Patrons

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
Patron
Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs
Patron

Management Committee

Chris Yoo
President

Chris is a Partner at Genesis Advisory, a strategy and M&A advisory firm. Over the past 13 years Chris has held roles in private equity and management consulting with Crescent Capital Partners, Bain Capital and Bain & Company and numerous corporate directorships including with Australian Clinical Labs, MyHealth Medical Centres, NZ Panels Group, National Dental Care, Cover-More Group and Lifehealthcare. Chris is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and holds a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney.

David Wiggins
Treasurer

David is a Chartered Accountant and experienced Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary, having held the financial leadership role in a number ASX listed companies over the past 20 years. David is currently an independent financial consultant. He has a B Comm from UNSW, MBA (Exec) from AGSM (UNSW) and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Aust and NZ and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Aust.

Sue Cowden
Committee Member

Susan is an experienced fundraiser currently working with Youth Off the Streets. In a diverse career strongly focused on human rights, international development and social justice, she spent 13 years with Australia for UNHCR supporting the UN refugee agency’s global fundraising activities. She has also worked as a researcher for the Communications Law Centre. Susan holds an Executive Masters degree in Arts and Social Sciences from the University of Sydney and a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.  

Ruth Johnstone
Committee Member

Ruth Johnstone is the Executive Director of The Caledonia Foundation.

With a career spanning non-profit, corporate, government and philanthropy Ruth is passionate about social justice in connecting people and organisations with the strategic advice, resources, networks and capacity to enable positive change in the community.

Previously Ruth held senior executive and management roles at Social Ventures Australia, NSW State Government and the Australian Institute of Management – VIC. Ruth is an advisor to The Mirabel Foundation and the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS). She also volunteers to mentor skilled migrants into employment pathways for the Community College in East Sydney and received Most Valuable Player Award from Career Trackers, Australia’s first indigenous internship program in 2012.

Ruth holds tertiary qualifications in humanities and social sciences from the University of New England (UNE) and completed the CHANGE UP Leadership Program – a high impact leadership program focused on providing executives with the tools to unlock their potential for success.

Lachlan Murdoch
Committee Member

Lachlan is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). He brings expertise in issues of mental health and the impact of torture and trauma experiences on asylum seekers to RACS. Lachlan served initially as a Board member and more latterly as Treasurer of the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW from 2000 until 2015.

James Nguyen
Committee Member

James is the Head of Legal at TEG, the parent company of Ticketek. He graduated with a Commerce/Law degree from UNSW. James currently sits on the UNSW Law School Advisory Council and UNSW Alumni & Engagement Committee. He was also the co-recipient of the 2015 UNSW Young Alumni of the Year Award for his various charitable works. Having grown up in the South-Western parts of Sydney, James is the son of two refugees from Vietnam.

Frances Voon
Committee Member

Frances is Executive Manager at the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW. Previously Frances worked in refugee operations in Bangladesh, Jordan and South Sudan, as well as the UNHCR Policy Development & Evaluation Service in Geneva. She was admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 2008. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from Oxford University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons)/Laws from UNSW.

The Management Committee meets on the last Tuesday of the month

RACS Staff

 

Management

Sarah Dale
Centre Director & Principal Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 1279354)

Sarah joined RACS in 2013 after spending a number of years working with people seeking asylum and refugees in visa cancellation and civil law issues.

At RACS, Sarah was our first Child Specialist Solicitor, developing an outreach legal service to assist unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia, and worked tirelessly with children who were detained on Christmas Island and faced transfer to Nauru.

She continued this outreach to young people who were transferred to Nauru as unaccompanied children. Sarah became Principal Solicitor in 2016 and has led RACS in responding to a shifting policy environment. In 2017, Sarah participated in the UNHCR Expert Roundtable in Brussels on family reunification, and in consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders at York University.

In 2018, Sarah was awarded Migration Partner of the Year by Lawyers Weekly.

Kerrith Sowden
Finance & Operations Manager
Kerrith has extensive experience in general management and financial roles in Australia, UK & South Africa, with a strong operational and commercial focus. She has experience across both for profit and NFP organisations and a number of start-up businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa.
Shauna Wolifson
Fundraising Manager
Shauna has used her comprehensive knowledge of the Australian fundraising and philanthropic sector to raise funds for organisations and causes she is passionate about. At Mission Australia this involved helping people regain their independence through homelessness initiatives and youth services. At Theatre of the Deaf, she advocated and raised awareness for the deaf community, securing funds for young deaf artists to tour to schools across the country. She has also raised financial support from corporates, government, trusts and foundations and philanthropists for arts organisations such as Belvoir theatre and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Senior Solicitors

Alison Ryan
Senior Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 0004377)
Alison Ryan is a Senior Solicitor overseeing RACS’ Clinic for applicants affected by the fast track process. Alison worked with RACS previously from 2000 - 2003. Between 2003-2014 Alison managed and worked on a range of legal and human rights programmes for the United Nations, Norwegian Refugee Council and legal organisations in Palestine, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Alison holds a Masters of Laws focusing on international humanitarian law.
Ben Lumsdaine
Senior Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 0850357)

Ben Lumsdaine is a Senior Solicitor overseeing RACS’ Clinic for asylum seekers affected by the fast track process. Ben worked for RACS from 2008 to 2011 and has recently returned after working as a Refugee Resettlement Expert for UNHCR in Kerman, Iran, and in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, Tanzania. He has also worked at Legal Aid NSW and the NSW Attorney General’s Department. Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Law from the University of New South Wales and a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from IHEID in Geneva.

Solicitors

Hannah Gray
Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 1687812)
Isobel McGarity
Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 1466382)
Mitchell Skipsey
Solicitor, Migration Agent (MARN 1686033)
Ahmad Sawan
Solicitor

Strategic Support

Vicky Chen
Volunteer & Operations Coordinator
Emma Davies
Senior Marketing & Communications Officer
Gabriel Gutnik
IT Officer
Amanda Hall
Clinic Coordinator
Uma Ramaprasad
Accountant
Ahmad Sawan
Solicitor

All legal staff at RACS are registered migration agents under MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) and are bound to comply with and promote the MARA Code of Conduct which can be found here.