Meet Our Project Advisory Group

Mark Glascodine

Project Advisory Group Member

As someone with an acquired disability, Mark is passionate about capacity building of community organisations to help them become more disability inclusive, whether for employees/volunteers or clients. As Mark can see, many volunteer organisations can easily become more disability inclusive through small changes.

As an experienced career counsellor and disability employment advocate, Mark specialises in development, coaching and transition management for people with disabilities. He has also presented on Disability Employment and Career Counselling issues at numerous national conferences. Mark spends a great deal of time supporting people with disabilities become more empowered, as well as working with employers advocating for employment practice change.

Mark volunteers on the board of directors with Belonging Matters, providing Circles of Support for people with intellectual disabilities. Mark sees the biggest challenge to volunteering is pacing yourself – his advice is to start small and only do as much as you enjoy.

Lisa Bartkus

Project Advisory Group Member

Being the parent of an adult with an intellectual disability, Lisa is a passionate advocate on behalf of her son.  Helping Diabetes Victoria as an advocate and parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes, Lisa gave important input to help improve school systems’ diabetes management plans. She also worked hard with her son to ensure he gained access to work experience programs in 2018, leading to her son working with Yooralla in 2019 – a very exciting outcome.

Lisa believes that for inclusive volunteering to be successful you need to be respectful, patient and to always understand that people come from different backgrounds and learn differently from you. Lisa also volunteers with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and is excited to share her first-hand knowledge of volunteering with people with a disability.

Ali Street

Project Advisory Group Member

Ali is a dedicated carer of her adult son and has worked in advocacy and skill development opportunities with a range of community organisations including Neighbourhood Houses and Men’s Sheds. Having previously worked in a Volunteer Planning and Development role, Ali brings a keen interest in strengthening Volunteer Management practices to the Advisory Group.  She believes well-managed volunteering is an avenue for participating, mutual skill development and building a strong organisational culture.

Ali sees inclusive volunteering practices as all of this and more – with the added benefits of reflecting community demographics, capitalising on specific skills and providing wellbeing and purpose for all involved. Ali strongly believes that meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in our community benefits everyone.

Judy Ingram

Project Advisory Group Member

Volunteering tirelessly in the Brimbank area, Judy is a member of the Brimbank Disability Advisory Committee and Brimbank Disability Network Group, working to provide better services in her community. Judy would like all organisations – private or government – to understand that people with a physical disability are not all in wheelchairs. Consideration should be made for people with other physical disabilities who still need assistance and help to aid them in volunteering on projects that interest them.

Living with a physical disability has its daily challenges, but Judy believes that people who are home-bound or home all day need to be able to feel they still belong to the wider community – and that volunteering is a great way for this to happen.

Julyne Ainsley

Project Advisory Group Member

Julyne is extremely active in volunteering in her community, including positions on the advisory committee of Sydenham Neighbourhood House, and the Duke Street Community House management committee – which includes a 2-year period holding the position of Vice-Chairperson.  She also works on governance programs through Brimbank City Council for people who want to set up their own community group.

Living with an acquired brain injury has had its challenges but hasn’t stopped Julyne leading by example by being on the board of management for Duke Street, which she believes is a great demonstration of the abilities of people with disabilities.

Melanie Edge

Project Advisory Group Member

Being legally blind since birth has not stopped Melanie from being a passionate advocate on inclusivity in volunteering. Volunteering has helped Melanie obtain employment, build a strong support network, and aided in her mental health, and Melanie is keen to assist other people with disabilities have a similarly positive experience.  Working with the AFL over the last 12 months, Melanie has contributed to the development and implementation of a blind football league which is already showing great health outcomes for players as well as leadership opportunities.

Melanie is currently volunteering with the Enablers network, leading committees and teams of people with disabilities to organise events, provide advice on government programs and policies, and promote inclusion of people with disabilities within the Victorian Public Service.

Jason Heagerty

Project Advisory Group Member

Jason is an active volunteer in the community, and is keen to be involved in the Victoria ALIVE project to provide insights into his experiences volunteering with a disability.  Having been born with cerebral palsy, and living with autism spectrum disorder, Jason sees opportunities where others would see roadblocks.  Having a passion for Australian Rules Football (AFL), Jason competes in the FIDA football league – a Victorian AFL league for people with disabilities – and is also Assistant Coach of the Access All Abilities program which is special AFL Auskick program for children with disabilities.

Working at Yooralla in both administration and disability employment services, as well as working at a disability bookstore, Jason’s passion and enthusiasm is around creating volunteer opportunities for people with disabilities, with the potential to lead to an employment career pathway.

Michael French

Project Advisory Group Member

Michael has worked in the Department of Health and Human Services for over 7 years and brings a plethora of expertise to the Victoria ALIVE project.  Living with a disability, Michael has experienced first hand how tough it can be to get into the workforce, even with the required qualifications.  Michael believes volunteering is a great way to breakdown barriers with potential employers, and would like to see it as a conduit for people with disabilities to  move into paid employment where possible.  In his own experience, when Michael started doing work experience/volunteering at Haven in Bendigo – a homeless and affordable housing organisation – this led to him gaining a paid position in the same organisation.

To broaden understanding of people with disabilities, Michael would love to see a universal education program designed for managers to learn more about working with someone who has a disability.

Tamsin Jowett

Project Advisory Group Member

Currently President, guiding an in-depth strategic review to embrace the changes in the emerging NFP landscape. Sustainable for-purpose organisations are essential as well as future readiness. Tamsin Jowett’s vision is to empower and highlight the wonderful, often unappreciated abilities of our Aspergers community.

Tamsin Jowett’s has governance experience on Boards, with BP and as a lawyer/advocate combined with my Communications and CSR background deliver in a powerful skill mix to improve purpose driven performance. Her natural advocacy approach supports facilitating change including sitting on the Autism Inquiry Group with DHHS.

Tamsin’s coaching experience with Aspergers is assisting directly to give support through the challenges our community experience. Lived experience is key to delivering effective support for Aspergers neurodiversity.

Sam Buis

Project Advisory Group Member

Sam has volunteered extensively in her local community, particularly supporting other people living with disability through her roles as a Consumer Representative, Peer Support Worker and Group Organizer. She is passionate about encouraging others to focus on their strengths and supporting them to achieve their goals. Sam believes that all people can contribute to their community when they receive the right support.

Living with physical, mental health and developmental disability, volunteering has provided Sam with many positive experiences that she feels have greatly improved her quality of life. She wants to address the able-ism that exists in the community and support others to experience the benefits of volunteering.