About

Our People

Our Board is 100% Aboriginal and we use trained staff and volunteers to drive the NASCA vision of a proud prosperous and healthy Australia for all.

TO ACHIEVE OUR VISION of transforming the lives of Aboriginal young people, we harness the skills of professionals and volunteers from various backgrounds and with diverse experiences.

The NASCA Board, CEO and staff have a wide range of skills and experience that underpins our work. Our people have one thing in common and that’s passion and determination to achieve social equity for Aboriginal Australians.

Our board



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Mark Heiss, Chairperson

Mark is a Wiradjuri man from Sydney who is the Director of Innovation and Learning at Marist College North Shore and has volunteered for NASCA over many years prior to taking on his NASCA Directorship.

  • He is passionate about physical activity and education while integrating Indigenous studies into the school day, and creating quality professional learning for teachers.
  • He was the first Aboriginal person to be named team captain for the University of Sydney at the Australian University Games,
  • Mark holds a Masters in Educational Leadership degree and is an ACEL New Voice Scholarship recipient. 

 


 

Chloe Wighton

Chloe is a Wiradjuri – Galari woman from Gilgandra, New South Wales. She has a strong commitment to the preservation of Wiradjuri culture, in particular the preservation of language, She is passionate about supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents within the higher education system. Her experience extends to working within the campaign for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Chloe holds a Senior Project Officer role at The University of Sydney, within the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services.  

  • Chloe graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Archaeology in 2015, and has since commenced her Master of Museum and Heritage Studies.
  • She is proudly a former participant and Graduate of NASCA’s Academy Program in the Dubbo Region.
  • She has been recognised for her strong advocacy in the community with a nomination for Young Australian of the Year in 2014 and recipient of the 2015 University of Sydney’s Alumni Award for the Sister Alison Bush Medal.

 

 

Lachlan McDaniel

Lachlan McDaniel belongs to the Kilari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation. He has been engaged by a range of sectors to assist organisations to improve their engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. His experience extends to political campaigning and improving organsiations Indigenous Engagement in the not-for-profit and corporate business sector.

  • He completed a Bachelor of Arts/Laws at Macquarie University. Pursuing his passion for empowering Indigenous people through self-determination, Lachlan also studied Canadian First Nations history, law, and politics at the University of Calgary.
  • He completed a Continuing Education Certificate in Indigenous Governance at the Native Nations Institute of the University of Arizona.
  • He is currently undertaking his Masters, researching Wiradjuri cultural revitalisation.

 


Barbie-Lee Kirby

Barbie-Lee Kirby is a Ngemba/Wailwan, Baakindji and Yuwaalaraay woman from Brewarrina, NSW. She is a strong ambassador for education and successful Indigenous women in business. She has a Bachelor of Business with majors in Accounting and Law and after completing the Finance Graduate Program, is now Manager Corporate Governance at Qantas Airways.

  • Barbie-Lee was a NASCA participant whilst playing representative netball where she was selected into the NSW emerging athletes program.
  • She was the first woman to be awarded CareerTrackers student of the year in 2016 and was co-founder and president of the first UTS Indigenous club which creates an Indigenous presence on the UTS campus and an awareness and celebration of Indigenous culture.

 


Kristal Kinsela-Christie

Kristal is a proud Aboriginal woman, a descendant of both the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations and is currently Director of Indigenous Professional Services. She is passionate about creating lasting pathways and growing the capabilities of Indigenous businesses and individuals.

  • In 2017, Kristal was awarded NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year and Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year, recognised for her outstanding contribution in working with Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses, leaders and women across Australia.
  • Her business, Indigenous Professional Services, was awarded the coveted 2018 Supply Nation Certified Supplier of the Year, recognised as a business leader for its exceptional growth as a business and advocacy of the Indigenous business sector.
  • Kristal also volunteers her time as an Inspiring Rare Birds Mentor and the Sydney Ambassador for Indigenous Women in Business network.

 


Our Staff

Our staff works hard to drive the vision of NASCA and strengthen the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from many language groups, cultural backgrounds and locations in Australia.


Chief Executive Officer 

Leanne Townsend

Leanne is an Anaiwan Woman from Uralla, New South Wales who is passionate about social justice and advocating for the strength of Aboriginal culture permeating everyday Australian life.

  • She previously led key aspects of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008,
  • She was a Senior Advisor to Governor-General Her Excellency Quentin Bryce,
  • Before joining NASCA in 2013, Leanne was CEO of The New South Wales Reconciliation Council and manager of the National NAIDOC Awards.

 

 


Our team
Blake Borgia

Blake Borgia

Program Manager
Jacqui Burke

Jacqui Burke

Program Support Officer
Tom Davies

Tom Davies

Program Support Officer
Nathan Riley

Nathan Riley

Program Manager
Angela Band

Angela Band

Office Manager
Harry Morrison

Harry Morrison

Program Manager
Alex Kilpatrick

Alex Kilpatrick

Program Manager
Jake Farriss

Jake Farriss

Program Support Officer
Amy Sarandopolous

Amy Sarandopolous

Program Manager
Lyall Munro

Lyall Munro

Program Officer
Helen Campbell

Helen Campbell

Finance Manager
Travis Hill

Travis Hill

Program Coordinator
Fua Hausia

Fua Hausia

Program Support Officer
Lauren Vosota

Lauren Vosota

Program Support Officer
Gabbi Morris

Gabbi Morris

Program Support Officer
Madi Howarth

Madi Howarth

Communications & Development Officer