Aunty Carol Cooper has been the backbone of the reconciliation movement in the Blue Mountains for the past 20 years. She is a descendant of both the Gundungura people and the Darug people and generously shares her culture and understandings with a wide range of people from schools, community organisations and communities. She is a founding member of Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre (ACRC) and long term member of Blue Mountains People for Reconciliation.
Aunty Carol’s contribution is extensive and not limited to her own people. As well as volunteering for the ACRC, she also assists at Great Community Transport, Katoomba North School Koori Club, Upper Mountains Basketball Association and the Katoomba Winter Magic Festival. Aunty Carol is part of the Blue Mountains East Timor Sister’s project and was an invited delegate to the second International Women for Peace Conference in Dili, Timor-Leste in 2009.
Chancellor of Western Sydney University
Professor Peter Shergold has been the Chancellor of Western Sydney University since January 2011; his term was extended to December 2022.
Peter’s career is preceded by his distinguished academic path. In the Australian Public Service, Peter was a CEO for two decades, establishing the Office of Multicultural Affairs; he later served for five years as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In the not-for-profit field, Peter is Chair of the Crescent Institute and the AMP Foundation He was CEO of the Centre for Social Impact from 2008-2011 and is now its chair.
He is Chair of Opal Healthcare and Joblife. In 2014 Peter was appointed as Coordinator General for Refugee Settlement in NSW. He is also the Chair of the NSW Standards Authority
Award Winner, 2019
Matilda, a proud Wiradjuri woman, is devoted to increasing the educational opportunities and independence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities across health, employment, policy and reform sectors. She is a high achieving PhD student at Western Sydney University whose research aims to make meaningful change for all Australians, particularly First Nations communities. Matilda’s ongoing involvement with communities has led her to work in grassroots and peak body initiatives and institutions across local, state and national platforms.
Business & Community Leader
Jim’s career began as a teacher and Deputy Principal of a Catholic High School. Subsequently, he entered the financial services industry, now providing financial adviser soft-skill training and education and regularly speaking at conferences and seminars, in Australia and internationally.
In 2012 and 2013 respectively, Jim was appointed Adjunct Professor with Notre Dame University, Australia and Western Sydney University. He is actively involved in community activities, including the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal and Local Chambers of Commerce. Currently, Jim is Chairman of Mentor Education, and Chairman of APIC, a leading international educational organization. He is Deputy Chairman of Regional Development Australia for Sydney and sits on three separate council bodies in Western Sydney.
The Beauty Bank
As the 2016 NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year, Jen Armstrong was recognised for her advocacy work for victims of domestic violence and now works as an Operations Manager for a leading disability not-for-profit organisation, promoting inclusion and equality for all.
A survivor of domestic violence, Jen founded The Beauty Bank charity, inspired by the kindness expressed to her by her local community. Jen is a passionate advocate, motivating and educating others on the effects of domestic violence, the power of resilience and how everyone can change someone else’s world with a little effort.
Graduating from Western Sydney University in 2018, Jen understands the transformational power of an education at all stages of life.
Jen is committed to promoting and building relationships between government, business, and the community in her newly elected role of Sutherland Shire Councillor.
Oliver Zvinaiye Maboreke is a development practitioner of extensive experience, including in international development, youth work, community education and training. As Project Officer – Refugees, New and Emerging, at Western Sydney University, Oliver collaborates with new and emerging communities and stakeholders to promote access to higher education and scholarships; he created UniCampFire Chats – a successful refugee student-retention program. Originally from Zimbabwe, Oliver is actively involved as a leader with the Zimbabwean community, working with young people in community safety, wellbeing, mental health, sports and recreation, and music. He works on various community development initiatives, with Forward in Faith Ministries International.
Oliver works with the African-Australian community as an African Think Tank Board member and is a member of the AFAO National Reference Group on HIV/AIDS in Australia; he is currently also actively involved with the Sydney Alliance. Oliver has devoted much of his life to promoting an inclusive, respectful and consultative approach for Australian CALD Communities.
Oliver is actively involved with the Zimbabwean community as a leader working with young people in areas of mental health, Youth sports and recreation, as well as sexual health. He also works on various community development initiatives run through Forward in Faith Ministries International Western Sydney and NSW at large.
He is also involved with the African-Australian community as African Think Tank Board member and is a member of the AFAO National Reference Group on HIV/AIDS in Australia. Oliver has also held various roles with the Victoria Multicultural Commission, ECCV and is currently actively involved with the Sydney Alliance. Throughout his selfless community-oriented work, Oliver has devoted much of his life at promoting an inclusive, respectful and consultative approach for the Australian CALD Community. One of the highlights of his community work has been a part of the pioneering African Think Tank team to initiate the first African – Australian leadership Training program, which has been running since 2009. Oliver is currently working in the NSW Department of Family and Community Services Out of Home Care Program.
Pam Batkin has been CEO of Woodville Alliance since May 2010. Since then WA has developed new services and has expanded into new communities in response to community need. WA is also currently undertaking a number of innovative projects, including a number of social enterprises such as a digital employment business for school leavers with a disability. For the last few years WA has also been involved in a local campaign to reduce gambling harm and has participated in several local projects to educate and support local agencies and the community to be part of this campaign.
With extensive experience in leadership and senior management in the community sector and in local government, Pam was Chair of the Board of the peak Western Sydney policy and advocacy organisation, Western Sydney Community Forum for four years until 2020. Pam was also the President of the Board of the NSW community services, peak body, the Council of Social Services of NSW (NCOSS) from 2006 to 2010. These state and regional leadership roles reflect Pam’s strong professional commitment to social justice and to work at all levels for a fairer society.
Western Sydney Director,
Sydney Business Chamber
David Borger is the Executive Director of Business Western Sydney.
A passionate advocate for the growth of Western Sydney, David has been at the forefront of many high-profile advocacy efforts dedicated to bringing jobs to the region, keeping Western Sydney a competitive market for business, and championing the cultural, amenity and infrastructure investments required to provide our residents with a world-class place to work, live and entertain.
During his tenure at Business Western Sydney, David has been a key advocate for transformational projects including the approval of Western Sydney International Nancy Bird-Walton Airport, Powerhouse Parramatta, the Westmead and Liverpool Innovation Districts, the rejuvenation of Sydney Olympic Park, Parramatta Light Rail and West Metro.
Prior to this, David served as the Minister for Western Sydney, Minister for Housing, Minister for Roads, and Minister assisting the Minister for Transport and Roads in NSW Labor Governments. At 30 years of age, he was also the youngest person to hold the office of Lord Mayor of Parramatta where he served 3 separate terms.
David is currently a Director of Think Planners, Independent Chair of the Liverpool Innovation Precinct, a non-executive director on the boards of the NRMA and Evolve Housing, a Trustee of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Placemaking NSW Advisory Committee.
Australian Federation of Business
and Professional Women
Irene Ross is a consultant with many years of experience, working in both the community and private sectors and specialising in business growth, coaching, leadership development and events.
Irene is the BPW Australia NSW Representative, BPW Coordinator Global Compact Network Australia, Member of TAFE NSW- Western Sydney Institute Advisory Council, Facilitator Asian Australian Alliance and a member of the Western Sydney Collective Leadership Group, supporting collaboration between business, government, community organisations and academia to achieve better social and economic outcomes for people in Western Sydney.
Prior to establishing Irene Ross & Associates, Irene managed services targeting migrants; previously she sat on key committees, including Minister for Immigration Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (RRAC) and International Organisation for Migration.
Founding President, Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations
Cen‘s career spans over 40 years in teaching, guidance and counselling, employment services and community development. She is founding president of the dominant state body, Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc, President of Auburn Small Community Organisation Network Inc, Membership Development Chair of the multi-awarded Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd and served as a Board Member for Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.
Multiply-awarded and publicly recognised for her distinguished work as a community leader, capacity builder and Ambassador, Cen’s tireless endeavours promote social cohesion, inclusion and equality, in the hope that all people will one day live in peace and harmony. Cen derives most satisfaction in helping those in need and advocating for those who don’t have a voice. In retirement, Cen spends time volunteering in Filipino-Australian and CALD communities.
Lyall Gorman is the President of Business NSW, having served as a Board Director for the past seven years and Deputy President for the past two. He is also a Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and currently is CEO of Evolve Housing, who is one of Australia’s largest community housing providers.
He has over 35 years’ experience in senior management, project management and administration, in both the Public and Private sectors. He holds a Master’s Degree in Administration (UNSW) with majors in Finance, Organizational Culture and Change, Organisational Behavior, Statistics and Marketing.
Lyall was born in Griffith, NSW and has a passion for small business, mentoring emerging business leaders and aspirational youth while also figuring on the public speaking circuit in areas including Leadership, Building a Winning Culture, High Performance, Brand, Development, Consumer Engagement.
Mary Haiek has dedicated over 30 years of her life to helping the most vulnerable members of our community – children and young people. For the past 20 years, most of these in the Auburn Children’s Family Centre in Western Sydney, Mary has worked tirelessly to keep children and young people safe from abuse and neglect by supporting local families affected by poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction. Mary’s passion and commitment to achieving better outcomes for children, young people and families made Mary a treasured member of the Barnardos family and her local community. Mary has been Barnardos Auburn Centre Manager for the last 10 years and has served on Management Boards of various non-government organisations. Mary has a Bachelor of Social Work degree (Syd Uni) and is the proud mother of two young men.
Luke Penrith belongs to the Wiradjuri, Wotjobaluk, Yuin and Gumbaynggirr Nations of South Eastern Australia. He lives and works on his Grandmother’s country which is Wiradjuri country – the biggest Tribe in NSW. He is father to four deadly boys and a baby girl.
Luke is proud to look back on 15 years of work in Indigenous Affairs, in sporting, legal, employment and training industries. He is the owner of savvypennylink; a small business that he finds both challenging and rewarding. Through this, Luke shares his culture, community and family achievements with the wider community.
He passionate about being able to give back to communities through his work and business.