Tell us about your experience in the sector? 

I have been involved with the neighbourhood house sector since 1993 when, as a community worker, I connected with Yarraville Community Centre to develop a desktop publishing course for refugee young people. Later in 2005, I joined the committee of my local neighbourhood house, when, as a family, we were involved in the Toy Library and child care service.

I have been involved as:

  • a house participant, committee member, manager, CD Worker (initiating the ‘Soul House’ project, connecting with people living in local rooming houses)
  • a Network Board member and volunteer
  • an Advisory Group member for NHVic’s Learning and Development Project
  • one of the initiators of the Community Development Community of Practice
  • a consultant for various neighbourhood houses, Networks and NHVic
What makes being part of the neighbourhood house sector so special?

What is very special about the neighbourhood house sector is that you don’t need a label to belong, to participate, to contribute. I see this as unique and something to celebrate and protect.

It’s all about the people, the place, the connections, the kindness and the laughs.

What do you hope to achieve in your time on the NHVic Board?

I’m thrilled to be working at the peak body level, with other passionate people, to maintain the heart and soul of what is unique about the sector. My goals for my time on the Board are to:

  • visit, meet and talk with as many houses as I can!
  • secure a strong, well-funded and recognised position for the sector into the future by investigating funding options and equity across the sector
  • improve ways to care for, value and support neighbourhood house workers, predominantly women, who founded and hold the sector together, especially during the pandemic and the recovery phase
  • promote First Nations cultural respect, allyship and leadership that aligns with self determination
  • demonstrate good governance and accountability
What passions or interests take up your spare time?

Above all, I love getting out in nature, so I am a keen gardener and bushwalker. Strangely, I also like staying indoors watching films, documentaries, TV series, and listening to podcasts. I produce my own podcast too.

I love learning new things, so often try out random activities (learnt Classical Hebrew; took up sewing; made macrame pot plant hangers and some beeswax wraps; even made some gin!); and I also enjoy experimenting with new recipes (I have mastered the art of making Maznik, a Macedonian pastry stretched veil-thin by hand).

My three kids are pretty interesting young humans so its nice to hang out with them and chat and banter.

Tell us a quote that inspires the work you do?

My favourite quote that encapsulates my Community Development approach - an oldie but a goldie!

Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them.
Start with what they know. Build with what they have.
The best of leaders are those that,
when the job is done,
when the task is accomplished,
the people will say
we have done it ourselves.
- Lao Tzu