Our Staff

Carla Wilshire OAM

Carla Wilshire OAM

Chief Executive Officer

Carla is the founding CEO of SPG. She has a background in public policy development and impact strategy, corporate governance, and tertiary research. Before establishing SPG, Carla worked in senior roles in the public service and as an advisor to the Government, principally in migration and settlement, including as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. She also held academic and consulting positions in Australia and abroad. Carla is the Deputy Chair of Football Australia and a Board Director of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. She is the co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership and the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity, as well as a member of the Council of Harmony Alliance, the national migrant and refugee women's alliance.

Gulnara Abbasova

Gulnara Abbasova

Head of Strategy

Gulnara has a significant track record in civil society leadership and strategy across social policy, gender equality and human rights nationally and internationally. In addition to her strategy-focused role with SPG, Gulnara serves as Executive Officer of the Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership and Harmony Alliance. Previously, Gulnara was executive director of the national peak body representing Australia's migrant and refugee communities and led programs on the rights and issues of Indigenous Peoples and ethnic minorities at two United Nations agencies. She also worked extensively in international human rights advocacy. Gulnara serves on several boards and committees focusing on women's leadership and safety, and public health.

Brad Chilcott

Special Adviser

Brad is the former Executive Director of White Ribbon Australia, a movement to end men’s violence against women and advance gender equality, leading the movement through the 2020 relaunch and transformational rebuild under the custodianship of Communicare. He is the founder of Welcoming Australia, a national movement cultivating a culture of welcome for people seeking asylum, refugees, and other new arrivals to Australia. He is now Co-Chair of the Advisory Panel and a Board Director. Brad has worked for over a decade to create diverse, collaborative stakeholder coalitions with the ability to drive systemic change and achieve meaningful outcomes for vulnerable people in a range of roles and sectors, including migration, multiculturalism, settlement, Australian Aid, education, mental health, social housing, LGBTIQ+ inclusion and inter-faith engagement. He has a reputation for taking on difficult issues and delivering outcomes through a partnership approach with people with lived experience, practitioners, experts, and decision-makers. In addition to these advocacy roles, Brad has worked as a Ministerial Adviser at the State and Federal levels and coordinates Australian support for a school for stateless children and a kinship foster program for Khmer children in Cambodia. Brad writes regularly for The Guardian.

Ine Beerens

Senior Manager – Digital

Ine focuses on supporting migrant and refugee communities in Australia through developing multilingual digital solutions and promoting access to social infrastructure that supports community resilience and social cohesion. Previously, she has worked at UNHCR and in the diplomatic space across multiple countries, including Australia. Ine has a keen interest in sports, especially its potential to unite and strengthen communities and is the president of the ANU Australian Football Club. Ine holds a Master of Arts in History (2016) from the University of Ghent and a Master in International Relations and Diplomacy (2019) from the University of Antwerp.

Anna Rolandsen

Senior Manager – Settlement

Anna is a passionate advocate for settlement, having spent over ten years in the sector across various roles. Anna manages the the SPG-facilitated Community of Practice for the organisations delivering the Australian Government’s Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) program. Anna also facilitates the administration of the Afghan-Australian Community and Settlement Support grant program. Previously, Anna was a manager at Access Community Services, working across settlement programs, including SETS. Before that, she worked in the Humanitarian Settlement Program—and earlier the Humanitarian Settlement Services program—developing resources, delivering orientation, and coordinating education enrolments for new arrivals. Anna started her career as a teacher and has a background in pedagogy, adult education, and development studies, including teaching the Deaf in schools and English as a Second Language programs. Anna’s overseas development experience, including in Uganda and Cambodia, focused on gender empowerment and support for trafficked or exploited young girls. A supporter of strength-based practice, Anna brings to the role strong teaching and capacity building credentials. Anna is based in Brisbane.

Alicia Weiderman

Senior Policy Advisor

Alicia has over 20 years of experience working in the Government, private and community sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom in social policy design, implementation, and program management. She has worked within the Government and as a consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Business (University of Queensland). Alicia is passionate about creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians and supporting women in leadership roles. She also has a particular interest in the role of employment in empowering individuals and communities, particularly for people in marginalised communities. She oversees the work of the Centre of Settlement Innovation and works across other SPG projects. She also founded and is a chair of Women in Employment Services. This membership-based organisation promotes women's connection and professional development in the employment and training sectors. Alicia is based in Brisbane.

Tarina Rubis

Manager – Health and Mental Health

Tarina manages the SPG’s health and mental health portfolios, aiming to improve health and mental health system access for migrant and refugee communities. This involves providing Secretariat support to the Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership and engaging with stakeholders across the health and community sector, both nationally and internationally. Tarina’s career has focused on supporting the rights and wellbeing of migrants and refugees. She has worked across federal and local government and in the non government sector in the fields of multilateral engagement, humanitarian and protection response to displacement and in community capacity building. Tarina holds a Master of Development Studies in Refugee and Forced Migration from the University of New South Wales. Based in Sydney, she has worked in Jordan and Thailand as well as Geneva and Canberra.

Daisy Kolt

Manager - Justice

Daisy manages the Justice portfolio, which includes working with, and providing Secretariat support to, the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and the Cultural Diversity Justice Network. Daisy also works across other SPG policy areas, such as digital wellbeing. Daisy has a strong background in social policy, the community legal sector, and community development. Before her role at SPG, Daisy worked at the Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet, Northern Territory Government, including in the Office of Aboriginal Affairs. She has also worked as a volunteer solicitor at several community legal centres. She is passionate about human rights law and social justice. Daisy holds a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts (Development Studies and International Relations), and Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences (Hons) from the University of New South Wales and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. She is a solicitor admitted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Monica Rivas

Manager - Training

Monica’s work is to develop and deliver training programs that build the capacity and skills of participants. She has been working in the community services sector for the past 11 years, specifically with CALD communities. With a master’s degree in social work, and a background in TESOL and Training and Assessment, Monica has been able to utilise her expertise in working with refugees and migrants to design and develop culturally responsive training programs. Monica is passionate about delivering training programs that are self-reflective, innovative, and practical. Arriving in Australia as a refugee, Monica is interested in promoting and advocating for refugees through her training. Monica is based in Brisbane.

Nuria Alarcón Lopez

Senior Manager - Gender

Nuria supports the work of Harmony Alliance and facilitates SPG’s work to support the COVID-19 Vaccination Program rollout to migrant and refugee communities in Australia. She is passionate about women’s rights and the rights of migrants and refugees. Nuria migrated to Australia from Spain and actively participates in the Spanish-speaking community in Canberra. She also volunteered as a co-presenter on the Spanish community radio program. Nuria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from Miguel Hernandez Universidad of Elche in Spain. She also completed a one-year exchange program in Cracow, Poland. Before joining SPG, she worked in the legal, aged care, education and diplomatic fields in Australia and Europe.

Tezcan Gumus

Policy Analyst - Social Cohesion

Tezcan works as a policy analyst with the SPG-auspiced Centre for Digital Wellbeing, focusing specifically on social cohesion in Australia. His current work centres on how technology impacts trust in institutions, formulating policy responses to counter challenges posed by digital platforms to social cohesion and democracy. Tezcan has a strong track record in research and analysis in academia. His previous work promoting sound governance principles and practices, focusing specifically on responsible political leadership, causes of societal polarisation and violence, multiculturalism and inclusivity, and factors that undermine democracy. This is reflected with an award-winning Ph.D. dissertation in 2020, along with over seven years of experience as a lecturer in Politics and International Relations and research roles across several high-profile projects.

Minandi Rudman

Program Coordinator - Settlement

Minandi works as a Program Coordinator in the Settlement portfolio, including with the Afghan-Australian Community and Settlement Support (AACASS) program. She is particularly passionate about this role as it supports organisations to deliver positive settlement outcomes through effective, innovative, and needs-based practice. Minandi brings a wealth of settlement knowledge and experience to her role at SPG, having worked in the sector for ten years at Access Community Services. She started her career in settlement working as a team leader for the Status Resolution Support Services program before managing the Youth Transitions program. Minandi also worked within the corporate area of settlement as an Executive Officer, providing input and support to the organisation's operations. She holds a Diploma of Community Service, Bachelor of Ministries and is currently completing her Master of Education and Learning. Minandi is based in Brisbane.

Walid Rahman

Project Officer – Afghan Australian Community and Settlement Support

Walid has extensive experience in the provision of community capacity building through his work with international organisations such as the Australian Red Cross and UNHCR. Walid is passionate about humanitarian programs and international aid, which has fuelled his work with refugees and migrants for many years. A graduate in government and international affairs, he has also worked as a policy advisor for the previous government of Afghanistan, where he coordinated several projects working to promote gender-empowerment with NGOs in Afghanistan.

Claire Momsen

Policy and Project Officer – Health and Mental Health

Claire's work focuses on the ability of the Australian health care system to provide culturally responsive health care and resources to migrant and refugee populations. Claire holds a Bachelor of International Relations (2012) from the Australian National University (ANU) and a Master of Equality Studies (2014) from University College Dublin. She is now pursuing a Master of Culture, Health and Medicine at ANU. Her academic work has focused on diverse topics, from refugee health to cultural considerations around organ donation. Claire has worked at Oxfam Great Britain, Australia for UNHCR, UN Women Australia, and within the corporate sector.

Julia Small

Data and Information Officer – Digital and Multilingual Programs

Julia works as a Data and Information Officer supporting digital and multilingual projects at SPG. She mainly works on the multilingual applications developed by SPG. By keeping the information contained in the MyAus and COVID-19 App up to date, Julia ensures that migrants and refugees have access to accurate information on services and systems in Australia. Julia holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Language Studies (Russian, English and German) and a Bachelor of Education (Honours) from Novosibirsk State Teachers’ Training University in Russia and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice from The College of Law of England and Wales in the UK. Before joining SPG, Julia worked as a commercial solicitor in the UK and, after relocating to Australia, as a regulatory content editor of the safety, health and environment publication. She is based in Melbourne, Victoria.

Varsha Patil

Project Support Officer – Digital and Multilingual Programs

Varsha is passionate about how digital content can create socio-environmental impact. At SPG, she coordinates designs and content on crisis communication based on informed policy adapted to the needs of migrants and refugees. Outside SPG, she has produced educational content for Asia Options that help build an Asian literate Australia. At the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, she raised awareness around the diversifying needs of a globalising Japanese society. Varsha was a Japanese Government Scholar at Sophia University (Japan), holds a BA (Honours) in Japanese from Jawaharlal Nehru University (India) and a MA in Asian and Pacific Studies from the Australian National University.

Olga Cherniak

Policy, Projects and Evaluation Officer

Olga facilitates strategic communications and outreach and applies her extensive knowledge of analytical tools to strengthen the impact of SPG's work. Olga also contributes to a range of policy research projects. She holds a Bachelor of International Economics and Management (2016) from Kyiv National Economic University in Ukraine and a Master of Science in Economic Behaviour and Governance (2020) from the University of Kassel in Germany. Olga also studied in the People's Republic of China for three years and participated in an academic exchange program in Poland. She is passionate about the human rights of migrants and refugees. She applies her extensive international professional experience to promote better outcomes for migrant and refugee communities in Australia.

Annie Willox

Junior Policy and Project Officer

Annie works primarily with the Secretariats of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and the Cultural Diversity Justice Network, providing administrative and research assistance. She has worked on developing the Legal Literate app, a plain English legal glossary app. She has also supported the implementation and promotion of the JCCD's Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Australian Courts and Tribunals, among other projects. Annie is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) at the Australian National University.

Chloe Xu

Finance and Administration Officer

Chloe brings to SPG five years of experience as the manager of a health service organisation. She holds a Master of Accounting from the University of Canberra. Chloe provides executive and accounting support to the SPG CEO and senior management team. As a migrant from China, Chloe is passionate about the experiences and voices of migrant communities.