Meet the Team
President - Committee of Management
Naomi is a Wakka-Wakka Murri woman working in the Murri Court for the Department of Attorney General Queensland. She is a former Central Gippsland Client Services ‘Support Worker’ at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.
Naomi is heavily involved in community activities regarding Aboriginal health, sports, culture, and education including Aboriginal Women’s Group, Aboriginal Women’s dancing, NAIDOC, and social justice issues, such as Cultural Mentoring of Aboriginal women within the prison system.
In 2018 Naomi received the prestigious Emerging Leader Award from the Fellowhip of Indigenous Leadership. She has been a Woor-Dungin volunteer since 2016 and has had a major role in the Criminal Records Discrimination Project and the Aboriginal Ex-Offender Employment Project. She has been on the Committee of Management since 2018.
Secretary - Committee of Management
Peter has tertiary qualifications in science, information technology, and business administration. He is also a qualified navigator and has sailed some of the tamer oceans. After a 25 year career in the telecommunications and financial services industries, where he was a business analyst, planning manager, and contracts manager, Peter left it all behind to become a volunteer – as a board member of a number of not for profit organisations, a project manager, a member of government committees, a submission writer, and a funding seeker.
Treasurer - Committee of Management
Martin joined Woor-Dungin in early 2015 shortly after retiring to Australia. With a BA in Psychology from New York University an MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University and a Master’s in Health Care Administration from Long Island University, Martin had a 45 year career as a clinical psychologist in USA. This included working as the staff psychologist at a rural Native American Reservation. Martin became involved with Woor-Dungin after learning from his Australian born partner of the progress Australia has been making in rectifying its negative history with its First Peoples and wanting to be part of creating a more just society.
Committee of Management
Aunty Rieo Ellis
Aunty Rieo Ellis is a proud and staunch Waka/Bunjilung elder in the front line of the work of Grandmothers Against Removals in Victoria.
Grandmothers Against Removals is a grassroots group established in 2014 and led by Aboriginal grandmothers determined to put an end to trauma and anguish associated with the Stolen Generations. Aunty Rieo’s commitment to keeping kids safe and connected to mob is unshakeable. She joined Woor-Dungin’s Committee of Management in May 2022.
Committee of Management
Proud Wiradjuri and Yuin man from New South Wales, Shaun has a history in management, finance and advocacy. Throughout his career he has always maintained a commitment to community. He currently sits as Social and Emotional Wellbeing Manager at the Yoorrook Justice Commission and Strategic Policy, Advocacy and Communications Manager of Aboriginal Housing Victoria.Outside work and study, Grace mentors first-year law students to build their confidence, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Committee of Management
A proud Ngarrindjeri woman, Nicola grew up in Swan Hill and lived there with her children until moving to Bendigo in 2019. Nicola has worked for Department of Premier & Cabinet as an Aboriginal Community Development Broker and for Department of Justice & Community Safety as a LAJAC Project Officer and as RAJAC Executive Officer. Previously, Nicola was a Director for Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) for 3 years. She has much experience working and volunteering on community committees such as NAIDOC committees in Swan Hill and Bendigo, Aboriginal Community Justice Panel and Dhelk Dja Family Violence.
Committee of Management
Passionate about influencing social change toward an equitable society, Grace is pursuing a postgraduate degree in law. She is an advocate for human rights and wants to help Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations achieve their goals.
Grace’s professional background is in research, data analysis and data governance. She is currently working part-time. She recently led a team of five volunteers to collect and analyse data on criminal justice advocacy in Australia and is now learning about messaging and campaigning in her spare time.
Outside work and study, Grace mentors first-year law students to build their confidence, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Committee of Management
Zana is Executive Director of JobWatch, an independent, not-for-profit employment rights community legal centre. Over her 21 years at JobWatch, Zana has made a significant contribution as a strong advocate for workers’ rights, assisting more than 300,000 vulnerable workers and recovering more than $4 million in work entitlements.
A practicing lawyer and qualified mediator, Zana was admitted to practice in 1986 and is an experienced senior executive, board member, committee member, and mentor for young lawyers. In her spare time, Zana is an avid tennis player and is currently training a beautiful Cavoodle puppy called Percy.
Book-Keeper & Consultant
Denis is a consultant with expertise in IT sourcing, IT contracts, professional services management, manufacturing, and team and organisational improvement. With a variety of experiences gained over 30 years, Denis can be “a wise old man” for organisations of all kinds.
Denis worked for BlueScope Steel for six years, providing contract and commercial advice on IT and telecommunications. Previously he ran BHP IT’s systems integration business, a $A100m professional services business, with offices throughout Australia. Denis has also led an IT sales force, established a consulting practice, and managed a process manufacturing plant.
Denis is a volunteer mentor with Leadership Victoria and at Woor-Dungin is IT Mentor and volunteer bookkeeper.
Kirsty Sword Gusmão
Kirsty Sword Gusmão was born in Melbourne and was involved in the struggle for East Timorese independence in the 1980’s and 90’s. She founded the ALOLA Foundation, a not for profit organisation which strives to improve the lives of women and girls in Timor-Leste.
Kirsty joined the Woor-Dungin team in January 2022. She is proud to walk alongside peoples both in Timor-Leste and Australia who bear the scars of dispossession, disadvantage and discrimination and to contribute to Woor-Dungin’s objectives.
Zoe Lenton has been at Woor-Dungin since the beginning of 2022, as a volunteer. She has a Double Bachelors of Applied Public Health and Global Studies and a Diploma of Indigenous Community Development. Zoe hopes to use her formal qualifications coupled with her passion for equality, to help achieve equitable outcomes for all Australians.
When not trying to dismantle the structures that uphold systemic racism and inequality in Australia, Zoe can be found training for her sport aerobics competitions, in which she has competed at a national level, or going for a walk to get a coffee and pat the dogs she comes across.
Program Development Officer
Pia Cameron is co-founder of ‘the Gaia Temple’ holding workshops at the intersection of spirituality, ecology and activism. She has traveled the world teaching and studying eco village design, sustainability and alternative community governance. Her passion for First Nations Justice informs all of her work and she now studies community development with a minor in Aboriginal Yulendj (Knowledge) and Community at Victoria University. Pia joined the Woor-Dungin Team in Nov 2022 after volunteering as part of her University Placement.
Aunty Frances Bond
Aunty Frances Bond was an inspiration and a delight to all who knew her, ever ready to learn and to focus on making things better. As she said: “I’ve often thought that my energies are centred around healing and around helping people to achieve at their standard; setting goals and being able to heal themselves and achieve.”
Her goal was to educate and to heal, through every avenue she could find.
Aunty Frances was a proud Waka Waka/ Kukuyalanji woman whose grandfather’s Country was in Far North Queensland. She made Victoria her second home, having first visited with the Harold Blair Children’s Project for a holiday.
She spent her working life in Melbourne, undertaking much training to better herself and to better represent her people.
When she retired from paid work in 2003, she continued her voluntary work. This included Port Phillip Citizens for Reconciliation, Whitehorse Friends for Reconciliation, Eastern Indigenous Family Violence Network, Chairperson, Eastern Metropolitan Regional Action Group, Mullum Mullum Indigenous gathering Place, Ilbijerri Theatre Company and Woor-Dungin.
She was on the Board of the Ilbijerri Theatre group for 15 years. Always one to find opportunities to promote reconciliation, in 2005 she participated in the Indigenous Capacity Building Program run by the Reichstein Foundation.
She then became a member of the steering committee of The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Community and Philanthropy Project. This aimed to strengthen capacity and increase know-how and confidence within indigenous organisations, enabling them to better access the resources and support of the philanthropic community. This was a radical idea at the time, but she had the insight and persistence to see it through.
She regarded this program as special. The capacity building “was provided in a culturally safe environment that allowed everybody partaking in it to feel safe.” Her work on domestic violence had given Aunty Frances a strong perspective on “making sure people are safe: emotionally, culturally, and every which way.
As a Founding Member of Woor-Dungin in 2006, it was her strong preference that the term "Aboriginal" be used instead of "Indigenous". Woor-Dungin's purpose was to get funding for the priorities of aboriginal communities, not to undertake programmes to meet the objectives of governments or philanthropic organisations. As she said: “There was a real need for us to learn how to open the doors of communication... between the Aboriginal community and philanthropy.”
When Woor-Dungin experienced a financial crisis in 2012, even though she was challenged by cancer, she offered to raise funds by offering her services as a massage therapist and donating all funds to Woor-Dungin. She continued to be active throughout her final illness. She was inducted onto the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll on 29 April 2021.
Aunty Frances was patient –“it will take as long as it takes” and generous. She always made time for a yarn, particularly if you were feeling low.
She has left a legacy in the strong organisations that she founded or supported. Her work on reconciliation continues through those organisations, local communities are inspired to become strong in culture and health, and community spirit continues to grow.
Aunty Frances died on 19 August 2014 and was taken back to her own Country in Queensland.
Aunty Glenys Merry
Aunty Glenys was a dedicated and highly motivated Taungurung Elder who committed a large part of her life in building understanding, recognition, and pride in Aboriginal culture whilst proactively building knowledge of her clan through studies in genealogy.
Her studies were critical in identifying clans and helping people find their place
She was born and raised in Yea and in later years lived in Perth for a while with her own young family, working in the printing industry. She continued this work back in Victoria.
Aunty Glenys lived the later part of her life in Lilydale, and during those years, she frequented ‘Oonah’ an Indigenous Learning centre in Healesville, run by Swinburne University. She was prolific in her study over the years, undertaking much professional study to help with her work on Boards and Committees.
She was a member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee for Yarra Ranges Council for a great number of years, ensuring that council recognised and respectfully acknowledged Aboriginal culture and history in any protocols and projects. Aunty Glenys was part of the (then) Department of Health and Human Services Aboriginal Advisory Committee ensuring a cultural lens over the practices of the Department and as part of their programs and projects.
Apart from her ten year involvement with Swinburne Wurreker Committee, Aunty Glenys was also on the Healesville and District Aboriginal Co-operative Board, the Toor-rong Aboriginal Corporation, and was a founding member of Mirimbiak Nations Aboriginal Corporation (Native Title), which led to the establishment of the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
Aunty Glenys was the Founding member and Board member of Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Woor-dungin. HICSA (now Oonah Health & Community Services Aboriginal Corporation), the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, and GUMERIL.
Even as she aged, her activity never slowed. In 2005 she worked with her community to build a sustainable market garden at Toor-rong on the Maroondah Highway at Healesville. A weekly food bank followed.
Aunty Glenys passed away in February 2010.
I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman of Wuthathi, Mabuiag Island and Ambonese descent. I am a founding member of Woor-Dungin and will continue to be a member because I believe that support should be given to the Aboriginal communities in Victoria through philanthropic partnerships in order to grow and provide for our people those resources necessary to enhance life.
I am a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, although not a current member. Currently I am a life member of Oonah Gathering Place, located in outer-eastern Melbourne. I am a nurse/midwife/maternal and child health nurse by profession, having gained experience in management and clinical services across the ages. I coordinated the Aboriginal Health Team in the Outer Eastern Metro Region for 11 years and built up the Aboriginal workforce team.
I have successfully completed my PhD on Aboriginal Women’s Business. More recently I was humbled to be inducted into the prestigious 2016 Victorian Women’s Roll of Honour.
I have a passion for social justice and advocacy and I am a visionary and strategic planner. I would like to encourage philanthropic organisations and government departments to learn more about the resilience of Aboriginal people and the positive things that are happening in the communities throughout Victoria. I believe that Woor-Dungin showcases a model that could be duplicated throughout Australia.
In November 2016 Doseena was awarded a Churchill Fellowship.
Christa Momot is the Director of Momot Mentoring and, with Michael Bell, former CEO of Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, a Director of Mookeye and Momot Consulting. Until recently she was the Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator for the Rethinking Criminal Record Checks Project at the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University.
Christa was the Woor-Dungin Co-Chair from 2009 to 2012, the Executive Officer from 2013 to 2017 and Community Development Manager from 2013 to 2019. She co-ordinated the Criminal Record Discrimination Project and Aboriginal Ex-Offender Employment Project. These led to the Andrews Labor government passing the Victims and Other Legislation Amendment Bill and publicly stating their commitment to introducing spent conviction legislation.
Christa was the Executive Officer of the Reichstein Foundation from 2001 to 2012 and Executive Officer of the State-wide Women’s Community Housing Service from 1999 to 2001. She has more than 30 years of experience in community-sector management, together with policy and program development, advocacy, mediation, community development, teaching and mentoring experience.
In 2009, Christa was inducted into the Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres Honour Roll. The Roll was initiated to recognise people who have made a significant contribution to the Neighbourhood House sector. And in 2019, Christa was awarded the Southern Metropolitan NAIDOC Non-Indigenous Community Person award for her commitment, support and advocacy for and with Aboriginal people.
Anne Jenkins is a Kamilaroi woman from north-western New South Wales. She has worked with the Indigenous community in the Yarra Valley for 23 years, and is a former chair of Woor-Dungin’s Committee of Management.
Simone Spencer is a proud Barkindji woman, who grew up in Dareton, NSW, 15km north of Mildura. After completing school she studied a Bachelor of Social Science (in Justice Studies) at Charles Sturt University.
After leaving university Simone started work at the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation (now called Mallee District Aboriginal Services, or MDAS) as a family-support worker. Among her other roles at MDAS she was also a senior caseworker with the Prevention and Early Intervention Team and the Community Engagement Officer, which aimed to provide a cultural lens on MDAS’s policies, program development and service delivery. This work required liaison with key stakeholders and community, attending various meetings, groups, forums and any other networking functions.
Simone has long been a volunteer with the Mildura United Soccer Club and with the Coomealla basketball and netball teams, in various playing, mentoring and coaching roles and in holiday programs.
She has a great passion for culture, education, and empowering Aboriginal young people to become the next generation of leaders. She is especially passionate about leadership programs for young Aboriginal women. She believes our next generation of young Indigenous people have the capacity to stand up and be heard on what is needed for our culture and our families, to strive for a better and healthier future.
Her current work is with the Department of Education as a Koorie Engagement Support Officer supporting a number of schools in the Mildura area. The KESO facilitates engagement in communities between school, families, students, key stakeholders, and organisations to build and strengthen partnerships.
The primary aim is to build cultural awareness and develop partnerships between schools, Koorie students and families to enhance community engagement, learning and development. Some of this involves new perspectives in the current course structure, more involvement of Koorie families in the life of the school, and more recognition and celebration of Koorie cultural events during the school year.
Simone is a founding member of Woor-Dungin and a former vice chair, a journey that she acknowledges has been a great experience, and one which has changed her vision and direction in life.