Autism West Board
Silvana Gaglia, Chairperson & Founder
Silvana is one of the founders of Autism West, which was developed out of the parent run group FOCAS (Focus on Children on the Autism Spectrum), established in 2001. A parent of a child with autism, she is a passionate autism advocate, working tirelessly to improve services for families affected by autism. Silvana was one of the winners in the Impact 25 awards 2016.
Karl Paganin, Deputy Chairperson
Karl has been a Board Member since 2008 and currently holds the position of Deputy Chairperson. He has extensive experience in corporate finance and corporate and commercial Law. Karl holds degrees in law and arts, and is an Associate of the Securities Institute of Australia. Karl is the parent of a child with autism.
Adam Shephard, Treasurer
Adam joined the Board in 2010, and is the Managing Director at Amex Corporation. He has had over 15 years experience in the property and finance industries, and is an Australian Chartered Accountant (ACA), holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and a MBA from the Melbourne Business School.
Jennifer Grove has more than 12 years of experience working with CEOs of some of Australia’s largest organisations as a trusted adviser in executive search. She has substantial experience in the health, research, aged and community care, Government, membership and financial services industries as well as many years working with NFP Boards. Jennifer was a former political adviser to a Federal Attorney-General and a political journalist with The West Australian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Politics and History, from The University of Western Australia.
Steve joined the Board in February 2016, and has worked extensively within the non-government sector, holding policy positions in mental health and primary health care sectors early in his career. Steve is now working as a management consultant across the health, ageing and disability sectors. He holds Science and Arts degrees from the Australian National University.
Nicole Kerr was appointed to the Board in December 2015 and has over 9 years’ experience as a director of numerous not-for-profit organisations. She has a thorough understanding of corporate governance and extensive experience working with membership organisations. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has a Master of Business Administration, an Advanced Diploma in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
Andrea Jones joined the Board in January 2015, and is currently the Director of Marketing Services at Curtin University. With more than 15 years experience in marketing and communications, Andrea has worked with some of the world’s top brands throughout the UK, South Africa and Australia. She has special interest in creating brand awareness for not-for-profits and has helped a number of small charities grow their brands in Western Australia. She has a Masters degree in Marketing accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is an alumni of Leadership WA. Click here for Andrea’s ‘About Autism West‘ page.
Mark Di Silvio
Mark is a CPA qualified finance professional with over 25 years’ resources industry experience, having operated in an executive CFO capacity for mining organisations both locally and overseas for a number of years. Mark holds a Bachelor of Business degree and an MBA from the University of Western Australia. Mark is a parent of a child with autism.
Autism West Staff
Alison Davis, CEO (on extended medical leave)
Alison Davis joined Autism West in July 2014, and has extensive experience working in the public sector, as well as for not-for-profit and commercial organisations. Alison holds degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Western Australia, as well as a Masters in Law from the University of NSW.
Louise Sheehy, Acting CEO
Louise Sheehy is a registered high school teacher and has been working with teenagers and adults on the Autism Spectrum since 2011. Louise has worked as an educational disadvantage policy officer in Ireland for a national network and was a founding member and co-ordinator of Galway Autism Partnership, an autism organisation which focuses on person centred social groups for individuals with autism. Louise’s role at Autism West involves managing service development using a person centred approach for our members focusing on their interests and talents. She is passionate about ensuring that individuals on the autism spectrum are actively involved in planning delivery and development of services.
Scott Sadler, Administrative Assistant
Scott started with us in July 2013. Scott maintains the Autism West website, social media accounts, produces our newsletters, manages our event and membership registrations, as well as the library and any IT related matters plus administration duties. Scott grew up with autism, has studied his Certificate 3 and 4 in IT, and previously worked almost 10 years in a library. He is currently on the board (as Webmaster) of WAADF (WA Autism Diagnosticians’ Forum), and enjoys snooker, reading, movies and supports the West Coast Eagles.
Mandy Orso, Office Administrator
Janine Ripper, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Janine Ripper started with Autism West in October 2016. Janine was a project manager and Program / Project Management consultant for over 12 years, possesses team management and mentoring experience, has run her own freelance writing and digital media consultancy business where she worked with a number of local NFP’s, and has been blogging for 7 years. Janine has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies, a Certificate IV in Life Coaching, and is PRINCE2, MSP and P30 accredited. Janine is an active mental health advocate with lived experience, shares her experiences publicly as a public speaker, and is a member of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health.
Trudi-Anne Gribble, Telethon Holiday Makers Program & Volunteer Coordinator
Trudi joined Autism West in September 2014 as a Group leader for 4 social groups. She now coordinates the Telethon Holiday Makers Program and manages all Volunteers. Trudi grew up with a sister with Tourette Syndrome and learned a lot about the difficulties many with disabilities have to overcome (social, emotional, mental and physical). Her husband and daughter have high functioning Autism, and so she see’s first hand the issues and benefits that can arise from being on the autistic spectrum, from the perspective of a parent, partner and employer. This prompted Trudi to study and gain a qualification in disability and pursue a career working with those on the ASD.
Samantha Wovodich, Social Groups & Special Interest Coordinator
Samantha has worked as an educational support worker since 2015 and holds a Certificate IV in Special Needs, as well as a Diploma in Children’s Services. Samantha is in her final year at ECU completing her Bachelor of Psychology. Samantha is responsible for the administration and compliance of social groups, and coordinates Autism West’s special interest projects.
Olivia Colja, Special Interest Program Coordinator
Andrew Carson, Step Into Social B Group Leader
Andrew has a Bachelor of Science and has acquired over 4 years’ worth of experience volunteering and working with children of autism and of other disabilities both high and low support needs. Andrew is hoping to become a doctor.
Jenny Ashcroft, Mosman Park Awesome Group Leader
Jenny is a Group Leader for Autism West, planning group activities for the term and facilitating social group activities to bring our members together to build on their strengths, individuality, and developing new friendships. Jenny holds a Diploma of Business, a Bachelor of Social Science and is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies (3270).
Katherine Vales, Creative Skills Group Leader
Katherine is a Group Leader for Autism West. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), a Graduate Diploma of Learning and Teaching (Secondary) and a Certificate IV in Disabilities. She has experience working as a Disability Support Worker with low and high needs clients with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities as well as physical disabilities before going on to work as a Registered Teacher, teaching Maths and Business Studies.
Rebekkah Jouste, Group Leader
Rebekkah is a Group Leader for Autism West with a Bachelor of Psychology from Curtin University. She has experience working with the vibrant young people and staff at Autism West since 2014. Her experience with children on the spectrum also includes; therapy assisting at a Speech Pathology; as well as the experience of being a nanny within a family who have children on the spectrum.
Valeska Berg, Group Leader
Valeska has a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Developmental Psychology, a Certificate 3 in Early Childhood Education and care. Valeska also volunteers at Curtin University for Autism research (CARG).
Kooper De Lacy, Special Interests Facilitator – Coding
Kooper De Lacy is a Group Leader for Autism West, with qualifications including a Bachelor of Philosophy (Physics) with first class honours. Kooper holds his senior first aid and has worked with Autism West since 2016. He is experienced in primary and high school education of science, having volunteered for Teach Learn Grow for a year and teaching lifesaving.
Don Zhang, Special Interests Facilitator – Coding
Don Zhang is a Group Leader for Autism West, holding a Bachelor of Computer Science. He currently works as an Operating Environment Engineer and possesses experience in programming, leading youth groups, and mentoring.
Tania Rodwell, TOBY Project Manager
Tania has been with Autism West since “the beginning” (2008). Working for several years as a school based Speech Pathologist, Tania then took on the role of Special Education Consultant for the Catholic Education Office. After training as an autism diagnostician she started her own private practice – Little Language Centre – in 1996, which she ran for 10 years. Tania then got involved in setting up Autism West as a volunteer board member, working to help create services and a community profile, before taking on management of the TOBY app, Autism West’s early intervention app for 2-4 year olds, of which she does whilst also working as a school based speech pathologist, providing services to kids aged between 5 and 16 years of age.