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Sarah Gunn

Sarah is an international award-winning innovator, disruptor, thought leader and crusader for a socially equitable world. Sarah is renowned for her ideas and achievements in setting new standards for socially and environmentally sustainable events in South Australia. 

Awards and Recognition

  • SheEO Australia Venture 2019 
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors Women’s Innovation Scholarship 2019 
  • Australia Day Women’s Award 2018 
  • Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Social Change Fellowship 2017 
  • Winnovation Entrepreneurs Awards finalist 2016 
  • Scholarship travel to South X South West Interactive Festival, Austin Texas 2016 
  • Most Innovative Social Enterprise Award at the Impact through Innovation award forum,  Austin Texas 2016 
  • New Venture Institute at Flinders University Golden eNVIe Scholarship Award 2015 

Roushan Walsh

Meredith Farmer

Meredith has worked at the AEU (Australian Education Union) for the past 9 years. Prior to that she was a Drama and Humanities teacher and leader in public schools for 20 years (mostly secondary but some primary). 

She has undertaken various roles at the AEU ranging from organising union members in worksites (schools, preschool and TAFE) to managing individual and workplace disputes as an industrial organiser. She has been acting Women’s Officer for the past 6 months and undertook this role for 3 months of last year. Most of the AEU’s members are women, and many are insecurely or underemployed. The AEU also covers lower paid classifications of school service officers, Early Childhood Workers and Aboriginal Education Workers. Meredith is a passionate advocate of working women. 

On a personal note, Meredith lives with her partner Dan and 2 “adult” daughters, one who is 22 and is currently undertaking her Masters (research) in Philosophy and another, aged 19 who is studying Early Childhood Education. Their furry family members are Archie the Border Collie and a feline called Antigone!  

Louise Firrell

Louise has worked in education and the union movement since 1972.

Her career began in earnest when she took up a teaching position at St Anthony’s school in 1972. She continued classroom teaching until 1988 when she began a Masters Degree in Information Technology and subsequently worked as a teacher librarian until she changed direction and began a part time training and organizing role with the Independent Education Union in 2003. She has been involved with the union as a workplace representative, executive member, vice president and subcommittee member since the union’s beginning in 1984. She participated in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project in 2002 and subsequently completed a Graduate Certificate in Mediation and a Graduate Certificate in Education Law. Her role changed to Assistant Secretary of the Union in 2012 which has involved in part, coordinating Enterprise Bargaining in the Lutheran Sector, currently the Catholic Sector, chairing the Women and Equity Committee, the BOLD Women and Leadership Program and the Professional Learning Program as well as coordinating the organizing team. 

On a personal note, she has three adult children, read when she can find the time, and works as a volunteer with Lifeline. 

Claire O’Connor SC

Claire O’Connor SC is a barrister who has been a lawyer in both the UK and Australia for over 40 years. 

  

She has worked in both the private and public sectors before going to the bar in 2005. She has worked in a community legal centre in the UK, at the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and at Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM)  in Adelaide as well as at Camatta Lempens lawyers. 

  

Claire was on the establishment then the management committee for many years with the Women’s Legal Service SA and was the chair for some years. She had been a member of the SA Law Society Council for almost a decade and served on the Diversity  Committee of Australian Law Council for a number of years representing SA.  

  

Claire established the Diversity Committee of the SA Law Society in 2019 and chaired the committee in its first year. 

  

Before going to the Bar in 2005 her career was mostly as a criminal defence barrister but she also – while at ALRM and LSC – worked  on the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody for families who had lost loved ones, on the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission for women who claimed secret women’s business over the island, for Bruce Trevorrow in his litigation over his unlawful removal from his family – still the only successful stolen generation case in Australia and for refugees and asylum seekers (including Ahmed Al Kateb who challenged his statelessness in the High Court and for Cornelia Rau who was awarded $2.5 million for her unlawful detention).  

  

Claire has, since going to the Bar,  been involved in further refugee cases including acting in the Manus Island class action, for many plaintiffs suing for harm over immigration detention and for the unwell in detention to get them into places of treatment.   

  

Further she has developed a practice in family law in particular for victims of domestic violence and coercive control. She has also acted in discrimination litigation (both gender and disability) in the State and Federal systems, and in inquests in SA and WA.  

  

She has just finished the inquest for the family of a prisoner who died in  Yatala which hearing went over four years, and acted for another Aboriginal family whose 25 year old daughter died while restrained by police in Perth. She acted for the families of the deceased in an inquest into the sinking of the SIEV 221 off the coast of Christmas Island. Almost all of her inquest work is done pro bono.  

  

Claire is currently on the fund raising board for the Spirit of Women project which seeks to have art places and memorials for women victims of domestic violence, is on the committee of SA Women Lawyers and drafted their response to legislative changes around coercive control and is on the committee of the South Australian Civil Liberties organisation. She was the chair for some years.  

  

Melissa Stokes

Melissa is a Mental Health clinician with a background in a range of disciplines, including finance, project management, policy and strategy writing, information and communication technology and small business management, both as a consultant in her own business and for a range of government and non-government organisations. 

She is a passionate feminist with a long history supporting and promoting feminism including working in teams that developed domestic violence risk assessment tools and the family safety framework.  As a strong believer in the power of positive psychology and its benefits in the workplace Melissa regularly participates in retreats and supports workers with effective mental health techniques. A life long learner committed to ongoing growth on a learning journey and when not studying enjoys gardening, cooking and beach walks.

Dr Suzanne Franzway

Suzanne Franzway is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of South Australia. 

She is motivated by the puzzles and passions of the politics of everyday life and social justice and is currently writing a co-authored book Courage in Tough Times: Feminist Activism and Labour Movements. She has also written on gendered violence, gender and engineering and the sexual politics of greedy institutions. She was president of the women’s Buddhist organisation, Sakyadhita Australia 2016-2019 and is a long- standing member of the Management Committee of the Working Women’s Centre, SA.

Wan Zhang

Wan is an accountant. She has a Master of Accounting and Finance from University of Adelaide, and also completed a Bachelor of Laws degree at Capital Normal University in China. 

Wan was a client of WWCSA as a victim of wage theft. Now she uses her experience to help people in a similar situation. 

She has a passion for social justice, politics, and intersectional feminism. Wan is also passionate about animals and the environment. She has rescued stray dogs and volunteered at animal rescue shelters in China. After moving to South Australia, she used to volunteer as a treasurer at Stroke SA Inc.  

Wan is now studying the CPA program, and hopes to become a Chartered Accountant soon. 

In her spare time, Wan likes to read books, do gardening and spend time with her dog. 

 

Isobel Montgomery

Isobel Montgomery is currently a Senior Policy Officer, working within the Domestic and Family Violence Policy Team at Office for Women SA. She formally worked in No to Violence’s national Policy and Research team, advocating to government on all matters related to working with family, domestic and sexual violence perpetrators and providing research support for several partnered projects on intimate partner sexual violence, intimate partner violence among older people and technology-facilitated abuse. Isobel has also previously worked for the South Australian Council of Social Service through providing research support on the Playford 10 program evaluation and coordinating the 2020 Here for SA campaign, and was formerly the Communications and Marketing Engagement Officer at Women’s Safety Service SA.

 

Isobel completed her MPhil in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford in 2021,  after being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2019. They are an intersectional feminist and a passionate advocate for the eradication of gender-based violence in all its forms, including within our workplaces, institutions and community settings.

Ann-Marie Hayes

Ann-Marie is presently the Director of AMH Consultancy & Facilitation providing strategic assistance focused on all aspects of organisational concerns from strategic planning, review of service delivery models, strategy and assisting with a variety of elements within management.

She was formally the Executive Director, Community & Family Services, Department of Human Services (DHS) until July 2021. In this role she oversaw: Safer Families Services, Office for Women, Communities and Justice and Community Services.

Ann-Marie’s previous role in DHS until March 2021 was Executive Director, Community & Family Services which was inclusive of Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) inclusive of research, planning and strategy development and implementation, and child safe environment and Community Services Directorate that supported policy development, funding and sector engagement across the youth, volunteers and multicultural portfolios, as well as carers and LGBTIQ interests. Community Services has a focus on capacity building to improve outcomes for people in South Australia and is responsible for delivery of community services on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, and metropolitan Aboriginal youth programs.

She has an extensive background in health and welfare services where she has worked in both the acute health sector, community-based health services and non-government services.

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