Shelley WatsonPA to CEO/Administration
Kristen RodicNetwork Manager
Veronica BurkinPeer Network Advisor
Karen ReidPeer Network Advisor/Communications Officer
Paula ElliottNetwork Manager
Karen NashPeer Network Advisor
Hannah MaddrellPeer Network Advisor
Chloe GrantPeer Network Advisor/Specialist Support Coordinator
Craig RobbNetwork Advisor
Donna PoolePeer Network Advisor
Shelley WatsonPA to CEO/Administration 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 Manager 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.
Karen ReidPeer Network Advisor/Communications Officer Contact
My family and I engaged Valued Lives to help us in the process of planning a more independent future for my daughter and to rebalance the family dynamic from only being Carers. I have been inspired by the level of respect, support and resourcefulness Valued Lives has shown us in this planning process for our future lives. I was delighted to then be asked by our CEO to bring my PR/Media/Marketing skills to the Valued Lives table in order to help develop a real market presence for, what I believe to be, an organisation of prime importance for vulnerable people and their families/supporters.”
Karen Reid joined the Valued Lives team in 2013, bringing her experience in Marketing, Media, PR and Communications to help create a market presence, build a new website and develop marketing collateral.
As an Editor, Freelance Writer and the Author of two Blogs, Karen uses her communication skills to be a voice for Valued Lives and its vision for the future. In her previous positions Karen has worked in Public Relations and Marketing within the University and Education Sector, both here and overseas, and was Community Partnership Coordinator in a non-profit organisation that helps the homeless and vulnerable within the community.
Karen’s wealth of experience, coupled with a deep sensitivity and personal understanding towards those in need of support and planning to live their best lives, sees her passion for communicating Valued Lives’ message to the West Australian community as paramount.
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 Advisor Contact
Karen joined the Valued Lives team in 2016 as one of our Peer Support Advisors.
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.
Chloe GrantPeer Network Advisor/Specialist Support Coordinator Contact
Chloe joined Valued Lives in 2018, excited to find an organisation that aligned with her strong sense of social justice and passion for maximising opportunities for individuals with a disability.
As a qualified Social Worker with years of experience working in the disability not-for-profit sector, Chloe is eager to work alongside individuals and their supporters to creatively support their goals and aspirations.
Chloe is also a qualified Trainer/Assessor and enjoys sharing her knowledge in areas such as person-centred active support, disability and sexuality and protective behaviours.
Having grown up with a sibling with a disability, Chloe can empathise with the challenges faced by individuals as well as carers when typical service models do not meet the needs of the individual or family. Valued Lives provides an alternative, person-driven model of working in partnership with people with disability, that focuses on relationship building.
Craig RobbNetwork Advisor Contact
Craig joined the Valued Lives’ team in November 2017.
“The values of this organisation, its Team and Board members are what I strongly believe in. I have worked in the disability sector for the last 29 years – 25 years with a DES provider and the last 3+ years I worked independently as a mentor.”
Craig was drawn to work with Valued Lives, in particular, because of their values around ensuring people with disability are helped to live their own lives with support to achieve their own goals and aspirations.
With skills in the areas of mentoring and a special interest in empowering people to live their best lives, Craig believes in using positive encouragement and reinforcement to enable the people he supports to make their own choices, to be in control of their own supports and services and to live their best life.
A family man and father of two, Craig brings his values, honesty and respect for those with a disability to his Peer Network Advisor role. Outside of work Craig has an interest in horse-racing and would one day dearly love to own a Group One winner!
Donna PoolePeer Network Advisor Contact
Donna recently came on board with Valued Lives, joining the team as a Peer Network Advisor in March 2018.
With over 25 years’ experience in the disability field, Donna has worked extensively with children, adults and their families. Working as an Inclusion Support Facilitator for many years, she assisted many children with complex and challenging needs to access mainstream childcare services.
Donna was also a member of a team that established an innovative new service to provide a vacation care service for teenagers with disabilities (TeenSpirit) when Commonwealth funding in childcare ceased and has held positions in the Down Syndrome Association and Early Childhood Intervention Australia (WA Chapter).”
As a mother of three, including a 33-year-old son with Down syndrome, Donna is a strong advocate for inclusion.
“I am looking forward to effectively empowering people to realise their own strengths, resilience and capacities, to enable them to make their own decisions, to make choices about their lives and to exercise control over things that are important to them.
I am proud to be working with Valued Lives as a Peer Network Advisor, and I am inspired by the many microenterprises that have been implemented with their support.”
Donna is a qualified nurse with experience in the areas of disability and childcare and more recently achieved her qualification as a Counsellor from the University of Notre Dame.