Social Sciences Career Symposium 2020

Career Symposium Full Schedule

The 2020 Career Symposium is now complete. We will share the recordings of some of the sessions shortly.


Start your Career Symposium day with:

  • 9.30 - 10.15am Alumni Panel Discussion: Oh! The Places You'll Go
  • 10.30 - 11.30am Career Booths Part 1 (multiple organisations showcased)

Choose from:

  • 12.00 - 2.00pm Indigenous Employment Yarn 
  • 12.00 - 1.00pm Adaptation, Innovation and Self-care
  • 12.00 - 1.00pm International Students & Career Options

Continue your day with:

  • 1.15 - 2.00pm Skills Workshop
  • 2.00 - 3.00pm Career Booths Part 2 (multiple organisations showcased)
  • 3.15 - 4.00pm Skills EDI Conversation

More information for each activity are in the sections below.

SSW Alumni panel
Moderated by Jan Breckenridge, this event will feature some of our alumni driving impact in their respective fields. Our alumni panellists represent a nice blend of Social Work and Development Studies. 
This event is now complete, a recording will be shared later.


The list of alumni contributing to the discussion is below:

About Alyssa Cassidy

Alyssa studied a Bachelor of Social Work at University of Sydney and Masters of Social Work Counselling at UNSW. She has worked in general counselling with all ages for Community Health with NSW Health; in Forensic drug and alcohol counselling with adults for NSW Health (MERIT & Drug Court Programs); with children aged between 5-8 years and their parents/carers (Got It! Program) with NSW Health; with adolescents and their families with Eating Disorders as a family therapist at the Children’s Hospital Westmead. She has also tutored in the undergraduate Social Work degree at UNSW. Alyssa published a scoping review focused on family based interventions in drug and alcohol services, and is currently employed working with teenagers with disruptive behaviours and their parents/carers with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network.   

About Ivan Mak

Ivan studied both a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters of Development Studies at UNSW. Ivan's passion has always been to address systemic social issues in a sustainable way. He initially worked on the frontline, discovered after that his strengths were in policy and project work. This has led Ivan on a journey of working in a range of sectors: refugee, international development, anti-trafficking, juvenile justice and now countering violent extremism and terrorism. Ivan is currently working as Project Support Officer for the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and previously filled graduate positions within other departments and divisions of the NSW government. In the past, Ivan has been involved with entities like Caritas Australia, the International Justice Mission Australia, and Mission Australia - to name a few. Whilst studying he was engaged inmany extra-curricular activities. In addition to his employment, Ivan has also upskilled by completing a few US-based programs.

About James Bajjada

James recently completed his Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) degree at UNSW. Throughout his degree, he has developed core social work skills that has been able to apply it in a multitude of settings. James works as a Social Programs Support Officer for the City of Sydney. His current role is to support the development, implementation and evaluation of social inclusion and community development programs within the Social Programs Team. Prior to that, he worked for NSW Health completing a placement as Clinical Social Work Intern with St George Hospital.

About Margy Green

Margy Green has been a Social Worker since 2006, working in government and non-government roles, completing a Masters of Social Work at UNSW (2016). Margy was Senior Social Worker, The Forensic Hospital in Sydney working with adolescents and families (2015-2019), and currently working at Rivendell Child and Adolescent Mental Health. In 2018, she published her Churchill Fellowship, which provided the opportunity to gain a vision for the importance of working therapeutically with families and patients to maximise recovery, prevent relapse and increase resilience.

Career Symposium Career Booths Morning
These sessions are now complete
Organisation Contact Discussing about

Montefiore Residential Aged Care

Lara Boss

Beverley Berelowitz

Career opportunities in the aged care sector

Settlement Services International (SSI)

Carmen Ghaly Career opportunities in the refugee sector

NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)

Children and Families

Hannah Benjamin Career opportunities in the Child Protection sector

NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)

Youth Justice

Tim Wharton Career opportunities in Youth Justice

South East Sydney Area Health Services


Peggy Yeomans

Jenni Graves

Career opportunities in the Health Sector


Our speakers

About Lara Boss and Beverley Berelowitz:

Career Symposium Lara Boss

Lara Boss is the General Manager of Allied Health Services for the 4 Montefiore Residential Aged Care Facilities in Sydney, and she is delighted to be part of your Careers Symposium.  

Lara is a proud Social Worker myself and have worked in South Africa and Australia across a multiple of different settings. Prior to coming to Montefiore, she worked for about 16 years with the hospitals that fall under South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). Laura worked as a Social Worker and then went on to become a Team Leader, Head of Department and finally was the Social Worker Advisor for the District. In her last year and a half there, she was also the acting Director of Allied Health for SESLHD. 

Laura has been with Montefiore for nearly 3 years now and she works very closely with the Social Work managers Bev and Sue.

The work that Social Workers do in an Aged Care setting is so important and they are highly valued members of the interdisciplinary team. 

Laura is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, and previously ran her own small private practice for ten years. Having a mental health background has provided Laura with a solid foundation in all aspects of my service delivery. Laura is passionate about providing client-centred, compassionate care and supporting her teams in providing evidence-based best practice to their consumers. 

Career Symposium Beverley Berelowitz

Beverley Berelowitz is one of two Social Work Managers at Montefiore residential aged care facility where she has been working for the past two years. Bev job shares with a Social Work colleague Sue Armstrong, and together they manage and supervise 12 Social Workers who work across the 4 separate Montefiore facilities. (Randwick, Woollahra, Maroubra Shores and Hunters Hill). Montefiore has an extensive Allied Health team managed by Lara Boss. 

Bev is also an accredited mental health Social Worker – she has a successful private counselling practice where she works on Saturdays, and has been doing so for the past 8 years. 

Prior to Bev coming to work at Montefiore, she spent six months working in a Rehabilitation hospital in the Eastern Suburbs, where she covered a maternity leave position.  

For much of Bev’s Social Work career in Australia, she worked as both a Social Worker and Social Work Team Leader in the Spinal Unit at the Prince of Wales hospital in Randwick where she worked for approximately eleven and a half years. 

Bev decided to return to university as a mature age student and enrolled to do her Masters in Clinical Social Work (counselling) at UNSW in 2015 where she qualified with a MASW in 2016. 

Bev is a passionate and devoted Social Worker, who strongly believes that “the sky is the limit and you can do anything you put your mind to, at any age, and at any stage of your life”.  

About Carmen Ghaly:

SSW Carmen Ghaly

Carmen Ghaly is the International Protection Senior Officer at SSI. Carmen is an experienced social worker in forced migration, international development and project management having worked in West Africa, the Middle East and Australia.Carmen is the focal point at SSI for the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Refugee Forum, coordinating SSI’s engagement in international advocacy and policy. Carmen’s work focusses on advancing durable solutions for refugees through resettlement, complementary pathways and supporting refugee access to livelihoods. She is also leading SSI’s engagement in advocating for a Community Refugee Sponsorship program in Australia. 

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. SSI works with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality. 

About Hannah Benjamin:

Career Symposium Hannah Benjamin

Hannah works for the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) as a Manager Casework. She manages a team of caseworkers with a mix of child protection and out of home care caseloads. Hannah has worked in Central Sydney, St George and is currently Acting Manager Casework at Eastern Sydney for the next 12 months.  

DCJ is both a challenging and rewarding organisation to work in. As an agency, we work alongside families to keep children safe at home. When this isn’t possible, we work with extended family and networks to create safety and permanency outside their home. Relationship based practice is a significant part of our work which means building trust, being transparent with families and sharing decision-making and risks across the team and department. Relationships in the community and with agency partners is also essentially. As a department, DCJ are working hard to do better for the families, children and young people we work with and Hannah recommends employment with DCJ to gain experience in all aspects of social work and learn from the parents, children and young people the department works work with. 

About Tim Wharton:

Career Symposium Tim Wharton

Tim is currently employed by Youth Justice NSW as the Senior Project Officer for Practice, and runs a small private practice specialising in young people with sexualised behavioural problems and perpetrators of domestic and family violence. 

Tim has over 16 years working in the human services field, 14 of those with young people who offend. While at Youth Justice, he has worked as the sexual and violent offender counsellor as well as management and other practice development roles. He has a passion for good practice skills as well as understanding experiences unique to young people who have offended. 

Tim has also spent time working in community-based substance misuse groups, community case work with young people, facilitated community CBT groups and has worked as a self-employed Social Worker in Indonesia for some time. He has also taught practice-focused Social Work and Criminology subjects across several universities in NSW and Melbourne.   

Tim has recently completed a PhD in Social Work that examined the nature and development of a criminal identity among adolescent males and hopes to publish several papers from those findings. As a practitioner first and researcher second, Tim has a desire to operationalise the idea of identity into practice to facilitate a healthier personal and social identity for young people who persistently offend. 

Tim’s current role with Youth Justice NSW determines and influences what the department does with the young people they supervise and importantly, the way they do it (that is, the interactional skills used). Youth Justice is the statutory body responsible for the community and custodial supervision of young people on Court Orders. Regardless of the nature of these Court Orders, Youth Justice is tasked at assessing and working with these young people (and where possible their families) to reduce recidivism and improve social and personal circumstances. 

About Peggy Yeomans and Jenni Graves: 

Career Symposium Peggy Yeomans and Jenni Graves

Peggy Yeomans and Jenni Graves are from Prince of Wales Hospital and Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospitals (POWH/ SSEH), South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD).

Peggy is the Deputy Department Head of Social Work and Jenni is the Social Work Educator at POWH/SSEH. Combined we have over 50 years social work practice experience! Despite sounding old we still remember how it feels to be setting out as a new graduate to land our first social work job. Peggy completed her social work undergraduate studies at the University of South Australia. She has worked for New South Wales Health for over 25 years across a range of clinical areas. Peggy started as a new graduate and has worked her way up to be the Social Work Deputy Department Head for POWH/SSEH. Peggy has also held non-social work positions in Health Management across SESLHD and is passionate about social workers utilising their skills in non-traditional social work roles within NSW Health. 

Jenni did her social work undergraduate and post-graduate studies at UNSW and is an adjunct Lecturer at UNSW, alongside her role within POWH/SSEH. She has worked across health and human services in Australian and international contexts with government, non-government and community organisations in addition to consultancy work in health, international development and child protection. Jenni is passionate about social work and social workers’ development and her current role enables her to do exactly that.  

Prince of Wales Hospital is in Randwick, up the road from UNSW. It is a major teaching hospital with over 3000 employees and 450 beds for inpatients. We regularly have UNSW social work students on placement with us and also some of our new graduates are also from UNSW.   

Our talk will give you an overview of different social work jobs within NSW Health, what we are looking for in terms of a great job application, how to get your foot in the door and how to prepare for job interviews. Bring your questions as there’ll be time to get some answers too. Plenty of tips will be shared!  

Moderated by BJ Newton this event will feature Indigenous Social Workers discussing the diversity of opportunities for Indigenous Social Workers and their strategies for success in the workplace.
SSW Adaptation Panel Talk
Moderated by Maree Higgins this event will feature Amanda Simons discussing Adaptation, Innovation and Self-Care for Social Workers and strategies for success in the current climate.
This event is now complete, a recording will be shared later.

About Maree Higgins:

Dr Maree Higgins has over 10 years’ experience as a social worker in clinical and management roles in cross-cultural contexts including refugee and asylum seeker services, youth services and international aid and 12 years’ experience in WIL management across a variety of contexts including Social Work, Criminology, Social Research and Policy, Education, Media/Arts and Humanities.

About Amanda Simons:

Amanda Simons is a social worker in the Eastern Suburbs Mental Health Service located at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. She is passionate about the need for recovery-oriented, client-centred care for people living with mental illness, as well as about advocating for systemic reform of mental health services. Having previously worked in book publishing and bookselling, Amanda undertook a career change and graduated with a BSW from Sydney University in 2016 motivated by her experience as a carer to a family member living with mental illness. She currently works in the Older Persons’ Mental Health Service.  

SSW International panel
Moderated by Abner Poon, this event will feature Zar Ni Lwin Oo and Taizya Phiri discussing the diversity of opportunities for international students and strategies for success.
This event is now complete

About Abner Poon:

Abner Poon is a Senior Lecturer of Social Work at the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. Abner has experience as a social worker in mental health for 10 years. His research focuses on social work practice in mental health, impact of mental illness on families and caregivers, family intervention in mental health, children of parents with mental illness, health and wellbeing of migrants facing mental health problems, recovery and community mental health teams. He has published articles on Assertive Community Treatment Program, caregivers of people with psychosis, Chinese migrants caring for people with schizophrenia and parents with mental illness. 

About Zar Ni Lwin Oo:

Zar studied a Diploma of Community Welfare Work, now known as Community Services, at Ultimo TAFE and Bachelor of Social Work at UNSW. Since June 2019, he has been working as a child protection caseworker for Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP) within the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), formerly known as Family and Community Services (FaCS). Prior to that, he worked as a general child protection caseworker for DCJ Parramatta Office.  

About Taizya Phiri:

Taizya attended UNSW as an international student from 2015-2017, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Social work honors degree. She is passionate about applying theory to practice and worked in the disability sector before transitioning to her current role as Intensive Therapeutic case worker with Marist180. 

Whilst completing her undergraduate studies, Taizya was nominated to attend the National Student Leadership Forum hosted by members of Parliament in Canberra.

In addition to her work, she recently joined United Nations Australia as a volunteer and is currently completing a master’s degree in development studies at UNSW; including developing an unfortunate obsession with brewing kombucha. 

About Dr Jie Lei:

Jie is the Associate Professor in Social Work at the Sun Yat-sen University, China. He is currently the visiting scholar at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Dr. Lei’s research areas are mainly about professionalisation of social work, social assistance and child protection in China. 

Career Symposium Skills Workshop
Moderated by Phillipa Evans this event will feature Na'ama Carlin discussing how to market yourself as a new graduate.
This event is now complete, a recording will be shared later.

Students will enter a workforce that is changing rapidly and in quite fundamental ways, we are offering this session to skill them up in the following areas:

  • Developing your CV
  • Cover letter writing 
  • Use of Social Media 
  • Ability to ‘Cold Call’ an organisation.

About Phillipa Evans:

Dr Phillipa Evans is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. Dr Evans has over 18 years’ experience as a social worker in clinical, policy and academic roles across a variety of contexts including juvenile justice, child protection and mental health. Dr Evans successfully obtained her PhD examining effective methods of challenging pro-criminal attitudes and behaviours of juvenile offenders. Dr Evans is currently working on an ARC linkage grant examining the effectiveness of a training and coaching program for youth justice custodial staff. This study aims to increase the interpersonal and behaviour management skills of youth justice staff through specialist training, coaching and supervision.

About Na'ama Carlin:

Na'ama is an award-winning teacher and an experienced PhD Scholar in Sociology, with demonstrated teaching excellence in the higher education industry. Na'ama is skilled in Social Media, Promotion and Communication, Media Relations, Public Speaking, Higher Education Teaching and Social Research. She has extensive experience in public advocacy and a passion for social justice and is an established professional working in higher education, but also has experience in NGOs and NFPs. Na'ama is also a public commentator and writer and she will share her tips for our students participating in this session.

Career Booth afternoon session
These sessions are now complete
Organisation Contact Discussing about

Barnardos Australia

Ryan Woodward Career opportunities in the NGO Child and Family Welfare Sector

NEAMI International

Stephanie Isvik Career opportunities in the NGO Mental Health Sector 

NSW Department of Corrective Services

Lesley-Anne Davies

Career opportunities in the Criminal Justice Sector

Newtown Centre

Paul Abadie

Career opportunities in the Community Development Sector

Counselling in Private Practice

Jane Mowll Career opportunities as a social work counsellor in Private Practice
Our speakers

About Ryan Woodward

Career Symposium Ryan Woodward

Ryan has over 17 years working in Child Welfare in both Government and non-government positions in the UK and Australia where he has continued to have the opportunity to progress his professional career. Ryan's career in Social Welfare started at the age of 19 working within a statutory Child Protection team for a Welsh LGA. Whilst he has experience in frontline practice in child protection, most of his career has been working in the out-of-home care sector, youth services and Juvenile justice, which included working with risk offenders, specialising in assessment and treatment work with children who display sexually harmful behaviour. 

Barnardos Australia sponsored Ryan from the UK where he has been working for the past 3 years in Program Management and Senior Management in both the OOHC sector and safety and prevention services within the organisation.  

About Stephanie Isvik

Career Symposium Stephanie Isvik

Stephanie works for Neami National as the NSW Student Placement Coordinator. Neami National is a community-based recovery and rehabilitation service supporting people living with mental illness, psychiatric disability or homelessness to improve their health, live independently and pursue a life based on their own strengths, values and goals. We highly value the role of a professional social worker in our community work and we regularly recruit and support new graduates in our teams across NSW.  

Stephanie has worked over 20 years in health service management and in developing community initiatives and partnerships. In this time she has recruited and coached staff, students and community volunteers from a variety of disciplines. Stephanie enjoys helping students and employees pursue their passion, especially if it involves community and social justice work!  

About Lesley-Anne Davies

Career Symposium Lesley-Anne Davies

An interest and commitment to social justice for women influenced Lesley-Anne’s career within criminal justice almost 30 years ago. Her first role was supporting women involved in the criminal justice system in Liverpool, UK, where she later completed her Post Grad Diploma in Social Work. Since then, she has moved countries but remained focused on criminal justice and over the last 16 years has worked for Corrective Services NSW in a number of roles. Seconded to Tresillian, she ran the "Mothering at a Distance" Program, with women in custody separated from their children, and also managed Guthrie House, a rehabilitative and transition program for women (and their babies) exiting custody. Having also worked within Community Corrections, Lesley-Anne is now employed as a Practice Manager supporting community corrections teams to enhance their practice and support behaviour change work with clients.  Lesley-Anne remains a Board member of Guthrie House.

Career Symposium Paul Abadie

About Paul Adabie 

Paul is a qualified (UK registered) social worker who has worked at NNC for over 12 years. He established the Boarding House Outreach Service and leads a multi-disciplinary team working across individual case management, community development and systemic change activities.  

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC) is a not-for-profit organisation working across the inner western suburbs of Sydney and beyond. NNC provides specialist services for people who are at risk of homelessness and social isolation, particularly those who are living in Boarding Houses, former street sleepers and those who may be ageing, living with disabilities and socially isolated.  

NNC puts on social and cultural events such as the annual Newtown Festival which celebrate the unique creative vibe of Newtown. In all that we do, NNC is committed to justice, inclusion, action and fun. We want to work with the community to fulfill its potential. 

Moderated by Maree Higgins this event will feature Alumni Giancarlo de Vera, Mona Norouzi and Rebecca Thornleigh discussing how to address diversity questions in interviews and managing lived experince in workplaces.
This session is now complete

Dr Maree Higgins has over 10 years’ experience as a social worker in clinical and management roles in cross-cultural contexts including refugee and asylum seeker services, youth services and international aid and 12 years’ experience in WIL management across a variety of contexts including Social Work, Criminology, Social Research and Policy, Education, Media/Arts and Humanities.

About Giancarlo de Vera

SSW Alum Giancarlo De Vera

Giancarlo (he/they) is a proud graduate of UNSW, and holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from UNSW. He is currently a Senior Policy Officer at People with Disability Australia and Secretary of the Australian GLBTI Multicultural Council, the two national peak bodies representing all people with disability and the LGBTIQA+ multicultural and multifaith communities in Australia. Giancarlo is also the National Director of Community Partnerships, and previous long-term Deputy CEO of Out for Australia, a national LGBTIQA+ charity with purpose of championing workplace inclusivity of LGBTIQA+ students and young professionals. Giancarlo identities as non-binary and with disability, and has previously worked in international affairs and diplomacy, international development, brand strategy and the Australian union movement. 

About Rebecca Thornley

Career Symposium Rebecca Thornley

Rebecca completed a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from the University of New South Wales in 2019. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology from the University of Sydney. She is passionate about the intersection between physical and mental health and has completed her research thesis in chronic illness, examining common issues relating to illness and the role that Social Workers play in a diverse health care team. Rebecca has social work experience in acute and community health settings and works as a Social Worker at Calvary Health Care Kogarah, in their Transitional Aged Care Team. She enjoys working with Older Adults to support their transition from hospital and help them achieve meaningful goals, while maintaining their independence, autonomy and safety.

Alumni Mona Norouzi will also join the panel.