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New Chair for social services leader Settlement Services International

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Leading community organisation and social enterprise Settlement Services International (SSI) has welcomed Voula Messimeri AM MAICD as the new Chair of its Board.Messimeri was voted Chair at the organisation’s latest Board meeting, held on December 9. She assumes the role of Chair from Elisabeth Shaw, whose term as Chair was completed at SSI’s annual general meeting on November 30.Ms Messimeri has enjoyed a long career in the community and multicultural services sector, including non-executive director roles such as Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), Deputy Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, inaugural Chair of Women’s Health in the North, and Chair of InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence.In addition, she has held appointments on a wide range of ministerial state and federal advisory structures across diverse areas, including health, ageing, income support and media, and as a member of the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council.Ms Messimeri was also recognised under the Order of Australia for her contribution to refugees, migrants and women. She currently serves on the Board of PRONIA and is the Chair of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, said Ms Messimeri would ably lead the Board as the organisation worked to strengthen its offering in the social services industry. She also praised Elisabeth Shaw for her four years of service as Chair of SSI.“Elisabeth Shaw has served tirelessly in the interests of our industry and capably led SSI’s Board in her time as Chair,” Roumeliotis said.“The past 18 months have been a very challenging time for our industry and SSI, as the effects of the pandemic hit home. In that time Elisabeth provided sage guidance to SSI’s Board and senior leadership, and we thank her greatly for her wisdom and commitment.”Roumeliotis said Messimeri took on the role of Chair of SSI at a time when the social services sector continued to face significant headwinds.“Voula has the confidence of our Board and staff, and I welcome her to the role. All on the SSI team look forward to working with her to strengthen SSI and help achieve the organisation’s social mission.” SSI Board members: Nathan Hagarty – Director at Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre, Councillor at Liverpool City Council and a Director of Active Super and Local Government NSW

  • Hagarty has broad experience across the financial services, tertiary education and public sectors in operations, product management, project management and information technology roles.

Tharani Jegatheeswaran – Partner, Deloitte Australia

  • Jegatheeswaran has 15 years of strategy and transformation experience, and leads Deloitte’s Social Impact Consulting Practice. Outside her executive role, Ms Jegatheeswaran has served on a number of boards, including as a Director of UNICEF Australia and the Deloitte Foundation.

Alex McCauley – CEO and Executive Director of StartupAUS

  • A leader in innovation and technology policy, Mr McCauley is Chair of the Startup Advisory Panel for the Department of Home Affairs’ Global Talent Scheme, and has advised policymakers at all levels of government.

Scott Machin – Chair of Metro Assist Ltd

  • Machin has held senior leadership roles in strategy, finance, advice and program management functions, working more recently in the fintech industry.

Elfa Moraitakis – CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services

  • Moraitakiis has been involved in the community sector for 25 years and has an extensive background in developing services for linguistically disadvantaged communities, with a focus on engaging community and stakeholder participation.

Frank Zheng – CEO of Auburn Diversity Services Inc

  • Zheng has worked in a variety of organisations in the community sector including peak bodies, a community research company and frontline service providers in different capacities.

Outgoing Chair – Elisabeth Shaw

  • Shaw joined the SSI Board in 2015 and was Chair from November 2016. With a background in clinical and counselling psychology, Shaw is the CEO of Relationships Australia.

Outgoing Board Member – Professor Lucy Taksa – Professor and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University.

  • Professor Taksa is the convenor of the Cultural Diversity Research Network within the Department of Marketing and Management at Macquarie University and has collaborated actively with the Ethnic Communities Council NSW as well as being a member of the Ministerial Roundtable on Cultural Diversity in the Workplace.
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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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