Image by Natalie Pedigo

Meet the Team

Girraway Ganyi Team Member Bios

 
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AJ Williams-Tchen

Director & Lead Consultant
AJ is of Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak background

AJ Founded Girraway Ganyi Consultancy in 2007. He has over 30 years experience in the health and community service sector, Aboriginal organisations and communities, TAFEs and universities. Holding qualifications in Social Work, Nursing, Youth Work, Aboriginal Health Work, Community Development, Leadership & Management, Business Studies & Aboriginal Leadership.

AJ is a Principal Master MHFA Instructor, who has provided nearly 600 Mental Health First Aid workshops since 2008, and facilitated over 650 Cultural Awareness programs across Australia since 2003. He provides cultural mentoring & support programs to 3 Independent schools and has has sucessfully worked with schools and organisations in developing & implementing many Reconciliation Action Plans.


AJ is an Ambassador for Butterfly Foundation, a lead cultural support for ANZEAD and a Cultural Advisor for Beyond Blue and Independent Schools Victoria.

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Ash Tchen

Mentor & Trainer
Ash is of Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak background

Ash has been with Girraway Ganyi Consultancy for 4 years undertkaing administration duties and is a Mentor working with the organisations participating school’s mentoring programs. He is a Deadly Thinking Youth Instructor and a Deadly Thinking Adult Instructor. He has a passion for working with young people and is also a soccer coach at Ashburton Soccer Club, training the under 10s for the second year.


Holds qualifications in Youth Work, Community Work, Leadership & Management & Sports Development.

Ash continues to be instrumental in the development and implementation of the Girraway Ganyi Consultancy YouTube channel, with the recording, filming, editing and uploading of films related to the Indigenous scholars who share their experiences and stories.

Ash received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the 2021 Reconciliation Victoria HART Awards.  

 
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Xam Tchen

Business Support & Trainer

Xam is a Registered Nurse who holds the following qualifications: Diploma of Hospital Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing, and Graduate Diploma in Nursing Administration.


She has worked with numerous individuals from a diverse array of backgrounds in her roles of nurse, case manager, and client services manager in health, community and hospital settings for the past 30 years. Xam's experience in Aboriginal health also includes working with Aboriginal Health Workers at VACCHO training in the Certificate III & Cert IV of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care, and with Aboriginal community services organisations.


Accredited to deliver the Standard, Youth and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid courses.

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Tristan Williams

Mentor & Consultant
Tristan is of Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak background

Tristan is currently undertaking Bachelor of Social Work, and holds the following the qualifications: Diploma of Youth Work, Certificate IV in Youth Work, Certificate III in Children Services.


His career has stretched across multiple positions in children services, youth work, alcohol and other drugs, community services and disability.


Tristan has worked previously as a Disability Education Support worker, positioned in special needs schools; as a Therapeutic Residential Care Worker at MacKillop Family Services; and at Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-Operative Limited (DDACL) as a Tobacco Cessation Specialist and Healthy Lifestyle Worker.

 
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Kara Eddington

Mentor & Trainer
Kara is of Wad Wadi descent from New South Wales

Kara has over 40 years’ experience working in health, community services, education, Aboriginal mental health & wellbeing.  She is a qualified and registered psychologist who works with Aboriginal and non-Indigenous clients.


Kara has been delivering cultural awareness training Australia-wide for over 20 years in areas of Australian & State Government departments, community and health services, hospitals and Aboriginal community organisations. Kara was the National Aboriginal Program Manager at Mental Health First Aid from 2007 to 2009.  She was very successful in this position and demonstrates that she can facilitate training programs and content on a national level. In this role, she also trained over 200 new Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander MHFA Instructors. Kara has worked as a private psychologist for many years, demonstrating business knowledge. She is a Master accredited MHFA Instructor who has facilitated hundreds of Mental Health First Aid course nationally. 

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Leanne Sumner

Cultural Support & Adviser
Leanne is a Gunditjmara Elder

She has over 35 years experience working in areas of community services, health, hospitals and state government. Leanne has a Diploma of Community Services and Diploma of Social Sciences, along with a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.


Leanne has strong interest in community wellbeing and is deeply passionate about programs that aim to improve emotional, cultural, mental and physical health through community engagement, inclusiveness and cultural awareness. She knows the importance of supporting employment, entrepreneurism, financial literacy and better educational attainment is required to create successful outcomes for community.


One of Leanne’s proudest achievements is that of setting up of Monash Health’s Aboriginal accommodation unit for families of patients.


Leanne believes in our ancestors and Elders, and that our culture should continue to be shared, practiced and embraced. 

 
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Willa Farmer

Cultural Consultant & Trainer
Willa is a Noongar woman from the Great Southern Region

As a member of a large extended family, with cultural and personal networks from  Broome, in the north, to Esperance, in the South of Western Australia, Willhemina has extensive knowledge and experience in implementing community development programs and training in Mental Health and General Health related  areas.


She is sensitive to the needs of Aboriginal people and has worked in partnerships  with the Government and community initiatives implementing programs and  carrying out service delivery for over 30 years.


Studied in Narrative Therapy, Aboriginal Community Management and  Development and a qualified Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid Instructor, coordinating and  supporting trainers across Australia. She is currently advising, coordinating, and delivering a range of Mental Health Trainings at a national level.


Her experience includes working at an advisory level on national, state and  regional projects, involving active discretionary listening and negotiation.  


Willa has a strong commitment and passion for ‘Stolen Generation’ issues, issues related to recovery from alcohol/drug addiction and substance use along with justice and equal rights for all Australians.  

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Nathan Frank

Cultural Support & Trainer
Tubba-Gah Maing man from the Wiradjuri Nation of Dubbo

Nathans Great Grandmother is Traditional Owner - Ethel Taylor and his Great Grandfather was Alec Tracker Riley.


Nathan has work extensively in remote Aboriginal communities across Australia. With a background in Financial Capacity, Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Public Health.


A visual Artist and Designer, Nathan has featured in many exhibitions. He is a Chairperson of the Tubba-Gah Maing Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, and is an emerging community leader with a background in Public Health Grad Dip Indigenous Health Promotion SEWB—School of Public Health, University of Sydney.


Nathan owns his own consulting company in Dubbo delivering community development, workforce development and Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid. Nathans work has won both a National Financial Literacy Award and a Platinum Live X Training Award.