Meet the Board

Fr Jim CartyREV. JIM CARTY sm

James Patrick Carty was ordained a Marist Priest at St Patrick's Chuch, Sydney in 1963. For the next seven years Jim taught in Marist High Schools and was then appointed to the Japanese Mission in Nara Prefecture in 1971 where he worked as a missionary for fifteen years.

In 1979, following the end of the war in Vietnam, with the cooperation of UNHCR, Caritas Japan and the Nara Prefectural Government, Jim established a refugee camp on part of a property belonging to the Marist Fathers in a place called Kuzu. The initial plan was for two years but the need continued and remained open for a total of six years.

In 1986 Jim attended The School of Applied Theology in Berkeley and acquired a Master’s degree.

1987 saw Jim join the team at Interaid (an NGO based in Hong Kong), working with refugees, the physically and intellectually challenged and the marginalised in South East Asia and South Asia.

From 1990 to 1994 he was director of the Marist Mission Centre, an accredited Overseas Aid Agency. For the six years following 1995, Jim was leader of the Marist Province of Australia and Japan. During this time, he was invited by ACFOA to join the Task Force mandated to prepare a Code of Ethics for the Australian NGO community.

In 2002 at the request of Caritas Australia and the three Marist Provincials of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, Jim visited most of the Refugee Camps in mainland Australia and unofficially Manus and Nauru, and prepared a report on the conditions in them.

From 2003 to 2009 Jim was appointed Executive Officer of the House of Welcome a Drop-in Centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Carramar.

In 2010 Jim was Chaplain to the camps on Christmas Island, later accepting the role of Manager with CatholicCare Sydney for Prison and Hospital Chaplains and Tree of Hope.

Currently Jim is the Director of MARS (Marist Asylum-seekers and Refugee Service) a small NGO; that provides pastoral care in Villawood Detention Centre; sacramental service for the Sudanese Community in Blacktown and frequently masses and reconciliation ministry at St Patrick’s Church Hill.


He is also co-founder and Director of the Wilai Foundation Ltd.


Dallas Verfurth DALLAS VERFURTH  

Dallas is a Director and Founding Member on the board of the Wilai Foundation.                                  

Dallas has over thirty years’ experience as a teacher and school Principal. Her role included, among many things, the mentoring aspiring female Principals. Dallas was also a founding teacher/facilitator for the Life Education Centre in Victoria, a health and drug education provider for school children aged 5-13 years empowering them to make safer and healthier choices; and a board member of Life Education Victoria. 

Dallas was a liaison Principal in the Middle East in 2010, supporting the Qatari Government with an education reform process. 

Dallas has always believed that every child has the right to feel loved, protected, encouraged, and supported to grow into a responsible citizen.  

Dallas is currently an authorised civil marriage celebrant and an active funeral celebrant.  She lives in Victoria and is the proud mother of two children and grandmother to six fabulous grandchildren.


Joanne Russell-ShearsJOANNE RUSSELL-SHEARS

 Joanne Russell-Shears is a passionate advocate for social justice and international human rights.

One expression of Joanne's passion for advancing human rights has been her work to create a future for stateless females since 2014.

In 2016 Joanne founded the Wilai Foundation Ltd. a registered Australian charity that seeks to raise awareness of statelessness and actively works to assist young stateless females in Thailand and Myanmar, and is currently a Director

Joanne has a Masters in Health Science from Sydney University; a Masters in Human Services from Griffith; a Graduate Certificate in Liturgical Studies from the Melbourne College of Divinity; as well as a Certificate in Pastoral Liturgy, a Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy and further study in the area of Grief and Loss. She is also an Authorised Marriage Celebrant for the Commonwealth of Australia and a Funeral Celebrant.

Joanne has worked for thirty years as a consultant, assisting businesses, and not-for-profit organisations, to facilitate professional and successful communication strategies.  Joanne is also a skilled researcher and professional writer.

Joanne lives in Geelong and is the mother of six beautiful children. 


Thomas R ShearsTHOMAS RUSSELL SHEARS

Thomas is a Director of the Wilai Foundation with a strong interest in international policy and human rights. His connection to the Wilai Foundation Ltd is both personal and passionate.

With a Bachelor of Arts (Indonesian Language) and Bachelor of Laws from Deakin University, Thomas looks forward to furthering his study in International Relations.

Thomas currently lives in Indonesia.