Tell us about your experience in the sector?

I have worked with local neighbourhood house managers for 15 years so was happy to take on the Chair’s role for the Committee of Management at Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre when approached in early 2017. At the time the committee rarely achieved a quorum, committee papers were poorly constructed with a focus on operational issues, and there was limited time for strategic discussion at meetings. It took 18 months to achieve but we now have a skills-based and strategic-focused committee of business leaders who rarely miss meetings. They are also committed to growing and supporting not only Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre, but two other neighbourhood houses under a joint committee agreement. This unique structure created an opportunity for us in 2019 to apply and successfully receive coordination funding to establish a new house in Ballarat East. This house was established from scratch, and we continue to work together to grow and develop this new house.

I stepped down as Chair to take on the acting manager role and after a four month recruitment process, was appointed as the Executive Officer in early 2018. My background is in business and technology, working across the private and public sectors in manufacturing, retail and technology industries. Many of my positions included change management and staff training so I am familiar with the requirements for training adults. I bring to my position, and the sector, experience in business, marketing and brand development, HR and accounting, skills which are not widely found in the sector.

What makes being part of the neighbourhood house sector so special?

I love working in a sector full of passionate and caring people who go out of their way every day to make a positive difference in someone’s life. How as a team we can pull limited resources to provide support to some of the most disadvantaged members of our communities is fantastic, but most of all, it is the reaction from community members when you help them – the smiles and gratitude they give you is extremely rewarding and the best part of this sector.

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

To bring my board experience and business skills to the Board and the sector. I have been involved with boards and committees since 2009 when I completed my MBA. Over the years, I have built a network of contacts who believe in the importance of helping small community groups and NFP organisations raise their governance levels and practices.

During my time on the board, I would like to see NHVic become more involved with promoting the work of neighbourhood houses to other government departments and business networks. There are so many opportunities to expand our funding from different sources which would help offset the costs and expand the services we already offer.

What passions or interests take up your spare time?

I like to read, visit art galleries, play scrabble and have coffee with friends. I have always been family focused, making time to stay connected with my extended family and friends whenever possible. In recent years, this is more important to me as I continue to take time to support my aging parents and am 'Crazy Granny' to two small grandchildren who seem to take up a great deal of my spare time.

Tell us a quote that inspires the work you do?

“Instead of thinking out the box, get rid of the box.” – Deepak Chopra