Meet Our Executive
Team and Board
Led by an Executive Team and Board of passionate individuals and family members with a wealth of knowledge and lived experience of disability and mental health issues, we aim to be a transparent and innovative organisation that exists to promote our collective vision to be flexible and responsive to your needs in your community.
Our Executive Team is made up of Chief Executive Officer, Jane Forward, Network Operational Manager, Gavin Pitman, People and Cultures Manager, Renee Cass and General Manager – Finance, Alison Leonard. With combined experience and knowledge of the social sector, Valued Lives is in great hands as our Executive Team leads Valued Lives’ continued growth and development as a world class, values-based organisation, recognised for its ground-breaking work in empowering people to have real choice and control over their supports and services.
Chief Executive Officer
Jane joined Valued Lives in 2021 as CEO. Jane is a highly skilled and dynamic community service leader, with more than 25 years in social services management in Australia and overseas.
Prior to joining Valued Lives, Jane was the founder and director of her own consulting business, empowering organisations and their staff to advance their social impact. Jane is highly recognised and sought after for her work in leading co-design initiatives, award-winning innovation and new approaches to service delivery. Her expertise has seen her sit on numerous boards and executive teams, where her deep understanding of partnership models, strategic planning and community engagement has helped leverage and implement change.
Previous to the establishment of her consultancy business, Jane was the Acting Chief Executive Officer at Youth Focus, supporting the Board and Executive to deliver on its growth agenda and improved outcomes. She was the key lead in the development of Youth Focus’ three-year strategic plans and established Headspace Midland, as well as numerous key state and national partnerships. Jane also served as a respected and key spokesperson and advocate for youth mental health issues.
A vibrant and dynamic leader, Jane continues to take Valued Lives from strength to strength with her creative approach and extensive experience and knowledge in the not-for-profit services industry.
Network Operational Manager
“At Valued Lives we put people at the centre of everything we do, supporting them to have choice and control over their lives and to be included in their communities”.
Gavin’s 30 years’ experience working in human services, commenced after graduating with a Bachelor of Psychology, embarking on his career working within community organisations providing support to Aboriginal youth and families.
Through this work Gavin was introduced to the then Disability Services Commission’s Local Area Coordination program. Gavin commenced work as a Local Area Coordinator, subsequently moving into supervisory and management roles. He was involved in the implementation of the WA National Disability Insurance Scheme, then moving into the position of Manager, Operational Support and Development.
General Manager Finance
Allison joined Valued Lives in March 2022. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in business and is a Fellow of CPA Australia with over 20 years’ experience in senior and executive roles in the not-for-profit sector.
In previous roles, Allison’s portfolios have encompassed finance, IT, human resources, WHS, facilities, quality, compliance and risk. She also holds multiple Board Treasurer roles for small to medium not-for-profits and is a member of the WACOSS Finance Committee.
People and Culture Manager
Renee is passionate about people being at the centre of their life decisions and for every person to be seen as unique and valuable contributors to the wider community.
Renee joined Valued Lives in March 2022 as the People and Culture Manager. Renee has graduated from Murdoch University with a master’s in human resources management in 2007 and has since worked in the Social Services Sector. Renee spent most of her time working for Centre Care and Parkerville Children and Youth Care where she led high performing, multi-disciplinary teams to deliver on strategic and business goals for diverse and geographically dispersed workforce.
Renee brings to the role at Valued Lives a wealth of experience in establishing Human Resources and Work Health and Safety frameworks for organisations. Her experience also comprises of tender writing, scoping, and implementing HRIS systems, developing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Work Health and Safety and Human Resources legislation. Deriving actionable outcomes from workforce data and achieving successful outcomes on big projects including compliance with Family and Relationship standards, SAI Global standards and Child Safe standards and Reconciliation Action Plans.
Renee looks forward to being part of Valued Lives Foundation and working to create a culture where every person feels valued, trusted and accepted.
Valued Lives’ Board
Our Board is responsible for the long-term success and sustainability of Valued Lives, ensuring continued benefit for our participants, now and into the future. It does this by providing clear leadership in setting strategy and by overseeing management’s implementation of strategy within an effective governance structure, ensuring Valued Lives’ culture is aligned to our purpose, values and strategy.
Dr. Rita Kleinfeld-Fowell
Rita practices as a Supervising Lawyer and a member of the Law Society of Western Australia. Rita works in a large Community Law Centre in Midland where she is a specialist in Disability Discrimination, Human Rights and applications to state administrative tribunals. Rita has experience managing Community Services and previously worked at a Community and Outreach Law Centre in Liverpool – with its specialisms in Disability, Housing, Employment, Community Care and Consumer Law. Furthermore, Rita has a substantial legal and practical understanding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, having worked as a Senior Planner / Coordinator from January 2015 to September 2018.
Rita has lived experience with Disability from being a Deafblind Person and an NDIS participant with a Guide Dog. Since birth, she has had hearing loss and has been registered blind since her early twenties – being formally diagnosed with Usher Syndrome. She is the Chair of Deafblind West Australians.
Kunal was appointed to the Board in August of 2014.
Kunal brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the board on corporate and governance matters.
Kunal is a senior lawyer in Western Australia and has acted as a legal advisor to several organisations – ranging from emerging companies to numerous ASX-listed entities. In addition to being a highly regarded board member for Valued Lives, Kunal has also acted as a board member and legal advisor for various other not-for profit charities and organisations in Western Australia (UWA), assisting these social enterprises to achieve their corporate objectives in an ethical manner.
Mark is a retired secondary school teacher, and joined the Valued Lives Foundation Board to make a difference. As a father of an adult child with Global Development Delay, Epilepsy, Autism and Intellectual Disability a disability, he brings with him firsthand experience of accessing support services.
Mark brings a range of experiences in the disability sector including:
- Vice President of Kids’ Camp Inc – Organising camps for children with intellectual disabilities
- Chairman of the Board, Kensington Secondary School – An Independent Public School, Caring and Educating special needs students
- Caddy for members of the Blind Golfers Association – including the Blind Golfers Australian Masters Tournament. Having caddied for the world number 1 male and female players
- Finance Officer for the Inspired Minds Australia Foundation – assisting people suffering from a large variety of neurological conditions
In Mark’s spare time his interests include:
- Long distance cross-country hiking
- Looking after his 5-acre property and animals
- Competition golfing twice a week
Michael Serjeant is an independent board member and a passionate inclusion and disability advocate.
With lived experience as a father of a daughter with an acquired brain injury, Michael brings valuable insight to our board regarding the complexities and difficulties that individuals with disability and their families confront on their journey to live a typical life.
In addition to contributing as an active board member at Valued Lives, Michael is the scribe and assists the facilitator for the Perth Hills Peer-to-Peer Network – providing NDIS help and support for individuals, carers and families. The Perth Hills Peer-to-Peer Network is a place for people in the community to share their knowledge and experience of living with disability and the NDIS.
Michael has also volunteered as a committee member on the City of Kalamunda “Disability and Carers Advisory Committee” (DACAC) for a number of years. Being on this committee, Mike’s lived experience provides some insight into the difficulties that parents, carers and disabled people have trying to live a normal family life.
Phil Bird has been an active member of the Valued Lives board since November 2018. He has lived experience as both an individual living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the father of a 19-year-old son on the autism spectrum.
With decades of experience in the insurance industry, Phil has been operating as a qualified insurance broker since 1994 and is currently the director of his own business – Sheffield Insurance Services – based in Perth, Western Australia.
Richard Foo has been a board member of Valued Lives Foundation for three years. Richard was acknowledged for his campaign work in advocating with the Disability Support Commission and negotiation with bus service providers to provide a replacement transport service for Activ Support Employees, when Activ Foundation announced the impending termination of their transport service.
His interest in caring for people with a disability stemmed from his brother becoming brain injured at a very young age and as an adult, Richard took over the role of his brother’s care and is acutely aware of the needs and idiosyncrasies which have to be met to make for a fulfilling life in such circumstances.
With over 40 years’ experience in the corporate and commercial sector, working across multiple industries, he brings valued expertise to the organisation in accounting, IT and business management.
Bec Hocking is a passionate disability rights advocate who joined the board at Valued Lives in November 2016. Bec has lived experience as an individual with autism and intellectual challenges and provides the board with articulate and valuable insight, giving a voice to young people with disability.
Bec has worked for the past 6 months as a support worker for My Supports, after a break from employment due to mental health concerns. Bec’s hard work and recovery have enabled her to provide supports to people like herself. Bec’s passion is supporting young women, teenagers and children with Autism, however, she also has a passion for helping people, like her father, who live in aged care facilities.
Bec has a flare for public speaking; in the past she has been a guest speaker for the Disability Services Commission, was awarded Toastmaster of Year in 2016, has been a volunteer at the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability and a co-facilitator at the 2017 Youth Disability Forum. This year Bec joined her local Lion’s Club, being officially inducted as a new member. This represents the great outcomes of all Bec’s hard work in recovering from her mental health concerns.