The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia has appointed its next CEO, after a careful consideration of a competitive field of candidates, following the departure of Mohammad Al-Khafaji, its CEO for five years.
Mr Carlo Carli, Chair of FECCA, announced the executive appointment of Mary Ann Baquero Geronimo, FECCA’s Director of Policy for Health & Ageing, at an event where the organisation and its key stakeholders farewelled Mr Al-Khafaji.
Mr Carli said, “Mary Ann brings a unique approach to FECCA leadership with her significant work in policy advocacy, research, practice, and community development in Australia and internationally in the areas of public health, ageing, aged care, post-conflict development, social development, and women’s financial security.”
“In her second year in FECCA, she secured and managed a multi-million-dollar grant portfolio and mobilised partnerships with over 400 community organisations across the country for various initiatives. She has been leading strategic policy work informed by evidence and community voices during the pandemic and in current aged care sector reform.”
A strong academic background underpins Mary Ann’s work. She has a postgraduate degree in public policy and administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – National University of Singapore. She has co-authored various academic publications and a peer-reviewed book providing the first cross-country comparative study of women’s old-age financial security in Southeast Asia.
Mr Carli noted that FECCA is at a pivotal stage with a newly endorsed strategic direction and the Board is enthusiastic about FECCA’s future growth with Mary Ann at the helm.
Ms Geronimo said, “My life experiences growing up in a conflict area in the Philippines have provided me with a deep understanding of the intersecting issues of poverty, discrimination, access, equity, and terrorism, and how they can render people and communities disempowered and voiceless.”
“With the solid foundations built by our outgoing CEO, Mohammad Al-Khafaji, it is an exciting time to lead FECCA as it forges thought leadership on critical policies for multicultural Australia. FECCA has always had a strong commitment to meaningful collaborations, and we will continue to work closely with members, communities, government, and broader stakeholders to amplify and sustain positive changes.”
FECCA is the national peak body representing people from multicultural communities and their organisations across Australia. Through the membership of state, territory, and regional councils, we represent over 1,500 community organisations and their members.
For over 40 years, FECCA has proudly worked alongside multicultural communities, the broader Australian society and Government to build an Australia where everyone, no matter their background or how long they have lived in this country, can belong, and thrive equally without barriers.