The ACTCOSS Staff Team

Susan Helyar

Picture of Director, Susan Helyar Susan joined ACTCOSS in February 2013. Susan is committed to working with leaders across Canberra to building a more just and inclusive community, where everyone lives with dignity. Her career has focused on making a difference - as a social worker, in policy roles in ACT and Commonwealth governments and most recently as the leader of services development advocacy work for UnitingCare Australia. Susan's direct practice included working in community health, mental health and disability employment. Her social policy work included service development and policy reform across the lifespan. She supports development of the social work profession as a field educator with the Australian Catholic University.

Wendy Prowse

Deputy Director
Strategic Project Manager, Wendy Prowse Wendy joined ACTCOSS in April 2013 and feels privileged to be working for an organisation that provides a voice for people living with disadvantage and inequality and that supports organisations and staff who work so tirelessly to assist them. Wendy has spent the majority of her career working in the not-for-profit sector, predominantly in the health and aged care sectors. Over the last few years she has held senior management roles in community services and has a background in strategic planning, corporate governance, business development, marketing and strategic HR with a special interest in organisational culture and social innovation. Wendy is a dedicated community citizen, volunteering time to work on four not-for-profit boards and associated committees. Wendy has tertiary qualifications in Business Management and a Diploma in Project Management.

Dr Angie Bletsas

Policy and Advocacy Coordinator
Photo pending Angie is delighted to join the ACTCOSS team and to have the opportunity to contribute to the work of achieving a fair and equitable community in the ACT.

A circuitous employment path brings her to ACTCOSS, having had roles in community arts, as an academic where she worked teaching and researching in the field of social policy, and most recently at the South Australian Council of Social Service.

Angie has a PhD in Politics from the University of Adelaide. She loves non-fiction films, growing potted gardens, and is terribly fond of dogs.

Nadia McGuire

Policy Officer
Picture of Policy and Development Officer, Nadia Osman Nadia joined ACTCOSS in August 2011 after time spent working in both the not-for-profit sector and public service in a variety of roles. Having grown up in Canberra Nadia is looking forward to working for an organisation that supports the ACT community.

Nadia has a Bachelor of International Relations majoring in political science from the ANU and a Masters of Teaching which she completed at Macquarie University in 2008.

Nadia likes cooking, reading and belly dancing; dreams about travelling the world; and volunteers with the Red Cross.

Geoff Buchanan

Policy and Research Officer
Photo pending Geoff joined ACTCOSS in 2015 as a Policy and Research Officer. This position was initially created to support sector engagement in the development of an industry plan for the community services sector in the ACT. His responsibilities are sector policy and homelessness.

Geoff has over a decade of policy research experience, having worked at the Australian National University and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies before joining ACTCOSS. He has a multidisciplinary social science background with a focus on social policy and economics and has completed a Master of Geographical Science at the ANU. He has a longstanding research interest in the relationships between the community, government and market sectors.

Tara Prince

Policy Officer
Photo pending Tara joined ACTCOSS in 2014. She is involved in ACTCOSS' policy development and advocacy, particularly in service system reform for people with disability and older people, as well as community connectedness in the ACT. Tara also convenes the ACT HACC and Disability Services Network.

Tara has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Sydney. She has extensive experience working in community care services, mainly in systemic advocacy and community development roles.

Julie Butler

Sector Development Officer - Gulanga Program
Photo pending Julie has worked part-time with ACTCOSS since February 2007. Julie moved to Canberra over 20 years ago to increase her employment opportunities and to see new places. She has worked in education, youth, domestic violence, housing, health, aged care and local and federal government. Julie likes to visit the South Coast for its beauty and relaxed lifestyle. Her family are from North Queensland (Bandjin) and North Western Queensland (Kalkadoon).

Dean Jard

Sector Development Officer - Gulanga Program
Photo pending Dean joined the ACTCOSS Gulanga Program in February 2016. Dean has lived in Canberra for over 25 years and has been working in the community sector for more than a decade. Dean is passionate about helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people strengthen and grow the community through social inclusion.

Kim Peters

Sector Development Officer - Gulanga Program
Picture of Sector Development Officer of the Gulanga Program, Kim Peters Kim commenced in the Gulanga team in September. Kim is working three days a week and will focus on building cultural awareness and competence in services funded through the Community Services Directorate’s Children, Young People and Families Program.

Kim is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Wellington, NSW. Kim and her family have lived in Canberra for the past 18 years where she began working with Lowana Youth Services. Kim has also worked at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. Kim shares with us the knowledge and experience she acquired from working in the community youth sector and she has extensive networks within the local community.

Kim enjoys meeting new people and loves to explore opportunities that empower others on their journey of healing and learning.

Samantha Quimby

Peer Network and Learning & Development Officer
Picture of Peer Network and Learning & Development Officer, Samantha Quimby Samantha joined ACTCOSS in January 2015 and is keen to use her experience working in the not-for-profit sector and the public service and her passion for learning to support sector development in the ACT. Sam has tertiary qualifications in social science and theology and is currently undertaking post-graduate study in adult learning.

Between working with ACTCOSS and study, Sam enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially if it involves ethically-sourced coffee.

Craig Wallace

Housing Campaign Manager
Photo pending Craig joined ACTCOSS in 2015 as the Housing Campaign Manager. Craig is leading work on a joint campaign with ACT Shelter to put housing and homelessness issues at the centre of the ACT election.

With a background in the Australian Public Service including in housing policy, leading a community housing association and as the President of a national peak disability rights body, Craig is passionate about social justice, human rights and the importance of affordable and accessible housing for all Canberrans.

Suzanne Richardson

Communications and Membership Officer
Picture of Communications and Membership Officer, Suzanne Richardson Suzanne Richardson joined ACTCOSS in January 2008 as the Communications and Membership Officer. This is her first foray into the world of community services, and she enjoys using her skills to help people. She has a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Graphic Design and New Media, as well as a Certificate II in IT.

In her spare time, Suzanne enjoys playing video games and doing other equally nerdy activities.

Lisa Howatson

Office Coordinator
Photo pending Lisa started work with ACTCOSS in April 2006 as Office Coordinator.