Our people

Find out about our team and our Board, who are committed to supporting the growth of not-for-profit community housing in Victoria


Our staff

Sarah Toohey


Sarah Toohey, Chief Executive Officer 

Sarah has more than 15 years’ experience in the housing and homelessness sector, including strategy, policy and advocacy roles with Housing Association Unison, The Council to Homeless Persons and the Victorian Council of Social Service. Sarah was also the Campaign Manager for Australians for Affordable Housing, a national campaign to increase investment in affordable housing.

Before joining CHIA Vic, Sarah was Senior Advisor to the Minister for Housing Richard Wynne, working to secure the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, the Victorian Government’s single biggest investment in social housing in the state’s history. Sarah is excited to be working with the community housing sector to deliver 4200 new homes under the Big Housing Build program and a pipeline of housing into the future.




Jason Perdriau, Deputy CEO

Jason has fifteen years’ experience in the social housing sector which has included managing community and public housing programs and leading projects to support the growth and improvement of the social housing sector. Before working in social housing, Jason practised as a solicitor in the private and community sectors, and he has an MBA, Bachelor of Laws and Diploma of Social Housing.  When he’s not working, he enjoys cooking, mountain biking, walking his dog and being in nature.


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Jess Pomeroy


Jess Pomeroy, Director, Policy & Advocacy

Jess has worked in housing policy and research for over 10 years, with stints at RMIT, AHURI and now CHIA Vic. Her work at CHIA Vic involves translating and contributing to policy development across the wide range of issues facing the community housing sector; imagining and then managing projects; and actively engaging with members and other key stakeholders. An avid reader Jess enjoys reading housing policy by day and young adult novels by night.



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Robin Zakharov2

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Robin Zakharov, Director Workforce
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Robin is a highly experienced senior leader with deep expertise in housing policy, research, program management and implementation across government and non-government sectors. Robin has worked in the social and affordable housing sectors for most of her career, as well as in the disability services sector. Robin is keen to support the Community Housing industry in Victoria to develop and grow through supporting an effective workforce which delivers excellent services.
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Emma Miller 8


Emma Miller, Communications Manager
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Emma has more than 20 years’ experience in communications, including at the University of Melbourne, Tourism Victoria, RMIT, as well as not-for-profit family violence organisation Women’s Legal Service Victoria. Her earlier journalistic career saw her work at the Herald Sun, The Age, Channel Nine and Leader Newspapers.

At CHIA Vic, Emma provides strategic communications support for our team across the policy, advocacy, media and engagement spaces, works directly with our members, and tackles less exciting projects like the annual report.


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Stephanie Ng 10


Stephanie Ng, Policy Officer

Stephanie works with our members, local councils and developers to uncover partnership opportunities to deliver more affordable housing, and build an understanding of the community housing sector. Stephanie has worked in the not-for-profit sector on projects in Tonga, Solomon Islands and Australia. Prior to this, she worked as an engineer in the private sector for six years. 


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Holly Mullaney 3
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Holly Mullaney, Business & Development

Holly coordinates CHIA Vic’s Business Development Program and facilitates all our conferences and other events, as well as staging a wide range of training programs for members. Holly’s background is in training and enterprise development and her role is pivotal in sourcing and developing links with the private sector, the broader community sector, and government.  Holly is fluent in Vietnamese and Korean.


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Kathleen Close 5

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Kathleen Close, Project Coordinator, Leading Practice

Kathleen has over a decade’s experience in the social housing sector which has included managing teams, quality assurance, project management and working across the sector on the implementation of the Victorian Housing Register. Kathleen’s work focuses on helping our members continually improve the quality, efficiency and impact of services for renters.

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Alex T
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Alex Trudzik, Policy Officer


Alex works on policy development that promotes the growth and strengthening of the community housing sector. His role involves working closely with members, government, and other stakeholders to develop and then advocate for the positions that are important to the sector. Alex comes to CHIA Vic having worked as a policy adviser to the Minister for Housing. Outside of work Alex is a keen home cook and invariably has sport of some form going on the tv.


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Jordan Heaney 10
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Jordan Heaney, Project Coordinator, Workforce

Jordan has experience across the private and community housing sectors, including long-term and transitional housing management, leading teams, and project delivery.  She’s passionate about enabling a strong and sustainable community housing sector and her role involves delivery of CHIA Vic’s Workforce Strategy. Outside of work, Jordan is an avid baker and aspiring gardener.


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CHIA Staff — Eggie

Eggie Jadamba, Project Worker

Eggie brings strong administrative skills and a willingness to tackle just about anything to provide support to the team at CHIA Vic. Previously, Eggie worked as a Business Support Officer at Red Cross Australia, providing financial and housing services to people seeking asylum. When she is not working, Eggie’s weekends are filled with kids’ birthday parties and travelling.

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Chia Staff — Bernie

Bernie Fernando, Bookkeeper

Bernie has over 20 years’ experience in the finance industry. Having worked in several large corporations in senior accounting roles, she has recently decided to venture out on her own, and is a sub-contractor at CHIA Vic. In her spare time Bernie likes to travel, cook, tend to her roses and knit.


Our board


Trudi Ray 11

Trudi Ray, Chair

Haven: Home, Safe’s CEO, Trudi Ray is responsible for growing and managing her organisation’s services and portfolio across the northern and south eastern suburbs of Melbourne and expanding HHS’s footprint in the Barwon South West Region.



Liz Thomas
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Liz Thomas, Deputy Chair

Liz Thomas is the Managing Director of Common Equity Housing Ltd and has been involved in the community housing sector since 2008. Liz brings extensive practical Director experience and a sound working knowledge of corporate governance, gained in more than 20 years as a Company Director.


Roberta Buchanan, Secretary

Roberta Buchanan, Secretary

Roberta is the Chief Executive Officer at Women’s Property Initiatives. Roberta has over 18 years’ experience in senior roles in the community service sector in the UK and Australia.


Michael Deschepper, Treasurer

Michael Deschepper, Treasurer

Michael is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Wintringham, a not-for-profit organisation employing over 850 people to provide an extensive range of high-quality housing, aged care and support services to elderly men and women who are homeless, or are at risk of homelessness.


Giovanna Savini, Bm

Giovanna Savini, Board member

Giovanna is engaged as Executive Officer of Merri-bek Affordable Housing via her company Guild Management, which provides project consultancy, strata management and placemaking services.

After 30 years in the housing sector across service delivery and asset management roles, she remains passionate about housing and community.


James King, Bm

James King, Board member & CHIA National representative

James is the Chief Executive Officer of Unison Housing and has extensive experience in property development and construction for both the residential and commercial sector.


Chris Karagianis, Bm

Chris Karagianis, Board member

Chris is the CEO of Salvation Army Housing and has a proven track record in the public and private sectors, including a listed Australian property group and the not-for-profit sector. Chris has also been an executive team member for one of Australia’s largest aged care providers, Benetas.


Grant Mcneil, Bm

Grant McNeill, Board member

Grant is the State Manager for Community Housing (Vic) Ltd and has more than 30 years’ experience in the community housing sector in service delivery, management and policy and research roles. He has a Masters’ degree in social sciences, housing policy and management.


Darren Smith, Bm

Darren Smith, Board member

Darren is the CEO of Aboriginal Housing Victoria and a proud Palawa Trowerna man from the Pyemairrenner mob in Tasmania, which includes Trawlwoolway and Plairmairrenner and related clans. Darren has diverse academic qualifications, including an Executive Masters of Public Administration, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Engineering (Civil).

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David Sch
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David Schreuder, Board member


David has extensive legal, regulatory and compliance experience across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors both in Australia and the United Kingdom. David has undertaken a range of executive roles in the Victorian Public Service over the past several years, including leading the Housing Registrar and performing the statutory appointment of Registrar of Housing Agencies. David has significant corporate governance experience and has been a director on not-for-profit boards for the past 10 years.


Andrew Chittenden
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Andrew Chittenden, Board Member

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Andrew brings extensive financial management experience, notably as CFO at BeyondHousing. With a background in nonprofit governance and construction, he’s committed to advancing affordable housing initiatives and improving outcomes for regional Victorians.

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