Board of Directors
Meet our Board
National Vice President
Brooke Kooymans is a current practising social worker with 24 years’ experience working within Australia’s leading government and non-government agencies, both in the public and private sectors. Brooke is the founder and Director of a disability social work private practice in Brisbane, Queensland, that services the disability community with a special focus on acquired disability, mental health and dual diagnosis. In addition to direct practice, Brooke holds a BA (psychology/Sociology), BSW, MSW, Grad Cert in Rehab Case Management and is currently undertaking a PhD with a research focus on “Social Work in Practice in the Community Sector”. Brooke was elected as a Director of the Association in October 2018 and is currently the Chair of the Association’s National Ethics Committee and a member of the People and Culture Committee.
Elisha is an Accredited Mental Health Social worker and has devoted her life’s work to supporting survivors of trauma, mental health challenges, and the many difficult complexities of life. Elisha worked for more than 10 years in the public and not-for-profit sectors providing counselling and psychotherapy to people of all ages and circumstances, before opening her own private practice in 2017. Since then, she has worked primarily with children, adolescents, parents and families, providing clinical assessments
and therapeutic interventions for trauma and mental health related challenges. Elisha also works with survivors of family violence and sexual assault, victims of crime, and people employed in the military and emergency services experiencing post-traumatic stress. Elisha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters’ degrees in Social Work and Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Elisha is a Member of the Association’s National Ethics Committee and the People and Culture Committee.
Ashton is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and has been practicing for over a decade, with the last several years in private practice specialising in supporting people who have experienced trauma. Ashton is a clinical supervisor, mentor, and leadership trainer. She is passionate about promoting the skills and professionalism that social workers bring to their communities. She has spent countless hours supporting social workers navigating the process of mental health accreditation, as well as offering mentorship and guidance to new graduates and other social workers who are planning out their careers.
Dr Fotina Hardy
Dr. Fotina Hardy has over 30 years’ experience in direct practice, policy and research and as an educator, most recently nine years as Coordinator of Field Education for the BSW, MSW(Qualifying) and BHS degrees at a major Brisbane university. She has been co-convenor of the Queensland Social Policy sub-committee, Child Protection Practice Group and is a past member and convenor of the National Research Committee. Fotina holds a Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Commerce, Doctor of Social Sciences along with a Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. Fotina is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a current affiliate member of the AICD. As a Board member, Fotina is a member of the Association’s People and Culture Committee and is Chair of the Standards and Assessment Committee.
Dr Jessica Russ-Smith
Dr Jessica Russ-Smith is a Wiradyuri Wambuul woman, Senior Lecturer and Academic Developer for First Nations Curriculum at Australian Catholic University, an AASW Board Director, ACU Academic Senator and a Social Worker. Throughout her career, Jess has been committed to advancing the social work profession, decolonising higher education, and promoting social justice. Her passion and focus are on creating decolonising, critical learning and practice spaces for students, staff and practitioners which honour and are guided by First Nations sovereign knowledges. Jess’ research and teaching relates to First Nations sovereignty, embodying sovereignty, decolonisation, decolonising social work and education, decolonising curriculum and higher education, First Nations social work, ethics, activism, working with First Nations children and young people, Positive Behaviour Support Plans , AI and ethics and experiences of First Nations researchers. Jess is a former Branch President of the ACT Branch Management Committee.
Julianne Whyte is the CEO and founder of a not-for-profit organisation providing therapeutic interventions and psycho-social support for people living in rural and regional communities in southern New South Wales, through the NDIS, Medicare and other funded programs. Julianne has over 40 years’ experience working in health, community services, community development, policy and program development and implementation and research. She is an accredited Mental Health Social Worker and is in the final stages of her PhD developing a framework for social work practice in palliative and end-of-life care. Julianne chairs the Association’s Constitution Review Committee and holds membership of the National Ethics Committee and the Standards and Assessment Committee.
Prof. Sue Green
Susan Green is a Galari woman of the Wiradjuri nation and the Association’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director. Sue holds the role of Professor in Indigenous Australian Studies, GCWLCH Co-ordinator and Professorial Fellow at Yindyamarra Nguluway in the Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research at Charles Sturt University. Sue has had an extensive history spanning 20 years in indigenous higher education across a number of roles such as student support, teaching and research. She also has sat on various committees, councils, boards, and networks including the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council and National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network. Sue’s research interests include welfare history, indigenising social work education and practice, cultural responsiveness and cultural support, colonial history, decolonisation, climate change and disaster mitigation. Her foremost interest is ensuring that Wiradjuri language and culture underpins her all aspects of her personal and professional life. Susan is Chair of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan Committee, a Member of the National Ethics Committee and a Member of the Constitution Review Committee.