Our Staff

Carla Wilshire OAM

Carla Wilshire OAM

Chief Executive Officer

Carla has a background in public policy development and impact strategy, corporate governance and tertiary research. Prior to establishing MCA, Carla worked in senior roles in the public service and as an advisor to Government, principally in the area of migration and resettlement, including as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. She also held academic and consulting positions in Australia and abroad. Carla is the Board Director of Football Australia and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. Carla is the co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Migrant and Refugee Women’s Health Partnership, a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity, and a member of the Council of the Harmony Alliance, the national migrant and refugee women’s alliance.

Gulnara Abbasova

Gulnara Abbasova

Manager – Strategy, Policy & Programs

Gulnara brings a significant track record in civil society leadership and strategy across social policy, gender equality and human rights nationally and internationally. As part of her role with MCA, Gulnara is Executive Officer of Harmony Alliance, and Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership. Previously, Gulnara was executive director of the national peak body representing Australia’s migrant and refugee communities and led programs at two UN agencies on the rights and issues of Indigenous Peoples and ethnic minorities. She also worked extensively in international advocacy. Gulnara serves on a number of boards and committees focusing on women’s leadership and safety, access and equity, and public health.

Luisa Martinez

Luisa Martinez

Senior Policy and Project Officer

Luisa manages the secretariat of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and has worked on several projects at MCA, including Support for Fathers, MyAus COVID-19 and MyAus. She has worked and volunteered for the not-for-profit sector in Australia and Colombia. Prior to joining MCA, Luisa worked and volunteered for the not-for-profit and international education sectors in Australia and Colombia, and completed a Juris Doctor (ANU), a Master of International Studies and a Master of Arts (Sociology) (University of Sydney).

Dr Sana Ashraf

Dr Sana Ashraf

Senior Policy and Project Officer

Sana manages the secretariat of, and provides policy support for, Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change. Sana has completed a PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University and has previously worked as a Research Officer on various Gender and Development projects at the Crawford School of Public Policy. Sana’s doctoral research focussed on intersections of gender, religion, law and legality, nationalism, and violence. She brings her strong research and analytical skills to policy and advocacy work. As a social and public policy professional, she is particularly interested in issues of gender, intersectionality, multiculturalism, identity and representation.

Samantha Chalmers

Samantha Chalmers

Senior Policy and Project Officer

Samantha manages the secretariat of SETSCoP. Working in the settlement sector since 2011, Samantha has both frontline and management experience. Samantha values the role that Australia’s settlement services play in assisting newly arrived migrants and refugees and is passionate about collaborating with settlement organisations across the nation to facilitate shared learnings, and to support the sector’s growth and development through SETSCoP. Originally from Queensland, Samantha moved to Canberra to effect change at the national level. Previously, Samantha was the Settlement and Clinical Services Manager at Access Community Services. She has also worked at the Settlement Council of Australia and the Australian Red Cross. Samantha has completed post-graduate studies in psychology and continues to have a keen interest in its application to settlement.

Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee

Policy and Project Officer

Amanda supports the work of MCA through a range of projects related to family and domestic violence, health and social policy. Amanda works closely with Harmony Alliance and is currently managing a three-year national project to prevent dowry abuse, a form of domestic violence, in Australia. She also provides secretariat and policy support for Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership. Prior to joining MCA, Amanda was a consultant in the public policy practice group at Nous Group, an international management consultancy. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney.

Claire Momsen

Claire Momsen

Policy and Project Officer

Claire’s work is focused on equitable access to health and social services by influencing organisational attitudes and practices to be more responsive to the needs of individuals from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Claire received a Bachelor of International Relations (2012) from ANU and a Master of Equality Studies (2014) from University College Dublin. She is now pursuing a Masters of Culture, Health and Medicine at ANU. Her academic work has focused on women’s health access and the challenges of delivering culturally appropriate development assistance. Claire has worked at Oxfam Great Britain, Australia for UNHCR, ABC News Canberra, UN Women Australia, and within the corporate sector.

Ine Beerens

Ine Beerens

Policy and Project Officer

Ine’s work is focused on supporting the settlement sector in Australia through SETSCoP and promoting access to social infrastructure that supports community resilience and social cohesion. Ine is passionate about positively impacting social and migration policy. Previously, she has worked at UNHCR and in the diplomatic space across different countries, including Australia. Ine has a keen interest in sports, especially its potential to unite and strengthen communities and is on the Board of the ANU Australian Football Club. Ine holds a Master of Arts in History (2016) from the University of Ghent and a Master in International Relations and Diplomacy (2019) from the University of Antwerp.

Sadia Choudhury

Sadia Choudhury

Policy and Project Officer

Sadia’s work at MCA is focused on social policy, gender-responsive settlement and migrant and refugee women’s issues.  Sadia has academic training in social research, policy and social development. Sadia is experienced in working with vulnerable people, especially women and children. She brings her experience of working with different communities with diverse needs in Australia and overseas.

Nuria Alarcon Lopez

Nuria Alarcon Lopez

Project Assistant

Nuria provides support to a number of MCA programs and projects from the planning to the delivery stage. She is passionate about policies that affect refugee and migrant communities’ rights and access to services. Nuria migrated to Australia from Spain in 2019. She is active in the Spanish-speaking community in Canberra, including volunteering as a co-presenter on the Spanish community radio program. Nuria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from Miguel Hernandez Universidad of Elche in Spain. She also completed a one-year exchange program in Cracow, Poland. Before joining MCA, she has worked in the legal, aged care, education and diplomatic fields in Australia and Europe.

Sala Goma

Sala Goma

Digital and Community Outreach Assistant

Sala supports MCA and Harmony Alliance to facilitate digital and online outreach to members, stakeholders, and relevant audiences. Sala is passionate about supporting new migrants and refugees to settle in Australia and is motivated to make a positive contribution in this space. Sala holds a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and International Relations. At university, she was dedicated to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and social justice both on and off campus, holding a role with the Student Housing Co-operative, and coordinating numerous events with a focus on safety and inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community. Sala has since held roles at various values-based not-for-profit associations including Lifeline and Out For Australia.

Manisha Giri

Manisha Giri

Administration and Project Assistant

Manisha works closely with the CEO and provides project support to the team including administration, communication and account assistance. She joined MCA to pursue a change in her career and to contribute to a cause she is passionate in view of her lived experience. Her previous professional experience includes managing customer centric operation and providing support to diverse clients across multinational corporations, small and medium-size enterprises and start-ups. Manisha holds a post-graduate degree in Business Administration and Professional Accounting.

Annie Willox

Annie Willox

Junior Policy and Project Officer

Annie works primarily with the Secretariats of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (JCCD) and the Cultural Diversity Justice Network, providing administrative and research assistance. She has worked on the development of the Legal Literate app, a plain English legal glossary app, and has supported the implementation and promotion of the JCCD’s Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Australian Courts and Tribunals, among other projects. Annie is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) at the Australian National University.