Profiles: NOVA's Management Team

Profiles: NOVA's Management Team

Profiles: NOVA's Management Team

Anne Goyer, General Manager

We live in exciting times for people with a disability.  The National Disability Insurance Scheme will provide people with choices and control over what they want to achieve with their funding.  

NOVA Transition has been in operation for over 10 years.  In 2005, I was given a once in a lifetime opportunity by NOVA's Chief Executive Officer, Martin Wren, to develop a brand new program called Transition to Work.

The goal was to support recent school leavers who have a disability to get ready for work, and transition into employment as smoothly as possible.

This was an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of young people with disability.  The aims of the program at that time was "readiness for work", not actual employment.  Every year we have gotten better and better at what we do.  

I'm surrounded by a dedicated team of professionals, who really want to make a difference.  We aimed to be the best provider in the State.  Now, 10 years later I can truly say that we have accomplished more than I could have imagined.  Every young person who we have helped to get a great job gives us all the rewards we could want. 

My first job was to identify the stakeholders. There are many, including:

1. Our funding body – the program has to meet Government guidelines and I am very proud to say that NOVA Transition not only meets but exceeds every program audit and passes Quality Assurance with flying colours!

2. The participants – trainees enjoy their program and achieve real personal growth but most of all they gain employment before they leave us!

3. Family – trusting your loved one to any organisation is a big ask and I work hard to make sure parents and other carers/supporters are fully informed on trainee progress

4. Employers – employers of NOVA trainees are engaged and informed on the achievements and progress of trainees

5. Our community – NOVA is an Australian not-for-profit organisation, a registered charity with the goal of finding employment for people with disability. Our goals are clear and you (as part of our community) know how our we're using taxpayer funds.

My next task was to deliver a quality program. 

NOVA's person-centred supports are work focused and, while I hope participants have fun, my goal is to ensure they have appropriate help to identify realistic career goals. To date, we’ve achieved some terrific outcomes. This program exposes the trainees to a wide variety of possible career options. 

After 10 years of NOVA Transition, it's a highly effective bridge from school to paid employment – we have hundreds of success stories we’d love to share with you and I am always happy to talk about Transition. Thank you for your interest in our program.



Megan Elliott, NOVA Transition Coordinator

I’m really passionate about training young people towards getting the job of their choice and have been coordinating NOVA’s Transition to Work program (TTW) since 2010. 

I’m a friendly, patient person who is willing to listen, and I always put the trainees and their job coaches first. We have some really creative job coaches who think very carefully about how to teach the curriculum. For example, to learn about customer service they might get the students to plan and participate in a dinner party. They’ll learn budgeting, food handling and good communication, while at the same time having fun.

Coordinating our job coaches and trainees across so many different locations within the Sydney area is challenging and never boring. The support and direction of my manager, Anne Goyer, the quality of the program we offer, and the skills and dedication of the Job Coaches and Work Placement Coaches, make this job the most rewarding one I have ever been in. 

At the end of each program, we have a graduation event to celebrate trainees’ graduating and obtaining work. I spend the whole time in tears – but they’re very happy tears! There is nothing more rewarding than seeing trainees and their parents proud of their achievements – some of them didn’t think they would get through the program, let alone get an award-wage job.

I began my working life in personal care in a children’s home then worked in respite care. After that I trained staff at Officeworks Business Direct then went back to school and studied accounting, like my dad. All along, though, I knew how much I enjoyed my work with people with a disability and so started to look for work in this field. I think I got the job of Work Placement Coach because I was the most enthusiastic applicant. I really wanted that position and Anne had faith in me that I could do the job. I was then promoted to the position of TTW Coordinator in 2010. 

Working in a few different jobs has helped me really appreciate the job I do now. I’m constantly drawing on my past experiences to help me with this role. NOVA staff, people from our support services and the trainees themselves all teach me so much about human life.

It’s really important to remember that we all have skills. I often tell my trainees, ‘You know, I can drive a car but I don’t know how to change a tyre and I wouldn’t have a clue where the oil-thing is.’ They’re often surprised to hear that they’re more skilled than me in an area. But they shouldn’t be surprised. Each of us has unique qualities. Nova Transition guides trainees to understand their skills and qualities.

At NOVA we work on strengthening people’s abilities and learning about each individual’s hopes, interests and skills, then we aim high! We all need to push ourselves towards our goals.


Terry Miskle, NOVA Work Placement Coordinator

I love my current position as NOVA Transition's Work Placement Coordinator.

This role is rewarding and the new Work Placement Team, which was put into place half way through 2013 are producing wonderful results. 

I am a proud of the variety and type of work experience placements our trainees have been doing and the wonderful support given to them via their Job coaches and the Work Placement team.

I look forward to each and every challenge. Meg Elliott and Leisha Distefano are wonderful to work with and we make a very good team.

My background is in a variety of disability support roles that I am formally qualified for: Day programming, the Education Department, and disabilities swim and fitness instructor.

I am fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive family. I have a 27-year-old daughter who has a marketing degree and working for a large marketing company, a 24-year-old son who is a carpenter and builder, and 20 year-old-daughter who is continuing her studies at university in the field of education. In 2014, I became engaged to Michael and add to my family 16-year-old Stephanie. 

In my younger days I did the usual backpack around Europe for two years then backed that up with living in China in a country town with a population of 4 million people with my then husband and thee children. I learned many life lessons — the ones that have stayed with me are never to assume that you know everything about someone, and to have patience. 

When my family was older, I returned to full-time work. My dream job was to make a significant difference in the lives of people with a disability. NOVA delivered my wish list. 

I researched NOVA before applying. My research showed me that NOVA really cares about making a difference, about getting meaningful employment for people with a disability.

I was hired, and am very proud to be a NOVA employee and look forward to each and every challenge.

Leisha Distefano, NOVA Transition Coordinator


Please wait