ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation


The ACTCOSS team is keen to meet you. Check out our profiles below and contact us if you'd like to chat about our areas of work.

Management Team

Interim CEO :
Dr Gemma Killen

Gemma currently serves as the Interim CEO of ACTCOSS. Dr Killen joined ACTCOSS in early 2021 as a Senior Policy Officer and became Head of Policy in 2022. Their policy responsibilities include justice, drugs and alcohol, gender, families and young people, and education.

Gemma has a PhD in Sociology at the Australian National University, specialising in gender, sexuality and community making and has extensive experience in social advocacy in Canberra. They are also a freelance writer, educator and engagement consultant on issues relating to gender and sexuality.

02 6202 7223
Contact about:
Policy; justice; drugs and alcohol; gender; families and young people; education

Head of Sector Capability:
Heather Fitt

Heather joined ACTCOSS in August 2021 as the Head of Sector Capability. She has responsibility for strengthening the ACT community sector’s ability to engage with the ACT Government on policy and program issues, managing community sector consultation and engagement through the Joint Community Government Reference Group, and strengthening organisational capacities including through the Human Resources Network. Heather also oversights the new ACTCOSS Community Sector Careers Hub project.

Heather has an extensive background working on the Australian Government’s international aid program, most recently managing monitoring and evaluation for the Australian Non‑government Cooperation Program. She is passionate about social justice and inclusive policy making, and has a commitment to building the capacity of the community sector in the ACT.

02 6202 7230
Contact about:
Sector capability, sector policy, commissioning, community development, ACTCOSS peer networks

Operations Manager:
Stephanie Crosby

Stephanie joined ACTCOSS in March 2018 as Operations Manager. She is a Chartered Accountant with a background in finance, strategy and process improvement. Stephanie began her career working in taxation and audit at KPMG, before moving into accounting and transformation roles with QANTAS for 13 years. More recently, her work has focused on project management, governance and organisational change. Stephanie has a Commerce (Accounting) Degree and has been a member of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand since 2003.

Stephanie is keen to use her corporate experience to support the work of ACTCOSS and the community sector in the ACT.

02 6202 7224
Contact about:
Administration; finance; governance

Policy & Development Team

Policy Officer:
Gabby Robertson

Gabby joined ACTCOSS in July 2022 as a Policy Support Officer.

Gabby recently graduated from a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Sociology. Her career background is in Early Childhood Education, Inclusion and Early Intervention. She is very passionate about working to uphold the rights of children, families, people with disability and the wider ACT community in the spirit of social justice, inclusion and equity.

02 6202 7222
Contact about:
ACTCOSS reports; policy matters

Policy Officer:
Avan Daruwalla

Avan joined ACTCOSS in 2021 as the Anti-Poverty Week Project Support Officer, and in January 2022 started acting in a Policy Officer position.

Avan is currently studying a Bachelors of Development Studies and a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the Australian National University. She is also serving as the ANU Women's Officer representing the interests of women and non-binary students, focusing on sexual assault and sexual harassment advocacy and pastoral care support.

02 6202 7200
Contact about:
ACTCOSS reports; policy matters

CASP Development Officer:
Emma Hawke

Emma Hawke joined ACTCOSS in March 2022 as the CASP Development Officer. She is responsible for the coordination and support to the Community Assistance Support Program (CASP) and focuses on policy and sector development related to community care and health. 

Emma recently completed a Graduate Certificate of Public Health through the University of Wollongong, and has extensive experience in community development and health promotion in community organisations as well as local and state government. She is passionate and committed to creating social justice and improving the health and wellbeing of the Canberra community.  

02 6202 7234
Contact about:
Community Assistance and Support Program (CASP)

Project Support Officer:
Luise Zolio

Luise joined ACTCOSS in August 2022 after graduating from a Certificate IV in Community Services and Community Development. She is part of the Capabilities team, working on the implementation for the ACT Community Careers Gateway. Luise comes from an eight-year career in the Design Industry most recently working as a Client Relationship Manager.

Luise is passionate about social justice, equity, and inclusion. Luise dedicates her spare time volunteering as the ACT Community Connections Lead working towards ending period poverty in Australia.

02 6202 7231
Contact about:
Capability team; ACT Community Sector Careers Gateway

Gulanga Program Team

Senior Gulanga Program Officer:
Rachelle Kelly-Church

Rachelle is a proud Baakindji Noongku (Woman), on her mother’s side, however, she was raised, lives, works and studies on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country. She is married, and a mother of two sons and four stepchildren. Rachelle is in her final year of completing a Bachelor of Law and hopes to be admitted as a solicitor in 2023.

Rachelle's previous roles have predominantly been in the public service working in justice and public administration, however, in 2020, she moved across to the community sector where she worked as a paralegal with a community legal service. She has been with the Gulanga Program since September 2021 and enjoys working in the advocacy space, as she is passionate about supporting Aboriginal people, sharing her knowledge, and building capacity within the sector.

02 6202 7262
Contact about:
Gulanga Program

Gulanga Program Support Officer:
Brendan Richards

Brendan joined the ACTCOSS Team in March 2022 as the Gulanga Program Support Officer. He is responsible for assisting and supporting the Senior Gulanga Program Officer, along with providing advice and cultural awareness training to organisations and individuals in the community sector to assist them in appropriately responding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Brendan has extensive community sector experience, working with youth, leadership programs, and disability support within the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

He is originally from Rockhampton, Central Queensland and has resided in the ACT for 19 years. He enjoys spending time with nephew who lives in ACT and extended family when going back home to QLD for holidays, and enjoys watching movies and listening to 80’s, 90’s R&B and good old country music.

02 6202 7202
Contact about:
Gulanga Program

Organisational Services Team

Communications and Events Support Officer :
Patrick Johnson

Patrick joined ACTCOSS in early 2022 as the resident Communications and Events Support Officer. His responsibilities include liaising with media contacts on behalf of ACTCOSS, supporting the preparation of media releases and op-ed pieces relating to ACTCOSS advocacy, writing and scheduling content for ACTCOSS social media platforms, planning and managing events for ACTCOSS members and sector colleagues, and assisting with office reception and administration. He is passionate about fighting inequality through his work.

Patrick has completed a Bachelor of Politics and International Relations with University of Canberra. He is active in the Canberra music scene and enjoys supporting and promoting artists in his community.

02 6202 7277
Contact about:
Media; Social Media; Events; Media Releases; ACTCOSS Website

Administration Support Officer:
Tashi Choden

Tashi Choden joined ACTCOSS in February 2021 as the Administration Support Officer. She is responsible for supporting the smooth operation of the office, events, administration and management of the membership database, and finance and payroll.

Tashi’s previous experience has been in the media and her interest has been in covering social issues, highlighting the plight of socially disadvantaged people. Through her reports, she has provided a voice to those who were socially disadvantaged and helped to bring the attention of policy makers on the issues.

02 6202 7200
Contact about:
Office admin; membership; accounts; general inquiries