Meet the People

Our Team

Board

Paul Ntoumos, Chair

Paul is an information technology consultant with strategic leadership and management experience. He has worked with large and medium-sized corporates in banking, telecommunications, government, and public utilities (Yarra Valley Water). He has also been a founding member of a community-run Steiner school, and has trained in Ontological and Purpose-based Coaching. He was a member of an Australian Peace Initiative for Cyprus, funded by the UN Development Program (UNDP), which resulted in beginning national-level peace negotiations between Turkish-speaking Northern Cyprus and Greek Cyprus (2006 to 2010). 

He holds a Master’s in business management and computer science from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. 

Andrew Lancaster, Deputy Chair

Andrew has worked as a full-time volunteer with IofC in different parts of the world for more than 50 years, including eight years based in the UK.  For six years he served on IofC’s International Council.  He is also a member of the Council of the Caux Foundation, which owns and runs IofC’s international conference centre in Caux, Switzerland.

Mike Brown, Board member

Mike has been a writer and activist since responding to a call, in his student years, to work with IofC to make a difference in the world. He has worked on reconciliation and trust building in Australia and in post-conflict situations in Cambodia, South Sudan, and inner cities in America through local IofC programs. For 10 years he and his wife Jean were based in India, involved in Action for Life, a program to mobilise ‘a new generation of change-makers'. In Adelaide, his home city, he was co-chair of the Sorry Day movement and active in local reconciliation groups.

Mike authored a book about IofC in Australia, No Longer Down Under, in 2002.

Quynh-Tram Trinh, Board member

Quynh-Tram has previously served on advisory and organisational boards in women's affairs, mental health, biotechnology ethics and education. She has also worked as a senior manager in the human services and education sectors. Quynh-Tram holds a Master's in Public Policy and Management, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Paul Wilkins, Treasurer

Paul Wilkins was introduced to MRA/IofC in 1977 by Denys Lloyd who learned of his involvement in Commonwealth Public Service Union and Uniting Church social justice issues. Paul worked for Telstra and IBM as an IT professional for over 30 years. Hr joined the Board to contribute his financial analysis, budgeting and reporting skills.

Francis Halim, Board member

Francis Halim

Francis came to Australia from Indonesia in 1977, and has been involved with IofC since his student days at the University of Queensland in 1978. He has worked in senior management roles in the telecommunications industry, including as general manager of operations with Optus Communications, and CEO of Siemens Telecommunications Services, Australia & Asia Pacific. He holds an MBA and and a graduate diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was invited to to join the board of IofC Australia in 2008.

Jonathan Lancaster, Board member

From 1965, Jonathan worked with IofC in India, Europe and South-East Asia as a vocational full-time volunteer, before returning in 1981 to support IofC Australia's national administration, serving as Secretary and Treasurer for an extended period. He now attends particularly to matters relating to IofCA's transparency, accountability, compliance and sustainability as a registered charity.

Siew-Fang Law, Board member

Siew-Fang Law is passionate in promoting social justice and peace through her work. She teaches community development, peace, and conflict resolution at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and is an active researcher in these fields. She has served as the Academic Chair of postgraduate programs in International Community Development in the College of Arts and Education at Victoria University for nine years, besides holding many other professional and academic roles in sustainable industries, liveable cities, and book and journal editing. She is active in local communities, and practices as a mediator, conflict coach and dialogue facilitator. Siew Fang is an elected Council member of Victoria University, and has worked with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Southeast Asia. She is also a wife, a mother of two boys in Melbourne, and a daughter to a Chinese-Malaysian family in Penang.

Daya Bhagwandas, Board member

Daya Bhagwandas is a social entrepreneur, a professional in the field of neuro education and early childhood learning, and director of a 'Neuro Network' education program operating in Australia and Malaysia. She has worked with normal and challenged children and adults for 20 years. Over the last 10 years, her neuro education program has been rolled out in schools and kindergartens in Malaysia. She gained postgraduate qualifications in the US and has worked in Australia, Italy, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India and the US. She has served on the IofCA Board since 2015.

Ron Lawler, Board member

Ron Lawler had a career of 22 years in public sector management in community services, including significant engagement with First Nations communities, which continues after retirement. Previously he lived and worked in the remote First Nations community of Ramingining in Arnhem Land for four years with his wife Cynthia and their two young children. Ron was a full-time worker with IofC in different parts of the world for 15 years. He recently served four years as Treasurer on the International Council of IofC. He has a Masters degree in Social Science and a Graduate Diploma in Public Management.

Laurence Gray, Board member

Laurence supports refugees and new arrivals to Australia in his role as Interfaith and Humanitarian Settlement Officer, Wyndham Community and Education Centre. He promotes the application of social justice for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) comunities in social planning, linking personal values to positive action.  Laurence is a graduate of Deakin University with a Masters in Politics and Policy. He also holds a Certificate in International Law and Child Rights from the London School of Economics, a Bachelor of Arts in Youth Affairs and a Graduate Diploma in Management from RMIT. 

Operations

Athalia Zwartz, Executive Officer

Athalia has a background in research, program design, training and management in the community development sector, internationally and in Australia.  She is a skilled facilitator of training and group reflective practice. Her interest in how individual change affects systemic change informs all her work, and has been a focus of the training she has delivered internationally with IofC in Switzerland, India, Lebanon and Ukraine. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, majoring in Islamic Studies. 

Athalia co-authored the national report ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief in Australia’ and ‘Social Cohesion: Beyond the Theory’ in Diverse Nations, Diverse Responses: Approaches to Social Cohesion in Immigrant Societies.

Elise Collins, Program Manager

Elise has ten years’ experience working with ‘for-purpose’ organisations across Australia and the Asia-Pacific. She has contributed to program management and development across environmental, social and leadership programs and has provided coaching and consultation towards personal and systemic development. She has a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development.

Alex Childs, Creators of Peace & Programs Coordinator

 Alex has experience in project coordination, administration and community engagement. She is the founder of the Colourful Collective, a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable and creative design, as well as secretary for Proto Hub recycling centre. She has experience engaging with migrant and refugee communities and is also a 2018 graduate of the SPROUT program.

Nigel Heywood, Community and Practice Development Manager

Nigel originally comes from Manilla, Australia, where his family have farmed for four generations. From 2001 – 2012 he worked in leadership training, community development, and peace building programs with Initiatives of Change (IofC) throughout the Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. He has worked beside communities recovering from conflict in the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan. From 2013 - 2017 Nigel worked with the Red Cross Emergency Services Victoria designing and delivering training programs to 1000+ volunteers, as well as co-facilitating workshops for the South Sudanese Australian Peace Initiative in Melbourne.

He studied Visual Arts at The Australian National University in Canberra and recently completed a masters in Folklore and Conflict Resolution at the University of North Carolina.

Delia Paul, Communications Manager

Delia is a journalist who previously worked on a national newspaper and with international development organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, managing corporate communications and advocacy around environmental protection and sustainability goals. She has an MA in Public Policy and Management.

Delia writes regularly for Earth Negotiations Bulletin and the SDG Knowledge Hub on the progress of multilateral decision making for sustainable development. She authored a book about the life and people of the Mekong River Basin, The Living Mekong, in 2009.

Parveen Muhammed, Communications Assistant

Parveen holds a Bachelor's degree in humanities and has worked in the NGO sector in Sri Lanka and the corporate sector in London and Melbourne. Besides her staff role, she has been a volunteer web writer with IofC since 2016. She enjoys the quietness that editing, writing and reading provides whilst looking after two energetic boys.

Creators of Peace

Tanya Fox, CoP NSW Administrative Coordinator

Tanya Fox

Tanya recently retired after 50 years in administration and management roles in the areas of education, advertising and centre management. She has been a dedicated member of Creators of Peace and a facilitator of Creators of Peace Circles for 10 years. She previously served as a member on the CoP International Committee and publisher of the CoP International newsletter, and currently publishes the What’s On CoP NSW newsletter.  

She also volunteers in aged care and convenes a support group for people with vision impairment. She has been involved in several areas of social justice advocating for a welcoming attitude to asylum seekers. She is a passionate advocate for environmental consciousness, and desires to leave her 11 grandchildren and future generations a more sustainable and peaceful planet.

Life Matters

Rob Wood, Facilitator and Mentor

Rob has worked with IofCA for many years, developing and conducting its life direction and leadership programs. He has also engaged in a variety of community building and strengthening initiatives in Australia and in different parts of the Asia-Pacific region. With his partner Cheryl, he helped host the Australia-Pacific Centre for IofC in Melbourne for 28 years.

Cheryl Wood, Facilitator and Mentor

Cheryl is a trained teacher who has worked full-time with IofC for the past 45 years. She previously managed Grosvenor Books, IofCA’s publishing arm, as well as living in community at IofC’s Australia-Pacific Centre for 35 years, working with partner Rob to host the centre for 28 of those years. Her work is built around a lifelong sense of calling to build bridges between people in Australia and other countries in the region. She served on the IofCA Board for 21 years.

Armagh

Liz Weeks, Centre Support

Prior to working with Initiatives of Change (IofC), Liz trained as a nurse.  She and her husband spent 3½ years in Papua New Guinea in the 70's, including Independence and had an ongoing association with that country.  In recent years she has been involved in the IofC programme Creators of Peace Circles and has, with others, taken training sessions in Solomon Islands and Bougainville.  She is a proud mother of two and grandmother of five.

Office

Wendy Vanderleest, Operations and Centre Maintenance Coordinator

Wendy has worked in local government and university environments, as well as for her family building company.  Wendy joined the not-for-profit sector about 10 years ago and specialises in office and facilities management. Time away from work is spent with family or visiting friends all around the globe.

Kylie Barrow, Administration Officer

Magdy Tadros, Finance and Business Manager

Magdy is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelors degree in Commerce (Accounting Major)  and full CAANZ Membership. Magdy has extensive experience in Financial Management, Budgeting, Forecasting, Financial Analysis, Management Reporting, Treasury and Relationship Management and has worked within the Education and Training, Corporate, and Not-For-Profit sectors.

Magdy is passionate about excellent customer service aimed at maintaining constructive and trusted working relationships and delivering outstanding financial and accounting services.

Elizabeth Lee, Company Secretary

Elizabeth has over 20 years’ experience in the areas of corporate governance and company secretarial functions. She has held company secretarial positions for Phosphate Resources, Macmahon Holdings, Lend Lease Primelife, Macquarie Bank and Austock Group. She holds a Bachelor of Business with majors in Finance and Business Law from Edith Cowan University, and a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia.