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Meet the Team

Sam Hill
CEO/Founder

Master of Management
Master of Business Administration
Bachelor of Social Science Social Welfare
Diploma Community Management
Diploma Community Welfare

With over 18 years of experience at CEO and Executive level in the Community Services and Disability sectors, Sam is a highly skilled and passionate professional. She holds a Master's degree in Management, is currently completing a Master of Business Administration degree, and also has a Bachelor Degree in Social Science (Social Welfare).

Sam's personal experience with disability has given her a unique perspective and deep commitment to providing effective services and supports that make a real difference in people's lives. Her expertise lies in people management and the development of innovative service delivery models. Sam is passionate about creating people-centered service designs, which is a key strategy that Real Life Assistants adopts to meet the needs of their clients, staff, and the wider community.

Sam is a relaxed and approachable leader who values teamwork and collaboration. Her focus is always on achieving the best possible outcomes for the people she serves, and she works tirelessly to ensure that Real Life Assistants delivers high-quality and effective services.

Justine Leonard
COO/Founder

Master's in Management
Graduate Diploma Business (Professional Practice)
Graduate Diploma Psychology (Bridging)
Diploma of Counselling

Introducing Justine, a highly qualified professional with a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of disability. Justine holds a Master's in Management, alongside other notable degrees and diplomas including psychology and counselling that showcase her expertise in the field. What sets Justine apart is not only her professional knowledge but also her personal experience with disability. Justine lives with Autism and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which grants her unique insights into the challenges individuals face. She also provides support to family members with ASD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Neuromuscular Myopathy, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). With 11 years of experience in Early Childhood Cognitive Technology and 33 years of teaching music to individuals with disabilities, Justine has honed her skills in providing exceptional care and guidance. Moreover, her extensive understanding of NDIS legislation, gained through 11 years of compliance work, ensures she can offer top-notch support tailored to individual needs. Justine is passionate about helping others navigate the complexities of disability, drawing from her own experiences to provide compassionate and effective assistance.

Jordan Paradisis
General Manager - Support Coordination

Say hello to Jordan, who joined the Real Life Assistants team in 2019 as a Support Worker before transitioning to Support Coordination. Currently will be studying psychology very soon at university and has three years of experience in the NDIS realm. With personal experience, Jordan has supported multiple family members with disability and having been a full-time carer for a person with a disability for two years. Jordan was also a member of Girl Guides Australia, an organization that promotes inclusivity and provides a safe environment for girls and women of all backgrounds. Additionally, Jordan is bilingual and speaks Greek fluently.

Alyssa Oxford
Marketing Manager

Alyssa holds a Certificate 3 in Early Childhood Education and Care, but her real expertise comes from living with disability. With her own diagnosis of Neuromuscular myopathy and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, as well as two children with disabilities (EDS and ASD), Alyssa understands the unique challenges families face. Growing up in a household with many family members who had disabilities also gave her a deep appreciation for inclusivity and accessibility."

Jacob Mulquin
IT Manager

Jacob brings over 10 years of IT experience to the team, having worked in systems development, administration, and helpdesk support. He holds a Bachelor of Information Technology from the University of Wollongong, and is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management through TAFE. Although he does not have a disability himself, he has personal experience in supporting family members through mental illness.

Whitney Cerasani
Finance Officer

Whitney is the Financial Guru at Real Life Assistants. She has been working in the NDIS space since 2019, taking care of all finance-related tasks such as payrolls, invoices, and accounting transactions. Whitney deals with anxiety disorder, but she has found a way to make it work. She often works from home, where she can create a comfortable and safe space for herself. Big crowds and certain situations can sometimes trigger her anxiety, so it's important for her to stay in her zone. However, this does not stop Whitney from excelling at her job. She is even studying an online course for Accounting & Bookkeeping to level up her skills for RLA.

Jessica Simpson
General Manage Support Worker

Jess became a part of the RLA team in April 2020, initially as a weekend casual. However, she enjoyed the work and eventually transitioned into the role of Senior Manager for Individualised Supports in July 2020. Growing up, Jess was a dancer, and she discovered her passion for supporting people with disabilities when she became a student dance teacher at 14 and taught a group of individuals with disabilities how to dance. Jess has worked in various roles over the past 15 years, including in palliative care, preschools as a 1:1 support, group homes, respite facilities, and DES. She holds a Certificate III in Aged Care, Children Services, and Individualised Supports, as well as a Certificate IV in Employment Services, and is also an Assistant in Nursing.

Jodie Pryor
General Manager - Employment

Jodie is a true jack-of-all-trades with extensive experience in administration, management, and even event planning. She's been involved with many organizations and boards, including Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre, Thirroul Needs a Skatepark, and the Music Managers Forum. For 25 years, Jodie worked in the music industry at a management level, where she honed her skills in event planning and management. She even owned and operated a successful conference and event management business, where she worked with committees focused on supporting people with disabilities. Despite her impressive resume, Jodie remains down-to-earth and always up for a chat.

Jordan O'Gorman
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
Diploma of Community Services
Cert III in Customer Care

Jordan has a background in customer service, with over 7 years of experience in the field. For the past 3.5 years, Jordan has worked in the disability sector, gaining experience in disability support work, rostering, and Support Coordination. Jordan has a personal connection to the disability community, as they themselves have experienced living with Endometriosis, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Pelvic congestion Syndrome, and May Thurner Syndrome. Additionally, Jordan identifies as a member of the LGTBQI+ community.

Amna Pervaiz
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach

Bachelor (hons) Applied Psychology

Introducing Amna, a mental health professional with an impressive background. Amna holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology and has undergone Advanced Clinic Training in Contemporary Gestalt Therapy, giving her the skills and knowledge to excel in her field. With over 8 years of experience working in mental health, including time spent as a school psychologist in Pakistan, Amna has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. In addition to her role as a Recovery Coach at Real Life Assistants, Amna also works as a psychotherapist. With her passion for mental health and her commitment to helping others, Amna is a true asset to the field.

Carmen Wallace-Mitchell
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach

Certificate Early Childhood,
Diploma of Counselling,
Associate Diploma of Ministry.

Carmen, a highly qualified professional, has a Certificate of Early Childhood and a Diploma of Counselling. Additionally, Carmen is pursuing an Associate Diploma of Ministry and a Bachelor of Ministry.

After working in the early childhood sector for eight years, Carmen took a break to focus on parenting her children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. During this time, she volunteered in the homelessness sector for three years, including 18 months in a support/management role at an accommodation facility. Carmen's passion for helping others led her to work as a Support Worker for two years and now as a Support Coordinator and Psychosocial Recovery Coach.

Interestingly, Carmen has personally experienced recovery from PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Her lived experiences have provided her with a unique perspective that allows her to connect with her clients on a deeper level. Despite her past struggles, Carmen remains relaxed and focused, providing valuable support and guidance to those in need.

Eleni Perrett
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach / Advocate

Diploma of Counselling and Communication

Eleni has had a varied career, working in different fields such as television, childcare, and customer service. During her time at a shop providing supports for education, sensory needs, and wellbeing, she discovered RLA, which she credits for changing her life. Starting as a support worker at RLA, Eleni has since completed a Diploma of Counselling and Communication Skills in 2022 and has moved into her current roles. She brings not only her formal education in mental health but also her life experience of interacting with people of all abilities. Eleni has found a true passion for learning and is currently pursuing her degree in Counselling. She firmly believes that everyone has the right to be heard and live a life of dignity, and at RLA, she is able to put this philosophy into practice and make a positive difference in the lives of the people she supports.

Linda Mulquin
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach

Diploma Community Services
Bachelor Community Services

Linda brings a wealth of experience to her role at RLA, having worked for 20 years in a psychiatric medical practice and volunteered with mental health carer organisations for 2 years. As a carer for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges, Linda has gained first-hand experience and insight into the struggles faced by individuals and their families. Linda has extensive knowledge working with a wide range of mental health conditions including PTSD, intellectual disability, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, ASD, dementia, depression and anxiety. Additionally, Linda is adept at assisting individuals navigate through various challenges such as domestic and family violence, Centrelink, housing, victims of crime and NCAT. Since 2018, Linda has been working in the NDIS, initially as a support team leader and later as a support coordinator and Psychosocial Recovery Coach.

Sam Lawrie
Support Coordinator

Meet Sam Lawrie, an experienced professional in the disability sector. With a Bachelor of Education (Special Needs), a Diploma of Autism, a Cert IV in Disability Services, Cert IV in Training and Assessment, Diploma of Community Services, and Diploma of Mental Health and Complex Needs, Sam has a wide range of qualifications to support her work. Sam has been working in disability for 22 years, starting in the NDIS space in 2017 when it rolled out in the Illawarra. Sam is a strong and fierce advocate for social justice, ensuring that people's voices are heard. Sam's passion for supporting individuals with disabilities is evident in her work, and we are lucky to have such a dedicated and skilled member on our team.

Joshua Leonard
Support Coordinator

Joshua, a determined and talented individual, lives with Autism, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and Depressive Disorder. He grew up with parents and siblings with disabilities, which inspired him to pursue a career in the disability sector. Currently, Joshua is enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services program.

In 2018, Joshua began his career as a support worker in the NDIS space, starting as a peer mentor for young autistic males. He later transitioned into Support Coordination, providing valuable administrative support to clients. Over time, Joshua has expanded his role and now also provides Support Coordination to others. Previously, Joshua also taught music to people with disabilities for five years, which allowed him to combine his passion for music with his desire to help others.

Despite his own challenges, Joshua remains a relaxed and patient support worker who is dedicated to his clients. His lived experiences and understanding of disabilities have helped him develop a unique and empathetic approach to his work.

Melinda Montgomery
Research Officer

Bachelor Media Arts

Melinda holds a bachelor's degree in Media Arts, with a specialisation in photography and web design. She was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic condition that has caused over a hundred broken bones in her lifetime. Despite this, Melinda has taken on many roles, including serving as Vice President for the OI Society of Australia and as Secretary for Dapto RFS. She is fiercely independent and passionate about advocating for disability equality. You might spot her driving around in her bright yellow van.

Jared Shaw
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach / Advocate

Jared has dedicated over 18 years to supporting individuals with disabilities to achieve greater choice and control over their lives. Beginning as a support worker, he progressed to coordinating group homes, leading teams, and providing case-management for people with complex disabilities. Jared's growing interest in behavior and psychological health led him to pursue a graduate diploma in Psychology after 12 years in these roles.

As a Support Coordinator and Psychosocial Recovery Coach, Jared brings a wealth of experience to the table. He is committed to creating more stable and fulfilling lives for individuals with complex psychosocial disabilities. Jared's psychology background, combined with his personal experience supporting loved ones living with disabilities, has instilled in him an emphasis on evidence-based practice and real-world outcomes. He is deeply committed to providing trauma-informed care, with a participant-led and individualised approach to support. Jared believes in empowering individuals to dream big and live their best lives on their own terms.

Julie Lozano
Support Coordinator / Psychosocial Recovery Coach

Meet Julie, a highly skilled and experienced professional in the welfare sector. Julie brings with her over 30 years of experience working in Disability, Youth, Employment, Teaching and Community Services. With a Diploma in Counselling, Certificate IV Disability, Certificate IV Community Services, Certificate III Children's Services and a Certificate in Trauma informed healing, Julie has the knowledge and expertise to make a positive impact on the lives of those she works with. Julie has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, using a holistic approach to ensure that all individuals are given the support they need. We are fortunate to have Julie as a part of our team.

Maggie Taylor
Support Coordinator

With 35 years immersed in the disability sector, Maggie brings a wealth of skills to the table, offering a relaxed and friendly approach to participants, their families, and carers. She takes joy in witnessing the positive impact that the NDIS has on individuals, celebrating both the small triumphs and major accomplishments that come along the way.

Maggie's dedication to serving others remains unwavering, fuelled by the meaningful changes she observes. Over the past 7 years, she has directly engaged with the NDIA for 3 years and subsequently shifted her focus to indirect support coordination. This journey has equipped her with valuable insights, allowing her to tailor her knowledge, skills, and experience to provide support that suits each individual's needs.

Being a part of the Real Life Assistants team reinforces Maggie's ability to extend unwavering support, fostering an environment where you can strive towards your goals with confidence. Her friendly and approachable demeanour is a testament to her commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those she serves.

Kate Oakley
Senior Social Worker / Psychosocial Recovery Coach / Support Coordinator

Bachelor Social Work

Kate Oakley holds a Cert IV in Drug and Alcohol, a Diploma in Community Services, and a Bachelor of Social Work, and is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (496140). With her extensive experience working in the non-government sector of child protection, she firmly believes in everyone's right to choose and control their lives while improving human rights and wellbeing. Kate is adept at identifying external issues that hinder individuals from reaching their goals and achieving their full potential. Interestingly, she also has personal experience dealing with generalised anxiety.

Tegan Huber
Allied Health / Exercise Physiologist

Meet Tegan, a qualified professional with a Master's degree in exercise physiology and nutrition/dietetics from the University of Wollongong. With nine years of experience working in clinical private practice, Tegan discovered her passion for disabilities, which aligns with her values of equality and fairness for all. After spending a year as a support worker, Tegan is thrilled to join RLA and combine her expertise to use movement as therapy for everyone. She is particularly interested in trauma-informed care, building healthy relationships with our bodies, food, and exercise, and chronic pain management.

In her free time, Tegan enjoys the outdoors, creative activities, spending time with her family, friends, and her cat Klaus. She also has a variety of hobbies, including baking, furniture restoration, psychology and philosophy, interior design, and even tap dancing.

Liam Marsh
Social Worker

Meet Liam, an easy going professional with a wealth of qualifications and a genuine passion for helping others. With a Cert IV in leadership, a Cert IV in youth work, a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, and a Masters degree in social work, Liam has built a solid foundation towards becoming a social worker.

Liam's journey in supporting young people began when he was a teenager, where he actively engaged in both volunteer and paid roles. Throughout these experiences, he had the opportunity to work closely with individuals with disabilities, gaining valuable insights and understanding. His personal connection to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through his own family has provided him with a unique perspective.

With a family that fosters children, Liam has also honed his ability to assist kids in processing emotions and navigating trauma. He firmly believes in a strengths-based approach that empowers individuals to recognize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.

Outside of work, you'll find Liam leading an active lifestyle. He enjoys hitting the gym, playing soccer, paddleboarding with his wife and two kids, and simply relishing quality time with his family and their lively puppy. Liam's relaxed and friendly demeanour makes him a great asset in the journey towards personal growth and well-being.

Tristan Agostini
Support Facilitator

Graduate Diploma Psychology (Bridging),
Bachelor Pre Medicine Science and Health,
Honours in Chemistry,
Diploma Business Management and Leadership

Tristan started at RLA as a support worker in January 2020 and moved into Support Facilitation in September 2021. Tristan had no intention of ever working in disability, but fell into it by accident and has never looked back. Tristan enjoys playing both electronic and board games, watching anime, and playing all kinds of sports (but mostly soccer). In addition, Tristan has a passion for Lego, science, psychology, cooking, and socializing with friends. Tristan has Social Anxiety Disorder, but still strives to explore the field of Behavior Supports in the future. Tristan has deferred their honours year of psychology, and has a Graduate Diploma in Psychology (Bridging), a Bachelor in Pre-Medicine Science and Health, an Honours degree in Chemistry, and a Diploma in Business Management and Leadership.

Macey Ceresani
Support Facilitator

Macey joined RLA in January 2020 as a casual support worker, while simultaneously working part-time at Woolworths. In May of the same year, she began a traineeship in Child Care and successfully obtained her Certificate III in Early Childhood and Care. During her traineeship, Macey worked directly with children aged 2 - 5 years and provided education and support to children with different disabilities, including ASD and ADHD.

In May 2021, RLA offered Macey a full-time role to run support groups, which she worked in for a few months before becoming a Support Facilitator. As a Support Facilitator, Macey enjoys meeting new participants and setting them up with support workers, working closely with Support Coordinators to fulfill participants' goals, completing admin tasks, and effectively communicating with support workers and the company through various platforms such as Sling, Workplace, and Workchat.

Macey acknowledges that although she is young and lacks extensive experience in this field, she cares deeply for everyone and is motivated by her personal struggles with anxiety. Her family also experiences similar mental health issues, and she helps them every day.

Nicole Eades
Support Facilitator

Nicole is a qualified professional with a Diploma in Early Childhood and a Certificate in Hospitality. She transitioned to the NDIS space in 2020 after a successful career in Early Childhood. Starting as a support worker, Nicole has since progressed into the role of Support Facilitator.

Nicole is a warm and approachable team member who is passionate about her work in the NDIS space. Her personal experience with anxiety and depression gives her a unique perspective and empathy for the people she works with. Nicole is committed to providing high-quality and compassionate support services to her clients.

Nicole values teamwork and collaboration and is always looking for ways to improve the services provided to her clients. She is a strong communicator and is able to build positive relationships with the people she works with. Nicole is a valued member of the team at Real Life Assistants.

Renee Jolley
Support Facilitator

Renee is a Support Facilitator at RLA, joining the team in March 2022 as a casual support worker before transitioning to her current role in May. With a background in administration at an accounting firm, Renee brings a wealth of experience to her role. She has lived experience with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and ADHD, as well as having siblings with learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. In her younger years, Renee was involved with Girl Guides and became a leader at the age of 18. She also volunteered for two years with the Youth Mission team, where she organized retreats and camps for youth in schools and the community.

Amy Komikovski
Support Facilitator

Meet Amy, who completed a cert III admin traineeship straight out of school and has been working in administration for more than a decade. However, after becoming a mother and experiencing personal trauma, her anxiety, which she has had since childhood, became unmanageable. Fearing interviews and meeting new people, Amy remained in her job until she saw how medication helped her older sister's anxiety. After finally seeking help, Amy was offered a position as a support worker at RLA a year later. Two weeks after accepting the casual role, she resigned from her old job to start pursuing her passion of helping others live better lives. Six months later, she was offered a permanent position as a Support Facilitator, which provided her family with stability while allowing her to continue making a difference. Although she misses community work at times, Amy loves going to the RLA office every day and being surrounded by like-minded colleagues who are passionate about helping others achieve their goals.

Scott Brancourt
Support Facilitator

Currently studying Bachelor of Finance and Economics

Scott joined RLA in August of 2021, embarking on a new journey after wrapping up his role as a training accountant. His path led him to become a support worker, and from February of this year, he took on the roles of a part-time Support Facilitator and an enthusiastic Allied Health Officer. With his recent transition to a full-time position, Scott is now donning the hats of a Support Facilitator, Chief Allied Health Officer, and a friendly People and Culture Advisor.

His understanding of disabilities and their impact on individuals' lives runs deep, shaped by his longstanding role in supporting his own brother with disabilities. Scott's perspective has evolved further due to personal health challenges, prompting him to refocus on what truly matters.

Scott finds joy in getting to know new participants, tailoring support to match their unique needs and aspirations. He's excited to bring his diverse strengths to the table, eager to collaborate closely with the Real Life Assistants team and clients to enhance their daily lives. In Scott, you'll find a friendly face and a genuine desire to make a positive impact.