Our Board

Our board of directors sets the direction and policy on key issues, based on the agreement of our members. It makes sure the organisation is focused on its purpose and strategic objectives, and manages its resources efficiently and effectively.

Serena Ovens – Chair

CEO, Physical Disability Council NSW

Serena Ovens is the current DANA Chairperson, having first come onto the Board in 2018. She is a member of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Institute of Community Directors Australia and has significant governance experience, having also held director positions on numerous community sector boards including The Junction Neighbourhood Centre and Neighbour Connections NSW. 

Serena is also the CEO of the Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN), the peak systemic advocacy body for people with a physical disability in NSW. Serena has worked as a senior executive for 18 years, previously as the State Education Manager for the Asthma Foundation, overseeing all aspects of the Registered Training Organisation and a team of over 200 trainers across the State. Before this, she ran a small business and has strong finance and business development expertise. 

Serena also currently leads the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance, a group of 22 NSW advocacy organisations who have successfully campaigned for the continuation of NSW government funding for the disability advocacy sector and sits on over 20 State and Federal advisory bodies advocating for the equitable inclusion of people with physical disability. 

 

Image of Serena Ovens, smiling

 

Wendy Prowse – Deputy Chair

CEO, ADACAS, ACT

Wendy joined the Board of DANA in 2021. Wendy has been the CEO of ADACAS since 2020, an organisation that provides advocacy and information services to people with disability, people experiencing mental ill-health, older people, and their carers. ADACAS provides these services in Canberra and on the South Coast of NSW. 

Prior to working at ADACAS, Wendy held various senior management positions in the finance, health, and community sectors, working for national as well as local Canberra organisations. She has experience working in the commercial and not for profit sector. 

Wendy’s passion and dedication to social justice and human rights has underpinned all her working and volunteer roles.  Wendy has held various non-executive board director positions and is currently a Board Director for the Australian Red Cross. 

Wendy is a member of the ACT Government’s Inclusion Council, a member of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.

 

Wendy Prowse smiling

 

Geoff Southwell – Treasurer

CEO, Leadership Plus, VIC

Geoff is the Treasurer of DANA and the Chair of the Finance and Risk Committee. Geoff has been on the DANA Board since 2018. 

Geoff is the CEO of Leadership Plus, an organisation which supports and promotes social justice and human rights for people with disability through individual advocacy and systemic advocacy in Victoria. 

Geoff also sits on the Board of the Victorian Disability Worker Commission and the Mental Health Legal Centre.  

 

Image of Geoff Southwell smiling

 

 

David Petherick – Secretary  

Executive Officer, Barwin Disability Resource Council Inc, Vic

David was re-elected to the Board in 2022. Having previously been a member of the DANA Board from 2017-2021, is passionate about collective action and is committed to the work of DANA, believing it is critical to the ongoing success of advocacy in Australia.

David started as Executive Officer of the BDRC in June 2021 and is excited to continue on with the great advocacy work that the BDRC has been doing in Geelong since 1975. With a commitment to learning from everyone in the disability advocacy community, David has worked in the disability sector for over 30 years with 18 years of that in advocacy.

He has had leadership roles in several disability organisations, including VALID, the Australian Camps Association People Outdoors and the Office of the Public Advocate and I is passionate about full inclusion for all.

As a member of the Geelong Accessible City Taskforce, David is excited about Geelong becoming the most accessible city in Australia. He is also a member of the Victorian Rural Advocacy Network which includes advocacy services covering all Regional and Rural Victoria and they endorse my nomination for the DANA Board. 

 

Brendan Cullinan – Director

CEO, People with Disabilities WA 

Brendan joined the DANA Board in 2022, is married, has two children, and recently became a grandparent. He has held several senior management positions in his 23 years’ experience in working in and with the not-for-profit sector across WA in roles with the State government and community member-based organisations.

Brendan has volunteered in the disability sector since 2012 on Board positions, and has been actively engaged in a range of social inclusion projects. Brendan has been CEO of People with Disabilities WA since August 2020.

 

Jenny Hughes – Director

CEO, Advocacy for Disability Access & Inclusion, SA

Jenny joined the Board of DANA in 2018 and is a member of the Finance and Risk Committee. Jenny is the CEO of Advocacy for Disability Access and Inclusion (ADAI) and Catalyst Foundation. Jenny is a member of several not for profit and Government Committees with a focus on health, wellbeing, ageing and disability. 

Prior to working at ADAI Jenny has worked over 3 decades in community services, community engagement, strategic and social planning, collaboration, public speaking, and facilitation. This work has been undertaken across all tiers of Government and the charitable sector. In addition, Jenny has also worked in the private sector and has owned and managed a consultancy. 

Jenny’s work includes a strong focus and commitment to human rights and working collaboratively on projects and programs which foster social cohesion within a strengths-based approach and engagement across a wide range of sectors and issues.

 

Jenny Hughes smiling

 

 Denise Boyd – Director

Executive Officer, STAR Victoria

Denise was elected to the DANA Board in 2022. She has almost three decades experience in the not-for-profit sector, specialising in effective campaigns and strategic planning. Denise began her campaign career with Greenpeace Australia in the early ‘90s, and has extensive experience of political advocacy representing people, animals, and places both here in Australia, and on government and non-governmental delegations to several international forums.

Denise joined STAR Victoria in September 2019 and has worked with the Committee of Management to refresh the organisation’s operations and set a new direction with the publication of the current Strategic Plan. She has a passion for fairness, change for good, and good governance in the charitable sector.

 

 

Kim Roots – Director

Executive Officer, Side By Side Advocacy

Kim joined the Board of DANA in 2022. She is the Executive Officer of Side By Side Advocacy, a not-for-profit advocacy organisation which promotes and upholds the rights, needs and interests of people with disability to enable full and meaningful participation in the community. The organisation specialises in providing advocacy for people with intellectual disability. Kim has held this position since 2020.   

Kim has a long history in the advocacy sector and as a lawyer. Kim has been a member of numerous advisory groups and has provided feedback to government about matters that impact on the lives of people with disability.

Kim believes that good communities are made up of all people and that advocacy can play a critical role in exposing abuse and neglect and in ensuring that people with disability have access to the ordinary good things in life.