Meet The Team
CEO AND FOUNDER
Carly Stanley is the CEO and Founder of Deadly Connections, a proud Wiradjuri Woman, born and raised on Gadigal land. Carly was raised in a large Aboriginal family who faced their own difficulties and challenges. Carly experienced trauma during her childhood which effected her throughout her young adult life.
Carly’s earliest memories of the criminal justice system are of her Grandmother taking her to different correctional centres and police cells to visit family members. Carly’s personal experiences as a service user and early exposure to the justice system ignited her passion for dedicating her professional life to helping her people and others that are struggling.
Carly has spent the last 20 years working in both government and non-government agencies across a range of areas whilst being an active member of her Aboriginal community which has provided Carly with a strong cultural/community connection, knowledge and skills to establish and grow Deadly Connections. In addition to Carly’s professional expertise, Carly also holds a Masters of Criminology and other academic qualifications that compliment her practical acumen.
DEPUTY CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
Keenan Mundine is the Co-Founder and Ambassador for Deadly Connections but also leads our partnerships and marketing.
Keenan is a proud First Nations man with connections to the Biripi Nation of NSW through his mother who is from Taree and Queensland through his Father who is from Cherbourg. Keenan is the youngest of three boys, born and raised on Gadigal land – Keenan grew up in Redfern, notoriously known as “The Block”. Keenan had a rough start to his childhood after losing both parents at a young age, being placed in care, separated from his siblings.
Keenan faced his own difficulties in life and made some poor decisions in his adolescence which resulted in his lengthy involvement with the justice system. Keenan found his passion in giving back to his community and working with people who have similar experiences to him.
Keenan’s journey has taken him to the United Nations in Switzerland to address the Human Rights Council and share his story so that they may lean on Australia’s government to raise the age of criminal responsibility. Keenan’s journey inspired him and his wife to create a unique, community led solution and response to the current mass incarceration and child protection crisis of First Nations people. With the combined practical experience of Keenan’s lived experience and his wife’s professional skills and academic qualifications, as First Nations people they are committed to changing the narrative for their mob and communities.
Office coordinator and executive assistant to CEO and co-founder
Lucie grew up on Worimi and Awabakal land in the Newcastle area before moving to Gadigal land in Sydney to attend university. She is a fourth-year social work and criminology student at UNSW. Lucie first found out about Deadly Connections through uni studying a subject called ‘Indigenous Perspectives of the Criminal Justice System’ taught by our CEO and Co-Founders Keenan and Carly. She was blown away by their personal and professional experience, strength, resilience and determination for their community.
Lucie was then able to do her third year social work placement at DC for 5 months before being given the opportunity of part-time employment. Lucie says “I am super grateful for this because I am a big believer in the work of DC and their unique and much-needed approach that treats First Nations people as the experts of their own lives.”
Lucie understands the privilege that comes with working in an Aboriginal-controlled organisation as a non-Aboriginal person and she is grateful for the opportunity to learn about the staff’s lived experience and the day-to-day of their work. Lucie says, “Being a part of the DC team has been influential on my personal and professional growth as a future social worker. I’ve learnt stuff that I wouldn’t be able to anywhere else.”
Trinka is a hardworking Family Specialist involved with our Deadly Families Program. Trinka aims to equip families with the knowledge, skills and support networks that they need in order to reduce the risk of child protection involvement. Trinka ensures that all of her work is imbued with trust, transparency and authenticity, to ensure a mutually respectful environment whereby everyone involved is given the opportunity to build their own future.
Trinka’s daily work is fuelled by seeing individuals and families reach their full potential, setting and achieving their own goals and ultimately living full, meaningful lives. Keeping families together and standing up against injustice are the main reasons that Trinka became involved with Deadly Connections.
Trinka has a bachelor’s degree in social work, along with training in trauma-informed care. Trinka also has lived experiences of the child protection and justice systems, drug use and recovery, which have instilled strong personal values that are strictly aligned with social justice and human rights.
Trinka knows firsthand what it is like to feel misunderstood, what it feels like to be discriminated against and marginalised because you born into a certain set of circumstances. Trinka has helped many people on their post-prison journey, people of all ages, providing holistic person-centred services to many individuals with wide ranging needs.
Project Lead - Bugmy Justice
Trent is the Project Lead on the Bugmy Justice Project, seconded from The National Justice Project. He is a proud Gomeroi man, born and raised on Gadigal land. Trent’s family is a legacy of the Stolen Generation that has faced grief and trauma, losing their connections to family, identity, land, language, and culture.
This lived trauma experience during his childhood affected him throughout his childhood and into adult life. Trent’s youth was one of chronic substance abuse and addiction. This brought him into contact with, homelessness, mental health issues, violence, death, disease, abuse, and the criminal justice system. This has provided him with lived experience that allows a relationship to others, speak their language, and relate to their feelings.
In 2015 he graduated from UOW (LLB/BA) and admitted to practice Law in NSW. Since then, he has worked at Legal Aid (NSW), Federal Circuit and Family Courts and Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT). In these roles, he has been able to utilise skills to create National Indigenous Family Court list and develop organisational data governance framework (ALS).
Kyah is a proud First Nations young woman who was born and raised on Gadigal Land in the heart of Redfern. Kyah has ties to the Kamilaroi, Wiradujri, Bungjalung and Yorta Yorta tribes. Growing up she had a tough childhood with a lot of struggles, being in and out of home and not having many stable people in her life. Kyah pushed herself throughout the years, hoping to make a better life for herself. She started her first job at the age of 14, lived on her own at 15 while continuing to get an education and completing year 12.
Kyah has always been passionate about her culture and who she is as a Aboriginal person, she comes from a long line of activists. Her great grandfather Jack Patten was one of the great Aboriginal leaders of the 20th century and set the agenda for the civil rights movement in Australia. Kyah’s grandparents Arthur and Leila Murray fought against Black Deaths in Custody. Kyah now continues to advocate for her family and continues to do what her grandparents have started.
Kyah has now commenced her role as a youth mentor within the Youth Frontiers program. Working with Deadly Connections Kyah hopes to help make change within the legal system for our youth and every day struggles they may face.
Gary Ward – better known as ‘Gaz’ left school at a young age, worked as a labourer, then a lifeguard and was involved with sports, especially footy with the Redfern All Blacks. He went on to become a forklift driver, then took a leap of faith and went to work in the Pilabara mines, WA. Gary says “It was a huge change going into another Indigenous community, but there is always the same energy in our culture wherever you are.” After the Pilbara Gary returned to Sydney, started a family and was self employed until becoming an Aboriginal Community worker at the Wayside Chapel. He was engaged in programs for those struggling with mental health, homelessness, suicide etc. Gary enjoyed working with his people, but found it hard not to leave his work behind when at home and decided he needed to give more of his energy to his young son and family.
Gary commenced his job as the “Pemulwuy Project’s” Building Manager in December 2020. The streets of Redfern and Waterloo were his stomping ground growing up, and he describes it as “a bit of a rough upbringing”. Gary spent a lot of his childhood at “the Block”as both his great grandparents, and grandparents (Rita Smith and Johnny Collis) called it home. Aunty Polly Smith, Gary’s great Aunty, was a highly respected elder who was very concerned with the wellbeing of mothers and children in the community. “The Aunty Polly Smith Centre”, located at “the Block”, was named after her and was established to provide a wide range of services for Aboriginal women and children, including prenatal health, early childhood health, playgroups, and child protection. When the AHC was looking for a building manager Gary was approached by Uncle Micky Mundine as a prospective candidate. Gary felt speechless, it was an amazing opportunity for him to work in his own community, and a way for him to carry on the legacy of Aunty Polly. His wish is for Aboriginal people in the area to thrive – “I want to be involved in letting this generation know that they have a beautiful, new environment at “Pemulwuy”, which can lead to some good, positive things for the community and future generations.” says Gary. Gary has now commenced his role as our Youth Mentor within our new Youth Frontiers program, working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people aged 10-17, who are involved with or at risk of being involved with the Juvenile Justice System. We are very excited to have him onboard!
In addition to our staff, Deadly Connections has numerous volunteers as well as university student placements who we would not be able to function without. All of our volunteers and student placements are valued members of our team and contribute to providing support to First Nations communities. Explore our ‘Deadly Ways to Get Involved’ section on our website and follow the prompts to get involved.