Our team

DCA's outstanding team is representative of many diversity dimensions including age, cultural diversity, disability, gender, Indigenous and LGBTIQ+. 

DCA Team

Lisa Annese,
Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Annese photo

Lisa Annese has been the Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Council Australia since 2 June 2014. In this role she leads debate on diversity and inclusion in the public arena and delivers innovative diversity practice resources Australian businesses supports them improve their inclusion capability.

Under her leadership, DCA has conducted a broad array of ground- breaking, evidence based research, including Australia’s first national index on workplace diversity and inclusion, seminal research on the economics of the gender pay-gap and original work on building Asian Leadership Capability, supporting individuals being “Out at Work”, main-streaming flexible work and creating inclusive workplaces.  Lisa has also established a wide program of events for DCA members including the Annual Diversity Debate in Sydney and Annual Diversity and Inclusion Oration in Melbourne.

In 2018, Lisa was named one of the AFR’s 100 Women of Influence.  Lisa is a regular contributor to publications including The Guardian and Huffington post.  She also makes regular appearances on ABC’s The Drum and speaks widely and publicly in all areas of diversity.

Lisa has had a long career in the diversity and inclusion space across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sector.

Some of her career highlights include:

  • Advocating for policy action in areas including government funded paid parental leave, closing the gender pay gap, achieving Australian Marriage Equality, maintaining protections in the Race Discrimination Act (Cth 1995) and more recently advocating for greater representation of women and girls in STEM careers and reducing the incidence of sexual harassment and violence against women.
  • Representing DCA at the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations in both Doha (Qatar) and Kerala (India).
  • Working as the first dedicated Diversity Leader at Corrs Chambers Westgarth who later won the Lawyers Weekly Firm Diversity Award.
  • At the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (formerly EOWA), developing the first ever census of ‘Australian Women in Leadership’, the first ever ‘Business Achievement Awards’, the creation of the ‘Employer of Choice for Women’ citation and the development and implementation of the policy framework for the EOWA Act (1999) with Australian businesses. For her contribution at EOWA, she was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service.
  • Co-authoring “Chief Executives Unplugged: CEO’s Get Real About Women in the Workplace”.

Lisa has a business degree from UTS (Sydney) and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources. She is raising three independent and broad minded daughters with her husband in Sydney, along with a large contingent of dogs, birds and rabbits.

Cathy Brown,
Policy & Research Manager

Cathy Brown photo

Cathy comes to DCA from a background working as a political advisor across a range of offices in Government and Opposition.

Cathy was an advisor to the NSW Education Minister where she oversaw the introduction of new programs such as an intensive reading centre of excellence, piloting of an anti-bullying initiative for LGBTI students, and dramatic changes to the way support for students with a disability could be provided in schools.

Before that, Cathy worked in policy at the ABC.

Cathy has an undergraduate degree in Communications and a Master’s in Social Inquiry from the University of Technology, Sydney. Her thesis explored issues for gay and lesbian seniors as they aged. 

Cathy is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion and is a community activist for LGBTI people and their families. 

Cathy lives in Marrickville with her partner, two kids and cat, Paulie.

In her spare time Cathy is a Commonwealth registered Marriage Celebrant. 

Rose D'Almada-Remedios
Research Officer

Photo Rose D'Almada-RemediosRose has been with DCA since 2017, working in the role of Research Project Officer. In this role, Rose assists in the development, planning, and writing of research projects, as well as engaging in a number of key research activities.

Rose has a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management and Human Resources from the University of Newcastle. She comes from a background of academic research, and is currently undertaking a PhD in religious diversity and expression in the workplace. As well as an interest in diversity and inclusion, her other research areas include retention and turnover. Rose currently also lectures in Human Resources at the University of Newcastle.

Karla Dunbar,
Company Secretary / Governance, Policy & Research Officer

Photo Karla DunbarKarla has been with DCA since 2016, filling roles such as the Operations & Support Assistant and Acting Office Manager & EA to the CEO. Karla has recently joined the research team as the Governance, Policy & Research Officer.  In her capacity in this role, Karla assists DCA's governance and policy activities, as well as contributes to the design, implementation, and delivery of DCA research projects.

Karla also provides Board administration and management and facilitates the company's corporate governance processes as DCA's Company Secretary.

Karla has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and Journalism from the University of Notre Dame Australia. 

Currently living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches she is completing her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, whilst volunteering for various community groups.

Simone Empacher Earl,
Office Manager / EA to the CEO

Simone Earl photo

Simone Earl joined DCA in 2013 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO.  She provides high level administrative support to the CEO but also plays a crucial role in managing DCA memberships, accounts, handling proposals for consulting work and providing assistance with event management.

Simone has a pertinent understanding of business coordination, bringing over ten years of office management and administration experience to DCA.

Simone’s career has spanned across the entertainment, government, banking & finance and FMCG industries.  Simone also works with the Attorney General & justice Department on a contract basis within their restorative justice programs.  In her spare time she also volunteers with various Sydney and regional community groups.

Yvette Edwards,
Events Coordinator

Yvette Edwards photo

In early 2018, Yvette moved from her role as Member Services Coordinator into the DCA Events Team.  As Events Coordinator, Yvette manages the CEO Roundtables hosted by DCA Chair, David Morrison and DCA CEO, Lisa Annese.  She also assists DCA’s Events Manager, Sue Flockart in delivering a full calendar of cutting edge diversity and inclusion events and is the point of contact for Sydney based events.

Yvette originally started with DCA in 2009 as Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the then CEO, Nareen Young.  Her experience in the EA role and Memberships team over the years has afforded Yvette a broad knowledge of DCA’s processes and operations.

Her work history revolves around various EA/PA and event management roles in a range of industries.  Yvette has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in philosophy and psychology from The University of Sydney.

Veronica Eulate, 
Membership Service Administrator

Photo Veronica EulateVeronica comes to DCA with a background working in health policy and planning, with a focus on HIV and other health issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities. She was previously employed at ACON, Australia’s leading health promotion organisation specialising in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health, where she specialised in strategic planning and evaluation, programs and systems planning and reporting, research support and coordination and held a policy portfolio focused on the inclusion of lesbian, bisexual and queer women in health policy frameworks.

Working part-time at DCA in the Membership Services Team, Veronica supports the administration functions required to enable effective engagement with members. Veronica also runs a side business dedicated to the art of handmade, human centred accessory design seeking to promote the power of visibility through style.

Through professional and personal experience, Veronica is passionate about sexuality and gender diversity and aims to contribute to a diversity-positive approach in public life.

Hailing from Washington D.C. with Bolivian roots, Veronica holds an academic background in Communications and Social Policy.

Sue Flockart,
Events Manager

Sue Flockart photo

As Events Manager, Sue’s role is to work in partnership with DCA members to present a comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion events calendar, including face to face events, teleconferences, research launch events, corporate networking and DCA’s annual diversity debate.  All DCA events are designed to ensure that the members have access to cutting edge diversity thinking with a focus on commercial application for member businesses that can be applied within the workplace to drive best practice.

Sue’s key focus in this role involves liaising with academics, industry, and DCA members to engage speakers and coordinate the timely delivery of a robust calendar of events.

Sue joined the DCA team in February 2012, and prior to that she has spent the past 16 years working within the broader exhibition and events industry.  Her breadth of event experience includes major corporate events, sporting and tourism events, and trade exhibitions.  As a senior events manager she worked in a privately owned trade event company, Groupe Grand Sud, for 5 years to deliver three significant retail trade events. Prior to that she spent 8 years working for global sports marketing company, International Management Group (IMG), on a number of events.

Sue initially started her career as Membership Coordinator, for the then peak tourism industry Victorian Tourism Operators Association (VTOA), now Tourism Alliance Victoria, a non-profit association advocating for and supporting the development of a professional and sustainable tourism industry. 

Sue has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She lives in Melbourne, with her husband and two children.

Tracy Hocking,
Digital Content & Social Media Advisor

Tracy supports a broad range of communication activities. She is striving to improve the organisation's online and social media presence.

Prior to her appointment to DCA, Tracy spent three years at Cystic Fibrosis Victoria (CFV), managing various print and electronic communications seeking to raise awareness and understanding of cystic fibrosis (CF), promoting the work of the organisation and supporting the fundraising activities of this small not-for-profit. During this time Tracy has steadily developed the social media strategy of CFV and helped build a highly engaged CF community. Tracy has also worked in a communications / public relations/ marketing capacity in other the not-for-profit sector, predominantly in health and medical research related areas.   

Tracy holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University and has undertaken Graduate Certificate of Communication at the Deakin University. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, two daughters and Pearl the pampered pussycat.

Andrea Maltman Rivera, 
Communications Advisor

Photo Andrea MaltmanAndrea Maltman Rivera is a journalist, podcast producer, writer and communications specialist. As a passionate advocate for equality of opportunity, she joined DCA in November 2017 and brings a bang to their communications and publications, ensuring they engage and attract members to all areas of diversity and inclusion.

As well as writing and editing DCA’s editorial suite, she is working with fellow team members to produce a podcast that features high profile politicians, journalists, athletes and experts, whose stories reflect the wider social issues facing Australia today.

Andrea’s freelance work features in the Guardian, Spectator, BBC and New Scientist. She also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Currently, she lives in Melbourne with her husband and their Border Collie, Lupo. 

Andrew Maxwell, 
Knowledge & Development Manager

Photo Andrew Maxwell

As DCA’s Knowledge and Development Manager Andrew Maxwell is passionate about bringing our research to life, providing members with engaging practical tools, lively discussion and lived experience of inclusive workplaces backed up by the latest research.

An award winning Facilitator and Coach, Andrew has worked across Australia, the United Kingdom and Asia for a range of companies including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Virgin, the British Broadcasting Corporation, KPMG and the Royal Horticultural Society.  

Andrew believes organisations are more competitive, innovative and empowered when employees can bring their full selves to work.

As well as his work with DCA Andrew is a counsellor and psychotherapist and is completing his Masters in Social Work with a focus on mental health in the workplace.

Jane O'Leary,
Research Director

Jane O'Leary photo

Jane O'Leary provides a range of research, advisory and consulting services to assist Australian employers drive business improvement through successful diversity management.

In 2008 she took on the role of Research Director to oversee DCA’s mission to work in partnership with members to generate ground breaking diversity research that enables Australian organisations to fully leverage the benefits of a diverse talent pool. Since then, Jane has established DCA's research function and worked with Australia's leading diversity employers to design and deliver diversity research which is ahead of the curve, speaks to the Australian context, drives business improvement and, importantly, leads public debate.

Jane has a PhD, undertaken through the University of Queensland Business School. Her thesis investigated how Australian managers can most effectively manage workforce diversity. Jane also has a Masters of Education degree, which focussed on the area of women in leadership.

Prior to joining DCA, Jane worked in the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) assisting employers on issues relating to diversity and inclusion. She held the senior policy position in EOWA, with responsibility for developing the policy framework for interpreting and administering the amended Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986 and overseeing the development of accompanying educational guidelines for employers. On the basis of her work in this role she was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service in 2001.

Catherine Petterson,
Operations & Communications Director

Catherine Peterson photo

Catherine is Operations & Communications Director and is responsible for internal systems and external communications strategies to ensure DCA can deliver services effectively, retain members and attract and grow the membership base.

Catherine joined the organisation in 2004 and has been its Communications Director, planning and managing communications activities to provide a persuasive rationale for DCA membership to employers. In this role, her key responsibilities included writing and/or editing DCA’s regular publications on diversity such as Diversity Matters and Diversity Matters update as well as its Annual Report and all other member communications. She was responsible for DCA’s website and emarketing capability, and the introduction of a new customer relations management system, all of which have created more effective ways of engaging and communicating with members. She also has oversight of DCA's event program.

Catherine acted in the role of CEO after the departure of Nareen Young in February 2014 and prior to the appointment of Lisa Annese in June 2014. Since then, in addition to communications, she has taken on the operations portfolio and works with the CEO to improve systems, policies and processes to ensure DCA is able to deliver services effectively and improve its performance.

She has a strong background in corporate communications and her expertise spans communicating to a broad range of audiences from business through to consumers, employees, investors, shareholders and the media. Prior to DCA, she worked at public relations firm Hinton & Associates where she provided strategic financial and corporate communications advice to listed companies. She also had a long stint at ANZ Bank in a variety of senior communications roles including in corporate affairs, internal communications, investor relations and major project communications. During her time at ANZ, Catherine was awarded a Silver Serif Award from the Society of Business Communicators for publication of ANZ’s internal magazine ‘Scope’. 

Catherine has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts degree in Communications from Monash University. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, two children.

Daniella Segal,
Membership Advisor

Photo Daniella Segal As Membership Advisor in Melbourne, Daniella Segal supports Partnerships and Programs Director Karen, and the broader DCA team with recent growth in memberships. The core of her role is to cultivate and foster existing and new members and assist them in their Diversity and Inclusion Journey.

Daniella was previously working as the Business Development and Relationships Manager for online social enterprise EthicalJobs.com.au focusing on connecting not-for-profits, education providers and various government bodies with the best possible candidates to maximise their impact and make the world a better place. She loves working with clients and members to get the best possible outcomes to meet their needs.

Daniella has always been passionate about social justice and is currently a volunteer at Fitted for Work, a women’s economic empowerment organisation which helps women get and keep work.

She also has a passion for the great outdoors, and can be spotted running along the Yarra trails with her wolfhound Elmo, or sampling Melbourne’s vegan culinary delights on her rest days. 

Karen Soo,
Partnership & Programs Director

Photo Karen SooAs the Director for Partnerships & Programs, Karen develops strategic relationships, new high level membership programs, DCA’s D & I community and sponsorships to build and strengthen DCA’s position and exposure. Occasionally Karen is the informal DCA photographer.

Karen has a marketing and strategic business background working with organisations such as CanTeen, Teenagers Living with Cancer, 2CCR, IKEA Shanghai, Admerasia New York, Village Roadshow, SeeBeyond / Sun Microsystems and Optus / CCTV.  

Career highlights include developing key fundraising programs for CanTeen, launching CCTV and NHK in Australia, driving first time innovation and cultural programs for IKEA Shanghai to developing the Asian American cross cultural markets in the US. Karen advocates and supports social justice, cultural diversity and the representation of the Australian Asian community in government, business and media. 

Prior to joining DCA, Karen was the Executive Officer at the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce and continues on their Executive Committee Board to advocate and promote the Sydney Asian segment in place making, tourism, government and business.  Karen is also on the NSW State Government Advisory Panel for Sydney’s Chinese Gardens of Friendship and sits on planning and cultural committee groups in Sydney. 

Karen has a Bachelor of Communications at University of Technology, Sydney and has a passion for culture, well being, philosophy, psychoanalysis and politics.

Mariam Veiszadeh,
Members and Advisory Director (Commencing Jan 2019)

Photo Mariam Veiszadeh

As Members and Advisory Director, Mariam will execute DCA’s member strategy and will deliver excellent member services, advice and support.

Mariam was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and fled as a refugee to Australia where she became a qualified and practicing lawyer working in major Australian corporates. Her most recent corporate role was with Westpac where she was Inclusion & Diversity Consultant.

Through her various ambassador roles, her social media platforms and her speaking and media appearances, Mariam is a fearless advocate for equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion for all. She has many accolades to her name including Fairfax Daily Life’s Woman of the Year 2016. She is also on the board of Our Watch, writes regularly across a wide range of publications, started the Islamophobia Register and was one of the subjects of Tara Moss profiled in her ABC program on cyberbullying.




Maree Burgess, 
Knowledge Program Facilitator Melbourne

Photo Maree Burgess

As a coach, trainer, facilitator and author, Maree has spent the last couple of decades developing others and helping them bring out their best.

As well as her work with DCA, Maree provides programs to help leaders, teams and individuals communicate more effectively to create high performance and thrive through change. As a people and change expert, she is obsessed with helping others collaborate, work and play well together.

Her diverse variety of careers includes working in a Forestry Commission in a small rural town; as a state registered nurse at a major Melbourne trauma hospital; several senior roles in banking, before commencing her own consultancy practice in 2003.

Maree has a passion for working with women and building a pipeline of females ready to step up into more senior roles. Her book ‘The XX Project - Giving women the skills and confidence to step up in the corporate world’ was published in 2015.

Andrew Legg, 
Research Manager

Andrew Legg photo

Andrew Legg has been working on a contract basis with DCA since June 2015, providing assistance and guidance with data analysis and interpretation on various projects. He is a qualified and practicing clinical psychologist, working privately in Melbourne, with previous experience at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Andrew has a Master of Psychology (Clinical) and was awarded the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists Student Prize for The University of Melbourne in 2012.

Andrew has experience in undertaking quantitative research (presenting his Masters research at the XIII International Congress on The Disorders of Personality in Copenhagen), and has taught research methods as a class tutor at The University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences (MSPS) for five years. He is also involved in the development of teaching resources in research methods at MSPS.

Dr Graeme Russell, 
Research Collaborator & Knowledge Program Facilitator

Photo Graeme RussellDr Graeme Russell is an internationally renowned researcher and industry consultant on diversity, flexibility, organisational change and work/life and has consulted widely to business. He is the author/ co-author of four books and over 50 research papers on gender, diversity and work-life issues.

In addition to developing and presenting numerous initiatives with DCA, Graeme has also conducted research and written reports on Work/Life and Flexibility in China, Japan and Korea for Multinational Enterprises. He has also conducted numerous projects for the WGEA.

Graeme was previously an Associate Professor in Psychology at Macquarie University where he taught Organisational Behaviour, Organisational Change and Development, Flexibility and Diversity.