Our Team - Staff and Board Members
The Mandala Foundation team has a broad range of experience in the humanitarian emergency and disaster relief sector, with specialised skills in trauma and crisis support; psychosocial field projects; cross-cultural psychology; human resources; education; and research. This enables us to offer integrated support and advice to organisations and individuals to better support staff and volunteers working in emergency situations.
Senior Consulting Psychologist & Cultural Anthropologist (Timor-Leste)
Acting Executive Director (effective July 2016)
Iris is predominantly based in Dili, Timor-Leste, where she provides counselling services to local and expatriate humanitarian workers and delivers trainings on topics such as stress and trauma management, sexual harassment, and cross-cultural team management. Iris has 20 years’ experience working on mental health, psychosocial support and gender based violence projects in the humanitarian sector, completing projects in Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Bosnia, Burundi, Indonesia, Honduras, Iraq, Myanmar, Fiji and her native Netherlands for a range of organisations. Iris will join the Mandala Foundation in Melbourne from July 2016 in the position of Acting Executive Director.
Drawing on her extensive experience in the careers and employment sector, Di specialises in providing vocational counselling, mentoring and training to aspiring humanitarian workers and volunteers. Alongside her role with Mandala, Di is currently also engaged as an Employment and International Consultant in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne, a role which involves building relationships with students, business, government and the not-for-profit sector to maximise employment and education options.
Susannah is a registered clinical psychologist with 16 years of experience working in mental health and not-for-profit settings in Australia and the United States. Alongside her work for Mandala, Susannah works as a sessional clinical psychologist and trainer/facilitator at Foundation House, a not-for-profit in the refugee sector. In 2011 Susannah completed a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of refugee mental health, focusing on the resettlement experiences of young people from a South Sudanese refugee background.
Daiva delivers psychological briefing, counselling and debriefing to humanitarian workers for the Mandala Foundation. Previously she worked as the Manager of Professional Development Standards with the Australian Psychological Society (APS) for over five years. Daiva has presented at international conferences and has been invited to teach semester units on psychological tests, testing and ethics of testing at Victorian universities at higher degree levels.
Suzanne provides psychosocial debriefing and counselling to humanitarian workers for Mandala. She is a trained mediator with extensive experience in individual, group and relationship counselling, especially Family Therapy and group work strategies. Suzanne is an experienced facilitator and has conducted workshops and trainings in team building, conflict resolution, critical incident stress management, assertiveness and stress and change management. Formerly engaged in counselling coordination and management roles at Monash University, Suzanne has also worked as a counsellor and social worker in Deaf Education and with children experiencing learning disabilities.
Consulting Psychologist (New Zealand)
Jonathan is an organisational psychologist and director of Farsight Ltd. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, he is a specialist in behavioural risk management, particularly training, coaching and advising in conflict management, negotiation, leadership and communication. From 1994-2002 Jonathan was a psychologist with the New Zealand Police, including serving as principal psychological advisor for initial police involvement in East Timor. Jonathan remains a consultant to Police along with other clients in the private sector and public service.
Alanna is responsible for Mandala’s external communications, including developing social media content, managing the website and sending out monthly newsletters to subscribers. She is currently completing a PhD in environmental communication at the University of Melbourne, focusing on media representations of environmental conflict over mining and industrial development. She is also a Sessional Tutor in the Media and Communications program at the University of Melbourne and has taught in the subject Global Crisis Reporting, which explores the role of the media in theatres of humanitarian action.
Finance & Administration Coordinator
Caterina is our finance and administration co-ordinator. She has been with Mandala Foundation for three years, but brings more than ten years of experience as a BAS Agent and bookkeeper. She is responsible for preparing and maintaining annual budgets, financial statements and reports, assisting with the annual audit and maintaining general bookkeeping duties, including payroll and tax compliance.
Executive Director (on leave effective 13th June 2016)
Kate is a psychologist who has worked with Mandala Foundation in various roles since 2008, commencing in a regional staff support role based in the Pacific. She also played a key role in co-developing the Mandala’s psychosocial risk management resources and guidelines for the aid sector. Her current role incorporates leadership and advocacy, strategy, HR, and psychosocial organisational consultancies and training. With over ten years’ experience in the humanitarian sector, Kate is specialised in applying psychosocial principles of support to humanitarian and development contexts. Her field experience includes roles with Oxfam International and the Mandala Foundation in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
Our board members bring a wealth of experience from the humanitarian sector as well as the not-for-profit and allied health sectors.
Xavier joined the Mandala board in February 2013 to assist in developing and monitoring the organisation’s strategic plan. He currently is the Director of People and Organisational Development at ChildFund Australia, where he works to enhance the capabilities of ChildFund staff, strengthen staff wellbeing, and build strong teams. His experience in the humanitarian sector includes senior human resources management roles with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Austcare (now ActionAid Australia). Xavier has worked in Australia, the Philippines and Switzerland and has completed many field assignments, most significantly in South Sudan, Haiti, and Timor-Leste.
Michael is a practising chiropractor who has owned and operated his own multi-disciplinary health care practices for the past twenty years. He has been a board member of the Mandala Foundation since it was established in 2006 and served as President from 2010 to 2014. Michael’s interest in the work of Mandala developed from a professional relationship with the Foundation’s founder, Amanda Allan, and he has been passionate about improving the effectiveness of humanitarian work by strengthening the psychosocial support provided to humanitarian staff and volunteers ever since. In a former life, Michael played 200 games for the Carlton Football Club between 1990 and 2000, and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2000.
Geetha joined the Mandala Foundation Board in 2015. She has over 16 years of experience in banking and finance and 5 years’ experience in the not for profit sector. Geetha brings considerable experience as a senior executive, with demonstrated success in a range of areas including strategy, growth, people, culture, finance, risk, project management, fundraising and events. Geetha is currently working at YMCA Victoria.
Ann-Marie is an Australian Aid Worker with eight years’ experience in coordinating humanitarian field operations, predominately for the Red Cross in both conflict and disaster recovery contexts in the Philippines, Pakistan, Palestine, Afghanistan and Cambodia. Her areas of expertise include operational and program management, and technical advisory in food security and livelihood programming. Her interest in supporting the Mandala Foundation stems from having experienced first-hand their services and her belief that to be an effective Aid Worker, good psychosocial health is just as important as technical skills when it comes to your capacity to deliver aid programs and assist communities affected by war and/or natural disasters.
Draga is an organisational and counselling psychologist with 20 years experience working in government, private and corporate sectors, her experience extending from delivering psychological services in the mental health sector and private practise to developing individuals and teams in commercial and large organisational environments. Draga has also served on a number of-not-for-profit boards during this time. She is currently the National Manager at Optum, a global leader for providing well-being solutions to ensure healthy organisations resulting in improved productivity and performance. Her interest in supporting the Mandala foundation stems from her belief in the importance of psychosocial well-being for everyone and in particular for the people providing support to others.