Meet Our Team

L - R Glaiza Perez, Carielyn Tunion, Lena Nahlous, Dr Alexia Derbas, Rādhikā Ram Tevita and Joanne Cooper.Image Credit Teniola Komolafe - Tenikomo Photography

Our Team

Lena Nahlous CEO, Diversity Arts Australia

Lena Nahlous is an experienced CEO, producer, curator, artistic director and facilitator with a long-term commitment to racial equity in the arts, screen and creative sectors. She is currently the CEO of Diversity Arts Australia and host of The Colour Cycle podcast. She has extensive experience in designing and delivering training and education programs in a variety of tertiary, secondary, community and arts settings. Lena has over 20 years-experience in arts, cultural and media organisations where she has developed artist brokerage and training programs focusing on creatives from culturally and racially marginalised backgrounds and young people. In her former role as Executive Director of Arts and Cultural Exchange, she established initiatives like the Arab Film Festival, Switch digital media centre and Artfiles, an artist employment and engagement program. Lena’s recent projects include: the Shifting the Balance leadership report; the Creative Equity Toolkit; the Fair Play capacity building program, and I am Not a Virus Australia. In 2020, Lena won the Western Sydney Woman Leader of Change Award and in 2023 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship.

Dr. Rohini Balram Acting Research, Education & Policy Manager

Rohini is poet / creative writer, arts-based researcher and academic. Rohini completed a PhD from Western Sydney University (2022) which focuses on marginalised migrant women in Oceania’s sporting platforms which she explores using an intersectional lens and arts-based methods. Rohini has worked on many research projects in the Western Sydney region with focus on migrant women of colour in sports, ageing citizens from CaLD backgrounds, people with disabilities, refugees, and LGBTIQA+ communities in Australia and Oceania. She is passionate about doing meaningful research with underrepresented communities in Western Sydney which she has called home for the past 14 years.

Rohini also has a strong teaching background with 20 years of experience in high schools, tertiary institutions and community covering areas of: English literature & language, cultural studies, intersectionality, engaging teaching pedagogies, sports sociology, adolescent health, disability studies and migrant women and sports.

Joanne Cooper Administration Officer & Executive Assistant to CEO

Joanne has over 30 years’ experience in office administration in a range of industries such as construction, project management, insurance, IT, childcare working across government, private and not-for profit sectors. Her previous roles have included small business management, contracts, finance, personnel admin, tenders and operational duties.

Glaiza Perez Digital Engagement & Communications Manager
Glaiza (she/they) is a writer, editor, social media, and project producer based in Darug country. They are a graduate of Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and a post-graduate Diploma in Digital Information Management from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Glaiza is the Associate Producer for Diversity Arts’ national Stories from the Future project. More broadly, they are interested in the resonance and power of speculative fiction, decolonised histories and stories across the world.
Carielyn Tunion Creative Projects & Campaigns Producer

Carielyn (she/they) is a writer and videopoet with a background in screen and media arts. They previously worked providing social support and case management services to migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic violence and homelessness in Western Sydney. Carielyn also has knowledge in using creative strategies in a grassroots community organising context.

Carielyn is currently doing a Masters in Creative Writing and Literature at Western Sydney University. Her work has been published in Mascara Literary Review, Emerging Writers Festival, SBS Filipino and KAP Magazine. Her roots are in the archipelago of the so-called Philippines and Kowloon, Hong Kong. She has lived on Gadigal and Darkinjung land but currently lives, studies and works on unceded Dharug land of the Burramatta.

Kevin Bathman Strategic Projects Producer

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Kevin Bathman is a visual designer, storyteller, curator, writer and social change advocate based in Sydney. He is interested in using creativity to address environmental, cultural and social justice issues, and believes that the arts is an untapped avenue for catalysing change. As the founder of social enterprise, Coalition of Mischief, Kevin has worked on numerous social justice projects with not-for-profit and arts organisations to help them communicate their message more effectively.

His main areas of interest include multiculturalism, sustainability, storytelling and the arts. In 2010, he commemorated the life of the late Yasmin Ahmad, the Malaysian film maker and visionary with his visual arts and film exhibition, ‘In Her Own Words: A Celebration of Humanity and Universal Love’, that toured in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Melbourne. In 2013, he co-founded an arts initiative called Carnival of the Bold, a festival and movement of social change through the arts. Since 2012, Kevin has been researching the history, connections and crosscultural stories between the Chinese and Indian culture for his project, The Chindian Diaries. In 2014, it showcased as part of Parramasala, a South Asian Arts festival in Sydney and in 2016, he showcased the Chindians of Auburn, to highlight the growing Chinese and Indian families in the Auburn area in Sydney.


Sherryl Reddy Creative Equity Online Program Manager

Sherryl (she/her) is a social change practitioner with a passion for collective, creative, connective impact.  She is inspired by leadership and learning that centres equity and justice for people, place and planet. Her background is in human rights and community development, working with government, non-government and United Nations agencies. Sherryl led a community-based refugee support organisation in Wollongong for 4 years, before taking up Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy development roles with various NSW government agencies and working as an independent DEI advisor. Sherryl believes that art in all its forms – and creative industry in all its diversity – holds power to mobilise movements, provoke possibilities, and activate shifts towards equitable, healing and regenerative futures at local, national and global levels. Sherryl facilitates impact collaborations at Social Enterprise Australia while also working with DARTS as Creative Equity Online Program Manager.

Ivy Vuong Creative Equity Toolkit Content Producer / Research Assistant

Ivy is a current PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests are in Asian diaspora, race, sociology of education, and family relationships. Prior to joining DARTS, she worked in marketing and communications, and has been a researcher in parenting, social media, pedagogy and migration.

Ayesha Mahmud Research Assistant

Ayesha is a current undergraduate at the University of Technology Sydney, pursuing a combined Bachelor’s in Law and Communications, majoring in Social-Political Sciences. Her research interests involve understanding and fostering change at the intersection of legal and sociological issues, particularly examining the significance of grassroots anti-racist arts organisations in settler-colonial societies and their impact in effecting equitable progress.

Simone Amelia Jordan Communications Consultant / StoryCasters 2.0 Program Manager

Simone Amelia Jordan is a journalist, host and consultant. Her lengthy experience in music reportage has allowed her to pivot into professional development for new and emerging artists, specialising in First Nations and culturally diverse talent. Simone has held senior positions at Channel 10, The Source Magazine, Daily Mail, SiriusXM Radio,, Monster Products and founded and edited Australia’s most successful Hip-Hop magazine, Urban Hitz, when she was 23 years old. Simone’s celebrity interviews on YouTube have over 12 million views, and she was chosen as one of five women in the world to design a signature sneaker for Reebok Classics’ “Classic Beat” campaign in October 2012. Simone has worked across print, radio, TV and digital arms of media, and has been an active mentor for young women since the beginning of her career.

Dr Görkem Acaroğlu Training Consultant

Dr Görkem Acaroğlu is a Creative Director, Mentor and Educator with over 20 years experience in programming, producing, teaching and artistic practice. Görkem has specialist expertise in cross-cultural engagement and working with diverse stakeholders. She provides vision and practical expertise to the realisation of multiple projects from the ground up and has worked in a range of arts and creative roles, including currently as Creative Director, Metanoia Theatre, as Arts Participation Manager at the City of Melbourne, and Program Producer at Federation Square. Gorkem was an inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellow and was awarded a PhD in 2015 for examining the capacity for technological actors to perform competently with human actors on stage.

Dr Paula Abood Fair Play Lead Trainer/Creative Producer

Artistic Director/ Editor/Facilitator/Trainer Paula Abood is a writer, community cultural development practitioner, creative producer and educator. She has worked with diverse communities in capacity building projects for 30 years. Her productions include The Cartographer’s  Curse (2016), Auburn Cartographies of Diversity (2016),  Sacred Women’s Voices (2013 / 2011), Parenting Stories (2010), Hurriya and her Sisters (2009), The Book of African Australian Stories (2006), Poetry on Rooftops (2006), and Of Middle Eastern Appearance (2001). Paula was awarded the 2007 Western Sydney Artists’ Fellowship for the blogging project Race and the City and was the 2013 recipient of the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award for lifetime achievement in community cultural development practice.  She has developed resources and taught widely on subjects including cultural diversity, advocacy, and community development at TAFE and in community education settings. Paula co-developed the Certificate IV in Community Arts and Cultural Development that runs out of St George TAFE in Sydney, and is a leading trainer and educator on human rights approaches across the community, arts and education sectors. Paula was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from UNSW in 2007 in the area of cultural studies.

Dr Margaret Mayhew Education Consultant

Dr Margaret Mayhew is a visual artist, academic and queer performance artist who has lived with chronic illness since 1984. She has volunteered with refugee community organisations in Sydney and Melbourne since 1991, and co-founded Melbourne Artists for Asylum in 2013. Margaret worked as a researcher in the Social Relations of Disability Research Network (1997-1998), the CALD capacity building program at the Australian Centre for Diabetes (2009-2011) and smaller projects with Information and Cultural Exchange and Diversity Arts Australia. She has taught in the Gender Sexuality and Diversity Studies program at La Trobe University since 2012. Margaret has exhibited textile works in Australia and Europe, and practiced, exhibited, researched and taught in community arts and life drawing in Australia and Internationally.

Nadyat El Gawley Podcast Producer

Radio Producer| Writer| Educator | Web and Social Media Management| Passionate about telling the stories of different communities and teaching the next generation of journalists.

Vir Kaula StoryCasters Podcaster

Vir Kaula is currently working as an audio engineer on FORM Dance project’s new podcast “Formidables.” His interest in podcasting began with Diversity Arts’ StoryCasters workshops, of which he is a member. Through recording and editing the stories of artists, Vir has a passion for spotlighting art and diverse artists in Western Sydney.


Sonia Mehrmand Consultant

Sonia Mehrmand received her Master’s degree in Public History and Museum Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She’s passionate about increasing access to the arts and cultural resources. During her graduate studies, Sonia discovered her interest in recording oral histories as a way to diversify the historical narrative of her home city, Los Angeles. She collected interviews for a variety of projects, including one that focused on a former resident of Chavez Ravine, which is now the site of Los Angeles’ Dodger’s baseball stadium. She also co-curated an exhibit entitled “States of Incarceration”, which explored mass incarceration in the United States. Her area of focus was on the phenomenon called the “school to prison pipeline”. For this exhibit, she interviewed residents of Riverside, California who were directly impacted by the prison system, as well as local organisations who work with young people to keep them in school and out of prison.

Sonia’s interests extend outside of history and into the arts, having recognised the need for diversity in both of these realms. Her own mixed ethnic background – Iranian and Italian – has informed her interest in wanting to see more art and artists that reflect migration and first-generation experiences. Coming from one extremely multicultural city into another is an exciting opportunity for her to learn new practices and perspectives on increasing access and creating an arts sector that is truly reflective of the people who consume it.


Lena (middle) and Debbie Lee (left), chair of the Diversity Arts board, at the launch of the Pacesetters with participating artist Latai Taumoepeau (right).