Emma Sydenham – Interim CEO
Emma has almost two decades of experience working in international human rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law, research and policy. She has previously worked at SNAICC for six years in the roles of Policy and Research Manager and then Deputy CEO. She has a Master of International Law and International Protection of Human Rights and a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts.
Yanee Myint – Finance Support
Yanee is Finance Support with SNAICC.
Tanya Wells – Administrative Coordinator
Tanya is the Administrative Coordinator with SNAICC.
Judith McKay-Tempest – Early Years Training Coordinator
Judith is a Wiradjuri woman with a Bachelor of Education (Adult Education) and Certificate IV in training and assessment.
She has over 20 years’ experience working in early years education and care both in mainstream and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations. She has participated in various reference groups for example the Ministerial Advisory Council for Child Care and Early Learning, and the Indigenous Professional Support Unit Alliance both nationally and at state-level.
Judith currently coordinates the Early Years Training at SNAICC. She believes that a greater understanding and collaboration between early years school teachers and families will result in better outcomes for all children.
Eva Ruggiero – Senior Training Officer
Eva has experience in providing program management and workforce development support for frontline workers of family and community services programs. Eva focuses her support on building the capacity and confidence of human services workers to strengthen existing knowledge, skills and cultural practices to respond to community needs.
As a trainer, Eva draws on her unique background of having both government and non-government service delivery and program management experience, as well as research experience with the University of Queensland (UQ). Eva takes a non-judgmental approach and values two-way learning, which has led to successful contributions to service delivery work with people who choose to use illicit drugs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, children and families subject to the statutory child protection system, and other marginalised community members.
Prior to SNAICC Eva also worked in the areas of social inclusion and digital inclusion across Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres. Eva conducted community education sessions on coding and robotics, including at World Science Festival 2016, and received national recognition for a collaborative community engagement project she established (called Picnics in the Park) through the Excellence in Hepatitis C Health Promotion Award. She holds a Masters of Social Science (Health Practice) from UQ and undertook her Bachelor of Arts in the US where she grew up.
Social Policy and Research
John Burton – Social Policy and Research Manager
John holds a Master of Laws specialising in Human Rights and Social Justice from the University of New South Wales. He has worked in areas of policy and research, community-based child protection, refugee advocacy and youth support programs over the past 12 years in Australia and Southern Africa.
At SNAICC, John has specialised in child and family welfare policy and research. His work has had a strong focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in decision-making, inter-agency partnerships and integrated service delivery to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Emma Brathwaite – Senior Policy and Research Officer
Emma is dedicated policy expert and researcher who is committed to applying her experience in international policy, program and research experience in indigenous populations to improve health, wellbeing and the acquisition of rights for Australian Aboriginal people.
Across her career working with Australian Red Cross, UNICEF, UNAIDS and The University of Melbourne she has established a reputation as a valued and sought after technical content specialist, with expertise across integrated service systems for First 1000 days (maternal and child health), adolescent health, sexual reproductive health, health rights, violence prevention and emergency response.
She has applied this expertise to improve health outcomes for indigenous communities across the Asia-Pacific through leading and delivering large scale projects, influencing legislative change, policy and program change and designing and implementing health and education programs.
She holds a Master in Public Health and is a published and practiced academic, with deep experience in a wide range of research methods.
William Hayward – WA Family Matters Project Coordinator
William is a Noongar man from the south-west of Western Australia. Culture forms a foundation for strength and resilience and has been instrumental in all aspects of his community and professional roles. He holds a Bachelor of Social Work and is a member of the Australian Association of Social Work. William has held roles within the government and non-government sectors, predominantly focussing on self-determined Aboriginal community-controlled agencies.
His skills and expertise include supporting families to stay together through prevention and early intervention, statutory practice frameworks, trauma informed healing, government procurement/contracting and program design, high level policy and law reform, training and professional development and cultural preservation and maintenance.
Most important to William is his passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people being supported to reach their full potential and be inspired to excel as Australians. He is particularly dedicated to empowerment and strengths-based restorative responses to our most vulnerable children and young people, inclusive of their families and communities.
Nadeshda Jayakody – Policy and Research Officer
Nadeshda holds a Bachelor of Law (Hons II) and Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Studies and an Advanced Masters in International and European Human Rights Law. She has two and a half years of experience in the human rights and social justice space. She has worked in human rights research, policy and advocacy at a variety of organisations, including at a small NGO in Sri Lanka and the United Nations University in New York.
Nadeshda is proud to be part of an inspiring and dedicated team working towards better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children so that they are happy, healthy and connected to their culture and community. She is using her experience in human rights and the child’s rights framework to shape strong policies and advocate for positive change.
Janelle Young – Senior Policy and Research Officer
Janelle Young is a member of the Social Policy and Research Team at SNAICC, with a focus on child and family safety and wellbeing. She is building on SNAICC’s efforts to progress implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in legislation, policy and practice across Australia.
Janelle is from Canada, where she spent the past six years working on a variety of community-based research initiatives related to Indigenous health and wellbeing. She holds Masters in Anthropology and Social Work.
Sarah Francis – Communications Officer
Sarah has a background in communications for development with a focus on young people. She uses stories and images to connect people from different cultural worlds.
She most recently lived in Timor-Leste for five years, where she consulted for the Government of Timor-Leste as a Communications Specialist for a $13 million youth training project. As part of her role she designed and implemented national research studies and communications campaigns. She also secured employment for the nation’s first female mechanics.
Prior to that Sarah lived in remote Aboriginal communities working with children for a total of three years. Primarily she lived in Maningrida, Arnhem Land, where she re-established youth services in the community. She was promoted to become the Youth Centre Manager at Malabam Health Board and worked with a team of Aboriginal youth workers to run activities promoting health and culture. Sarah still visits Maningrida every year and keeps in touch with families she befriended. Several years on she is proud to see the children she worked with graduating from high school, getting jobs and starting their own families.
Sarah is excited to be back home in Melbourne and employed at SNAICC, working towards a better world for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Daniel Kovacevic – Communications Coordinator
A trained writer-editor with a background in publishing, Daniel has an extensive understanding of persuasive writing, reader engagement, and language usage and structure.
Daniel is also skilled social marketer and is hands-on in managing the SNAICC digital strategy. Daniel is a firm advocate of the power of social media and strives to consistently amplify SNAICC messaging through all digital platforms.
Daniel is passionate about the ability of language to elicit emotional connections from an audience, and firmly believes that positive change within the sector must come from a greater societal shift in thinking.