Shelley WatsonSupport Coordinator
Kristen RodicNetwork Advisor
Veronica BurkinPeer Network Advisor
Amanda ReedPeer Network Coordinator
Paula ElliottNetwork Manager
Karen NashPeer Network Coordinator
Marg McGuinessNetwork Manager
Kate BurtonNetwork Manager
Shelley WatsonSupport Coordinator Contact
“Valued Lives inspires me to support other families living with disability to think about possibilities for the future.”
Shelley Watson is the Board Secretary and Projects/Administration Support Coordinator at Valued Lives. She also currently acts in roles including PA to the CEO and managing the Valued Lives website, social media content and other media inquiries.
With a keen sense of social justice, as demonstrated in her past roles as a paralegal and in UnionsWA, Shelley is a passionate inclusion and disability advocate and is inspired to support other individuals and families to think about the possibilities for their future.
With lived experience as a mother of a son with an acquired brain injury, Shelley brings valuable insight to our Board regarding the complexities and difficulties that individuals living with disability and their families confront on their journey to live a normal and rewarding life.
In addition to her multiple roles at Valued Lives, Shelley is also the administrator for the Bayswater/Bassendean Peer-To-Peer Support Network – an innovative, inclusive and grassroots movement that provides help and support to individuals, carers and families entering the NDIS and seeks to assist them in their preparation and journey through the NDIS scheme rollout in Western Australia.
Kristen RodicNetwork Advisor Contact
Kristen has been with Valued Lives since November 2015, bringing with her many years of experience across the disability and education sectors.
Kristen is a mother and an experienced educator, having worked as a teacher and administrator for the Department of Education in both primary and secondary schools across regional and metropolitan areas. In all these roles, Kristen worked tirelessly to support students living with a disability and their families across a range of settings, assisting them in striving to reach their full potential.
Kristen was drawn to the holistic nature of Local Area Coordination and joined the Disability Services Commission as an LAC in the South West region in 2008 before relocating to Perth. In 2011, Kristen was appointed to the role of Area Manager, providing leadership and guidance to the Rockingham LAC team.
In addition, Kristen is also a qualified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and massage therapist.
Veronica BurkinPeer Network Advisor Contact
“The Valued Lives Foundation has a strong focus on family leadership and the power of peer support and is committed to inclusive, welcoming communities for all people.”
As a mother of three – including a 31-year-old daughter with a disability – Veronica (Ronnie) is a strong disability advocate who brings passion to her current role as our Peer Network Advisor / Support Coordinator at Valued Lives.
With skills in the areas of public speaking, self-management and a special interest in inclusion, personal empowerment and encouraging active participation in all areas of community life, Ronnie began her journey with us as a My Way Coordinator in the Midland area in May 2013.
Ronnie brings personal experience and industry knowledge to the Valued Lives table, with a résumé that includes various roles within community outreach and other not‑for-profit agencies – including MIDLAS (Midland information, Debt and Legal Advocacy Service), Rise Network (formerly Hills Community Support Group) and Carers WA.
In addition, Ronnie is also the former Secretary and Board member for the Foundation of Social Inclusion, a founding Board member of Planned Individual Networks and has also acted as a Carer Representative for the Disability Services Commission Quality Management and Framework Reference Group.
Amanda ReedPeer Network Coordinator Contact
“Every child deserves to have quality of life and to be given every opportunity to develop their skills, to be shown love and respect, and to be nurtured. This right extends into a person’s adult life and this is where supported decision making and advocacy is often required.”
Mother of one, Amanda Reed, has lived experience parenting a child with multiple disabilities and in a professional capacity within the inclusion support area. As a highly qualified and experienced Community Services training specialist, Amanda holds qualifications in Community Services (Childcare, Youth Work, Aged Care, Disabilities and Management) and has extensive experience in Childcare Training and Assessment.
Amanda’s passion is to see children grow and flourish in safe environments that nourish their abilities through engaging activities and to assist people living with disability to live an inclusive life and enjoy as many opportunities as possible.
As a Peer Support Worker, Amanda enjoys teaming up with individuals and families to support them in holistic planning strategies to develop their independence, help them to engage with the community and to be self-directed in their lifestyle choices.
Amanda supports people by researching opportunities in alignment with the person-centred plan to enable supported decision making; advising what is available and the ways of achieving individual desires through learning and sharing; helping people to think outside the square so they may overcome barriers and encourages people to take on new challenges.
Amanda’s shining light is her creativity, enthusiastic approach and her ability to help people embrace new challenges through the development of new skills that add value and promote new thinking about their life opportunities.
Rittika MalhotraBookkeeper Contact
With experience in financial analysis, reporting, management accounting and budgeting, Rittika has worked for various State and Federal government departments as well as in‑house for various ASX listed companies.
A qualified Chartered Accountant, Rittika has completed a double degree in Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting.
Paula ElliottNetwork Manager Contact
“I am a strong believer in family leadership and look forward to being involved with individuals and families on their own journey while supporting them to develop their strengths and skills.”
Paula Elliott, Network Manager since September 2015, brings with her extensive professional and lived experience as a passionate disability advocate and peer support networker to the team at Valued Lives.
When Paula started her journey into motherhood, she was excited about the future for her two young boys – she could see their potential and felt that the world really was their oyster. However, when her son Marcus was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and autism, Paula suddenly felt dismayed at the thought of just how different his life would be to his brother’s merely because of the label that he had received.
Inspired by the fierce belief that Marcus should have access to the same opportunities in life as other children, Paula embarked on a passionate campaign to ensure Marcus could attend the local primary school and Marcus became one of the first children with an intellectual disability to attend his local school!
This significant personal victory inspired Paula to start a family support group, striving to mentor other parents through the same process and, through this community work, Paula was soon provided with the opportunity to join the Disability Services Commission as a Local Area Coordinator.
Paula continued to work in some capacity with DSC for the next twelve years, acting in various roles including as a Local Area Coordinator, My Way Coordinator, Supervisor and Area Manager. Prior to leaving DSC Paula worked on a project developing alternate pathways to the combined application process and supporting and mentoring individuals and families to access funding that was responsive to their immediate needs.
With her skills in government, community development, not-for-profit research, operational planning and project management and inspired by the Values Lives mission to uphold the values of inclusion, relationships and contribution, Paula is excited to continue her journey with us as Network Manager at Valued Lives.
Karen NashPeer Network Coordinator Contact
Karen joined the Valued Lives team in 2016 as one of our Peer Support Coordinators.
With experience gained in human resources while owning businesses in the mining sector, Karen is able to offer practicable and beneficial solutions for the individuals of Valued Lives.
In 2007, whilst working in the family business and managing a busy household, Karen set up the Australian Jewellery For a Cause – a not-for-profit business aiding disadvantaged girls in the third world. She later volunteered as a Counsellor at The Esther Foundation, an award winning young women’s residential health, development and leadership program based in South Perth.
Karen understands the needs for real time, everyday support as she guides her adult daughter with Autism Spectrum Disorder through her daily life. In 2014 she worked with one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit, autism-specific service providers. The following year she was engaged as a voluntary Counsellor for the South Metro Community Alcohol and Drug Service in Rockingham.
Before joining Valued Lives, Karen was part of the team at Oz Harvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity which collects quality surplus food and distributes it to people in need.
Karen holds a Bachelor of Counselling from the University of Notre Dame.
Marg McGuinessNetwork Manager Contact
Marg has been on board with Valued Lives in the position of Network Manager, since December 2016. She brings to the position extensive skills and experience in the human services sector as well as direct experience as an informal stakeholder in the lives of various people with disabilities.
Marg has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies and professional qualifications in Social Work. She has worked primarily in the disability and child and family welfare sectors, both in Australia and overseas. Most recently she has worked in the People with Exceptionally Complex Needs (PECN) Project, an across government response to people who are particularly marginalised.
Marg has, over many years, been educated by people with disabilities and their families about their priorities. She understands the need for formal and informal supports to be responsive, individualised and integrated, which is part of the Valued Lives package.
Kate BurtonNetwork Manager Contact
Kate started as a volunteer with Valued Lives in 2015 and now works as one of the team’s Network Managers, bringing with her many years of experience from the community development and disability sector.
Prior to this, Kate worked for 10 years in the UK alongside people, families and their supporters. She also assisted brothers and sisters to set up their own sibling support groups in Yorkshire.
Following a move to WA in 1999, Kate worked in local government community development roles in Perth. She championed for better access and inclusion opportunities in local communities, before returning to work with people and families again, as a Local Area Coordinator.
Kate still enjoys working out good questions to ask, that stimulate conversations and lead to people living great lives. Kate also enjoys continuing to discover WA’s natural and cultural heritage.