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.
Mark Di Silvio, Treasurer
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.
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.
Lois Keay-Smith joined the Board in 2018 and is Director of Career Wisdom, a career transition consultancy. Lois has been involved in career counselling and coaching for the past 13 years and has held a State Manager role with a national not-for-profit youth mentoring organisation. She has worked with young people with cancer, professional athletes and those experiencing various challenges in navigating and transitioning their careers. Lois holds a Masters degree in Career Development and is a Fellow of Leadership WA.
Rachael is a CPA qualified accountant with experience in the WA medical device distribution and government utility sectors, with a focus on helping businesses improve decision making, financial stability and performance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Accounting from Curtin University. Rachael is a parent of a teenager with autism, and is passionate about helping young people engage with and contribute to the wider community.
Autism West Staff
Alison Davis, CEO
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, Operations Manager
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 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. In 2017 Scott was a semi-finalist for the Western Australian Young Achiever Awards in the Community Service and Volunteering Award category.
Mandy Orso, Office Administrator
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.
Olivia Colja, Social Groups Coordinator
Olivia started at Autism West in February of 2017 as an arts facilitator for the Awesome groups. As time went on she became the Special Interest Program Coordinator and really enjoyed the experience. Olivia has two main passions in life; art and helping people. She is a practising artist and studies art part-time at ECU. Olivia also has a Bachelor of Social Science and has worked in the community for around 11 years with at-risk young people. She loves playing netball and enjoys quality time with her fiance and two rescue dogs, Stella and Arrow.
Ana Palacios, Youth Empowerment Project Officer
Ana Palacios is a contemporary artist who’s work spans practices of research, traditional craft, and storytelling through objects. After receiving an adult diagnoses of autism, Ana realised her art practice had emerged as a positive adaptation to the challenges of being neurodiverse. Starting as a volunteer Ana soon began working as a visual arts facilitator for Autism West, bringing her passion for working with young people and exploring creative research. Her role has since expanded to include working closely our Youth Advisory Council and its Youth Empowerment Research Project that recognises the lived experience of our participants and growing number of neurodiverse staff as a valuable resource in the development of our programs and community.
Sandhya Subarmaniam, Youth Empowerment Project Officer
Sandhya has been working with individuals on the autism spectrum since 2013. She started with Autism West as a Volunteer and now runs social groups. Sandhya has finished her Masters in Counselling and is a registered counsellor. Since then she started running the Street Smart Life Smart workshop with the aim of creating a safe space to allow participants to address personal and social issues without feeling judged. She also works closely with the Youth Advisory Council. Sandhya takes personal pleasure in guiding Autism West participants and monitoring their personal growth.