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

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.

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.

Erin Gao

Finance and Risk Controller

Erin is a highly accomplished Finance Executive with a wealth of experience working within leading not-for-profit and corporate environments. Erin brings together her financial expertise, risk management and strategic decision making with a genuine passion for education and human empowerment, providing authentic and transformational leadership for the organisation.

Erin is committed to promoting social inclusion and improving opportunities for disadvantaged groups to reach their potential. She serves on the Media Centre for Education Research (MCERA) Board, a not-for-profit advancing education by improving the reporting of education research in the media to enable the public to better understand education matters.

She also sits on the Board of Human and Hope Incorporated, a poverty alleviation organisation empowering local communities through education and employment opportunities. Prior, Erin served as Board Director and Company Secretary in Digital Gap Initiative Ltd, a not-for-profit in digital accessibility.

Erin holds a Master of Commerce degree, and she is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Kate Hurley

Marketing, Communications and Development Manager

Kate has worked in a variety of marketing leadership positions within the media industry and not-for-profit sector. Accepting a traineeship with ACP Magazines when she was 18, led her to discover her passion for the written word and communications. After working on some of Australia’s most recognisable magazine titles and leading communications for the Australian Radio Network’s popular commercial radio stations, Kate moved into the not-for-profit sector. Most recently Kate was the Head of Fundraising and Marketing at YWCA Australia, responsible for corporate engagement and securing funds to enhance YWCA’s many programs and services, helping women and children escaping violence.

Kate has a passion for people and problem solving. She is enthusiastic about tackling challenges in creative ways and is constantly exploring new ways to create opportunities for good. Kate is committed to continuing to make a positive impact, in any way she can.

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.


Helen Brown

Human Resources and Quality Manager

Helen is an experienced HR professional with many years spent working in human resources – referred to as personnel when she first started in this area!
In terms of not-for-profit work and working for organisations that are “for purpose” and provide meaningful support that makes a difference in peoples’ lives – prior to DVSM, Helen has worked for Marist Youth Care (now called Marist 180) and One Door Mental Health.

Mara Greenwood

Service Operations Manager

Mara has worked in the community sector for the last 13 years within a variety of roles mainly focused on the design, delivery and management of programs. As part of her studies (Bachelor of Applied Social Science - Counselling) Mara was required to attain a certain number of hours in the field. She was fortunate to secure her placement with the Sydney based not-for-profit organisation YWCA NSW and through persistence and dedication Mara landed a role within the Youth Mentoring team at the ‘Y’.

So began her nine-year journey from front line delivery and assessment through to management. During this time, Mara was learning from and being inspired by the diversity of the programs delivered across the state and the incredible people delivering and leading. A highlight of Mara’s time with the ‘Y’ was the successful implementation of a six month pilot state-wide youth mentoring program for the Department of Education that informed the design and roll-out of a larger scale state-wide mentoring program that she then went on to manage.

After her time at the ‘Y’ Mara spent three years within the Indigenous Strategy team at the National Rugby League (NRL) managing the contract and program delivery of a federally funded School to Work program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in years 11 and 12, throughout NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD. A highlight of Mara’s time with the NRL was the opportunity to listen and learn from her Indigenous colleagues as they generously shared their stories and lived experience.

MaryMary 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


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.

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.