Meet the Team

Director
Micaela Cronin
Micaela Cronin is an outstanding contributor to her field, having begun her career as a family violence social worker, she has held leadership and service delivery roles across a broad range of fields, both in Australia and internationally.She comes to the FSSI Director’s role from Hagar International, where she has been the global CEO for three years based in Asia, building service delivery and strategic partnerships across the Asia Pacific region to tackle human trafficking and human rights abuses.

Micaela is a past CEO of MacKillop Family Services and has extensive leadership and governance experience including being President of both the Victorian Council of Social Services, and the Australia Council of Social Services. Micaela is also an alumnus of RMIT and a past President of its Student Representative Committee.

Paul Ramcharan
Deputy Director Research
Associate Professor Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University
Paul Ramcharan has been involved in research for and with people with disability for over 20 years and has maintained an interest in self advocacy, including acting as an Australian Research Council link with colleagues at La Trobe University and Reinforce (a self advocacy group).  Since arriving in Australia in 2006 from the UK Paul has undertaken research around the views and experiences of people with disability and family carers of restrictive practices and has  developed a Roadmap for Achieving Dignity Without Restraint.  Paul maintains a keen interest in disability research, human rights and inclusive research practice.
Shae Allen
Events and Administration Coordinator
Shae Allen has previously coordinated the delivery of domestic and international industry training programs for the RMIT School of Media and Communication in Australia and Vietnam. She is inspired to deliver innovative educational projects and events and nurture strong stakeholder relationships that link people, projects and causes for progressive social change. Shae also has a background in change and personal transition consulting, managing clients through significant cultural change and unique career transition requirements.
Steve Bruechert
VE Program Manager
Steve has more than 35 years’ experience in the health and community services sector in leadership and management roles. His sector experience includes disability, aged care, and health service provision, at state and regional levels. Steve has been involved with a range of consultancies providing advice and operational responsibility for development and design of new commercial projects. He is an experienced workplace consultant educator in the development of leadership and management programs focused on community service workforce strategies. Academic interests include fundamentals of community service workforce development and the relationship between workplace culture and learning.
Dr Jess Lee-Ack
Senior Advisor, Social Innovation
Jess Lee-Ack has worked in higher education as a researcher and lecturer in history and more recently in senior administrative roles related to strategy, policy, planning and governance. Jess has managed a number of RMIT university-wide projects and was part of the project team that developed RMIT’s Ready for Life and Work strategy.  Jess has an interest in evidence-based policy that supports social justice and has authored policy submissions related to research funding, partnerships, evaluation and sustainable growth of the social service workforce. Jess represents FSSI on the Project Lead Working Group for the Victorian Government’s  Keeping Our Sector Strong strategy and supports FSSI with strategic advice, policy analysis, planning and project management. 
Lee Newnham
Executive Officer
Lee Newnham provides executive and administrative services to the FSSI Director and staff, and acts as a liaison between FSSI, RMIT University and VCOSS.  Lee was previously Business Development/Marketing Manager at Moores, a legal firm with a focus on the not-for-profit sector.  Lee has a strong understanding of both the opportunities and the challenges faced in the sector and is passionate about assisting FSSI in achieving its goals.
Dr Shefton Parker
Project Developer and Educator
Shefton Parker has a background in clinical health research and higher education teaching. His research has been in evaluating integrated care delivery and quality of life benefits for patients. He has worked with various health and social service sector organisations in delivering research projects with impact. Shefton is an active member of various external health organisation governance committees and is an advocate for consumer centred service delivery. He is a past Director of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) and has a strong interest in enhancing collaboration and engagement between the health and social service sectors to better address complex community needs.
Michelle McCann
VE Teacher and Project Officer

Michelle is an experienced community services and disability professional with a commitment to social justice and human rights. In her career she has worked with marginalized members of the community including people with disabilities, complex mental health issues and ex-prisoners. She is currently the Chair of the Newlands and East Coburg Community Hub.

Michelle teaches into the Future Social Service Institute VE programs in Certificate IV in Disability and Certificate III in Individual Support. She has an ongoing commitment to the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of society, including education. She remains focused on people with disability influencing curriculum and delivery through a co-design process.

Lola Nicolouleas
VE Lead Teacher
Lola has extensive experience in the disability sector, including 15 years at Interchange Western (now Gateways Support Services), and 5 years working within disability employment services as both an employment consultant and a marketing coordinator.

Through these positions, she has developed a strong background in supporting people with disabilities to live empowered lives through recreation activities, and real-life insight into barriers people with disabilities face with employment and education. Lola has taught at a broad range of RTO’s, Boutique RTO’s and now RMIT University.  She is also on the Board of management for the South Kingsville Community centre and volunteer with Wear for Success.

Manu Atwal
VE Lead Teacher
Manu is an experienced registered nurse who worked in the residential aged care industry as nurse in charge and care manager. In her career, she has focused on holistic care of her aged care residents and has tried to make their life a bit more comfortable in their final moments.

Manu has also worked as palliative nurse where she enjoyed embarking on the journey of aged care nursing. She has a wealth of experience in the aged care industry as an advocate for the residents and now she is ready to share these experiences with her students.