Jennifer is a highly experienced leader across the disability, child and family, child protection, early childhood education and care, health, food security and community sectors. She is guided by a health promotion framework to deliver comprehensive evidence-based responses in fulfillment of the organisaton’s vision and mission.
Having worked in local, state, national and international organisations in strategic and operational leadership capacities, Jennifer has a strong reputation for leading transformative change and building mission-focused, high performing, innovative organisations and teams.
She is passionate about supporting consumers to access their rights of participation, voice, agency and self-determination. She is known for building collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders that maximise benefits for individuals, families, communities and organisations.
Family Support Manager
Bernadette van Wijnen
Bernadette provides information, support and training to people with Down syndrome, their parents and professionals. With a background in Nursing (Developmental Disabilities) she has over 20 years’ experience working with children and adults with a disability and their families in frontline and advisory roles – both In the Netherlands and in Australia. Passionate about empowering families, Bernadette provides practical, evidence informed information so families can make informed decisions that are right for their child and for them as a family.
Behaviour Advice/Professional Training
Miriam Philomena is the behaviour specialist at DSNSW. 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.
Member & Community Engagement Coordinator
Kathryn is our Community Events Coordinator, looking after the various events and activities that Down Syndrome NSW offers. This includes our Up, Up Away program, workshops, conferences and seminars. With a background of 30 years in Community Development, the last 10 of those in a disability role, Kathryn is always keen to hear from members about new initiatives and activities.
Participation & Skills Development Program Lead
Nicola Hayhurst (Nikki)
Nikki is the Participation and Skills Development Program lead at DSNSW. Nikki has 12 years of experience working with adults with a moderate level of intellectual disability within open employment settings as well as leading life skills programs in recreation settings within the Sydney region, many of whom have Down syndrome. Within the UK, she had a background in social work and education, working as a hospital case manager and associate university lecturer on a diploma level health and social care program. Nikki applies a person-centred inclusive approach to innovate, implement and evaluate programs that will support members to engage, participate and develop skills. She also brings additional expertise in neuro-linguistic programming and positive psychology
Communication & Fundraising Coordinator
Kylie has a background of 25 years working in marketing, events, and communications, the last 5 of which have been within the non-profit sector. She has qualifications in communications and marketing. Her recent role was with Children’s Medical Research Institute as the Jeans for Genes fundraising and marketing coordinator. Her experience in the corporate sector included the role of National In-Store Promotions/Events Specialist with BigW where she was responsible for charity engagement, charity merchandise programs, event planning, as well as campaign communications with internal and external stakeholders.
Ellen is our Administration Assistant and is involved with data entry, administrative support to all staff and helps keep our office running smoothly. She is also a valued team leader at UPClub and teen camps.
NDIS Finance & Administration Support
Sophia is our Up!Club Support Consultant. Sophia works through the finances and administration in supporting our Up Clubbers. With a background of senior administration and finances Sophia skills and knowledge are a great asset to our organisation.
Sophia’s lived experience with her son Mitchell who just happens to have Down Syndrome and her knowledge on the NDIS and processes has made her valued member of our team
Christine is our Office Administrator and has experience in a wide range of industries and roles mainly focused around administration and sales management. Most recently she had 11 years in a senior administration role for a large NFP providing services to young people who are at risk, disadvantaged, vulnerable or had a disability. The role covered all facets of administration ranging from finance, website and creating marketing materials to a variety of admin support for the manager and a team of 30 staff. Christine is passionate about people with disabilities having as many opportunities as possible to work, play, socialise and live a life that they find fulfilling.
Emma has been an Up!Club coordinator with Down Syndrome NSW for over 5 years, as well as helping with the running/organisation of Up!Club weekend camps. She has a background in Disability Services spanning across 13 years. These days mainly focusing in the social & community sector. Emma is passionate about advocating for social inclusion for people with a disability.
Atlanta is a coordinator of Down Syndrome NSW Up!Club events and Up!Club weekend camps. Atlanta is studying Occupational Therapy and has over 5 years experience as a disability support worker. Atlanta is enthusiastic about promoting a more accepting and inclusive community for people of all abilities.
Up, Up & Away Coordinators
Melissa is a coordinator on our Up Up & Away team. This program, which started in 2018, brings children 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.
Jessica is a coordinator for our Up Up & Away Events. This program provides an opportunity for children with Down syndrome, and their families and carers, to socialise and share information in a supportive and fun environment. Jessica brings her experience to this role as the mother of a young daughter with Down syndrome and as a former educational professional with a postgraduate qualification in Learning Support for children with various educational needs. She is enthusiastic about bringing families together, sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and creating a space in which people from the Down syndrome community can positively connect.