Meet our team.
Graeme Innes - President
Graeme Innes is a lawyer, mediator and company director. He has been a human rights practitioner for more than thirty years, and is a conference presenter and facilitator.
Graeme was a Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for almost nine years, responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights.
Graeme chairs the Attitude Australia Foundation, a start-up using media to change attitudes towards Australians with disabilities.
He is a director of-
- Life Without Barriers.
- Livable Housing Australia, and
- PWC's diversity board.
Graeme was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Canberra in 2014 in recognition of his work as a human rights activist.
Graeme is married with two children, loves cricket as a spectator and sailing as a participant, and relaxes by enjoying fine Australian white wine.
Susan Thompson - Vice Presidewnt
Susan Thompson is currently an advocacy advisor at Vision Australia, a Position she has held since 2007. Prior to that, she has been involved in advocacy for people who are blind or vision impaired through long involvement with Blind Citizens Australia over more than 30 years.
Susan has represented the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired in both her professional and voluntary capacity. She has served on NSW government Accessible transport bodies, on the City of Sydney Access Committee and is currently a member of the City of Sydney’s Inclusion (disability) Advisory Panel.
Susan Enjoys technology, reading and travelling, and in addition to having lived in Alaska for a time has travelled extensively around the United States.
Lauren Henley - Secretary
Lauren was fortunate to benefit from the strong support of her local blind and vision impaired community after losing her sight in a motor vehicle accident in 2006.
In 2008, Lauren became the inaugural President of the Newcastle/Hunter branch of Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) and continued to lead the branch until 2010, when she joined the paid staff of BCA as NSW Advocacy and Information Officer, later moving into the role of National Policy Officer in 2013.
Lauren was one of seven young people with disability to be selected to attend the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations.
Several months later, Lauren was appointed to the role of Advisor to the Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner and today, continues to work at the Australian Human Rights Commission in the role of Education and Training Coordinator; where she develops and delivers training on a range of human rights issues.
Lauren’s vision is for an organisation that undertakes effective grass roots advocacy and creates meaningful peer support and capacity building opportunities for all members. As a younger member, Lauren looks forward to working alongside more experienced colleagues to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organisation for many years to come.
Barry Chapman - Treasurer
Barry was born in 1947 and is now retired. For more than thirty-five years, he worked in the computer field and for the last fifteen of those years supported large financial systems.
Barry has always been legally blind, but has been totally blind since his late teens. he uses adaptive technology to access information on computers.
Barry's main involvement in the disability field is advocating for people who are blind or vision impaired, particularly in the areas of accessible transport, access to the built environment and access to information.
Barry is a Director on the Board of Blind Citizens Australia and Treasurer of the Sydney Branch. he is also Treasurer on the Management Committee of Blind Citizens NSW.
Barry's other involvements in the blindness and broader disability field include:
- Representative of Blind Citizens Australia on the NSW Government Accessible Transport Advisory Committee
- Member of the Burwood Council Access Committee
- Former Board Member of Royal Blind Society of NSW (now part of Vision Australia)
- Former chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped, and former Chair of the Community Broadcasting Foundation's Radio for the Print Handicapped Grants Advisory Committee
- Former representative of National Disability Services on the Federal Government's Digital Switchover Taskforce Consumer Expert Group for the switchover to digital television
Marie Shang - Committee Member
Marie has been a member of Blind Citizens NSW for most of her adult life, working as the Secretary for more than 8 years. After raising a family, Marie joined the management committee on which she has held several offices.
Marie has been involved in fund-raising and communications (radio, magazine editing and newsletters.). In addition she has also served on committees for guide dogs NSW/ACT, NCOSS, and is currently Chairperson for the Inner-West Community Transport.
Marie has previously served on the Burwood and Ashfield Councils Access Committee’s, the Sydney Braille Forum, as well as participating in forums dealing with advocacy for people with disabilities.
Angela Allen - Committee Member
Angela joined Blind Citizens NSW in 2009, when she moved from Ireland to Australia with her family.
Angela was employed for More than thirty years, as a Disability and Liaison Officer, where she supported many staff with disabilities in the work place. Angela now works with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, where she delivers public education and community relations talks to people of all ages, and also educates Public Transport Staff, Taxi Drivers, clubs , on how to assist people who are Blind or have low Vision.
Sue-Anne Hanson - Committee Member
Sue-Ann describes herself as compassionate and driven, two qualities which led her to study Teaching. She completed a Bachelor of Arts, Masters in Primary Teaching and Graduate Certificate in Religious Education all by the age of 22. After a couple of years in a classroom, she took some time off and came to terms with her vision impairment.
Sue-Ann first approached Vision Australia for assistance, however it took until December 2014 before she worked up the courage to take full advantage of the support organisations like Vision Australia, Blind Citizens, Seeing Eye Dogs, and Blind Sports NSW could provide.
This past year has opened doors she never dreamed possible. She has learnt to use JAWS, read Braille and use voice over on her Apple products. She has travelled to America playing Goalball. She has discovered the wonders of audio description. She has been partnered with Zeta, her wonderful Seeing Eye Dog. She has met amazing people, she has been able to give back to the community by running VIDS, a Vision Impaired Drama Society, organising tactile outings like Symbol Wildlife Park and The Rocks Ghost Tour and fundraising for the organisations which have given her a better quality of life.
She is keen to continue this journey with Blind Citizens NSW.
Krystel Keller - Executive Officer
Krystal has been fortunate to have had the support and friendship of other people who are blind or vision impaired. First through organized recreation camps, and anual gatherings with children her age, then later through braille music camp, and finally as a member of BCA, and blind citisons NSW.
Krystal highly values these relationships in her personal development and confidents as a young woman who is blind living in todays society. Krystal has felt encouraged, supported and chalenged to put up her hand if she felt that she could make a difference, as the newest executive committee member. Krystal is excited to help the organization build on it's strengths and resources to become a more inclusive and versatile place.
Krystel has skills and knolege that she wants to use to empower people who are blind or vision impaired to maximize their own potential.
Krystel is currently employed by People With Disability as a Peer connecter, where she has gained skills in peer support and fascilitation. As a performing artist, Krystel is creative and inivative, has a good understanding of technology and social media, and she is already well known in our community, media and music industry.
Linda Praum - Administration Officer and Sewing Service
Linda is currently employed as Administration Officer, and also provides the Sewing Service for Blind Citizens NSW.
Louise Fussell - Volunteer
Louise currently provides voluntary assistance for Blind Citizens NSW. Louise coordinates activities for our members, and also arranges outings.