Meet Our Team

Meet the dedicated Team and Board Members at Down Syndrome NSW. Our passionate members bring a wealth of expertise and a profound understanding of Down Syndrome to the table. Committed to excellence, our team works collaboratively to advance our mission and enhance the lives of those we serve.

Emily Caska

Emily Caska

CEO

Emily joins us with 20 years of executive leadership expertise in the disability, child protection, foreign affairs and corporate sectors across Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam and the UK. Emily was the UP! Club Coordinator from 2002-2004, following which she served on the DS NSW Board.

Specialising in strategy, governance, policy and business development, Emily has a long history with DS NSW and is passionate about embedding authentic consumer centric approaches and strengthening the NFP sector as a central mechanism to build social capital.

Emily’s extensive experience includes Policy Director at National Disability Services, Executive Advisor to the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, Deputy CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong, Macau and China as well as Executive Leader Strategy at Lifestyle Solutions, and Strategic Projects Director at Achieve Australia. Having attended Harvard University and the University of Sydney, Emily has founded a number of social enterprises employing people with disabilities and mental health. Emily advises Dementia Australia on quality care in response to the Royal Commission, as well as holds an executive position in the hospitality industry. She is also President of Rafiki Mwema, a charity in Kenya providing housing, schooling, court support, therapeutic care and community outreach services children who have been sexually assaulted.

Emily is known for her strategic vision, operational optimisation and business development acumen all aimed at having a measurable impact and positive change in the lives of those we support, the systemic framework and the community at large. Emily has lived experience of disability and is very close with her sister Lucy.

Miriam Philomena

Miriam Philomena

Manager – Inclusion and Education

Miriam Philomena is the behaviour specialist at DSNSW and has been with us for 17 years. Miriam is a passionate advocate for people with Down syndrome and their families. She draws on her knowledge as a Social worker, her lived experience as the mother of a thirty-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome and is a talented artist, and fifteen years of working with our families. She has a wealth of knowledge on the NDIS and planning processes. Miriam provides training workshops on understanding Down syndrome in all settings across all life spans.

Jessica Hislop

Jessica Hislop

Partnerships, Fundraising and Campaigns Manager

Jessica joins Down Syndrome Association NSW with over 7 years experience in not for profit. In Jessica’s most recent role she lead, developed and managed programs and events that generated much needed funds for children’s health.

Jessica is passionate about children’s health and well-being and enjoys aligning donors passions with incredible causes.

Jessica joins the team as Partnerships, Fundraising and Campaigns Manager where she will utalise her skill set to develop and implement a fundraising and campaigns strategy.

Jessica is excited to join the Down Syndrome Association Family and use her passion and expertise to broaden the impact to DS NSW members.

Julie Louden

Julie Louden

Business Support Manager

Julie has a varied background including Nursing, In home Aged Care, Company director, Office Management, administration and accounts.Julie has lived experience as a mother of a teenage daughter with Down Syndrome.Julie is extremely passionate about advocating for people with a disability to enable them to have a voice and opportunities to live life to the fullest.Julie also believes it is extremely important to support and assist families and friends of people with Down Syndrome where ever possible.

Krystal Swamy

Krystal Swamy

Social Programs / Events Co-ordinator

Krystal has a working history in hospitality management in hotel pubs and restaurants in Sydney. Her advocacy for equality, empowerment and human rights for all members of society has veered her in a new path to studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at the University of New South Wales.

Melissa Cotterill

Melissa Cotterill

Up,Up & Away Coordinator Prenatal and New Baby Manager

Melissa is a coordinator on our Up Up & Away team.  This program, which started in 2018, brings children 4-17 years who have Down Syndrome together along with their siblings and parents.  Melissa is passionate about families and seeing them socialise, network and have fun together.  Melissa has a teenage daughter who has Down Syndrome and is an active member of the community connecting with other parents and children. Melissa has organised fundraising events for Down Syndrome NSW to help bring about awareness of Down Syndrome in the local community. 

Heidi Helyard

Heidi Helyard

Graphic and Content Designer

Heidi has over 20 year’s experience as a graphic designer, as an in-house designer and freelancer. She is passionate about designing content that is usable, accessible and fit for purpose (and is a typography nerd).

Heidi is an active campaigner in her local community for progressive causes and has been involved in several election campaigns as both a volunteer and organiser.

She also enjoys pursuing her own creative endeavors, which include making handmade jewelry. Her first book, ‘Creative Polymer Clay’ was published in 2021.

Christine Turner

Christine Turner

Chief Operating Officer

Christine brings to the team over 12 years of senior management and executive leadership experience in the NFP sector, with a background in both clinical health service delivery and business management. Much of her experience has been in human resources, risk and financial management, quality management systems, as well as oversight of information technology and marketing/communications.

She is a passionate, optimistic and driven person, who has successfully led organisation wide transformations and continuous improvement, as well as many people centred strategies, all of which have driven optimal performance and outcomes for individuals, teams and the organisation, in turn benefiting the community.

Eliza Arrowsmith

Eliza Arrowsmith

Marketing and Communications Manager

Melissa is a coordinator on our Up Up & Away team.  This program, which started in 2018, brings children 4-17 years who have Down Syndrome together along with their siblings and parents.  Melissa is passionate about families and seeing them socialise, network and have fun together.  Melissa has a teenage daughter who has Down Syndrome and is an active member of the community connecting with other parents and children. Melissa has organised fundraising events for Down Syndrome NSW to help bring about awareness of Down Syndrome in the local community. 

Lorraine Clark AM

Lorraine Clark AM

President

Experienced Project Management Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the sports industry. Long term volunteer and administrator. Lorraine has held numerous board member appointments for DS NSW and Australia and within the Asia Pacific region. Her lifelong work for Special Olympics has also seen her hold many positions nationally and internationally.

Nicholas Gotsis

Nicholas Gotsis

Treasurer

Nick has an older sister with Down syndrome and a long-term history of volunteering with Down Syndrome NSW. He is an accountant and manages a chartered accountant’s business.

Rene Pennock

Rene Pennock

Board Member

Rene is the father of an 11 year old son with Down syndrome. With over 14 years-experience as CEO or Company Secretary for NFPs, Rene offers a complete range of corporate and governance skills.

Christopher Hebert

Christopher Hebert

Board Member

Chris is the father of 2 children and his 4 year old daughter has Down syndrome. He works in the public service in research and communications.

Margot Elliffe

Margot Elliffe

Board Member

Margot Elliffe is the mother of 4 adult children, the youngest, Tara having Down syndrome.

Margot has background professionally in health and has a particular interest in the health outcomes for people with disability.

Margot mainstreamed Tara for her education and watched her gain a job in open employment and is passionate in the belief that people with Down syndrome belong in the community and are offered the same opportunities as everyone else.

This is achievable with the right supports and an acceptance by the community through education and awareness of the rights of all individuals.

Lyn Legge

Lyn Legge

Board Member

Lyn is the mother of four girls, the youngest two girls have Down syndrome. She has an accounting background and has served on a number of committees. Living in Coffs Harbour, Lyn has a focus on families in regional areas. She been active in organising local events for families and sees new technologies as an opportunity for regional areas to better connect with other families and events.

Charlie Burfitt

Charlie Burfitt

Board Member

Charlie is a father to four young children. His second child Raphael has Down syndrome. He previously worked as a disability support worker where he worked closely with many adults and children living with Down Syndrome and now works as a lawyer in the property industry. Charlie is passionate about ensuring that Australian society sees and values the great benefits that those with Down Syndrome bring to our community.

Key Governance Material

Explore this section to easily access essential resources such as the annual report, complaints records, strategic plan, and constitution. Here, you’ll find a wealth of information vital to understanding our organisation’s structure, goals, and performance.

Ready to Make a Change?

Are you ready to make a positive impact? Take the first step by donating now or becoming a valued member, and join us in creating meaningful change together.

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