Janice Chesters (Chair)
Academic, mental health researcher and medical educator, Janice has worked at the interface between the university, clinic and hospital in both Australia and New Zealand for over 20 years. Janice has extensive leadership and governance experience within the mental health, rural community health, general practice training and research investment management fields. She was the founding Director of Awhina, Waitemata Health Campus in Auckland and is a life member of within Australia.
Eric Sjerp (Vice Chair)
Eric Sjerp is an Environmental Scientist with a Bachelor of Science Degree and over 25 years’ experience in the environmental management and geological professions.
Eric has worked throughout Australia and in Malaysia, and is currently Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Ethos NRM Pty Ltd, Environmental Assessment and Natural Resource Management Consultants, and a Non-Executive Director of Yarra Valley Water Corporation.
Eric is a past Executive Officer of the Gippsland Lakes Management Council and has previously served on the Boards of East Gippsland Water, Southern Rural Water, the East Gippsland Environmental Sustainability Advisory Board, and the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Land Program Committee.
He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Environment Institute of Australia & New Zealand, and the Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association.
Susan joined ‘within Australia’ in 2018 as a new board member.
Susan has a background in Occupational Health and Safety with extensive experience in managing safety for small, medium and large businesses at a local, regional and national level.
Susan has worked across a variety of industries including medical and dental, mining, construction, civil construction and disabilities and not for profit. She has spent many years working in the community with domestic violence, youth, young offenders, victims of crime and served the community as a volunteer firefighter.
Susan has an interest in mental health and brings her safety and risk management experience to the Board.
Vanessa joined ‘within Australia’ in 2018 as a new board member.
Vanessa has a wealth of experience accumulating 30 years of professional service, her career highlights include, working for the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services where she held a range of senior roles and complex portfolios within the Justice and Child Protection arenas.
Vanessa is a passionate, diligent and committed professional always striving for professional excellence.
Vanessa made the sea change to the Gippsland Lakes in 2011 and currently works at the Wellington Shire Council in the role of Manager, Municipal Services.
Vanessa holds a degree in Criminal Justice Administration is a qualified Cert IV Training and Assessment Coordinator and is also an active member of the East Gippsland Toastmasters Group.
GAICD, Master Intl & Community Development, B Social Welfare, MAAPM
John joined ‘within Australia’ in 2018 as a new board member.
John has a Masters in International & Community Development (Deakin University), a B Social Welfare (Monash University) and is a recent graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. After fifteen years as Business Manager of Wonthaggi Medical Group John recently retired but retains a keen interest in health matters and continues to write for a local newspaper and magazine on issues in health and science.
He has previously held management positions in Community Health at Sale and has undertaken projects for the MI Fellowship Victoria. Before entering the health sector John had a long and successful history in business both internationally and locally.
Rita is a psychologist who has worked in a variety of settings and organisations within the Gippsland region including community, hospital, and government. She has held roles in the areas of direct mental health clinical work, governance/quality and management.
Rita is a member of Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), is an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and is an Associate Fellow with the Institute of Managers and Leaders.
Rita also has completed her Masters in Health Services Management.
Suzanne originates from Scotland where she trained as a social worker 24 years ago.
Suzanne relocated to Australia 9 years ago and was part of the Australian government recruitment of overseas social workers into the child protection system here in Australia. She has been in the social health field since 1986.
Originally Suzanne thought she would like to go into nursing so she studied health for a year before deciding social work was my true passion.
Suzanne has worked in the States of New England and California predominantly in the physical intellectual and terminal illness space with both children and adults. Her career has mainly focussed on the child protection arena and working with adults who have Mental Health issues.
Suzanne has also worked in New Zealand with the government in their Child Protection system and public hospitals.
Suzanne currently works in a public hospital where she covers various wards in the hospital but also the community outreach Palliative Care patients. Previous social work roles have included after hours emergency response, children and family work, vulnerable adults team and Mental Health services in assessment/locked wards and day centre care.