Our People

CRSA’s staff, board of directors and ambassadors draw on their breadth of experience and knowledge to implement the organisation’s vision.

Our Team

Lisa Button

Lisa Button

Chief Executive Officer

Lisa has been leading the work of CRSA and its predecessor, CRSI, since it was originally conceived in 2017. She began her career as a commercial lawyer and has been working in refugee law and policy for more than a decade with organisations such as the Centre for Policy Development, Save the Children and Refugee Legal. Lisa is also a Fellow with the Centre for Policy Development and a board member of the Cisarua Learning Inc and the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development (GLADP), both refugee-led charities working to support refugees in Australia and the region. Lisa holds a Masters in Public and International Law. Lisa lives in Melbourne and is the proud mum of three boys.

Nicole Watkins

Nicole Watkins

Community Development Manager

Nicole is a community development practitioner with ten years experience working in not for profit and government agencies. Nicole completed a Masters of Social Development from UNSW and has extensive experience working in the refugee sector with agencies such as Australian Red Cross and Settlement Services International. She is passionate about building community capacity to drive long lasting and sustainable change that delivers meaningful outcomes for the community.

Shabnam Safa

Shabnam Safa

Community Development Officer

Shabnam is a driven community development practitioner who is passionate about cultivating true partnerships between communities and structures of power and influence in addressing the complex challenges of forced migration and resettlement. Inspired by values-based leadership, advocacy, and her own lived experience, she has founded multiple initiatives in Australia and abroad supporting refugees and host communities. She has previously worked at the Centre for Multicultural Youth designing and delivering strengths-based capacity-building programs for migrant and refugee young people. Shabnam is the inaugural chairperson leading the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG), a refugee-led organisation that aims to create space for the voices of those with lived experience in key decisions, policies, advocacy, and public discourse about refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.

Our Board of Directors

CRSA’s Board currently comprises the following individuals.

Libby Lloyd AM

Libby Lloyd AM

Director & Chair

Libby has a strong background working with refugees and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1992 for her contribution to refugees and to the international community in Iraq and Kuwait. She co-founded the White Ribbon Foundation in 2007 and is currently patron of the Indigo Foundation and the Chair of CRSA’s board of directors.

Ali Reza Yunespour

Ali Reza Yunespour

Director

Ali Reza Yunespour works as Academic Internships Coordinator and Director of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His PhD thesis examines the political economy of Afghanistan’s higher education; and his research interests are education politics in fragile contexts and asylum seeker and refugee issues in Australia. He has extensive community development experience in conflict societies and has helped around 8,000 students in 22 rural schools in Afghanistan through his volunteer work with indigo foundation Australia. Previously, Ali Reza has worked in DFAT and as a lecturer at American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. Ali Reza was a People of Australia Ambassador in 2012 and 2013 and was awarded the National Volunteer Award for his works with refugees and migrants in Australia and his contributions to indigo foundation’s education programs in Afghanistan. Ali Reza arrived as a refugee in Australia in 2005.
Cindy Carpenter

Cindy Carpenter

Director

Cindy is an experienced management consultant who was a Principal and then General Manager Aust/NZ for the Boston Consulting Group before co-founding the consulting firm, Cast, in 2010. She thrives on using this experience and her MGA to help organisations achieve their boldest aspirations and has advised many corporates as well as not-for-profit and public sector organisations. In addition to her role as a director of CRSA she is Chair of The Bread & Butter Project, Australia’s first social enterprise artisan bakery, investing 100% of profits to provide training and employment pathways for refugees and asylum seekers. Cindy is also part-owner of the fine dining restaurants Pendolino and La Rosa in Sydney’s Strand Arcade, and is the proud Mum of three wonderfully creative sons.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director

Ian Smith is the founding partner of corporate and political advisory firm Bespoke Approach, working with national and international blue-chip companies. He is also a Senior Adviser to Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based strategy consultancy. Ian is deeply involved in refugee advocacy, chairing Barefoot to Boots, a charity assisting refugee camps and their host communities. He is a member of the University of South Australia Council. He became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2018. He is married to former Senator and Ambassador Natasha Stott Despoja and they have two children, Conrad and Cordelia.

Our Ambassadors

We are grateful for the public and behind-the-scenes support of the following esteemed individuals.

Professor Peter Shergold AC

Professor Peter Shergold AC

Peter led a government-commissioned independent inquiry into Integration, Employment and Settlement Outcomes for Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants in Australia in 2019. He is currently the Coordinator General for Refugee Settlement in NSW and Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney.

Watch Peter Shergold on Community Refugee Sponsorship

Nyadol Nyuon

Nyadol Nyuon

Nyadol is an Australian lawyer and human rights advocate, who was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, of a family fleeing the Second Sudanese Civil War. She currently works for the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety and is also a writer, speaker and media commentator. In addition to her role with CRSA, she is Chair of The Harmony Alliance.

Andrew Kaldor AM

Andrew Kaldor AM

Andrew arrived in Australia in 1948 as a refugee from Hungary. He went on to become a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist and, together with his wife Renata, established the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales.

Watch Andrew Kaldor on Community Refugee Sponsorship

Phoebe Wynn-Pope

Phoebe Wynn-Pope

Phoebe is a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector. She has worked extensively with government, business, academia, the media and the public to promote human rights and develop excellence in humanitarian practice. She is currently Head of Business and Human Rights at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Watch Phoebe Wynn-Pope on Community Refugee Sponsorship

Tim Costello AO

Tim Costello AO

Tim is the Chairman of the Community Council of Australia. He is Director of Micah Australia and a Senior Fellow for Centre for Public Christianity. He is well known as a leading spokesperson on social justice issues including problem gambling and homelessness.

Watch Tim Costello on the Role of Faith Communities in Community Refugee Sponsorship

Om Dhungel

Om Dhungel

Om, a former engineer, is now a consultant and a practitioner of Strength-Based Approach to refugee settlement and community engagement, offering his services as a trainer, mentor and a speaker. A Graduate and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he is currently a Director on the Board of Asylum Seeker Centre, a Member of NSW Police Multicultural Advisory Council and has served on a number of other boards. Formerly a refugee from Bhutan, Om is the founding President and currently a senior member of the Association of Bhutanese in Australia (ABA) Sydney. Om is a recipient of the 2017 University of Technology Sydney (UTS) International Alumni Award and 2016 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

Watch Om Dhungel on Community Refugee Sponsorship

Arash Bordbar

Arash Bordbar

Arash Bordbar is a former Refugee originally from Shiraz in Iran. Arash is the Co-ordinator of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council and is also currently working with the CMRC as a Youth Employment and Enterprise Officer. He has just finished his Bachelor of Civil Engineering(Hons). Arash is the Chair of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). He was awarded the Young People’s Human Rights Medal in 2016 for his advocacy on human rights in Australia and the Asia Pacific, chosen to be an Australian Ambassador since 2018 for Australia Day.