Sarah has been a member of Positive Women for seven years. She is vocal about her physical and emotional struggles with living with HIV, and uses her personal experiences to educate and inspire. She feels honoured to represent the wider Positive Women member base as Chair of the Positive Women Board.
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.
Since completed a double degree in Accounting and IT Deidre McEwen has worked for a large multinational IT company and more recently Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as a contract manager in the consulting space. Over the past 17 years Deidre has also gained experience formally and informally mentoring women within the organisations she has worked for as well as community organisations who support women who have been unemployed long term. Her business expertise encompasses managing business and finance operations, project and program management and strategic planning. Although Deidre does not have previous direct experience with women living with HIV, she has close friends who have chronic illnesses. It is with one of these friends that she helped create a charity event for Multiple Sclerosis that raises funds for scholarships. This event started out 16 years ago and raised $22,000 and now raises over $1m per year across the country.
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 is an epidemiologist and Manager of Infectious Diseases Surveillance at the Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute. She leads the team responsible for managing, developing and refining innovative surveillance systems for the Victorian and other Australian State Governments to monitor HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other sexually transmissible infections. Ms El Hayek also manages the Victorian HIV/AIDS register and 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 eight 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.