Our people

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

Community Housing
Property Developers
Local Government

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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, Director, Leading Practice 

Jason leads projects aimed at the improvement of community housing practice, advocates on behalf of the sector in relation to legal and regulatory issues, and supports members to understand and manage tricky RTA and VCAT issues.  Jason’s work experience includes legal practice in the private and community sector and work for government as a project and area manager in the public housing system.  When he’s not working, he enjoys travelling, mountain biking, futsal and attempting to surf. 



Jess Pomeroy

Jess Pomeroy, Director, Policy and 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.



Chia Staff — Steph

Stephanie Ng, Affordable Housing Business Development

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. Despite returning to Melbourne from Tonga a couple of years ago, Stephanie is still adjusting to Melbourne winters.



Holly Mullaney

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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David McGuire, Director, Workforce Development

David is leading the establishment of CHIA Vic’s Strategic Workforce Development Unit, including the development of an Industry Workforce Development Plan to guide the unit’s work.  David comes to the Community Housing sector having worked for over 15 years in a range of learning and workforce development roles in the mental health and homelessness sectors, in Victoria and in New South Wales.



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.



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.



Lisa May, Project Coordinator & Facilitator
Lisa coordinates projects aimed at the improvement of community housing practice and facilitates training in the areas of VCAT and the Residential Tenancies Act.  Lisa has 20 years’ experience in the property industry, including front line and coordination roles in the community housing sector. Lisa has a great working knowledge of the community housing sector and the challenges that workers face every day, which ensures that the content of project policies, processes, tools, and training are relatable and relevant.
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Jarrod Allen, Partnership Development Officer
Jarrod’s role at CHIA Vic is to facilitate partnerships with aboriginal community controlled organisations, mainstream community housing providers and government to help deliver the Homes for Aboriginal Victorians Round of the Social Housing Growth Fund. He previously worked as a strategic communications advisor to the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As somewhat of a sporting tragic, you can almost always find Jarrod playing football or cricket down at the local park.

Our board

Trudi Ray, Chair

Trudi Ray, Chair

Haven: Home, Safe’s COO, 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.


Jeanette Large, Deputy Chair

Jeanette Large, Deputy Chair

Jeanette is the CEO of Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI), a not-for-profit that builds and develops affordable long-term housing for women facing homelessness. WPI believes that a secure, affordable home is the foundation for a better future.


Roberta Buchanan, Secretary

Roberta Buchanan, Secretary

Roberta is the Executive General Manager, Housing Services at Housing Choices Australia. 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 the General Manager, Housing Services, at HousingFirst. Giovanna started her career as a housing officer in the public housing sector, where she discovered a passion for championing and working toward achieving better housing outcomes for all Victorians, especially those most vulnerable and in need.


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 McNeil, 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).



Liz Thomas

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Liz Thomas, Board member

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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.


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