Our Board

Bruce Manefield FAICD – Chair

bmprofilepicBruce brings to the Gunawirra Board over 20 years of governance experience. He has served on a range of commercial and ‘for-purpose’ boards. His interest in the social and economic value of early intervention programs developed during his 13 years on the Board of KU Children’s Services, six of which he was the Chair.

Bruce is a keen proponent of the work of Prof. James Heckman and the ‘Heckman Equation’, which enumerates the economic value of early intervention programs.

Bruce has held a number of senior executive positions across a range of industry sectors including technology/online, early education and the services sector.


Graham Toomey – CEO/Executive Director

attachment-1I am an Australian Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri and Wongaibon Aboriginal nations of Western NSW.  I work for Gunawirra as their Senior Cultural Manager and Artist.

What I bring to Gunawirra is my Australian Aboriginal culture, my knowledge and skills along with my life experience as being an Australian Aboriginal person. I consider my role as guiding, educating and assisting Gunawirra’s professional clinical staff, students and volunteers with understanding my culture and people. I’m involved with many of Gunawirra’s amazing programs and I also manage and facilitate the program I designed called the, ‘Journey to Learning’ program.

Another role I enjoy greatly is engaging with other Aboriginal people, their families, communities and organisations throughout Sydney and NSW as they seek support from the Gunawirra. I cherish my role at Gunawirra immensely and value the work, care, passion and commitment that everyone provides at Gunawirra.


Ram Akella, PMP, MAICD – DirectorRam

Ram is a strategic business partner with 17 years of experience working with c-level and senior management on major strategies and transformational initiatives to develop operational plans with sustainable outcomes. He is privileged to work with great leaders and great teams over the number of years and cherishes the quality of relationships with the leaders, and their senior teams for his achievements.

He believes that the advancement of human race is directly linked to the progress of the young and upcoming generations of the society we live in. In order to affect this.

“It is vital that early intervention programs are designed and delivered through the right platform as an ongoing community development”  


Glennis Spence, BA, LLB – Director

Glennis was admitted as a solicitor after graduating from the University of Sydney with an Arts/Law degree.

She conducts a law practice at Bankstown, with special emphasis on Family Law/Conveyancing. As an appointed Independent Children’s Lawyer Glennis represents children in Family Law proceedings.

She has formerly served on the Boards of the Betsy Wares Refuge and of Creating Links, an aged and disability services provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Married to John Spence, she has three children.

Glennis is Chair of the Board’s Governance Committee.


John Spence, BA (Hons), LLB – Director

Having graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA (Hons) and an LLB, John is a solicitor specialising in intellectual property and commercial law.

He has extensive experience and involvement serving on committees having been (among other things) on the Management Committee of the Sydney University Sports Union for thirty-one years and President of the Balmain-Drummoyne District Junior Cricket Association. He is an honorary life member of both those organisations.

Currently John is on the Board of Allevia (the Bankstown Handicapped Children’s Centre), a not-for-profit organisation. He is both impressed and attracted by the aims, objectives and ideals of Gunawirra and he hopes to make a contribution by assisting it to attain its goals.


Belinda Craig – Director 

Belinda has worked for TAFE NSW as a teacher and Aboriginal coordinator for over 14 years. During this time she has customised and delivered training programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples all over Australia including remote areas with no access to educational facilities or support. She holds qualifications in Education, Counselling and Community services.

In addition, Belinda also works extensively with the local community and the communities within South Western Sydney, Aboriginal organisations, land councils and Juvenile justice centres.

Belinda is very passionate about early childhood intervention in relation to the treatment of trauma as she believes that when the journey of healing begins the physical, mental and spiritual health of the individual and their family is greatly improved which leads to more positive life choices and experiences.


The Gunawirra Board also wishes to thank the following people for their services to Gunawirra: Chris Commens (former Chair), Carol Flanagan, Paul Davis, Margaret Hetherton, Fiona Beith, Anne Gorman, Phil Costa, Charles Handmer, Gail Hilton, Jeff Nelson, Ian Hansen, David Ward, Arthur Tateossian, Ursula Kim, Mukesh Parekh, Carol Barton and Valerie Villiere.