Introducing Denise

LELAN, Administrative Support

Who Denise (she/her) is:

Denise is LELAN’s newly appointed Administrative Support. She is a second-generation migrant from the Philippines and is a strong advocate for lived experience as an expertise. With a background in adult education and hospitality, Denise is all too familiar with the benefits of peer-led community support (and the ways in which the system needs to change). Denise is interested in closing the gap between good intentions and tangible change, and she is particularly inspired by the work of anti-bias and anti-racist educators, Liz Kleinrock and Michelle Mijung Kim, and writer-activist-feminist, Audre Lorde.  

Outside of work, Denise serves on the Board for the Drop In Care Space, and volunteers for the racial justice group, Democracy in Colour. Her interested include interior design, gardening, coffee and precolonial Philippine mythology — but, most days, you will most likely find her scrolling through her phone.  

How Denise felt starting with LELAN:  

Seen. Depression and anxiety are not commonly discussed within the Asian diaspora, and though I have grown more comfortable advocating for mental health over time, standing up for what is right can still be quite othering. LELAN is here to shift that conversation at a systemic level, and I am excited to be part of that journey. 

What Denise appreciates about LELAN and how we do things:  

I am inspired by LELAN’s authentic approach to centring the voices of those with lived experience – from how LELAN works together as a single unit, to the planning, co-design, and delivery of each project. 

Denise’s thoughts on lived experience leadership and advocacy: 

I am a strong advocate for lived experience as an expertise and I believe people with lived experience should always have a voice in the decisions that most affect our lives.  

A story about Denise’s passion for her work and being in this space: 

I am driven by the idea that lived experience is just as important as an academic transcript. My journey through education has been quite non-linear, as the education system at the time did not hold space for managing my depression and anxiety. For years, I had been made to feel like my chosen path had somehow made me less than, but in that time away from traditional education, I held many service-based jobs – from hospitality, to administration, to student support. And while many may perceive these roles as “unskilled jobs”, it was here that I learned the importance of connecting with my peers at eye-level, and have experienced first-hand how it is those who work on the ground that hold the solutions for how systems need to change. 


Connecting with Denise:

Denise’s working days are Monday – Thursday and she can be contacted via