NSW Branch Management Committee
Jack Whitney is President for the Australian Association of Social Workers (NSW Branch). Jack is passionate about linking public health and the social determinants. He is Manager for Diversity Health Unit at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and honorary clinical fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. Jack is an experienced Board Director and holds Director roles with the Institute for Health Communities Australia, NCOSS and Youth Action NSW.
Branch Vice President
Naomi has been a Member of Collegial Social Work support group for forty years, has lived in Sydney, rural Australia, India and PNG, and has worked in various non-government, Government, voluntary positions. She is the longest serving member on the NSW AASW Branch and was Director National Board for four years, Pacific representative, Board of COSW, Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work, and is the Convenor of SWITS – the Social Workers in the Shoalhaven Practice Group. Naomi’s philosophy is that it is important to grow confidence, build sustainable professional associations, ‘share with justice the resources of the earth’, and treasure family.
Brad is the Clinical Director of Activated Concepts Consulting and Counselling, a proud BMC Member and Foster Carer. He has held management and senior clinical roles in the Dept of Communities & Justice and NSW Health. Brad has spent over a decade working with a trauma-informed lens. Brad’s passion is to ensure that everyone is seen and heard in their context to promote genuine understanding, safety, and recovery.
Grahame worked for NSW Health for almost 30 years after graduating as a social worker (he had previous experience as a registered nurse), with experience in HIV/AIDS, sexual health, carer support, aged care and general hospital and community social work, including a significant level of frontline management. He left health three years ago and has been involved in causal academic teaching in social work at ACU and UNSW.
Grahame has previously served on the NSW BMC for two terms at a time when he was the NSW representative on the National Registration Committee. Grahame retains a strong interest in registration of the social work protection as an effective protection for vulnerable clients and has a keen interest in student education, decolonising social work, LGBTIQ+ issues, aged care and the place of environmental concern in social work.
Renee Griffin is a Field Educator, Mental Health Social Worker and Manager within the Psychology and Wellness team at UNSW where she is passionate about providing strengths-based clinical support. Prior to UNSW, Renee has worked in diverse areas in the, including South India, and Alice Springs. Alongside her research and direct practice experience, she is currently completing a Graduate Diploma of Psychology and has previously held State Coordinator, Program Manager and Strategic Advisory positions within prominent NGOs.
David Keegan has been a social worker for 20 years with a special interest in resilience building for communities and individuals affected by systemic vulnerability. A member since 2008, David is the immediate past NSW Branch President and has served on the BMC since 2015. He is the Founder and CEO of HOST International, an Australian charity supporting refugees and host communities throughout the Asia Pacific.
Ruby Leonard recently graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours). Her thesis investigated the merits of applying case management strategies to male perpetrators of domestic violence. Ruby is a committed advocate, previously serving as the UNSW Women's Office and Co-Convenor of Reclaim the Night Sydney. She is passionate about social justice, child protection and responding to family violence. Ruby currently works as an intensive Family Preservation Caseworker at Uniting.
Sawnu (Sunny) Taynaing
Sunny is passionate about social work within both her personal and professional communities. Sunny received an AASW QLD Branch Social Work Award in 2019 for her outstanding contributions to Social Work Practice. Sunny’s personal commitment to the social work profession is to lead by example within her networks. Sunny works as a Centrelink Social Worker with Services Australia at the Coffs Harbour Service Centre.
Nioka is young Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay woman from a small Aboriginal community. Nioka has experience working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through program delivery, skills development and training including national campaign experience. Nioka currently works as a hospital social worker specialising in crisis and trauma. Nioka has a passion for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, having a particular focus on increasing access to health care.
Student Representative Committee Member
Chi Chung (Victor) Chan
Victor is a second-year Master of Social Work student at the Australian Catholic University. In the past year, Victor assumed an assistant role in community engagement & support with a community centre in a redeveloping suburb of Sydney. Prior to that, Victor completed research on post-communist Eastern European societies with the University of Sydney, focusing specifically on Germany and Czech Republic in the years 1989-2004. Victor also completed a psychology major in his undergraduate degree. Outside of work, Victor is fond of his risotto-cooking skills.
Financial and life members of the Association interested in roles on the Branch Management Committee should contact the Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P: 03 9320 1000 or 1800 630 124 (toll free alternative)
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21 September 2021
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