Our People

Banksia Gardens Community Services continues to impress with its track record of excellence in the delivery of community programs. The organisation’s work has been recognised both at a state and national level. This relatively small but dynamic organisation has managed to recruit some of the most inspiring and dedicated staff, who help to attract a wide range of local residents to get involved in the services offered.

Critical to the success of the organisation is the quality and commitment of its 40+ staff, who gather 290 years of experience in community development and education, speak 12 languages and who have allowed Banksia Gardens to partner with dozens of organisations of varying types and sizes over the last 10 years. The following section provides a summary of the skills and experience that the Banksia Gardens team bring to work every day.

Executive Management

Gina-Dougall-sml

Gina Dougall GAICD – Chief Executive Officer

BA Recreation, Dip Education, Dip Business Management, Dip Counselling

Gina brings extensive community, health and leadership experience to her role as CEO of Banksia Gardens Community Services. Her background has been in recreation management, community health and juvenile justice. Prior to commencing at Banksia Gardens in 2001, Gina spent seven years living in Alice Springs where she was employed as Manager for Education and Training for Family Planning Northern Territory. Her role included much remote area work with Indigenous Australians. Her goal is to grow Banksia Gardens Community Services into the most innovative community services organisation in Victoria. In 2017, Gina graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jaime-de-Loma-Osorio-Ricon-smlJaime de Loma-Osorio Ricon – Deputy Chief Executive Officer

M.Sc. Applied Physics, Master of Engineering

Jaime has had a long association with Banksia Gardens, where he started volunteering as a mathematics tutor a decade ago. In his role, Jaime has been responsible for the establishment of many of the organisation’s current programs and he played a pivotal role in the redevelopment of the organisation’s headquarters. Jaime’s interests are quite diverse and include social and environmental issues, science and languages. Jaime has been a volunteer translator with Greenpeace International for over 11 years and has sat on a number of not-for-profit boards.

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Management

Samantha-Donaldson-smlSamantha Donaldson – Manager Administration, HR and Communications

Adv Dip Business Management

Samantha came to Banksia Gardens in late 2000 as a work for the dole participant, and quickly became the Administration Assistant. To her current role, Samantha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her 17 years in the community sector. With a strong passion for graphic design, her self-taught skills are put to use at Banksia. Samantha loves reading, architecture and interior design. Outside of work, she is a proud mum to two boys.

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Rana-Tbaileh-smlRana Tbaileh – Manager Training and Empoyment

PhD Engineering, Adv Dip Business Management, Cert IV TAE, Cert IV TESOL

Rana was first involved in Banksia Gardens as a volunteer tutor, soon becoming a Project Coordinator in the Community Development Department. Working at Banksia Gardens has allowed Rana to pursue her passion in the education and teaching field, demonstrated through her role as an adult education trainer and extensive experience, which led her to her current role. Rana enjoys the friendly, supportive and team spirit that shines at Banksia Gardens, and is looking forward to future developments, both personally and professionally through her career.

Michael-Mansour-smlMichael Mansour – Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Coordinator

Master of Social Science (International Development), Bachelor of Electrical Engineerig

Michael is a community development practitioner with a background in engineering. Before joining Banksia Gardens, Michael was a project and community development worker in Sudan for three years, working with marginalised and ethic groups in the education, health and social sectors. Michael also volunteered in several community development projects in Egypt, Philippines and Australia. His practice is influenced by participatory principles and approaches to development. His strong passion for social justice led him to participate in the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. Michael loves reading, travelling and connecting with people from different backgrounds.

Edgar-Caballero-smlEdgar Caballero Aspe – Education and Youth Development Coordinator

PhD Philosophy, Master in Sciences (Environmental Biology), Grad Cert Marine and Coastal Sciences, Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Edgar has a strong background in education and biological sciences. He has many years of experience teaching and working with multicultural youth from Mexico, the United States and Australia. Edgar complete his PhD in Environmental Education, researching his interest in creating innovative and educative experiences and opportunities for young people. He is part of a network of emerging environmental leaders after participating in the ‘Global Environmental Summer Academy’ in Switzerland. He loves speaking languages, like his native Spanish, bout different cultures of the world and sharing his Mexican food skills. Edgar also has a moving background that includes acrobatics and dance, and firmly believes that movement and creative expressions are essential elements for learning.

Kelly-Alexander-smlKelly Alexander – Community Development Projects Coordinator

BA Women’s Studies, Dip Youth Work, MA Creative Arts (Choreography)

Kelly began volunteering with Banksia Gardens in 2012 and in her current role oversees the organisation’s community development projects, including Good People Act Now, Girls Circle and Boys Zone. Kelly has a long history of working with young people in the arts and social justice, and is a passionate feminist. In her spare time Kelly is learning how to build things out of wood.

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Abdullah-Lary-smlAbdullah Lary – BCYJA Coordinator and JVEN Second Chance Project Officer

Bachelor of Social Sciences (Public Policy and Research)

Abdullah joined the team in 2016 and comes with eight years corporate experience within the debit and hardship sections of the banking industry, undertaking various roles within quality assurance and leadership. His community service background includes a speciality in drug and alcohol as a Senior Counsellor and Education and Activities Coordinator working in an adult drug and alcohol withdrawal unit. Abdullah strongly believes in self-empowerment and advocacy framework and is passionate about supporting people to grow to their full potential. He enjoys working with individuals, families and communities from all backgrounds and walks of life, sharing our experiences and stories. Abdullah coordinates the Broadmeadows Community Youth Justice Alliance program and also works with the Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) Second Chance Program.

Georgina-Wheeler-smlGeorgina Wheeler – Youth Pathways Coordinator

Bachelor of Health Sciences (Public Health) and International Development

Georgina’s involvement at Banksia Gardens began in early 2015 as a volunteer assisting with the development of social enterprise initiatives. Georgina oversees the Youth Transitions Program where she supports young people from recently arrived refugee and migrant backgrounds to transition into training and employment opportunities. In her spare time, Georgina loves travelling learning languages and being immersed in other cultures.

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Vyvyan-Stranieri-smlVyvyan Stranieri – Project REAL Re-engagement Educator

BA Cinema Studies, B.Ed. (Women’s Studies/Multicultural Ed). Dip Ed (Secondary), Grad Dip (Visual Art), current M.Ed (Arts Engagement)

Vyvyan is an arts/screen educator and community artist/storyteller with a passion for working with young people. Her practice belief is to empower young people to become literate, sassy, intelligent content creators and consumers of content. Committed to encouraging and supporting young people to experience the arts and storytelling practices who might not otherwise be engaged. She applies a proud and strong social justice lens alongside a trauma informed/neuroscience practice. Her belief is that participating in visual arts processes is intensely rewarding for well-being, self-efficacy and citizenship.

Christie-Sinclair-smlChristie Sinclair GAICD – WorkSkills Coordinator

Dip Frontline Management, Cert IV TAE, Cert Training and Development, Cet Effective Personal Leadership, Cert HR Management

Christie came to Banksia Gardens in 2016 on a work for the dole program. He has had a vast and varied background and brings a wealth of experience, including two decades in the entertainment industry, leadership, human resources and senior management roles, and 10 years as a self-employed learning and development consultant where he designed and facilitated learning programs for thousands of participants. Christie is also considered to be extremely hands on which gives him the ability to build just about anything. In his spare time he enjoys music, computers and spending time with family, especially jamming with his son.

 

Business Services team

Samantha Donaldson Manager Administration, HR and Communications

Samantha Donaldson
Manager Administration, HR and Communications

Dhammika Jayawardene Administration Assistant

Dhammika Jayawardene
Administration Assistant

Natasha Harby Administration Assistant

Natasha Harby
Administration Assistant

Colin Dashwood Bookkeeper

Colin Dashwood
Bookkeeper

Mark Rice IT Consultant

Mark Rice
IT Consultant

Training and Employment team

Rana Tbaileh Manager Training and Employment

Rana Tbaileh
Manager Training and Employment

Christie Sinclair WorkSkills Coordinator

Christie Sinclair
WorkSkills Coordinator

Jacinta Horo Engagement Officer

Jacinta Horo
Engagement Officer

Jamil El Sabayn Adult Education Tutor

Jamil El Sabayn
Adult Education Tutor

Fatme Al Rai Adult Education Tutor

Fatme Al Rai
Adult Education Tutor

Amin Soufi Adult Education Tutor

Amin Soufi
Adult Education Tutor

Nella Centorini Adult Education Tutor

Nella Centorini
Adult Education Tutor

Mathew Colbourn Adult Education Tutor

Mathew Colbourn
Adult Education Tutor

Miriam Johnson Adult Education Tutor

Miriam Johnson
Adult Education Tutor

Kenley Court Neighbourhood House team

Michael Mansour Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Coordinator

Michael Mansour
Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Coordinator

Thaera Yonan Administration and Community Worker

Thaera Yonan
Administration and Community Worker

Igor Pejic Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic
Youth Engagement Officer

Melike Toprak Girls Circle Facilitator

Melike Toprak
Girls Circle Facilitator

Broadmeadows Community Youth Justice Alliance team

Abdullah Lary BCYJA Coordinator and JVEN Second Chance Project Officer

Abdullah Lary
BCYJA Coordinator and JVEN Second Chance Project Officer

Jacinta Horo Engagement Officer

Jacinta Horo
Engagement Officer

Channa De Silva Youth Engagement Officer

Channa De Silva
Youth Engagement Officer

Ashley Chant Youth Engagement Officer

Ashley Chant
Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic
Youth Engagement Officer

Project REAL team

Vyvyan Stranieri Project REAL Re-engagement Educator

Vyvyan Stranieri
Project REAL Re-engagement Educator

Claire Mosley Project REAL Teacher

Claire Mosley
Project REAL Teacher

Tash Alabakov Youth Engagement Officer

Tash Alabakov
Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic
Youth Engagement Officer

Good People Act Now team

Kelly Alexander Community Development Projects Coordinator

Kelly Alexander
Community Development Projects Coordinator

Channa De Silva Youth Engagement Officer

Channa De Silva
Youth Engagement Officer

Olivia Trounce Youth Engagement Officer

Olivia Trounce
Youth Engagement Officer

 

Study Group team

Edgar Caballero Education and Youth Development Coordinator

Edgar Caballero
Education and Youth Development Coordinator

Elizabeth Pejin Education and Youth Development Officer

Elizabeth Pejin
Education and Youth Development Officer

Jonathan Chee WPI and Aiming High Coordinator

Jonathan Chee
WPI and Aiming High Coordinator

Chun Liang Education Tutor

Chun Liang
Education Tutor

Channa De Silva Youth Engagement Officer

Channa De Silva
Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic Youth Engagement Officer

Igor Pejic
Youth Engagement Officer

Beltana Handy Youth Engagement Officer

Beltana Handy
Youth Engagement Officer

Narelle Kennedy Youth Engagement Officer

Narelle Kennedy
Youth Engagement Officer

 

Aiming High VCE Support team

Jonathan Chee WPI and Aiming High Coordinator

Jonathan Chee
WPI and Aiming High Coordinator

Chun Liang Education Tutor

Chun Liang
Education Tutor

Andrea Poblete Education Tutor

Andrea Poblete
Education Tutor

Lauren White Education Tutor

Lauren White
Education Tutor

Social Cohesion Through Education

Naomi Brouwer SCTE Engagement Officer

Naomi Brouwer
SCTE Engagement Officer

Tash Alabakov Youth Engagement Officer

Tash Alabakov
Youth Engagement Officer

Community Development programs team

Georgina Wheeler Youth Pathways Coordinator

Georgina Wheeler
Youth Pathways Coordinator

Nicole Blyth Family Learning Partnership Coordinator

Nicole Blyth
Family Learning Partnership Coordinator

Carmel Locaso Second Chance Project Officer

Carmel Locaso
Second Chance Project Officer

Sheena Mathieson Disability Programs Facilitator

Sheena Mathieson
Disability Programs Facilitator

Anne Pavlovic Great Young Movers Facilitator

Anne Pavlovic
Great Young Movers Facilitator

Derya Secgin Great Young Movers Assistant Facilitator

Derya Secgin
Great Young Movers Assistant Facilitator

Anastasia Bellofiore Yoga Instructor

Anastasia Bellofiore
Yoga Instructor

The Common Bean Cafe team

Jean Paul Cardonne The Common Bean Cafe Supervisor

Jean Paul Cardonne
The Common Bean Cafe Supervisor

Beltana Handy Cafe Trainee

Beltana Handy
Cafe Trainee

Kamila Akrami Cafe Trainee

Kamila Akrami
Cafe Trainee

Nick Russell Cafe Trainee

Nick Russell
Cafe Trainee

Salmo Said Cafe Trainee

Salmo Said
Cafe Trainee

Facility team

Puspa Acharya Facility Maintenance

Puspa Acharya
Facility Maintenance

Amber Chhetri Facility Maintenance

Amber Chhetri
Facility Maintenance

Harry Sahin Hallkeeper

Harry Sahin
Hallkeeper