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Board of Directors

Please select the Board member's name to view their biography.

National President

Linda Ford Vittorio Cintio

Vittorio Cintio is National President of AASW, elected in September 2020. Vittorio is based in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and has over 40 years’ experience in the health sector and in private practice, counselling individuals and families. Vittorio is currently a social work leader in NSW Health, with management, teaching and research responsibilities. Vittorio was the Association’s National Vice President (from 2018 to 2020) and has previously served as a Director between 2010 and 2012. Email Vittorio Cintio.

National Vice President

Linda Ford Linda Ford

Linda Ford is an Aboriginal woman from the Bigambul people of South West Queensland but grew up on Kalkadoon land in the North West part of Queensland. Linda has 26 years’ experience as a Social Worker in rural, remote and urban settings mainly in the fields of child protection, health, mental health and tertiary education. Linda has previously presented to national and international conferences in the area of Aboriginal Health and Mental Health. In May 2021, Linda was appointed Senior Academic Lead, Allied Health at the Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University, Mount Isa. She is a past president of the Association’s North Queensland Branch, past Chair of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, a member of the Finance, Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee and a member of the People and Culture Committee. In January 2021, Linda was appointed as the Australia representative for the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) Indigenous Commission. Email Linda Ford.


Suzanne Doorakkers-Sprague Elisha Ebdon

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. She is a Clinical Member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Elisha is a Member of the Association’s National Ethics Committee, a Member of the Finance, Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee and a Member of the Constitution Review Committee. Email Elisha Ebdon.

Chris Hannan - woman with long blonde hair and glasses smiling against a black background Chris Hannan

Chris is a social worker providing social work Supervision and consulting services in Tasmania. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree and attained her mental health accreditation in 2020. Chris has worked across the five eastern states and worked in several areas of social work including supported accommodation, community development, Employee Assistance Programs, a private practice hospital, animal assisted therapy and military social work. She is a strong advocate of rural and remote social work and a former member of the Tasmanian Branch Management Committee. Email Chris Hannan.

Dr Fotina Hardy Dr Fotina Hardy

Fotina 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. More recently she is working as a sessional lecturer and researcher across a few universities. Children and families, older people, aged care systems, people seeking asylum and refuge and the education and support of social work students and new graduates - are particular areas of interest for Fotina. Fotina served on the AASW Branch Management Committee (Queensland) for ten years, six as President. 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 continues to contribute to the Social Policy Sub Committee and Child, Youth and Family Practice Group. Fotina is on the management committee of the Queensland Youth Housing Coalition, Stepping Stone Clubhouse and a member of the ANZSWWER 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. Email Fotina Hardy.

Brooke Kooymans Brooke Kooymans

Brooke 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 also provides professional supervision to social workers in the disability field. Brooke’s practice also supports social work student placements an offers a new graduate program for emerging social workers. Brooke is an accredited Mental Health Social Worker and Accredited Disability Social Worker with the AASW. 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. Email Brooke Kooymans.

Jessica Russ-Smith - woman wearing a white top, smiling against a grey background Jessica Russ-Smith

Jessica is a Wiradyuri Wambuul woman, Senior Lecturer and Academic Developer of the Indigenous Curriculum at Australian Catholic University. She is a PhD Scholar in the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at Charles Sturt University and a Social Worker. Jessica has taught within Bachelor and Masters Social Work programs at UNSW and ACU and a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at CSU. Jess’ research relates to indigenous sovereignty, embodying sovereignty, decolonisation, decolonising social work and education, indigenous social work, ethics, activism, working with Aboriginal children and young people, Positive Behaviour Support Plans and experiences of indigenous researchers. Jessica is a former Branch President of the ACT Branch Management Committee. Email Jessica Russ-Smith.

Julianne Whyte Julianne Whyte OAM

Julianne 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. Email Julianne Whyte.

Director - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative

Susan Green Professor Susan 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 and GCWLCH Co-ordinator 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 interest includes Welfare History, Indigenising Social Work education and practice, Cultural Responsiveness and Cultural Support, Colonial History and Decolonisation. 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 Working Group and a Member of the National Ethics Committee. Email Susan Green.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers