Chief Executive Officer
Lisa has been leading the work of CRSA and its predecessor, CRSI, since she instigated its establishment in 2018. 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 has been a director of a number of refugee-led organisations. Lisa holds a Masters in Public and International Law in addition to her BA/LLB(Hons) from the University of Melbourne. Lisa is one of the seven members of the Settlement Advisory Council advising the Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. She lives in Melbourne and is the proud mum of three boys.
National Program Director - CRISP
Romy has a Master of Social Work, a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, and has worked extensively with people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including with Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre, Australian Red Cross, AMES Australia and the Legal Aid Scheme in Ghana. She is a proud mother of two and is driven by the sheer joy of welcoming people with refugee experiences to Australia, and the opportunity to harness the enormous contributions that this resilient cohort can offer to Australian society.
National Manager - Community Partnerships & Engagement
Blaise was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sadly the 1996 war in DRC forced Blaise and his family to flee and for the next decade and a half, Blaise and his family called a Refugee Camp home. Blaise migrated to Australia in 2011 and he’s a proud Australian citizen. He has extensively worked on assisting newly arrived migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum in their settlement journey in Australia. Blaise has over ten years of experience in Community Engagement and Development with a particular interest in community capacity building and mobilisation and has held various roles with local and International NGOs including Access community services Ltd, SSI, and WorldShare.
Program Support Officer
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.
Community Development Training Lead
National Policy & Advocacy Advisor
Vivienne has more than 15 years of experience in forced migration policy advocacy, research, and program implementation in the Asia Pacific region. She has worked with diverse groups inside and outside of government to develop and implement complex strategies to support migration policy reform. In her previous roles at the International Detention Coalition and Asylum Access, and as former chair of the Immigration Detention Working Group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, Vivienne has led advocacy and research initiatives on migration governance, immigration detention, and alternatives to detention at the regional and global levels. Vivienne holds a Law degree from the University of Cardiff, Wales, and a Masters in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Prior to joining the humanitarian sector, she practiced as a corporate finance lawyer for Clifford Chance LLP in London and Thailand.
CRISP Community Liaison Officer
CRISP Community Liaison Officer
Kash joins the CRSA Team with 8 years of experience in refugee protection and casework support for people seeking asylum in Australia and internationally. After completing a Master of International Development at La Trobe University Kash worked as a Family Reunification caseworker in Northern Greece and as an Operations and Protection Officer on Lesvos Island. Kash also worked at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in the Detention Rights Advocacy Program where she provided complex casework support for families and individuals held on Nauru and Papua New Guinea throughout their time offshore, and during their medical evacuations. Kash also lectures for the Diploma and Bachelors of Community Services at Stotts College in Melbourne and provides student placement liaison support. Kash is dedicated to the refugee sector in Australia and believes in making our community stronger through education, student placement opportunities, and partnerships with key stakeholders and everyday Australians.
Our Board of Directors
CRSA’s Board currently comprises the following individuals.
Director & Chair
Noel has extensive experience in asylum seeker and refugee program implementation, advocacy and policy. He’s sat on Ministerial Advisory Councils, presented to Senate Select Inquiries and has implemented programs at scale including humanitarian settlement services, immigration detention monitoring, and asylum seeker community care. He was a co-chair of the Global Red Cross Movement’s Migration Leadership Platform and has worked on migration issues at local, national, regional and global levels.
A critical thinker, Noel looks to unpack organisational and community issues to shape strategic and tactical responses. He has substantial experience in building effective relationships and collaborative partnerships.
Noel is a qualified Social Worker (PIT 1988) and holds a Masters in Social Policy (RMIT 2000).
Dr Ali Reza Yunespour
Ali Reza Yunespour works as Academic Internships Coordinator in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He has completed his PhD in International and Political Studies at UNSW Canberra in which he studied admission practices in Afghanistan’s higher education and their ensuing (in)equities. Ali Reza’s 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, since 2007, has helped around 10,000 students in 45 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.
Achol is Chairperson of the Perth African Nations Sports Association (PANSA), a not-for-profit sports organisation concerned with the development, promotion and implementation of sporting programs and pathways for African Australians who have made Western Australia their new home. She is a super-connector of people from all perspectives, experiences and cultures and is highly skilled in fostering partnerships between community organisations to support the delivery of meaningful and beneficial community programs. Achol holds a Diploma of Business from Australis College and a Bachelor of Business, Sports Management from Edith Cowan University.
Cindy also Chairs the advisory groups supporting two refugee-led social enterprises, Aunty’s Ginger Tonics and CommUnity Construction Group, convenes a knowledge sharing group of about fifteen refugee-focused social enterprises, and sits on the work-integrated-social enterprise Hub to promote payment for outcomes models. She is also a Director on the Board of Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, and coordinator of a neighbourhood group mentoring two young refugees.
Cindy sits on the National Judging Panel for Westpac Foundation’s Social Change Fellowship and is a member of the Steering Committee for the RISE program that connects business mentors to social enterprises impacted by COVID-19.
Cindy was a Principal strategy consultant and then General Manager Aust/NZ for the Boston Consulting Group before co-founding the consulting firm, Cast, 12 years ago. She thrives on helping organisations achieve their boldest aspirations and has advised many corporates as well as not-for-profit and public sector organisations. She has an MBA from AGSM where she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship, with an exchange to the Wharton School of Finance in University of Pennsylvania.
Ian Smith AM
In Australia Cam has worked in Parish, School, and University contexts and has seen great synergies between these in caring for the homeless (Lismore Soup Kitchen), supporting those in the wider community (Anglicare Central Queensland, and Anglicare Southern Queensland), and assisting those who come to Australia as refugees through community-based settlement (Sanctuary-Northern Rivers; Sanctuary-CQ; Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Service).
Now based in multi-cultural Toowoomba Cam is very much aware that regional and rural communities are fantastic places for refugees to find welcome and friendship, education and employment, and ultimately… a new sense of ‘home’.
We are grateful for the public and behind-the-scenes support of the following esteemed individuals.
Professor Peter Shergold AC
Libby Lloyd AO
Former Director & Chair
Libby has a strong background working with refugees. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2022 for her distinguished service to the community, particularly to women and refugees, through a range of social welfare initiatives. This followed her earlier appointment as 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.