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 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 – 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.

 

Management

Samantha Donaldson – Manager Business, 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.

 

 

Rana 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 – 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 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 – Gender Equity 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.

 

 

Abdullah 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.

 

 

 

Seral Fehmi – Lead Teacher  Project REAL

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Christie 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 Business, HR and Communications

Dhammika Jayawardene
Business Assistant

Natasha Downes
Business Assistant

Mark Rice IT Consultant

Mark Rice
IT Consultant

Training and Employment Team

Rana Tbaileh
Manager Training and Employment

Christie Sinclair
WorkConnect Coordinator

Jamil El Sabayn
Adult Education Officer

Fatme Al Rai
Adult Education Tutor

Nella Centorbi
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

Thaera Yonan
Administration Assistant

Melike Toprak
Girl’s Circle Facilitator

 

Broadmeadows Community Youth Justice Alliance Team

Abdullah Lary
BCYJA Coordinator and JVEN Second Chance Project Officer

Jacinta Horo
Case Manager

Fessoom Moynihan
Youth Engagement Officer

Monica Di Santo
Community Development Officer

Marmush Moynihan
Community Development Officer

Project REAL Team

Seral Fehmi Lead Teacher – Project REAL

Claire Mosley
Project REAL Teacher

Tash Alabakov
Youth Engagement Officer

Elizabeth Muldoon
Project REAL Teacher

Frazer McKinlay
Project REAL Teacher

Claudia Spinnler
Project REAL Family and Student Support Worker

Eric Dommers
Project REAL Strategic Consultant

Good People Act Now Team

Kelly Alexander
Gender Equity Coordinator

Georgia Ransome
Gender Equality Officer

Study Group Team

Aiming High VCE Support Team

Andrea Poblete Education Tutor

Andrea Poblete
Education Tutor

Social Cohesion Through Education

Community Development programs Team

Derya Secgin Great Young Movers Assistant Facilitator

Derya Secgin
Great Young Movers Assistant Facilitator

The Common Bean Cafe Team

Filiz Arslan
Cafe Trainee

Hansani Patabendige
Cafe Trainee

Nick Russell
Cafe Trainee

Facility Team

Puspa Acharya
Cleaner

Ambar Chhettri
Cleaner

Harry Sahin Hallkeeper

Harry Sahin
Hallkeeper