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Our team

Dr Susie Moloney, Executive Director

Before joining Jesuit Social Services, Susie was Associate Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies and the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University. She brings over twenty years of experience working across a wide range of research and policy projects focusing on social change and local empowerment processes, environmental and climate justice issues. Susie is committed to working collaboratively and inclusively with a range of partners and communities to support and co-design solutions that strengthen place-based capabilities and resilience and address the systemic drivers of disadvantage and vulnerability.

Contact Susie at susie.moloney@jss.org.au

Dr John Ryks, General Manager, Strategy and Research

John has a PhD in Geography and a Masters in Geography and Environmental Planning. He has worked for over 18 years across academia, government, and community organisations, including leading policy and research teams within the New Zealand government as well as leading Aotearoa New Zealand’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato. John has worked with large indigenous organisations and social service providers to develop indicators of health and wellbeing and community-based models of care. He has a particular interest in the research, policy and practice nexus and using research in meaningful ways to support and empower communities.

Contact John at john.ryks@jss.org.au

Sally Cowling, General Manager, Centre for Just Places, NSW

Sally was appointed to Jesuit Social Services in September 2021 as General Manager, Centre for Just Places – NSW. She is based in Western Sydney. Sally has held leadership positions in the not-for-profit sector for the past 15 years including as Director Centre for Research, Innovation and Advocacy (CRIA) with Uniting NSW.ACT. Prior to this she had been employed in academic positions and as a senior political advisor with responsibility for social policy. She has been appointed to government advisory committees at state and national level. Sally holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours Class 1) from the University of Newcastle and a Master of Commerce (Economics) from the University of Melbourne specialising in socio-economic and labour market disadvantage. Her expertise and passions are working with multidisciplinary research teams and local partners to design and implement innovative solutions that address unmet community needs and have measurable impacts. As part of the Centre for Just Places team, Sally will be a fierce advocate for place-based reform in NSW to create a more ecologically and socially just society.

Contact Sally at sally.cowling@jss.org.au

Dr Haydie Gooder, Research and Partnerships Manager

With a PhD in Geography, Haydie has worked for many years in interdisciplinary teams across university and community settings on research projects addressing social and environmental inequities, practices of decolonisation, place-based community building, and climate change adaptation. She has run a professional editing business since 2009, engaging with a range of contemporary research across the social sciences and arts. Haydie brings this eye for detail and skills in research translation, along with her wide research experience and commitment to collaborative, grounded research and advocacy, to the Centre for Just Places.

Contact Haydie at haydie.gooder@jss.org.au

Brenda Ammann, Manager Engagement and Innovation

Brenda is a social innovation leader and evaluator with a background in strategic planning, project management and place-based social change. She is experienced in building collaborative partnerships across multiple diverse stakeholders using a collective impact approach. Brenda has developed a deep understanding and empathy for the issues and challenges that communities encounter through her work with First Nations and other diverse populations in urban, regional and remote settings in Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory. Brenda has a Graduate Diploma of Education (Early Childhood) and a Master of Education (Leadership, Policy and Change) in which she graduated as the top performing student and was awarded the Judy Gray Memorial Award in Leadership. Brenda is also a network consultant for Collaboration for Impact, an organisation that builds capacity for an equitable and inclusive society where people, place and planet thrive.

Contact Brenda at brenda.ammann@jss.org.au

Dr Melek Bayram, Economic Analyst and Advisor

Melek is an Economic Analyst and Advisor in the Centre for Just Places, and she is also a Senior Research Associate at RMIT University where she conducts housing-related research funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). Melek’s previous academic appointments include a Research Fellowship at RMIT University and the University of Melbourne, and a Policy Advisor at Infrastructure Victoria. She holds a PhD in Economics from Latrobe University. Melek brings over fifteen years of research experience in modelling the outcomes of low-income households with respect to housing, inter-generational transfer of wealth and employment participation and evaluating place-base initiatives. She also has an acute interest in understanding the prevalence of inter-generational transmission of disadvantage in Australia and identifying pathways to success for younger cohorts who are exposed to area-level disadvantage.

Contact Melek at melek.bayram@jss.org.au

Katrina Dunn, Climate Change and Community Resilience Project Co-ordinator

Katrina joined the Centre for Just Places in 2021, bringing experience in social and environmental policy research and project implementation to the role. Katrina has coordinated and contributed to a range of projects with the public and third-sector – from climate change adaptation to energy affordability. Katrina has a particular interest in the capacity of individuals and communities to develop locally responsive solutions to complex problems. Katrina continues to learn and develop her skills, and is passionate about research, action, and advocacy engaging with climate justice. Katrina has a Masters of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours – Politics and International Studies).

Contact Katrina at katrina.dunn@jss.org.au

Dr Thea Hewitt, Project Officer

Thea is a committed social research professional with experience across a range of social science research methods. She has worked in research roles alongside a range of community and non-government organisations, and local government. She has a passion for research that engages with diverse communities and a commitment to understanding and improving community experiences. Thea holds a PhD in Geography, her research project focused on the role of non-state organisations in refugee settlement and explored themes of citizenship and Feminist care ethics.

Contact Thea Hewitt at thea.hewitt@jss.org.au

Jack Piper, Ecological Justice Project Officer

Jack grew up on four different continents, everywhere witnessing the interconnectedness of social and environmental injustice. This has taken him on a journey from approaching our ecological crisis as a physical problem requiring technical solutions, supporting research and business development in recycling and climate-smart agriculture, to understanding the social drivers of vulnerability and the need for systemic, transformative change. He has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Environment and is passionate about connecting with and building the capacity of the community sector, local governments and communities to ensure the most marginalised are prioritised in building a just society.

Contact Jack at jack.piper@jss.org.au

Andrea Wolf, Project Officer

Portrait of AndreaAndrea works across climate justice and community resilience projects at the Centre for Just Places. Prior to the Centre, Andrea coordinated and collaborated on community development projects across regional Victoria, specialising in capacity strengthening and two-way learning initiatives with people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. With a background in design and sustainability, she is passionate about genuine community engagement and in developing innovative place-based approaches that allow for just and transformative change. Andrea is currently undertaking a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne, focusing on the politics of ecological knowledge and development in rural geographies.

Contact Andrea Wolf at andrea.wolf@jss.org.au

Josie Lennie, Project Officer

Portrait of JosieJosie is a social worker who has worked alongside various communities impacted by inequity and injustice, both in Australia and overseas. She has worked in multiple roles, including alcohol and drug withdrawal and rehabilitation centres, drop-in centres, assertive outreach and telephone counselling. Josie seeks to understand complex social and ecological challenges through an intersectional lens, centring around First Nations voices and perspectives. She believes that the process of deep listening may reveal the strengths and existing knowledge within communities.

Contact Josie Lennie at josephine.lennie@jss.org.au