Our Board

A blonde woman with a big smile.

Sam Lilly - Director

Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition
Master of Disability and Inclusion

Appointed to the Board November 2019 and re-appointed in November 2022.

Governance and Membership and Engagement Committee member.

Samantha is a diversity and inclusion practitioner and a Member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council. She is currently researching community sports for women and girls with disability from a human rights perspective.

Elyse Cox (they/them) - Co-Chair

M.A.- Arts & Cultural Management

M.F.A.- Choreography & Performance 

B.F.A.- Dance 

Appointed to the Board in February 2022. Membership and Engagement and Executive Committee member. Appointed as Co-Chair from December 2022.

Elyse is a queer disabled arts professional who is passionate about inclusive spaces and accessible design. They bring to the Board skills in development, fundraising, and marketing. Their work in queer, disability, and arts communities advocates that inclusion is both a physical and emotional experience.

A smiling woman with long curly hair leaning over a black labrodor.

Alex Holland​ - Board Secretary

Appointed to the Board October 2021. Executive and Governance Committee member.

Alex is a young woman living with disability in regional Victoria. Alex has had the opportunity to work in various roles and organisations, including the Centre for Workplace Leadership, the Melbourne Disability Institute, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Specialist Disability Accommodation Alliance. Alex is currently practicing as a lawyer at the Transport Accident Commission.

A smiling woman with short blonde hair and a pinstriped shirt, outdoors in a park.

Helena Jordan - Director

M.A. Public Policy

B.A. Arts and Global Studies

Appointed to the Board October 2021. Governance, Membership and Engagement and Brenda Gabe Leadership Committee member.

Helena is a public servant, currently working as a Senior Policy Advisor. She has experience in both not-for-profit and private sectors domestically and internationally. Her previous experiences have led her to support organisations working within areas of impact investing, consultancy, women’s financial empowerment, gender-based violence, refugee family services and affordable housing.

A black and white image of a smiling white woman in a pale collared shirt with medium-length hair.

Julia Manning - Vice Chair

Appointed to the Board in November 2022.

Executive, Finance and Risk and Membership and Engagement Committee member.

Julia Manning is a new board director with more than 10 years’ experience in the public and charity sectors. Julia is a conciliator at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission where she helps people to resolve complaints of discrimination under the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act. Julia also chairs the Commission’s disability network and is a member of the VPS Enablers Network’s leadership team. In addition, she is undertaking a Master of Disability and Inclusion at Deakin University and is a member of the Deakin Disability and Inclusion Advisory Board.

Julia is passionate about accessibility of services for people with speech, language and/or communication needs. She is skilled in quality improvement, service delivery, strategy and policy, organizational auditing and governance.

Marlena Raymond - Co-Chair

Admitted to practice (2020), Juris Doctor (2018), Bachelor of Arts (2012)

Appointed to the Board in November 2022.

Governance and Executive Committee member. Appointed as Co-Chair from March 2023.

Marlena is a new board director. Her professional experience includes disability research at Melbourne Law School and the Centre for Workplace Leadership, The University of Melbourne, and systemic advocacy at the Office for the Public Advocate. She is now a Senior Policy and Programs Advisor at the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector, where she takes an intersectional feminist view of discrimination on the basis of gender and other protected attributes. Marlena is passionate about dignity and respect for all people, in all areas of life, all of the time.

Board member Maggie Toko. Maggie is smiling at the camera and wearing a white shirt with a blue patterned cardigan.

Maggie Toko - Director

Appointed to the Board November 2023

Advanced Diploma in Management

Maggie spent 5 years teaching indigenous students the Diploma of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs at RMIT University flying in and out of the Northern Territory. During this time she also worked as a consumer consultant and a team leader of youth residential centres for cohealth. Maggie went on to be the CEO of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) the peak consumer organisation in Victoria. Maggie is now the consumer commissioner for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. In Maggies spare time she is a member of schizy inc and performs stand up comedy.

Photo of Talitha, looking at the camera and smiling, wearing red lipstick, a black top and hair out.

Talitha Travers - Director

Talitha is a queer, disabled woman living in regional Victoria. She has 10+ years of lived and professional experience in Advocacy, Family Services, NDIS, reforms and violence against women.

Talitha currently works as the Family Violence Disability Practice Leader for Centre for Non Violence. Talitha is passionate about creating awareness and capability of all workforces to understand the intersect of Family Violence and Disability, and create change at both a practice level and systemically, to reduce barriers and system gaps for women with disabilities to receive and engage in family violence services. Talitha also supported the disabled community to make submissions to the Disability Royal Commission and is driven to be part of the much needed reform for people with disabilities.

Talitha champions providing a disability lens to all contexts and spaces that she works within, primarily in the violence prevention space. She strives for a world that is inclusive and free of gender based violence so we can enjoy environments that are welcoming and safe for all women.

Talitha is a strong disability advocate that works to create spaces, challenge attitudes and barriers to empower and celebrate the disabled community, with a strong emphasis on elevating disability pride for women.

a photograph of Emily Unity, a young, non-binary, Asian disabled person, pictured smiling wearing a black blazer with pride pins.

Emily Unity - Director

Emily Unity is an award-winning mental health advocate, software engineer, and creative designer. They currently hold roles as a Board Director, consultant, project manager, facilitator, and ambassador.
Emily is informed by their intersectional lived and living experiences. This includes mental ill-health, disability, LGBTQIA+, multiculturalism, neurodivergence, homelessness, family violence, and more.

Emily currently is the Lived Experience Lead with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Metaverse Project Manager with Meta, Board Director with Scope Australia and Midsumma, and a Consultant with UNICEF, Headspace, Beyond Blue, and more. Emily also has founded initiatives to address system gaps, including Multicultural Minds, a multicultural mental health awareness platform.

For their work, Emily was recently awarded 25 Under 25, 30 Under 30, Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Youth of the Year, the Disability Leadership Award, Innovation in Protecting Children Award, Children and Youth Empowerment Award, and inducted in the inaugural cohort of the Multicultural Honor Roll.

Photo with dark grey background. Woman of South-East Asian descent smiling, with shoulder length brown hair swept to one side and wearing a plain white shirt.

Kalpana Raj - Treasurer

Qualifications: BCom – Finance & Management, CPA

Kalpana is a corporate finance professional with over 20 years of industry experience across FMCG, Medical, Agribusiness, and Media. She is CPA qualified and skilled in strategy, treasury management, financial planning, commercial negotiations, digital finance, change implementation, and team engagement.

Her lived experiences and intersectionality as a migrant woman of colour, stigma around women’s health, invisible disabilities, while navigating career advancement are her strengths that provide diversity of thought.
She is a passionate advocate of mental wellbeing, women’s health and empowerment, and creating a fair, safe and inclusive environment for all.