Learning and Skills | Community Connections |
Excellence | Innovation | Integrity

Our People

“Any community organisation is only as good as its people are”.

Committee of Governance:

Leah Douglas


Leah Douglas is a true leader of SLAC governance team. Leah has served on SLAC Committee for many years, she was the Secretary since 1997 until 2014 when Leah was elected President.  With tertiary qualifications in Education and Finance and years of experience in business executive and strategic roles in the insurance sector, Leah makes invaluable contribution to SLAC work.

Bev Douglas


For the largest part of the past 45 years, Bev looked after the people inside and outside of SLAC. As a true leader she would always have a wise and friendly solution for any problem, and make SLAC experience unique and enjoyable for everyone.  Bev Douglas was awarded Citizen of the Year 2015 Greater Dandenong Australia Day Award.

Ranka Trisic

Ranka is a long time supporter of SLAC and its work. She was involved with SLAC over the years in her capacity working in Family Services with the City of Greater Dandenong Council,  and more recently, with the City of Kingston. 

Ranka holds  Bachelor of Adult Learning and Diploma in Community Services, her qualifications, experience and expertise in supporting diverse families is very important for the ongoing success of SLAC.

David Hawkins


David holds tertiary qualifications in Business Studies. He has had over 35 years of experience working in managerial roles for State and Local government. David has been involved with the local community for many years and is making a substantial contribution to the Centre with his vigour and experience. David was awarded The Caroline Chisholm Award in 2014 and we commend David for many years of volunteering for the community.

Tuan Tran

Tuan has been involved with  SLAC  for many years. He joined the Committee in 2017 to work closer with SLAC team to make a positive difference in the community.

Tuan brings in extensive knowledge in the printing industry and marketing services sector.

Tuan is an active member of the Melbourne Asian Basketball Association and the Wah Chin Sports Club of Melbourne


Emma Sayegh

Emma has been a member of SLAC since 2018. Emma holds Bachelor of Education and Design and  brings in years of experience working in NFP sector, government and business, both in Australia and overseas. 

Emma brings in years of experience of community involvement with strong approach to strategy, and mentoring of groups and individuals.  Her expertise in supporting migrants and refugees to achieve economic participation is invaluable for the success of SLAC Social Enterprise.



Adel Dafla


Adel has been involved with SLAC for over 15 years.   he  brings in years of experience in own business management, extensive networks with  local small businesses in Springvale and the commitment to support diverse families to have a successful life. 

Adel is one of the active volunteers and a Board member  of the Al Fajar Sunday School operating out of SLAC every Sunday since 2006. 

Alf DeHombre

Alf joined the Committee in the middle of 2017. Alf brings in wealth of experience in design, digital and print marketing.

His unique artistic flair coupled with professional design skills give SLAC marketing material a competitive edge and help wider community visualise our aspirations and reflect on the day-to-day work.

Team of Staff

Elena Sheldon


Elena has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly fifteen years and has been a Manager of SLAC since 2005. She holds tertiary qualifications in Education, Linguistics and Business Management. Elena is a NAATI accredited interpreter and a qualified Trainer and Assessor.

Elena’s energy, inspiration and positive attitude lead SLAC, its students and the community to prosperity, stability and success.

Nooroa Andrew

Coordinator at CoCO’s – Community Creating Opportunities SLAC Social Enterprise

Nooroa has been involved with SLAC for over five years, starting as a student, then volunteering on the Committee and joining the team of staff in 2017. She holds Diploma of Community Development and is an absolute champion in engaging with and empowering clients and volunteers to achieve positive changes.

Nooroa holds a very busy position coordinating over 50 volunteers, overseeing CoCO’s sales and coordinating Community Food Fund providing food and other material aid to nearly 600 clients during the year.

“Whoever walks into CoCO’s to shop, get assistance or just browse will never walk out with nothing. We are always happy to chat and smile, share a joke or a piece of wisdom”.

Hyleen David

Volunteer Line Dancing Tutor

Our popular line dancing classes are held at SLAC every Wednesday, 10am – 11.30am and Hyleen makes each and every class fun with lots of cheer and smiles.

Christine Hermawan

Education Programs Coordinator

Christine enjoyed a highly successful career in retail business for over 12 years when she decided to change the direction to the community sector and adult learning. Christine started with SLAC as a volunteer English language facilitator and quickly became one of the busiest and most popular facilitators.  SLAC is very fortunate to have Christine as the Coordinator across SLAC Learn Local Programs and CoCO’s Social Enterprise. 

Apart from coordinating over 23 different weekly classes, Christine  facilitates pre-accredited programs in Customer Service and Business Skills, a  very successful Interview Skills short course  and a popular Work Readiness Program out of CoCO’s.

 “SLAC is the most dynamic and innovative organisation, open to change and challenges. I enjoy working with the team of the most talented facilitators, great staff and very professional Committee”.

Laura Cerbus

Adult Learning Facilitator – EAL

Laura holds Bachelor of Arts (English Education) from Geneva College in the United States.

Laura has been teaching for over eight years, and has taught students at every age level – primary, secondary, undergraduate, and adult education. She loves being in the classroom and sharing the learning experience with her students.

“It is a gift to teach people from so many different places and backgrounds, and I love how my job at SLAC connects me to learners who stretch me and teach me more about this beautiful world”.


Karen De Fransz

Adult Learning Facilitator – Sewing and Alterations Skills 

Karen is a third generation Sewer, qualified in Clothing and Textile Production at RMIT University and completed Adult Learning Facilitation program at SLAC.

Karen is committed to helping women in the community learn new skills whilst reviving a dying industry. She also runs a successful home based Sewing and Alteration Business.

“Tutoring at SLAC is one of the things I love doing. I enjoy everything about sewing and interacting with people from all walks of life.”

Mariela Sonn

Admin and Finance Coordinator

Mariela holds qualifications in Business and Financial Services.  For over eight years she has held this very challenging position coordinating venue bookings, student enrolments and outcomes, and bookkeeping duties.

Mariela is the first point of contact for SLAC and always demonstrates patience and empathy to all people.

“What I like about working at SLAC is the changes that are happening every year and great new initiatives that bring challenges but also opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people and stay tuned moving into the future”.


Carolyn Leach

Adult Learning Facilitator – EAL

Carolyn holds Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology, Diploma of Counselling and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Carolyn previously had her own business assisting clients with Life Coaching. This has put her in good stead for developing rapport quickly and then assisting build confidence and autonomy in her students.

She works with learners from all levels and caters to their individual needs. Carolyn’s particular strength is achieving great outcomes for learners with extremely limited verbal English.

“I love working for SLAC as I enjoy the diversity of cultures among the students and the challenge of many different levels in one class”.

Jikany Deiwal

Information Technology Trainer

Jikany has delivered training in Information Technology at SLAC since 2009. Jikany holds tertiary qualifications in Information Technology and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor. He has a unique combination of IT expertise and professional skills in community engagement. Jikany is a very popular trainer at SLAC and is respected by all students regardless of age, gender and cultural background.