DVSM Leadership

DVSM's Leadership works together to plan, implement, monitor, support and celebrate achievements in the organisation.

Members of the leadership team work together as a whole, in project teams and in individual work portfolios to establish and sustain a supported, purposeful and productive workplace. A workplace where individuals can stretch in their professional potential and where teams share a culture committed to continuous quality improvement and have opportunities for new experiences, development and succession.

Sally Grimsley-Ballard

Sally Grimsley-Ballard
General Manager

Sally has worked in a range of executive leadership roles and brings more than 20 years experience with the Australian Public Service and Women NSW. More recently Sally worked with not-for-profit Dress for Success Sydney leading their engagement and operations growth to support women in NSW into financial security. Sally is a pragmatic and strategic leader and has extensive experience in complex engagement and change management and has led a wide range of projects and teams. She is passionate about bringing together the relevant people including those at the centre of the issues to find solutions to difficult problems. Relationship management is a strength and Sally has worked across sectors throughout Australia developing sustainable joint responses to support individuals and families, often the most disadvantaged.

More recently some career highlights for Sally have included almost four years working on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, enabling those who could contribute to do so, including young people and diverse communities; managing the production of ‘Aurora’, a domestic violence support and education smart phone application at Women NSW and coaching Human Services staff to support all Australians. Sally has also had extensive experience driving quality and performance and in all aspects of human resources.

Sally is passionately committed to equity, equality and social justice for everyone in our community. She is currently studying post graduate studies in Social Impact at UNSW.

Teresa Desmond Head Shot

Teresa Desmond
People and Practice Manager (Sydney Services)

Teresa has worked in the not for profit sector in Ireland and Australia in frontline roles including as Women’s and Children’s Support Worker with Viva House Refuge in Dublin, and Lou’s Place in Kings Cross as their Domestic Violence and Child Protection Case Worker. Teresa transitioned into management as a Team Leader and Acting Regional Coordinator within the Humanitarian Settlement Services Program of Settlement Services International (SSI) and also undertook a secondment opportunity as the “New Roots” Project Coordinator while working with SSI.

Teresa has worked at the St Vincent De Paul Society as a Senior Team Leader of the Marian Centre and the historic Elsie Refuge in Glebe before moving into the newly created role of Practice and Quality Officer, leading the Specialist Homelessness Services Enhancement Team. Teresa is also a dedicated Night Patrol volunteer with St Vincent de Paul Society.

Teresa’s colleagues describe her as a passionate, empathetic leader with good communication skills. Respect and dignity are two core values that Teresa strongly upholds in her practice.

Teresa has a diploma in Child Care and Education as well as an Honours Degree in Applied Social Studies in Social Care.

Teresa is passionate about striving for continuous improvement in the services she is a part of, she feels privileged to walk alongside women in their journey and see the transformation that delivering services in a person-centred and ethical way can have for the families she works with. Being around people energises Teresa, she enjoys learning from her colleagues and the families she supports through her work.


Nicole Diab
Service Lead - Refuge Outreach Action Response (ROAR)

Nicole has been working within the youth and community sector for 13 years in and around the West and South West Sydney area. She has worked for government and non-government organisations supporting disengaged young people aged 10-21 years within juvenile detention, as well as in the community.

In 2007 Nicole started working for a not-for-profit organisation called MTC Australia as a Case Manager in various youth programs within the company to eventually a Regional Management role. She remained with MTC Australia until she decided to have a sea change in 2016 and entered into a partnership and bought a café, which she has since sold.

Nicole’s colleagues describe her as passionate about the work that she does and that she is supportive to clients and other staff.

Nicole has a degree in Social Science and a cert IV in Frontline Management. She facilitated various group workshops and trained in the delivery of Love Bites. Nicole is most passionate about being able to help grow and support positive change in people’s lives as well as the community.


Imman Chakik
Service Lead - Domestic Violence After Hours Service (DVAHS)

Imman began working in the youth and community sector in 2007 as case manager for a not-for-profit organisation called MTC Australia, supporting young people at risk in various roles and youth programs within the company.

MTC Australia provided her with multiple career growth opportunities working her way from a case manager to team coordinator and then to a Regional Management role servicing a number of regions within Sydney.

Imman took a short break to focus on her family, upon her return into the workforce her developed skill set and knowledge of the industry and experience in management gained her, her most recent roe as General Manager for a not-for-profit organisation called 2Connect Youth & Community servicing South Sydney.

Imman’s colleagues and friends describe her as being a hard worker and passionate about the things that she believes in and loves. Imman is passionate about making positive change within the community and advocating for those with no voice.


Eckersley Neesha

Neesha Eckersley
People and Practice Manager

Neesha has 25 years extensive experience across the Community and Disability sectors both in the UK and Australia. She has held key leadership roles that included the expansion of disability employment, homelessness and domestic & family violence services in addition to development & implementation of new youth mentoring and child protection education programs across NSW. Her most recent role within a national sporting code led the expansion of mental health education programs across regional and remote Australia, combined with driving a measurement & evaluation framework approach across all community programs to demonstrate social return on investment and embed a continuous improvement culture.

Neesha is committed to improving opportunities for people & their families experiencing social disadvantage, and her values based and pragmatic approach is driven by her belief that education and skills is the key to self-empowerment and informed decision making & choice.

Neesha holds a (BSc Hons) in Psychology & Mathematical Studies and Advanced Diploma in Management.

She is also a Board Director and Secretary of the charity Blue Wren House – part of the Women’s Community Shelter Network that is establishing safe shelter for women and children leaving domestic & family violence environments in the Camden LGA area of Sydney.


Mary Ronayne
Community and Culture Manager - Wilcannia Safe House (WSH)

Mary was born in Brewarrina and comes from the Kamilaroi nation. She has been the Manager of the Wilcannia Safe House (WSH) since 2013 and is part of the DVSM Management Team, and is now working a cross-services role as ‘Community and Culture Manager’.

Over the last 18 years she has worked in a range of coordination and management positions within the Domestic and Family Violence sector in rural NSW. Her focus has always been to support women and children to realise their potential and help them understand that they are important and can reach their dreams. She has a wealth of experience working with Aboriginal women and is aware of the complexities and disadvantage that comes with being an Aboriginal person. As such she is concerned with improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal women and children, families and communities.

Mary’s expertise is in listening to others, building relationships and connections with people and supporting people to come together and understand each other’s view point to reach a common goal. She is passionate about seeing people’s lives change for the better.

Mary holds a Diploma of Community Services Coordination and has Certificates in multiple other areas including Social Housing and Aboriginal Health.
Mary is currently studying (online) a Diploma in Business.

View Mary Ronayne’s Leadership Portfolio


Laura Bradburn web

Laura Bradburn
Service Lead - Refuge Outreach Action Response (ROAR)

Laura has worked in the Youth and community sector for 12 years in both the West and South West of Sydney. Laura has worked in 4 Non-Government organisations providing case management to disengaged young people and their families, employment and education support and worked across several programs, such as; Links to Learning, Job Active, Youth Connections and The Opportunity Hub.

Laura commenced working at MTC Australia in 2010 as a Case Manager then moved to a Program Manager for The Opportunity Hub in Campbelltown, working directly with Aboriginal Young People and their families to strengthen their connection to culture and community, re-engage with education, employment and family. Laura also facilitated The Opportunity Hub Advisory Board for 5 years.

Laura has a Diploma in Community Service, Certificate IV in Youth Work and Frontline Management. Laura is trained to also deliver many resilience and behavioural workshops. Laura is extremely passionate about supporting and empowering people throughout their individual journey.


Michelle Apschner
Service Lead - Moving Out Moving On (MOMO)

Michelle has worked in the not for profit sector in both Brisbane and Sydney for the past 13 years. She has 9 years’ experience working in the homelessness sector and more recently was employed at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre Boarding House Outreach Service. Prior to this, Michelle worked with people sleeping rough in Brisbane and has extensive case management experience.

Michelle’s colleagues describe her as a supportive, flexible and empathetic leader. She strongly believes that good teamwork takes great collaborative practice.

Michelle’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a TAFE Diploma of Community Service (Mental Health). More recently she completed a Master of Social Work degree through the University of Sydney.

Michelle is passionate about working in the homelessness sector and is particularly motivated by the experiences of women facing homelessness. She has recently been appointed the Chair of the Sydney Women’s Homelessness Alliance (SWHA) and strongly believes in social justice and a strong person-centred approach to working with clients.