Our Staff

    The operations team is made up of dedicated staff and volunteers who are passionate about ethnic and multicultural communities.

    Chris Christoforou
    Chris Christoforou

    Executive Officer

    Chris commenced as Executive Officer in January 2019, bringing extensive management and executive experience to the ECCV from the education, community and sport sectors.

    A teacher by profession, Chris believes in developing the people around him as the basis of a strong organisation. Chris is the Coburg born son of migrant parents from Cyprus and considers it as a privilege to lead an organisation that has been at the forefront of advocating for cultural diversity in Victoria since 1974. 

    Jiembra Sheils

    Jiembra Sheils

    Business Manager

    Jiembra commenced as ECCV’s Business Manager in March 2019 and is a Certified Practicing Accountant with a commitment to social justice. Jiem has many years’ experience working in not-for-profit organisations in operational and financial management, including with the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, Oxfam and Women’s Housing Ltd.

    Jiem is responsible for ECCV’s finance, HR, ICT and regulatory compliance and is a Brunswick local with Irish, English and Norwegian heritage.

    Zuleika Arashiro

    Zuleika Arashiro

    Policy & Advocacy Manager

    Zuleika commenced as Advocacy Leader at ECCV in June 2019 and is a lawyer by profession, who migrated to Australia from Brazil in the 2000s. Since completing her PhD in Politics and International Relations, Zuleika has lectured in international relations at Australian National University and worked in research, policy and project management with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Good Shepherd Microfinance.

    Zuleika is responsible for ECCV’s policy and advocacy work, including leading ECCV’s anti-racism campaign, All One Together.

    Diana Mastrantuono

    Diana Mastrantuono

    Projects Manager

    Diana comes to ECCV with experience in program and people management. She has a strong commitment to social justice and the principles that surround this including building the capacity of the community sector in order to support vulnerable groups, reduce disadvantage and increase participation in the community.

     

    Diana has extensive experience working with new and emerging communities and people seeking asylum including with Red Cross, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre. She is responsible for ECCV’s project work, developing relationships and supporting business development.

    You can contact her at dmastrantuono@eccv.org.au.

    Anjali Nambissan

    Anjali Nambissan

    Communications & Membership Manager

    Anjali joined as ECCV’s Communications & Membership Co-ordinator in July 2019 after having been the Media & Communications Officer at the Centre for Multicultural Youth for three years. Anjali comes to ECCV with a strong marketing and communications background, with proven skills in new media journalism. Anjali is leading ECCV’s communications, membership activities and events.

    Anjali migrated to Australia from India in 2014 and is currently undertaking a Master’s in Strategic Communications Management at Monash University.

    Matisse Yee

    Matisse Yee

    Office Administrator

    Matisse graduated from National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan R.O.C and has the Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Chinese Literature. She has extensive experience specialising in administration, data and project management in both corporate and community sectors. Since 2014, Matisse has been involved in variety roles of administration, project and finance in ECCV.

     You can reach her at myee@eccv.org.au.

    Gabriele Rukas

    Gabriele Rukas

    Sector Development – Policy & Practice

    Before migrating to Australia from Lithuania, Gabriele completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Cultural History and has worked with the Multicultural Council of Tasmania and Wilderness Society. She has 6 years of experience working in sector development, advocacy and capacity building of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in areas, such as aged care and disability.

     Gabriele passionately believes in community empowerment, sustainability and innovation.

     You can reach her at grukas@eccv.org.au.

    James Houghton

    James Houghton

    Policy Officer

    James is dedicated to influencing governments and changing attitudes for the betterment of multiculturalism and social cohesion. He is passionate about internationalism, breaking down barriers and emphasising our common humanity.

    James has experience working with asylum seekers and refugees at organisations such as Saint Vincent De Paul, World Vision, and Amnesty International.

    James has qualifications in commerce and the arts. He loves cricket, music, science, and snow skiing.

    You can reach him at jhoughton@eccv.org.au.

    Martin Plowman

    Martin Plowman

    Project Lead, Culturally Safe Practice

    Martin joined ECCV in July 2020 after working in diversity and public health at organisations like Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Victoria and HealthWest Partnership.

    Born in Melbourne from an Anglo-Italian family, Martin is committed to improving the social determinants of health for all Victorians, and sees this as a key way to build a fairer and more equitable society. He was the project lead for the Standards for Workforce Mutuality, a multi-sector initiative to build more culturally reflective workforces, and has extensive experience working alongside First Nations colleagues in Aboriginal community health.

    Martin has bachelor degrees in Arts and Science and holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne, which was published by Allen & Unwin as the travel memoir The UFO Diaries.

    Riccardo Armillei

    Riccardo Armillei

    Advocacy and Policy Advisor

    Riccardo comes to ECCV from The Salvation Army, where he was the Advocacy and Policy Advisor on issues of human trafficking and modern slavery in Australia. 

    He has over a decade of research experience with immigration policy, human rights and the rights of discriminated minorities. 

    Between 2014 and 2015, he worked for the UNESCO Chair team at Deakin University’s Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Later, Riccardo conducted two research projects on ‘new Italian migrants’ to Australia for the COMITES – Victoria and Tasmania with funds from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

    Before coming to Australia in 2010, Riccardo has worked as a social worker with NGOs in peace and humanitarian areas throughout Europe. 

    Riccardo completed a PhD in Social Sciences at Swinburne University.  

    Tala Abdulhadi

    Tala Abdulhadi

    Project Officer, Seniors

    Tala joins ECCV after recently returning to Australia from Palestine, where she has spent the last five years working in a range of roles, related to development, advocacy and capacity building. This includes project work with The Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media, fundraising work with Birzeit University and delivering a range of project consultancies with Solutions for Development Consulting Co.

    Tala is a graduate of the University of Sydney where she holds a Masters of Development Studies and she also holds a Bachelor of Advertising and Marketing Communication from the University of Canberra.

    Tala’s bring her expertise and enthusiasm to the ECCV project team that innovates responses to elder abuse and support options for culturally diverse Victorians experiencing family violence. 

    You can reach her at tabdulhadi@eccv.org.au.

    Nikolaus Rittinghausen

    Nikolaus Rittinghausen

    Victorian Coordinator - Speak My Language

    Nikolaus studied International Political Management in Bremen and International Studies in Wollongong.

     He has been at ECCV since 2012 in the roles of Aged Care Policy Officer, Senior Policy Officer and is now the Victorian Coordinator of the Speak My Language disability project.

     He has expertise in writing policy publications, developing projects, engaging with multicultural community organisations, and seniors clubs.

     He is currently responsible for coordinating the Speak My Language community engagement project capturing the lived experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability in a range of community languages and building individual and community capacity to access services.

     You can contact him at nrittinghausen@eccv.org.au.

    Youssif Assafiri

    Youssif Assafiri

    CALD Disability Advocate

    Youssif identifies as an Australian from a Lebanese background, and has experience in living with a disability from birth. He has a Diploma in Community Services and is part of several committees promoting and developing self-advocacy awareness.

    Youssif’s role is to continue to promote the importance of self-advocacy and educate the community and key stakeholders on the issues that people with a disability and their families  may currently be  experiencing.  He  brings  a professional and positive mindset  with a wealth of passion to the team.

    You can contact him at yassafiri@eccv.org.au.

    Athena Papadatos

    Athena Papadatos

    CALD Disability Advocate

    Athena is qualified with a Diploma of Community Services, a Diploma of leadership management HR, and a Certificate IV in Advocacy.

    In the past, Athena has worked at a local advocacy service in Shepparton as a data advocate, as well as a peer advisor teaching young people with disabilities to self-advocate for themselves.

    Athena has lived experience with disability.

    You can contact her at apapadatos@eccv.org.au.

    Nimo Hersi

    Nimo Hersi

    CALD Disability Advocate

    Born in Somalia, Nimo joins ECCV as CALD Disability Advocate with years of experience working with a number of organizations, such as Women’s Health. She has worked as a bi-lingual worker and interpreter helping women with financial literacy. Nimo has lived experience with polio and has worked on project partnerships with the Australian Catholic University, Polio Services Victoria, and Polio Australia. She is also the Secretary of Post Polio Victoria. 

    In her spare time, Nimo is an active advocate for the Somali community in Australia, with a special interest in issues affecting women and children. She is currently studying Community Service.

    You can contact her at nhersi@eccv.org.au.

    Amena Ziard

    Amena Ziard

    Communications and Events Assistant

    Amena completed her Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, where she edited the student-run paper, Lot’s Wife Magazine.

    She has been actively involved in community radio with diversified experience in communications strategy and content creation. In her free time, Amena is an avid podcaster.

    Snm Gray

    Snm Gray

    Sector Communications and Engagement Support

    Snm was born in Samoa and migrated to Australia when she was 3. She is passionate about community development and social issues and is currently undertaking her Masters degree in Public Health (Global Nutrition and Active Living). 

    Snm has a experience in community activation, projects support, and event management. In her role, she coordinates the ECCV’s Golden Years publications, the NDIS eBulletin and other key sector communications collateral.

    You can contact her on sgray@eccv.org.au.

    Con Pagonis

    Con Pagonis

    Senior Volunteer

    Con Pagonis has been a Senior Volunteer at ECCV since early 2015. He was the (then) Immigration Department’s settlement and multicultural affairs branch director in NSW (2001-3) and in Victoria 2004-7.

    Following three decades with the Australian Government, he continued doing policy development with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (2007-8) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (2008-15).

    Now retired, Con is also a member of the Welcoming Cities Governance Committee; he is on the Board of Eastern Melbourne’s Communities’ Council on Ethnic Issues, and he is on the Blackburn English Language School Council.

    John Watts

    John Watts

    Senior Volunteer, Proof-reader

    He started as an English and Literature teacher, before studying journalism at RMIT, and has worked in numerous journalism and journalism-related environments over many years.

    John continues to come into ECCV, where among a number of things, he proof reads and edits written materials when requested.
    John was the former Media & Communications Officer at ECCV.

    You can reach him at jwatts@eccv.org.au.

    We are proud to recognise the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, as the first Australians, cultural leaders and traditional custodians of the land from which we advocate for ethnic community groups. We pay our respects to their elders, past & present.

    ECCV Statement: Recognising the Rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders 

     

    Connect with ECCV

    Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
    Suite 101, 398 Sydney Road,
    Coburg VIC 3058
    Phone: 9354 9555
    Email: eccv@eccv.org.au

     

     

    ;