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

Stephanie, Vice Chair

Stephanie has been a part of Positive Women all her life. Steph has had a 17-year career as an AIDS activist. She has spoken at a UNAIDS civil society hearing in 2008, and attended three international AIDS conferences. Steph has spoken alongside figures including Annie Lennox in and the Crown Princess of Norway. Steph wishes to honour the past, include as many long-term survivors as possible in the organisation’s future, and welcome new members to the PWV family. Now finishing her second diploma, Steph is able to put practical skills to use. Steph is proud to help bring Positive Women into the next stage of its life.

Sally Sharman, Secretary

Sally is a HR and Organizational Development professional, and has worked in corporate roles for many years. Sally has a Masters in Training & Change Management and is 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.

Bev, Director

Bev has a tertiary degree in nursing and is a Credentialed Diabetes Educator. Bev has experience in community health nursing, emergency medical clinic nursing, and as a volunteer within a youth organisation, in both leadership of youth and adults’ roles. She is a mum, a Nan, daughter, sister, niece and aunty, capable, passionate and caring and has been positive for 10 plus years.

Melinda, Director

Having been a member of Positive Women Victoria for over nine years, Melinda has seen the organisation grow and grow. Melinda has a background in community services work, and in delivering adult education. She facilitates courses in her local area in regional Victoria, including a course on empowering women. Not only is Melinda passionate about our PWV community, but she is also passionate about the issues that rural women and remote communities across Australia are currently facing. She is a mother of three children.

Nicki Russel, Director

Nicki Russell is a public health professional with expertise in sexual and reproductive health, health literacy, LGBTIQ health and prevention of violence against women. She is dedicated to addressing access, equity and stigma in sexual and reproductive health services to improve outcomes, and excited to be joining the Board at Positive Women Victoria to contribute to its work supporting the needs of women living with HIV. Nicki brings with her experience in strategic planning, policy, evaluation, communications, stakeholder engagement and commissioning. She has a degree in gender studies, and understands the feminist, social, political and human rights theories that inform health outcomes, and can apply these to planning and evaluation. Nicki recognises the importance of designing accessible programs and services.

Maggie Taaffe, Director

Maggie was born in England and migrated to South Africa with her family at 13. Maggie qualified as a registered nurse in South Africa, and migrated to Australia in 1987. She was admitted as a solicitor in 2004.In South Africa Maggie, (amongst other things) practiced as a diabetes educator in Soweto and Tembisa, where she was acutely aware of the HIV/AIDS epidemic affecting her patients in the early 1980s. Maggie has worked in personal injuries law and appeared for clients in health law related matters, and pro bono refugee cases. Maggie commenced her own immigration law firm in 2010. Maggie sees many clients living with HIV in her private practice, where they seek out her assistance with migration issues.Maggie has also practiced at the HIV AIDS Legal Centre at the Positive Living Centre for over two years. Maggie’s hopes her skills will enable her to make a solid contribution to Positive Women Victoria’s philosophy and mission to support, educate and advocate for women living with HIV.

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.