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
Jackie Roberts, Director