Leadership Team

The SSI leadership team includes a group of talented and skilled managers who cover a range of strategic and business development roles across the organisation, from humanitarian to disability services to child and family services.

Chief Executive Officer Violet Roumeliotis (GAICD)

Chief Executive Officer
Violet Roumeliotis (GAICD)

Violet applies an astute strategic vision and active leadership at SSI, and broadly to organisations representing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.

She provides professional executive management of SSI’s complex operations and, with the active participation of the SSI Board, Violet ensures the organisation remains true to its vision and mission. Violet has overseen the growth and diversification of SSI that has led to more than 1,100 per cent revenue growth to $113 million, and from a staff of less than 70 to over 700, only in the last five years.

Violet was recently named one of AFR’s Top 100 Women of Influence for 2018 in the category of Diversity & Inclusion. She has twice been named on Pro Bono Australia’s list of the 25 most influential people in the not-for-profit sector and was awarded the title of Community Fellow from Western Sydney University for outstanding service to the community in 2017. She holds the title of Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.

Violet holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with majors in Sociology and History from UNSW, a Masters in Management from UTS and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She has an extensive background in the leadership of large not-for-profit organisations providing services to vulnerable communities, while applying a strengths-based approach. She sits on numerous boards and committees and has over 30 years’ experience in governance, human resources and financial management.

Violet is part of the NSW Government’s Justice Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Federal Government’s Settlement Services Advisory Council, and Co-Chairs the NSW Joint Partnership Working Group coordinating the NSW component of the additional intake of 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq.

General Manager Peter Zographakis (GAICD)

General Manager,
Strategy and Corporate Development

Peter Zographakis (GAICD)

Peter has provided leadership to SSI across a range of functions within Corporate Services. His experience traverses strategy, business planning, financial management, corporate governance, sales and marketing and service delivery and he has held a number of senior operational and finance roles in the manufacturing, retail, and service sectors. Peter has also been the owner of a women’s fashion business and managed a multi-site retail business.

Peter has a Master of Professional Accounting, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

General Manager, Corporate Services Thomas Begeng

General Manager,
Corporate Services

Thomas Begeng

Thomas is a qualified accountant who has negotiated and implemented some of Australia’s largest and most recognised health initiatives. He has directed large (6000+) and geographically diverse (EU, Asian and US based) teams and is a strong advocate for good governance and ethical operations. Most recently he was the Executive Director Corporate Services for Lifeline Australia.

General Manager, Public Affairs and Communications  Shannon Kliendienst

General Manager,
Public Affairs and Communications

Shannon Kliendienst

Shannon has a diverse background across education and private sector organisations in public affairs, branding and communications. In her most recent role she was the Acting Chief Marketing Officer at Macquarie University leading a team of more than 50 people.

Prior to that, Shannon was the University’s Director of Communications managing a diversified portfolio and team.

General Manager, Service Delivery Settlement  Yamamah Agha

General Manager,
Service Delivery Settlement

Yamamah Agha

Yamamah joined SSI in 2011 as the Manager of the Humanitarian Settlement Program gaining extensive experience in team leadership, program management and stakeholder engagement. 

Yamamah Agha leads all of SSI’s Settlement Programs (HSP), which supports newcomers and other vulnerable Australians to prosper. With over 15 years’ experience assisting new arrivals to settle in Australia, Yamamah has a strong passion for delivering social justice to refugees and vulnerable groups in need. She has a particular interest in women's rights, and supporting and empowering refugee women and their families to reach their potential.

General Manager, Service Delivery Community  Karen Bevan

General Manager,
Service Delivery Community

Karen Bevan

Karen has a strong NFP background. She brings experience as Chief Executive Officer of two organisations, Playgroup NSW and Girl Guides Australia. She has a ten year background in senior leadership roles including Manager, Research and Public Submissions for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and Director of the Social Justice Unit for UnitingCare Children Young People & Families.

General Manager, Client Services and Operations  Greg Benson

General Manager,
Client Services and Operations

Greg Benson

Greg has led major reform and transformative change across both government and the non-for-profit sectors. He has 18 years of strategic policy and implementation in the social justice sector.

His specific expertise is in Early Intervention, Child Protection, Out of Home Care, Homelessness, Domestic and Family Violence, Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention.

Gail Ker

Chief Executive Officer,
Access Community Services Ltd
Gail Ker OAM

Gail joined the SSI leadership team in December 2018, when Access Community Services Ltd became a subsidiary of SSI in Queensland. She is the CEO of Access, responsible for managing all aspects of client service delivery, business development and growth in Queensland.

Gail has provided leadership for the Access team since 1992 and has vast industry experience and expertise in the Australian multicultural, humanitarian and community sectors. She is recognised as a leader in needs-based community planning, innovative business models, social cohesion, strategic partnerships, employment pathways, funding opportunities and strategic direction.

Gail has received numerous awards and honours for her contribution to refugees, multiculturalism and diversity. These include an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2010, the Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Award in the category For Purpose and Social Enterprise in 2017, and in 2018, a Queensland Greats Award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to development of the state and her role in strengthening and shaping the community in Queensland.

Learn more about Access Community Services Ltd.

Xavier Hennekinne

General Manager, 
People and Culture
Xavier Hennekinne

Xavier joined SSI in December 2018 and is passionate about transformative human resources management. He brings to SSI experience in building organisational culture, leadership and staff wellbeing.

French-born Xavier came to Australia as a young man in search of adventure, and began his career in human resources management in the corporate sector, moving to international aid and development in 2005. Xavier was a member of the board of the Mandala Foundation and People and Organisational Development Director at ChildFund Australia. Between 2007 and 2012 Xavier served the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in various roles around the world, notably as the head of its global HR services and Senior HR Advisor.

Xavier has lectured on Forced Migration and has a Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict studies from the University of Sydney.


Vision and values

SSI’s vision is to achieve a society that values the diversity of its people and actively provides support to ensure meaningful social and economic participation and to assist individuals and families to reach their potential.

Social Justice

Equity and access to all


Respecting diversity and being non-discriminatory


Caring, empathy and respect for the dignity of others


Co-operation and mutual respect


Dynamic, flexible and responsive service


Professional practices and accountability


Commitment to partnerships and excellence