Board + Staff
Georgina Whitchurch, Chair
Georgina has a solid background in management of hospitals and health services in Western Australia and Queensland including five years with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in WA. In more recent years, Georgina has worked within the disability employment industry, and spent three years in Africa as a volunteer. This focused on empowering and strengthening women living in impoverished circumstances to develop skills to provide sustainable income for families. The majority of the women involved were affected in some way by HIV and AIDS.
Mel Spencer, Vice Chair
Living in regional Victoria, Mel understands the issues that women in rural and remote communities face. Mel has first-hand experience of adults changing their life and circumstances through education, and is trained in community services and development. She facilitates community educational programs and retreats for women, and coordinates local projects for disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
Kylie Tempest, Treasurer
Kylie has worked as a Chartered Accountant (CA) for 10 years with experience in the field for 17 years from bookkeeping through to Senior Management. Kylie has established her own practice in partnership and as a Board Member, is passionate about ensuring PWV remains independent and has the means to carry on advocating; bringing awareness and hope to others.
Bev has experience in Community Health Nursing, emergency medical clinic nursing and aged care. Compassionate about women’s health and the journey faced by women with a positive HIV diagnosis and their journey as they navigate the health sector, she is an advocate for peer support as a valuable tool for acceptance, understanding and a sense of belonging.
Maggie Taaffe, Director
Maggie has worked in personal injuries law and appeared for clients in health law related matters, and pro bono refugee cases. Maggie commenced her own immigration law firm in 2010. Maggie sees many clients living with HIV in her private practice, where they seek out her assistance with migration issues. Maggie has also practiced at the HIV AIDS Legal Centre at the Positive Living Centre for several years.
Monique Hanley, Director
Monique is a business strategist and project manager with multiple years’ experience on boards in the sport, health, not-for-profit and community sectors. Through her organisation — Red Frame Consulting — Monique is working in partnership with an Aboriginal consultancy on strategies to improve Aboriginal cultural safety in a variety of health and service settings. This work parallels in creating environments that feel safe for everyone; including women living with HIV.
Nicki Russell, Director
Nicki Russell is a public health professional who has worked in sexual and reproductive health, health literacy, LGBTIQ health and prevention of violence against women. She has experience in planning, policy, evaluation, communications and commissioning. Nicki is dedicated to addressing access, equity and stigma in health services to improve outcomes.
Rachel Meisner, Secretary
Rachel is a chartered accountant with 15 years of professional experience, primarily in the health sector. Rachel was drawn to health care because of her passion for reproductive rights, equitable access and health outcomes for disadvantaged and marginalised communities, and a desire to engage in meaningful work that benefits the community.
Emma Sheldon-Collins, Director
Emma passionately cares about facilitating and assisting others to achieve optimal health. As a registered nurse, she has worked with a broad range of clients throughout a range of chronic illnesses. Her area of nursing expertise excels particularly in paediatric care and in oncology.
Emma has been part of projects to support women with HIV in health literacy. She is motivated to strongly to advocate for and empower others to achieve better health outcomes. Emma is passionate about reducing HIV-related stigma, both external stigma and self-stigma.
Stephanie has been a part of Positive Women all her life. Steph has had a 17-year career as an AIDS activist where she has spoken at a UNAIDS civil society hearing and attended three international AIDS conferences. Steph has spoken alongside prominent figures, including Annie Lennox and the Crown Princess of Norway. Steph wishes to honour the past and include as many long-term survivors as possible in the organisation’s future.
Dr Kirsty Machon, Executive Officer
Kirsty has been involved with HIV-related journalism, advocacy and policy development for over 20 years. Kirsty was the first female Chair of VAC (now Thorne Harbour Health) and has worked for AFAO and NAPWHA. Kirsty has worked as a policy manager and CEO of an association representing health care professionals. As a consultant in the HIV sector, her work has been in areas including strategic planning, mental health, and HIV-related stigma.
Heather Mugwagwa, Peer Engagement & Research Coordinator
Heather’s role involves providing and facilitating tailored peer support for women living with HIV. She coordinates volunteer Peer Support Training programs, outreach group support and facilitates Phoenix Workshops for Women (in partnership with LPV). Heather’s role also involves engaging with women living with HIV from marginalised communities and diverse backgrounds to inform the strategic planning and research programs for PWV.
Melissa Iddles, Peer Support
Melissa has been a member of Positive Women since 2005. Prior to joining PWV, Melissa supported and advocated for people with disabilities. Many of the same values apply to supporting the diversity of women living with HIV: dignity, privacy and confidentiality, individual needs, fair access to services, self-determination, community engagement, human rights and freedom from abuse.