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Board Members

Heather Ellis, Chair

Diagnosed in 1995, Heather has been living with HIV for 23 years. She has been a member of Positive Women Victoria since 2001 and has previously held the Board positions of Treasurer and Director. Heather is a published author, a qualified journalist and professional public speaker. Heather has been an active member of the Positive Speaker's Bureau (a program of Living Positive Victoria) since 2007. Heather is also a member of two Victorian Government advisory panels: HIV Advisory Panel and Motorcycle Expert Advisory Panel.

In her role as Chair, Heather Ellis is particularly passionate about advocacy in the areas of HIV Prevention and education and fighting HIV stigma which continues to affect so many people living with HIV. Heather has completed a Bachelor of Journalism, Graduate Certificate in International and Community Development and a Master of Arts (Creative Enterprise). She has worked as a radiation safety technician, a motorcycle courier in London, a journalist for News Ltd and in communications for the NGO, Plan International. She lives in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne with three children. Heather is self-employed working as a writer. For more details visit: www.heather-ellis.com

Thilaka Satha, Deputy Chair

Thilaka is a Strategy and Performance Manager at Health Purchasing Victoria with over 12 years of experience in the strategic policy and corporate governance area. Her strengths are in her ability to articulate and drive business change through effective stakeholder management in complex organisations to achieve key business outcomes with a constant focus on adding value to the organisation’s functions. Over the last few years she has been closely involved in changing legislative requirements for government procurement both at a State and health sector level. Her expertise in strategic planning has seen her successfully launch and implement various strategic plans. Acquiring an in-depth understanding of how health services operate and some of the major opportunities and challenges faced by the industry, Thilaka is passionate about working with Positive Women Victoria to elevate the priority of women living with HIV on the Victorian and national platform in order to provide targeted services that removes the barriers faced by women and encourages a sense of belonging. A number of years of experience in producing and organising shows and fund raising events, experience in the budgeting process at the department of Treasury and Finance and involvement in the funding request process as part of the annual business planning process at HPV, Thilaka is well positioned to provide insight and advice to Positive Women Victoria in achieving financial stability.

Deirdre Pinto, Secretary

Deirdre has had a 25 year career as a government policy analyst and program manager, primarily in mental health, general health and community services areas. She has a strong interest in the way that people unite around marginalised or stigmatised health conditions - to support each other, share their experiences and knowledge, and advocate for changes that will improve the lives of others. In 2015, Deirdre completed a large research project, for a Master of Philosophy (Population Health) degree, exploring the experiences of Australian not for profit organisations devoted to rare diseases. She has since published her findings in peer reviewed journals. Deirdre regularly volunteers as a family support contact, researcher and writer for two patient advocacy organisations.

Carol El Hayek, Director

Carol is an epidemiologist and Head of Surveillance and Evaluation at the Burnet Institute. She leads the team responsible for managing, developing and refining innovative surveillance systems to monitor HIV, hepatitis B and C, and notifiable sexually transmissible infections. Ms El Hayek also conducts evaluation of policy and initiatives aimed at reducing the transmission and impact of infectious diseases, by integrating findings from surveillance and other epidemiological research. Carol has been working in this sector for ten years and has supported community organisations throughout this time by making the data as accessible as possible to those individuals who provide services to affected populations.

Deidre McEwen, Director

Deidre McEwen has been a board member since 2015 and was the Treasurer for two years. Deidre brings to the Board over 25 years of corporate management experience, mostly in IT however she is currently working in the utilities sector. Deidre has over 17 years of experience in professional mentoring of women. Deidre has mentored women within the organisations she has worked for, within community organisations and also for the long-term unemployed. Deidre also brings to the Board her experience and expertise in fundraising as she has previously helped to create fundraising events to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis and to raise funds for scholarships. This event started in 2001 and has raised over 1 million dollars per year that it has run.

Sally Sharman, Director

Sally is a HR and Organisational Development professional, and has worked in corporate roles for many years. Sally has a Masters in Training & Change Management and is also an experienced not-for-profit director, having served on the boards of both Cara (residential care) as Vice Chair and the Women’s Circus. Having trained as an opera singer, and managed her own performance company for many years, Sally is happily retired from that part of her life, and now enjoys watching others perform in opera and theatre. One of Sally’s key areas of interest is the empowerment and support of women and girls.

Kylie Tempest, Treasurer

Kylie has worked as a Chartered Accountant (CA) for 9 years with experience in the field for 17 years from bookkeeping through to Senior Management.Once she received her CA Membership, she left Melbourne to live in London to further her career, travel and experience life.She has been back for 3 years now and has been working alongside her Father in his Accounting Practice.

As a Board Member, she believes in the cause to support women living with HIV and enjoys the opportunity to volunteer her skills to assist the community in an area she is passionate.Kylie is passionate about ensuring Positive Woman Victoria remains independent and has the means to carry on advocating, bringing awareness and hope to others.

Nancy, Director

Nancy has been a Board member since 2017. Nancy has lived in Melbourne for 23 years and migrated from Africa in 1995.She is currently working in the health care sector (outpatient) as a registered Nurse specialized in Neph-rology or Renal Nursing.

As a board member, Nancy contributes and make a difference in the lives of women we represent and their families, especially those with cultural challenges posed by migration.

Jackie Roberts, Director

Jackie has been living with HIV since mid- 2015. Jackie is an active member of Positive Women Victoria. Not only is she a Board Member, she also sits on a few events-advisory committees within PWV. Jackie is also a volunteer with Living Positive Victoria, working on the Front Desk. Whilst she juggle all of this, she is also currently studying Community Services. Jackie is continuously impressed with the strength, resilience and fierce sisterhood that exists amongst the members of Positive Women.

As a member of the Board, Jackie is a voice for the younger women and mothers living with HIV, to end the isolation and fear. A little over two years ago, Jackie says her head was spinning, she had no clue what life would bring for herself and her young daughter. Jackie says that Positive Women literally saved her and helped her turn her life around and now Jackie is making a wonderful contribution to the membership and the Board.