Seniors Rights Victoria is a significant program of Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria and is governed by its board.
The Council On The Ageing (COTA) Victoria Board is responsible for COTA Victoria’s good governance. The Board’s dedicated members have diverse backgrounds and skills and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to COTA Victoria’s work. COTA Board of Governance
The Seniors Rights Victoria Advisory Committee is an advisory committee to the Board. It has been established under COTA Victoria’s Constitution to provide input and guidance on the organisation’s strategies, priority issues and emerging trends in relation to the Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) program. The Seniors Rights Victoria Advisory Committee actively supports COTA Victoria’s staff and the Chief Executive Officer in their work.
George Koulis (Chair)
George Koulis brings 25 years of experience as a senior executive and board member to the Seniors Rights Victoria Advisory Committee. He has worked in various industries including Aged Care, Local Government and the not-for-profit sector. George is currently the General Manager – Commercial and Corporate Services at Doutta Galla Aged Services, a community based not for profit aged care provider. He brings many skills to the Committee, including in strategy, governance, finance and marketing. George is passionate about looking after the vulnerable members of our community, in particular older people and children.
Maya Avdibegovic is a senior not-for-profit executive. She is the Executive Director at Court Network where she leads a team of more than 500 volunteers and staff. She was previously the CEO of inTouch, a state-wide specialist family violence service that works with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Maya is MBA qualified and highly skilled in strategic and business planning, innovation, operations, finance and change management. Her broad range of expertise covers family violence, diversity, equity and inclusion, gender equality and access to justice. Maya is a Director on the Board of the Council on the Ageing Victoria.
Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath
Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath BA (Hons) PhD, is the Divisional Director of Social Gerontology at the National Ageing Research Institute. Her disciplinary training is in medical anthropology and public health and her research expertise is in cultural diversity, dementia, and mental health. Within these disciplinary and contextual boundaries, she has undertaken several studies exploring mental health and culture, mental health and the life-course, and dementia and cultural diversity. She has authored over 100 publications, including a sole-authored book with Berghahn Books titled 'Unforgotten: Love and the culture of dementia care in India' and is the lead investigator for the Moving Pictures study in Australia and in India. In recognition of her research, she was awarded the Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award in 2018.
Dr John Chesterman
Dr John Chesterman is the Deputy Public Advocate at the Office of the Public Advocate. The OPA is Victoria’s adult guardian of last resort. It is also host to over 600 volunteers (in four volunteer programs), who seek to promote and protect the rights of people with disability. John trained as a lawyer. Before joining the OPA he lectured in politics for more than eight years at the University of Melbourne. He has written a number of books, including (as co-author) The Politics of Human Rights in Australia (Cambridge University Press). In 2013, John travelled as a Churchill Fellow to the US, Canada and the UK, where he examined a variety of adult protection systems.
Bernadette Maheandiran is a qualified lawyer with a longstanding commitment to social justice. Her passion for upholding the rights of older adults has been demonstrated through her work with SRV as a Policy Officer, and as a lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, a community legal centre in Ontario, Canada. She is presently the Research and Legal Analyst at Market Forces, an environmental finance advocacy group. In this role, she has the opportunity to help promote the clean energy transition in Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. Bernadette is currently on the board of directors of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, a legal clinic focused on justice for indigenous communities affected by resource extraction, and on the governance committee of the Environment Victoria Board. She has a Masters of Laws from University College London and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She has been admitted to practice in Victoria.
Dr Cathy Mead
Dr Cathy Mead was a public servant for more than 20 years, working in health policy, health promotion and international health for the federal government. Since moving to Melbourne in 2000, Cathy has been involved in coordinating public health policy across the federal and Victorian governments and has taught health policy at La Trobe University in the Masters of Public Health program. Cathy has a medical degree from the University of Sydney and postgraduate qualifications in public health. Cathy has been a Director on the Board of the Council on the Ageing Victoria since 2013, including a period as President from 2014 to 2017.
Minh Nguyen has qualifications in Arts and Law, a Masters in Social Work and an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management. She has practised as a solicitor with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Miwatj Aboriginal Legal Service. Minh has extensive experience in the management and governance of community services, and as a consultant and lecturer. Her current position is as Senior Manager, South-East Region, Centre for Multicultural Youth. Minh also brings experience in working with culturally diverse communities including both urban and remote Aboriginal communities.
Tina Hogarth-Clarke BSc, AGIA, ACIS, GAICD came to COTA Victoria as a Board Member in 2018 after over 20 years’ experience in the highly regulated health and aged care industries. She has been the CEO since August 2019. Tina spent 14 years running her own aged care consultancy, assisting companies with strategy formulation and offering advice to the general public looking for care. Before working in aged care, Tina spent 12 years in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry. Her interest and skill lies in enabling diverse business opportunities from start up to business growth, through thorough market assessment, development and oversight of marketing strategy to ensure successful performance in the short and long term. Tina has considerable governance experience with a range of not-for-profit organisations including as a Director on the Board of the Council on the Ageing Victoria. She is a graduate member of Australian institute of Company directors and a graduate member of Governance Institute of Australia.
Rebecca Edwards has worked at Seniors Rights Victoria since 2017 and is widely experienced in legal, social justice and government matters. Prior to this she spent 10 years as a lecturer and tutor in law and social justice at La Trobe University. Rebecca’s career in private practice began in rural and regional Victoria. She has also worked for Victoria Legal Aid and spent two years in Broome, working on native title cases for the Kimberley Land Council.
A unique aspect of Rebecca’s career was time spent as a volunteer legal analyst at the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha, Tanzania. Her community engagement includes being Deputy Chair of a local community Health Centre Board and three years as a government-appointed director of the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
Rebecca brings a passion for social justice and an obvious capacity for hard work to SRV. She has a number of priorities for her new role as Manager in 2021 starting with ensuring SRV meets all its obligations as a community legal centre.