Getting to know our new CEO
16 July, 2020
ADRA Australia is excited to be welcoming Denison Grellmann to the team in the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
We thought we would ask him a few questions so you can get to know him.
Tell us about yourself and your family
My wife Priscila and I are both Brazilians, but we met in South Africa where we attended Helderberg College for our tertiary education. From there we started our ministry with ADRA and the Church. Both of our sons, Dennis and Breno, are third or fourth culture kids having lived in four countries already. Breno is our Aussie joy and Dennis our Brazilian joy!
I speak four languages. English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
How would you describe your journey with ADRA?
My journey with ADRA started 21 years ago. I got this petition to be a volunteer in Madagascar. I had just graduated from uni and I said, ‘Oh that sounds like the place to go.’ So I joined ADRA Madagascar for four years and had a wonderful time there. It was my first love for ADRA.
After that I went to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Laos, then I started in Australia. After 6 years in Australia I had some time at ADRA International, and the Philippines. I’ve been here in New Zealand for the last 4 years.
Journeying with ADRA in different places and roles has been a privilege. This adventure began as an intern, then in project and program management, moving to managerial and leadership roles. In every step of this journey, I’ve encountered amazing and dedicated ADRA team members that have been wonderful to serve with.
Why did you apply for the role of ADRA Australia CEO?
Having worked with ADRA Australia before, I always admired the work that you do there, always thought of the team as fun, talented, amazing professionals who bring a lot of innovation to the workplace.
But it was a family decision too. It would be nice to go back to Australia again as Australia has become our home. Going back it has a very nice, special meaning. It felt like the right timing.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I’m looking forward to working with fun and talented professionals who believe in making a difference in the world and in fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives. I get a real satisfaction when I see a team growing, innovating, and living ADRA’s purpose through selfless actions of love and compassion.
Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Since I have two very active boys, whatever time I have outside work I try to spend with them and Priscilla, my wife. We do a lot of outdoor activities and hiking. My boys are into basketball and soccer. When I can I go for bike rides. I’m a beach person and enjoy going to the beach with family, time with friends and so forth.
What is a quote, saying or piece of wisdom that you live by?
It’s actually this verse from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I’ve been to many places and many times it’s quite hard. But this promise has kept me going. Because I know the Lord will be with me. I am motivated when I read this. Now moving to Australia, counting how many times I’ve moved, it’s not easy. But we believe that God has led us and he has shown us where to go and what to do. And that’s why we’re not afraid to share a different journey with ADRA Australia.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel, Denison’s start at ADRA Australia is planned for September 10.