Senior Staff

Deb Stringer

Chief Executive Officer

Semira Julardzija

Deputy CEO and Migration Manager

Namam Salih

Family Safety Manager

Karen Kretschmer

SETS Programs Manager

William Littleton

Business Development / Marketing Fundraising Manager

Andrew Adamson

Finance and Corporate Services Manager

Board Members


Kathy Kingston


About Kathy

Kathy Kingston joined the ARA Board in November 2018 and was elected President in 2019. Now retired, Kathy brings over 30 years’ experience as a business manager and accountant, and has recently retired as director of a public company.

Kathy has broad experience in finance, administration and management within small to medium organisations and has extensive experience as a board member. She has a strong commitment to human rights and social justice and has been actively involved in voluntary roles with several not-for-profit organisations for more than 35 years.

Kathy was on the board of Amnesty International Australia for nine years, including four years as Chairperson followed by six years on the International Membership Appeals Committee. During that time she represented the Australian Section at several international meetings and gained extensive experience in corporate governance, strategic planning and budgeting, policy development, campaigning and fundraising.

Yassir Ajrish

Yassir Ajrish

Deputy Chairperson

About Yassir

Cr Yassir Ajrish is a dedicated advocate for diversity and inclusion, with a relationship spanning back to 2011 within our organisation. Beginning as a Youth Ambassador, Yassir’s journey progressed to Multicultural Training Officer, where they delivered impactful programs to both public and private sectors. Their exceptional contributions were recognised with a Commendation for Excellence and Leadership in Languages and Cultures from the Government of South Australia.

Yassir’s unwavering commitment is evident in their evolution from Youth Ambassador to a board member. Beyond our organisation, they have actively supported causes like 3BALL SA serving as an Executive Member and later as Chair promoting diversity through basketball, and White Ribbon Australia Breakfast Committee, raising awareness about domestic violence against women and children in Australia.

Academically accomplished, Yassir holds a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Geophysics & Applied Geology and Geology and a Masters in Project and Program Management. They have also been elected to important positions, including Adelaide University’s SRC in 2021 and participation in the University of South Australia Academic Student Representative (ASR) program in 2022.

In 2022, Yassir’s dedication expanded to local governance as a Council Member for Campbelltown City Council. Their ongoing commitment to South Australian and multicultural communities underscores their profound impact in the pursuit of a more inclusive society.


Andrew Mills

About Andrew

Andrew joined the ARA Board in June 2022. He is currently CEO of HomeStart Finance, a state government-owned lender that makes home ownership a reality for more people via innovative mortgage products. Immediately prior he was HomeStart’s CFO and previously held executive roles with responsibilities across strategy, marketing, product development, distribution, innovation, stakeholder engagement, and project management. His 25 years experience in the finance sector also includes roles in financial markets and business advisory.

He enjoys the challenges of balancing social and commercial outcomes, and is driven by a strong sense of fairness and equity. Andrew’s qualifications include a Bachelor of International Business, Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance & Investment, MBA, and Melbourne Business School’s Advanced Management Program.


Sarah Sandley

Board Member
About Sarah

Sarah is a professional director with wide-ranging leadership and governance experience gained through more than 25 years in GM, CEO and board positions in commercial, government and not-for-profit environments, in sectors as diverse as distribution, health, media and publishing and community sport.

She arrived in South Australia from NZ in 2021, and currently holds several directorships, at Care 24-7 Pty Ltd, as Deputy President and Chair of the Governance Committee of ITTF-Oceania and on the board of Sport SA. Previous positions include as a Director of Sport NZ and Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum (where she chaired the Executive and Development Committees). Sarah has a Ph.D in English Literature and is a published modernist scholar. She was a founding Chair of the international Katherine Mansfield Society and a founding Trustee and former long-serving Chair of the Auckland Writers’ Festival.

Sarah has represented both England and New Zealand in table tennis, a sport in which she still competes. It is through sport that Sarah has forged several close friendships with refugees, which has given her insight in to the resettlement challenges faced by refugees – along with an appreciation of the positive difference that refugees and their families make to communities.

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Josie Peach

Board Member
About Josie

Josie Peach joined the Board of Australian Refugee Association in March 2023. She is a driven fundraising professional, with over fifteen years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector.

Josie is currently an Account Director at Donor Republic, where she specializes in delivering strategic fundraising plans, appeals, regular giving, digital, middle & major donors and Gifts in Wills projects for her clients. Josie is passionate about using shared values and storytelling combined with innovative fundraising methodologies to help organizations grow.

Prior to her role at Donor Republic, Josie was Fundraising Manager at RSPCA South Australia and World Vision Australia, managing a diverse portfolio of fundraising programs in both of these roles.

Josie was motivated to join the Board due to her genuine passion and interest in the needs of refugees. She wants to use her skills and experience to help drive growth within the organization.


Hooman Mansoori

Board Member
About Hooman

Hooman escaped religious persecution and arrived in Adelaide as a refugee with his parents and younger sister as a 4 year old. He has experienced the challenges and successes that refugees may experience coming to Australia.

Hooman has over 20 years of Medical Management experience working across many faculties of healthcare. Hooman is a business consultant and the general manager of Orthopaedics SA.  Hooman has an undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney and a MBA from the University of Adelaide. He volunteers with the University’s Experience Adelaide program, introducing Adelaide and Australian culture to international students and mentors Adelaide University business graduates.

When Hooman is not working or volunteering, he enjoys family time with his wife and two young children. Hooman is grateful for the opportunities that Australia has provided him and enjoys contributing to community organisations.


Shadan Doyle

Board Member
About Shadan

Shadan Doyle is a dedicated advocate who joined the Board of the Australian Refugee Association in June 2022. Hailing from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community, Shadan intimately understands the challenges faced by individuals navigating life in Australia as members of minority groups.

Her commitment to Human Rights is evident through her past role as a Peace Ambassador for Humanitarian Affairs Asia. Shadan passionately champions inclusion and fights against discrimination, striving to ensure that all members of our community, especially the most vulnerable, have equitable access to essential services and opportunities necessary for a thriving life.

With a distinguished career as a versatile solicitor, Shadan brings valuable expertise in providing outstanding legal services. Beyond her legal acumen, she possesses 13 years of experience in people and culture, spanning Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR), coupled with 6 years in finance. This unique blend of skills adds a multifaceted dimension to her contributions.

Shadan’s achievements encompass strategic planning, operational management, leadership, governance, and stakeholder management.  As a Board member, Shadan Doyle is poised to contribute her wealth of experience and unwavering commitment to advancing the mission of the Australian Refugee Association, ensuring the well-being and empowerment of those seeking refuge in Australia.


Chelsea Thomas

Board Member
About Chelsea

Chelsea Thomas first came to ARA as a volunteer in the social support program, engaging with a family who had recently arrived in Adelaide and helping them to feel at home in their new city. She joined the ARA Board in 2017 following time as an invitee to the audit subcommittee.

As a chartered accountant with more than 10 years’ experience, Chelsea brings a finance focus to the Board with a commercial understanding of the challenges faced by not-for-profits.

Chelsea’s current role as the finance manager at Pulteney Grammar School sees her involved in all aspects of school life including budgeting and forecast modelling, enterprise agreement negotiations, Pulteney Foundation philanthropy, the development of business cases for significant capital works programs, grant funding acquittals and the occasional workplace health and safety presentation for senior students.

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Shelley Collins

Board Member
About Shelley

Shelley has a broad professional background, having spent the most recent 14 years working in the international development sector in various locations around the world including Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and the previous 16 years working in business development, marketing and strategy roles in the private sector.

In the last 10 years Shelley has been developing and managing humanitarian programs for refugees living in refugee camps and transit countries who have been displaced through various global crises. This has given her a critical insight into key issues facing refugees during their journey, as well as a good understanding of the contexts and cultures from which they originate.

She also has experience in domestic refugee issues through her work as an ARA homework club volunteer for 2.5 years and as a volunteer English Language teacher at the Refugee Council UK for 3 years. She continues to be a strong advocate for refugees through her work on the ARA Board since June 2021.

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