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Welcome to
Valued Lives.

Valued Lives was established by a group of families, who were dissatisfied with the status quo, and aspired for a more inclusive future for their children with intellectual and developmental disability.  Ten years on, the organisation has earned a reputation for being at the forefront of partnering with families to make real individualised home arrangements, creating pathways to fulfilling community employment,  raising the voice of disability and genuine choice and control through peer connection and capacity building activity.

We are a dynamic and innovative organisation centered around the voice of disability and social inclusion.  We work in partnership with individuals, families and communities to enable inclusion and valued roles. 

Our flexible supports and services are individually tailored to deliver on your needs, aspiration and goals. 

All that we do at Valued Lives is driven by three core principles:



You’re in the driver’s seat

We support people to be the authors of their own lives, and to have choice and control of their own supports and services.

Inclusion Matters

We promote and facilitate good citizenship and social inclusion.

Together We're Better

We connect with individuals, families and communities to achieve goals and aspirations.

Nothing About You Without You

Our constitution ensures that 75% of our Board of Directors are people with disability or family members of people with disability.  We believe that it is this personal experience of disability married with solid governance capability that ensures we are a well-run and sustainable organisation.

The voice of disability is further amplified by our Independent Disability Inclusion Panel. 

Meet Our Board

Dr. Rita Kleinfeld-Fowell
(She/Her) Chairperson

Legally deaf and blind, Rita is an inspiration to many. As a young child, she and her mother fought to attend mainstream schooling. From that point on, Rita didn’t perceive herself as different, “unique yes, but not different.”

After leaving school, Rita took an administrative apprenticeship, taking advantage of a government initiative to support more people with disabilities in attending university. Graduating with a first-class law degree, Rita entered commercial practice, had a family, was awarded a doctorate and eventually migrated to Australia.

Rita loves living in Australia, but notes that migration was not easy. “The individualised supports I had been used to in the UK were simply not available when I arrived.” Rather than going back into law, Rita worked as a Support Coordinator because she wanted to drive change from the ground up. “Once the NDIS rolled out, it was easier for me to get a support package, and I am now working in private/commercial law as a Senior Solicitor at Tom & Co Legal. With my current job, I am really fortunate, as the practice is owned by Tom Monks, who also lives with a disability, and he supports me in my endeavours to drive change in how people perceive people with disabilities.”

Rita feels honoured to be the Valued Lives Chair due to the organisation’s unwavering commitment to seeing people with disabilities working in open employment and living a life of their choosing. “What makes a person purposeful are how they connect, be it through work, family, friends and/or community connection. For many people from my community, this is defined and I can’t say enough how important these things are and commend Valued Lives in its endeavours to create an inclusive world.”

Cole Vindevoghel
(He/Him) Board Member

A Singaporean-born Canadian who has lived and worked in North America, Southeast Asia, India and Europe, Cole came to Australia in 2006 and joined the Valued Lives Board in 2023.

Cole graduated with a Bachelor of Management in Human Resources, Industrial Relations and Management Information Systems from Lethbridge, Canada. He said, ‘it was during a project working in India, that I earned my PMBA (Project Management by Accident) degree, specialising in delivering Human Resource Information Systems, payroll implementation and outsourcing solutions. The rest is history.’ His travels took him to Malaysia and India before finally settling in Perth in 2006.

Cole is a technology and project management leader with experience spanning IT, engagement and project/program delivery. His focus has been on driving change, project governance, strategy, process improvement and standardising business systems to improve performance.

Growing up, Cole always sought the best in situations and believes in the value and dignity of having a meaningful role in society, creating valued lives. This is why Cole is passionate about supporting those with disabilities to live their best lives and achieve valued roles for themselves, regardless of the form it takes. He says: ‘I am excited to be part of the Valued Lives board because Valued Lives provides real opportunities for people living with disabilities to achieve valued lives. I look forward to supporting our organisation, participants and stakeholders in making a difference in the lives of those living with disabilities.”

Jane Forward

(She/Her) Chief Executive Officer

Jane has worked in human services for the last three decades and is a family member of a person with disability. Driven by her passion for human rights and fostering community connection, Jane joined Valued Lives as CEO in 2021.

Jane is proud to lead such a highly committed and passionate workforce, who place participants at the centre of all that Valued Lives does.  She is focused on strengthening VLF’s co-design capability and was responsible for establishing the Valued Lives Disability Advisory Panel, ensuring that the voice of disability is elevated, celebrated and informs Valued Lives’ future direction. Jane continues to ensure that Valued Lives supports are designed and led by participants.

Jane holds qualification in Social Work, Management and Governance and is a member of the NDS State Committee.




Colin Twist
(He/Him) Board Member

Colin is a dedicated father to a young man with Autism. Following diagnosis, the family have ensured that every opportunity possible would be explored for their son. This pursuit unveiled the complexities and inherent challenges of accessing support systems. An advocate of mainstream integration, Colin champions continual upskilling and patience necessary for navigating convoluted support processes.

His son’s achievements, including completing schooling, attaining a driver’s license, earning a Certificate IV in Cyber Security, independent living and securing a government job, stand as an incredible reflection of the family’s persistent support, helping their son in living a life filled with purpose, control and success.

Following deployments to Papua New Guinea and years as a first responder, Colin returned home with severe P.T.S.D. While the condition posed significant challenges, it also unveiled unexpected opportunities. Shifting from operational work to Cyber Security uncovered an immense new career path. With an M.B.A specialising in Cyber Security nearly completed, Colin has lectured at TAFE, been invited as a Visiting Research Associate at Curtin University and earned two scholarships along with several academic awards.

With extensive global business experience across various sectors, including government, defence, law enforcement, aviation, power generation, logistics and cyber security, Colin is known for his service-oriented approach with a focus on sustainability, client engagement and commercial success. Colin says, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what journey you’ve had to date; setting meaningful goals and then achieving them brings fulfillment and encouragement to live our best life.”

Ross Kyrwood
(He/Him) Board Member

Ross has worked in the Human Services sector for more than 35 years. He has held many roles starting as a youth worker and ending in roles as CEO. Ross joined the Valued Lives Board in 2024.

Ross holds a Master’s in Leadership and Management from Curtin Business School which helped provide the theoretical tools to the many lessons learnt through a long career. Ross believes in ethical and accountable leadership and has a strong appetite for innovation, collective leadership and an impact approach to continuous improvement.
Ross has two passions: being providing environments for people to be the best version of themselves and helping organisations that provide these environments to maximise their impact. Being a director of Valued Lives gives Ross the opportunity to see both of these passions realised.
Ross is most looking forward to ensuring that Valued Lives provides the appropriate opportunities through person centred support design, ensuring individuals fully participate as citizens in an inclusive world so that each person achieves their goals and aspirations.
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Disability Inclusion Panel

The Valued Lives Inclusion Panel offers the voice of lived experience to the VLF Board and Leadership Team.  The Panel plays a significant role in guiding VLF’s capacity building services – Empowered Connections.  The Panel upholds VLF’s commitment in ensuring that all supports and services are peer-led and guided by the voice of disability.

Strategic Plan

2023 - 2025

Click on the strategic plan images to open an accessible version

2023 Annual Report

Download the 2023 Annual Report here.

Insider Info Booklet

A guided template for family members and carers to record useful information.

Welcome Pack

Information for the individuals we support, their families and the disability community.


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A monthly email for individuals, families and communities to enable inclusion and valued roles.