Board of Directors

Karim (Ken) Habak

Karim (Ken) Habak OAM., Dip.Acct, Dip.Mgt, Dip.Teach

Chairperson, Non-Executive Director

Ken Habak OAM joined the then Illawarra Ethnic Communities Council (now MCCI) as treasurer in 2000 and has led the board as Chairperson since 2001. As a school teacher in Lebanon, Ken migrated to Australia in 1970 and worked as part of the BlueScope Steel management team until his voluntary retirement in 2009. He has held many voluntary executive roles with local charities and non-profit organisations, including the Saint Elias Antiochian Orthodox Parish Illawarra, South Coast Lebanese Association, Illawarra Arabic Network, and advised state and federal governments via a number of multicultural community committees. For his service to multicultural communities in Australia, Ken was awarded the FECCA 25th Anniversary Medal (2005), NSW Volunteer of the Year (2008), Order of Australia Medal (2010), NSW Premier’s Human Rights Medal (2017) and is an Australia Day Ambassador.

Leissa Pitts

Leissa Pitts BA, BSW, MPH, Grad Cert Health Service Management. Honorary Teaching Fellow UoW

Deputy Chairperson, Non-Executive Director

Leissa has been a member of the MCCI board since 2012. Leissa has held non-profit board positions in the womens’ health and youth homelessness sectors since 2002. Since 2009 Leissa has been employed as the Service Manager Multicultural and Refugee Health Services with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and has published with a research focus on health equity and impacts of social disadvantage on community health. Leissa has worked internationally managing aid and development programs, and in rural NSW managing health services with Aboriginal communities. Since 2003, Leissa has worked across the Sydney and the Illawarra regions to improve health service access for our vulnerable culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Leissa comes from Lithuanian refugee and Australian backgrounds with family roots in the Illawarra from 1840’s.

Tom Begic

Tom Begic J.P., BE, BSc (Math), Dip. OHS, Dip. Freelance Journalism, Dip. Mngt

Non-Executive Director

Tom Begic has been member of the MCCI board since 2015 serving previously as the Treasurer of MCCI Inc. With Bachelor Degree qualifications in Science (Mathematics) and Engineering (Electrical) and Diploma-level awards in Management, OHS, and Freelance Journalism, Tom is currently a team leader at BlueScope Steel. Tom has wide professional experience in leading and improving teams, manufacturing, policy & procedure development, organisational restructuring implementation, safety programs, training and development, employee performance, and work health & safety investigations. Tom has also been heavily involved in community organisations including the Wollongong Croatian Catholic Community, and St Vincent de Paul Society supporting at risk and disadvantaged youth and families. Having a passion for community service through emergency management, Tom is a member of the NSW SES Bush Search and Rescue Squad, and the Volunteer Rescue Association. He was also team manager, coach, and member of the Australian Parachute Team, and a multiple Australian and World Record holder and Champion in skydiving.

Angela Ljubic

Angela Ljubic BA, MSc(Hons), MAPS

Non-Executive Director

Angela Ljubic has been a member of the MCCI board since 2018. A registered psychologist with Masters-level qualifications from the University of Wollongong, Angela is a Team Leader at Grand Pacific Health and member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). Angela specialises in cross-cultural psychology to promote equity and access for people newly arrived to Australia, including refugees and humanitarian entrants. Angela’s dedication to creating a harmonious society is embodied by her commitment to advancing human rights, a comprehensive understanding of consumer-directed care, and a deep appreciation of the unique nature and support needs of CALD communities. In 2019 Angela was elected as the FECCA Regional Chairperson to pursue these objectives at a national level.

Lynette (Lyn) Cuell

Lynette (Lyn) Cuell J.P, Dip. FinPlan, Dip. Mgt

Non-Executive Director

Lyn Cuell joined the MCCI board in 2020 have previously held directorships in the ‘not for profit’ sector both in NSW and the ACT. Her extensive management skills and experience have been acquired over many years in various finance industry sectors. Lyn has provided advice and coaching on a consulting basis to public sector departments, small and large businesses. Currently she works as Policy Manager with the IMB Bank. Lyn’s other skills extend to extensive experience in project management, leadership and management coaching, facilitation of training for various levels of skill development, and change and culture management.

Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown B.Com (Acc) MBA

Non-Executive Director

Duncan Brown joined the MCCI board in 2020, believing a more effective way for him to help and act on his desire to positively make a difference, is to commit his learnt skills and time. Having worked in South Africa, the UK, the Caribbean and Australia, Duncan has over 20-years of experience in financial services, primarily focused on risk management and operational efficiencies to improve performance, staff engagement and client experience. Duncan facilitates the Prosocial process, designed to help groups create a strongly shared identity, greater engagement in purpose and improved relationships to enhance their effectiveness. He is currently completing his Master of Ethics and Legal Studies and Master of Social and Organizational Leadership, to support organisational cultural transformations to embed values-based leadership, ethical decision making and truly embrace the value of diversity. Duncan also serves on the board of Sisters Housing Enterprises Inc., a non-profit charity focussed on supporting women and children who are at risk of becoming homeless.

Nicholas Marin

Nicholas Marin

Non-Executive Director

Nicholas is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree at the University of Wollongong and acting as UOW’s Transforming Futures Scholarship Ambassador. Since 2016 he has served on the board of the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI), working directly with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups to represent their interests and build healthy community dialogue. He has a deep connection with the Spanish and Latin American Community as well as its respective support organisation SALCO. He currently volunteers on a research investigation into the Australian offshore detention practices as well as the judicial culture of disbelief when considering child sexual abuse allegations. He has also worked with Sydney-based immigration firm No Borders Migration as well as United Kingdom based firm Immigration Advice Services.

Dr Husayn Aly

Dr Husayn Aly MBBS, M Mgt, D.Ac, FAGE

Non-executive director

Husayn is an experienced non-executive director in the not-for-profit health, education and aged care sectors. Husayn has previously held positions of secretary and treasurer on the Management Committee of the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra since he joined the organisation in 2006. Husayn has strong ties with the Illawarra having been born and raised locally and having completed the majority of his schooling in Wollongong. Medically trained, Husayn works in the speciality of Psychiatry and his medical interests include clinical risk management and quality improvement within the health service. He has practiced medicine in three different countries and is also a Clinical Tutor for the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong.

Chris Lacey

Chris Lacey BSc(Hons), LLB, Dip. Mgt, Dip. Bus (Gov) FICDA

Chief Executive Officer & Company Secretary

Chris Lacey is the Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of MCCI. Building on prior executive roles in non-profit community housing, family services and disability in the Illawarra & South West Sydney, and following senior roles in the NSW Public Service, Chris has led the MCCI team through a period of growth and change since mid-2016. With a passion for social justice and supporting the non-profit sector to rise to the challenges of meeting the needs of vulnerable communities, Chris is also the Chairperson and non-executive director of Family Services Australia, a non-profit charity focussed on helping children, young people and families, with services throughout the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Northern-NSW and SE Qld.