this; I have presented case studies to schools, government bodies and agencies advocating for clients and their needs to provide better outcomes.


Aida Garcia

Ambassador - South Australia

I am Filipino by birth, Australian by choice. I completed my Bachelor of Arts Degree and Bachelor of Laws at the University of San Jose - Recoletos, previously known as Colegio de San Jose - Recoletos.

I was a student leader during my school days and a community leader since graduation both in Philippines and Australia. I have been the national president of the Filipino peak body, the Filipino Communities Council of Australia Inc (FILCCA) for 2 terms, state Chairperson of the state peak body, Filipino Settlement Coordinating Council of SA Inc (FSCCSA) for 2 terms and the Filipina Network of SA Inc (FILIPINA SA) for 2 terms plus 1 year interim, total 5 years.

Sivahami Piragalathan

Ambassador - South Australia

I have migrated to Australia in 2009 as a skilled migrant. I had been working in immigration detention centers in Australia and offshore processing centers for 10 years as an Interpreter. I am originally from Srilanka where we had prolonged war for thirty years and I am from marginalized community.
Currently I have been working in Agedcare quality and safety commission.
I have the awareness of the need of Mental health in our community in Australia. Mental health was considered as a taboo in south East Asian countries. We have to create the awareness and the benefits in of Mental health counseling in our migrant community. I hope I will gain some exposure and enhance my knowledge in this program. So I can contribute my knowledge to my Srilankan community and wider community .

Trudy Stewart Cook

Ambassador - South Australia

I am 50 year old mother of two teenage boys 19 and 16. I have worked for the past 36 years with children and families.
My dad took his life 11 years ago, since this loss I have been very passionate about mental health. I have been telephone counsellor and chairperson for Bereaved Through Suicide Support Group.
For every group of Diploma of Mental Health students at Port Adelaide TAFE I present talks on surviving suicide.
There is nothing more fulfilling than supporting, advocating, mentoring and walking alongside people through their journey.
My passion is to break down the stigma of mental health and not have mental health frowned upon.
I look forward to the opportunity this would provide myself to fulfil my goal whilst supporting fellow human beings from diverse age and cultural backgrounds.

Sian Thang

Ambassador - South Australia

Associated with the Burmese Christinan Community in South Australia. A pastor and Interpreter.

Etty Gaabelli

Ambassador - South Australia

Originally from Uruguay and Peru, I moved to Australia 20 years ago and have since been involved in helping the Latin American Community settle here in Australia. I currently volunteer as the Community Laision Officer at the Latin American Society of South Australia where we have been offering emergency relief assistance to the members most affected by covid19; I am in charge of the wellbeing area and have began organising and facilitating wellbeing workshops in collaboration with other organizations such as Australian Refugee Association and Relationships Australia. I work as a counsellor and disability support worker with clients with severe mental illnesses and this has helped me see how much work there needs to be done to educate the community and end stigma and the discrimination towards people who are affected by mental illness. Last year I went through a painful divorce where my children and I experienced domestic violence and have since become an advocate to educate CALD communities on family and domestic violence as I know that in moments like these, having a community that supports you in the right way makes it easier for the victims to leave the relationship. Because of this, I began training as a community educator with the Australian Refugee Association to create awareness of such a taboo topic within my community.  I also have experience with children and mental health as I worked as an early childhood educator for ten years and have created wellbeing workshops about emotional education for parents and children. I strongly believe that by starting these conversations, as difficult as they might be, we can create a society that is prepared to understand, support and create a safe space for people experiencing mental illness or going through challenging times

Hitesh Madaan

Ambassador - South Australia

I am 40 years old, living in Adelaide with my wife and two children. I consider myself as a life long learner, who has the enthusiasm of learning what I do not know yet. I am enthusiastic about exploring the unknown, and believe that there is nothing stronger than my own laziness, that can prevent me from learning something new. I also believe that capability to do a lot of things, come from one source, which is motivation and learning.
I have a manufacturing unit in South Australia, where we manufacture mattresses and home furnishing products. Alongside that, I also work as a Disability Support Worker with Minda Inc. My spiritual and cultural inclination is towards Nirankari Mission, which originated in India, along with oneness and respect for other religions and cultures.
I am a fitness conscious person, who loves nature walks, beach walks, and workouts.
I believe in giving back to the community and working towards issues that effects each and everyone.
I wish for my own And my future generations to be multi-cultural and multi-lingual, thereby minimising or even eradicating any differences of culture, religion and race, thereby making the world a peaceful place.

Kam Chiu

Ambassador - South Australia

I am a social Worker and has been working at Chinese Welfare Services of SA Inc since 1994. I have been providing services to Chinese community in Adelaide for long time and familiar with the needs of Chinese community well in Adelaide. I am a Justice of Peace and specialize to the Aged care services.

Maria Jocelyn Goodridge

Ambassador - South Australia

I am a caring, loving , hard working person. I enjoy meeting different kinds of people. I volunteer at the Migrant Resource Center in Murray Bridge and a committee Member for the Murraylands  Multicultural Network of South Australia since 2008 and also a committee Member of the Filipino Settlement Council of South Australia since 2007. I also volunteer my time to the Murraylands Filipino Australian Association Inc from 2003 to 2017. Volunteering is one of my passion, also dancing, reading books, cooking, playing scrabble, walking and singing. Eager to learn other activities if bored.

Maria Batnag

Ambassador - South Australia

I am currently an Operations Manager, Hospitality Trainer & Assessor (14 years). I worked in the Hospitality Industry for 20 years and been in Australia for 28 years.
I get involve also in Community Events for Volunteers and my focus is to assist new Filipino Skilled Migrants and International students in South Australia. That is to provide trainings to new migrants to gain current Certificate and current experience for employment outcomes.

Ben - Hur Winter

Ambassador - South Australia

Ben-Hur Winter @wani_niyawa (he/his) is a dance research associate, producer and theatre maker who loves the beach, movies, travel and pasalubong (gifts) shopping. Ultimate dream role… global brand ambassador. Current endeavours include brand development for #thestylecollaborative; an in-schools dance education initiative (ACAP); community development support work; supply chain management research, event/fashion styling and and fashion entrepreneurship.

Susane Belkhiati

Ambassador - South Australia

I am very passionate about mental health and have worked as a coach/trainer and Resilience Practitioner in the Disability Sector for over 10 years.  I have a private business as well where we focus on Wellbeing which includes; meditation, yoga, massage as well as Wellbeing workshops.  I have been studying for a number of years around this subject and have almost complete my Bach Degree in Counselling (Coaching) - Placement + 2 subjects remaining. I have been involved in disability sports for over 8 years and assist with an annual Vision Challenge Run here in Adelaide which has been quite successful for the past 7 years.  I am the Australian Regional Ambassador for Women in Tri (promoting women of all ages/demographic/abilities into the sport of triathlon) and have had this role for 6 years. I have written training programs for people struggling with mental health and run them with highly successful outcomes.  My current place of employment is in the process of rolling out my Resilience Program as a Core company training program.  My vision is to see people with and without a disability working/training side by side without the stipulation of non-disability/ disability.

Gerald Santiago

Ambassador - South Australia

I am originally from the Philippines and have  moved to Australia to study. I am a Master of Social Work graduate with background in  human resource and customer relations. I have a keen interest in people’s mental health and how it can be improved. I believe that everyone deserves access to services to look after their wellbeing

Alexia Madhuvu

Ambassador - Northern Territory

My name is Alexia Madhuvu and I am 37 years of age. I have been living I Darwin for the past 7 years. I am originally from Zimbabwe. I work as a Senior Youth Mental Health Clinician. I am interested in becoming a Multicultural ambassador.  I have a social work background and I am interested in working with people of diverse cultures to empower them and instill some hope in their lives.

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