Leadership Changes at ARA

Leadership Changes at ARA

A Message from the Board of the Australian Refugee Association

Retirement of CEO

After more than 6 years of service, Deb Stringer has advised the Board that she will be retiring as CEO of the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) with effect from September 2024.

Deb started at ARA in 2018 and has been instrumental in strengthening the organisation, greatly enhancing ARA’s capacity to help refugees feel connected with their new home. Under Deb’s leadership ARA has also been increasingly recognised by the community, Federal & State Governments, and regulators, as a key provider of services and support to refugees in South Australia. Consequently her tenure has achieved a significant increase in ARA’s funding, leading to many new initiatives being developed and delivered. This leaves a tangible legacy of more refugee families who have settled successfully in South Australia and built happy and productive lives in the community. The ARA Board wishes to sincerely thank Deb for her service and commitment to the people of ARA, and the wider refugee community.

The Board has appointed Hender Consulting to undertake a thorough recruitment process to find the person to be ARA’s new leader and build on the already strong foundations. Both Deb and the Board are committed to ensuring a seamless transition once the new CEO is appointed, and the formalities of Deb’s farewell will be announced closer to the time.

Appointment of new Chairperson, and Deputy Chairperson
In further news, respected Board Chairperson David McGlennon has stepped down from the Board. David served on the Board for over five years and, prior to that volunteered for the organisation at a community level. His commitment to ARA, stewardship of the Board and his support of fellow Board members has been appreciated by all who have worked with him. The Board acknowledges David’s contribution and wishes him well for the future.

Kathy Kingston has been appointed Chairperson and Yassir Ajrish appointed Deputy Chairperson. Kathy has a business and financial background and extensive experience as a Board member for not- for profit and public organisations. She has a strong commitment to human rights and social justice and a good knowledge and understanding of ARA and its people. Yassir is also deeply familiar with the work of ARA, having arrived in South Australia as a refugee in the 1990s. Yassir is a dedicated advocate for diversity and inclusion and has had a relationship with ARA over the past 13 years, as a former Youth Ambassador, an employee and a volunteer. He holds a Masters in Project and Program Management, Bachelor of Science, and works both as an Exploration Geologist and a Ward Councillor (Campbelltown City Council, since 2022).

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