Our Board of Directors

MaryWaterford80x120.jpgMary Waterford

 Mary Waterford AM holds the position of Chairperson of Sydney Alliance and is a Board member of Sydney Community Forum.

She has worked in the community sector in Sydney in Management, Policy and Advocacy roles for over 40 years and knows well both the challenges of Sydney and the power of working together as a united voice for inclusion and social justice.

Mary was Executive Director of Western Sydney Community Forum from 2008 to 2015 and most recently worked as a volunteer in Timor-Leste at Rede Feto, the peak advocacy network for women’s organisations. She has been a member of Sydney Alliance since 2009. In 2014 she was recognised as one of Australia’s 25 most influential leaders in the NGO sector and in 2016 was awarded an Order of Australia Award (AM) is for significant contribution to the community through social service and welfare organisations as an advocate for equity, human rights and dignity. Mary is a lifetime member of the Australian Services Union (ASU). She has a BA in Sociology and History.


Esta_P-C_80x120.jpgEsta Paschalidis-Chilas

 Esta Paschalidis-Chilas is a Social Worker with nearly 30 years experience in the Government and non Government sectors in client services, policy, community capacity building, executive leadership and advocacy roles. Currently the Government and Member Relations Manager at Settlement Services International she has established experience in building partnerships which bring benefit to communities and individuals across Australia. As the Chairperson of the NSW Settlement Partnership, Esta is committed to advancing the needs and interests of its members, their communities and clients to ensure social justice, diversity, social cohesion and social and economic participation of newcomers to NSW is advanced.


Deborah_Burt_80x120.jpgDeborah Burt

 Deborah's involvement in the Sydney Alliance has been as a Friend of Sydney Alliance for the past two years,  focused on fund raising.  She recently joined the Board of the Sydney Alliance as a non-Executive Director.  Prior to  this Deborah has had an extensive career in the corporate sector as a Human Resources Director, Chief Information  Officer, and Chief Executive of a human resource consulting company.  Her experience has covered start ups,  successful Australian companies and large multi nationals across the IT, financial services and professional services  sectors.  She currently works as a freelance consultant specialising in coaching; workshop design and facilitation;  and mediation. 


Kent_Crawford80x120.jpgKent Crawford

 Rev. Kent Crawford is the Executive Minister for Sydney Presbytery of the Uniting Church NSW/ACT. Kent also serves  on the Board of the Wayside Chapel and the School Council of MLC Sydney. Trained in Psychology and Theology,  Kent is passionate about developing healthy, thriving and inclusive communities.


Sandeep_80x120.jpgSandeep Kirpalani

 Sandeep holds the position of Treasurer on the Sydney Alliance Board.  He is an Accountant by qualification and since leaving Ernst & Young in 2009, has worked on national skills development initiatives in India, mentored grassroots-level social enterprises and worked with social change agents seeking to challenge the status-quo around the world. Sandeep graduated with a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne in 2014 and recently finished an International Development assignment in Timor-Leste, the role being capacity building within a social business that sought to empower survivors of sexual violence. Sandeep is committed to the holistic development of young people and has a keen interest in urban social/ affordable housing issues in Sydney. Lastly, Sandeep is an exponent of mindfulness, humor and forgiveness in the world of social justice!


ahmed_abdo_80x120.jpgSheikh Ahmed Abdo

Ahmed Abdo is a Sydney born Imam, a scholar and respected teacher of Islam. After nearly ten years studying Islam in the blessed city of Tarim in Yemen he returned to give back to the people of Australia, his country. He studied in Dar al-Mustafa, an Islamic Seminary in Tarim, Hadramawt, under the tutelage of its Founder and Dean, Habib Umar bin Hafiz, a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and worldwide authority on Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and spirituality. During his course of studies in Dar al-Mustafa, Ahmed studied the core Islamic sciences including Arabic grammar, jurisprudence, theology, prophetic traditions and spiritual wayfaring, with a particular interest in the area of Islamic Jurisprudence. He currently serves as an Honorary Chaplain and Religious Advisor, teaches Islamic Law and Spirituality courses through Shifa Institute which he founded to better inform people regarding the principles and teachings of Islam and how they apply in modern day society, particularly Australia. He also serves as the Secretary of the Council of Imams NSW, the state affiliated body to the Australian National Imams Council.