Our People

Marie Lugg

aExecutive Officer

Marie has been Executive Officer at Interchange for 6 years, building on her extensive career in supporting individuals and families at University of Melbourne, MS Australia, Wavecare and Yooralla. Marie has tertiary qualifications in Education, Special Education, Social Work, Counselling and Business Management. She feels privileged to reflect on her experience in supporting and managing a large number of staff and volunteers from a diverse background in working with families and participants to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Throughout her career, Marie has always prioritised the positive engagement and support of her clients, staff and volunteers in understanding that their wellbeing and commitment is paramount to building a healthy positive culture, be it within a home, the workplace or a community setting. Marie has always been a volunteer herself, having recently trained as a Manager Spontaneous Emergency Volunteers in times of crisis or emergency and sat on the Interchange Board  for the past 3 years.

With the advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Marie is excited to be in a position to help co-create an even more responsive and innovative organisation, well equipped and competent to support participants and families as they transition to this new framework of thinking and designing services to meet individual needs for inclusion and community participation.


Travis van den Berg

General Services Manager

Travis joined Interchange as Program Manager in November 2013. He has held Coordination and Management positions in a number of Victorian disability service providers and has worked in the sector for the last 15 years. Travis holds graduate qualifications in Management and HR and an Advanced Diploma in Disability.

“I enjoy working with our diverse range of families and people with disability. I strive to work collaboratively and respectfully, to assist people with a disability to achieve the outcomes they desire.”


Josh Brouwer

Quality and Compliance Manager

Josh began working with Interchange Inner East as a Support Worker in 2007 whilst studying his Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Since completing his degree Josh has worked for a number of disability service providers delivering support to people in the home, community and day service setting.

In 2014, Josh took on the role of coordinating and delivering ‘Xtend’ programs in a partnership between Interchange Inner East and the Onemda Association before moving on to an Operations Manager role overseeing the delivery of all recreation and 1:1 programs. In late 2018, he was appointed as Quality and Compliance Manager.

“I am passionate about delivering quality services to benefit both our participants and families with a focus on promoting inclusion and full participation in the community”


Belinda Ventrella

People & Culture Facilitator

Belinda has worked with Interchange Inner East since 2013.

In 2017 she moved into the role of Engagement and Response Facilitator. In this role Belinda respond’s to and engages with participants and families seeking support from Interchange Inner East for services and/or implementing their individualised care plans.

Belinda, now part of the People & Culture team, co-ordinates the recruitment, induction, training and HR processes of support staff to ensure a regular supply of high calibre support staff to support our clients.

“I love working somewhere that makes a great contribution to the lives of disabled youth and their families. I really enjoy all the happy faces of our participants as they return from our great activities”


Amy Plantinga

People & Culture
Amy first worked at Interchange Inner East in April 2015 as a Choice and Options Coordinator. After taking a year off following the birth of her second son she has returned on a part time basis in the People and Culture team as a Recruitment Officer.

Amy’s background includes working extensively within the Disability Employment Sector as well as Recruitment and HR functions. In this role, Amy’s main responsibility is to support the Engagement and Response team while also identifying opportunities to attract and source new support workers.

Whilst working at Interchange I have always been so impressed by the support staff and the work they do, that I am passionate about building upon a great team so that participants and families continue to have excellent respite support options”.


Jenny McDermott (on leave)

Senior Engagement and Response Facilitator

Jenny commenced with Interchange Inner East in April 2016, having previously worked as a support worker and team leader in other disability organisations for over 10 years.

Jenny has an honours degree in Social Care Practice.

Jenny is keen to help develop staff skills and areas of interest to provide a wider skill set with which to support our participants. She aims to support families and participants to provide the most up to date participant information to enhance the quality of services provided.

“I am passionate about ensuring the best possible supports are in place for participants, families and also the support staff”


Ben Gillard

Engagement and Response Facilitator

Ben joined Interchange Inner East in December 2017 as Engagement and Response Facilitator. He has worked in the disability sector for 10 years both in Australia and the UK. Ben has held various positions across the sector including, support worker, management and quality assurance. Ben qualified as a general register nurse in 2007 from the University of Nottingham. Ben is also a keen soccer player.

“Working to support participants and families to achieve their desired outcomes really drives me to come to work. I am passionate about social justice and inclusion for all people.”


Leeanne Kolmus

Team Performance Facilitator

 

Leeanne joined Interchange Inner East in November 2016 as a Family Engagement Officer to work with young people looking to have meaningful activities in the community. Leeanne’s passion is supporting families and people with a disability to live a life of their choosing wherever possible as engaged and meaningful contributors to their local community.

Leeanne has worked in the disability sector for 37 years in a range of direct support and management positions. She has experience working in and extensive knowledge of service types including accommodation, respite, outreach, attendant care and individual support arrangements. Leeanne has worked with both children and adults and people with a range of disability support needs including children diagnosed with terminal illnesses being supported in their family home. A key feature of Leeanne’s work is to work respectfully and in partnership with families, recognising the important role families play in the well-being and quality of life of their sons and daughters with a disability.

In addition to her practical experience, Leeanne also has an Advanced Diploma in Community Services Management and diplomas in Counselling and Case Management


Rachael Healey

Support Coordination Facilitator

Racheal joined Interchange as a support worker in 2014. She has provided care within both group and individualised settings.

Since completing a Bachelor of Psychology, Rachel commenced working for Interchange as a Support Planner, providing excellent support to families using Interchange Inner East’s services. She has since move into her new role as a Support Coordinator.

“I value working for an organisation that strives to provide quality services that are tailored toward our unique and diverse families”.



Vimbayi Kagonda

Support Coordinator

Vimbayi joined Interchange Inner East as a graduate Support Coordinator in July 2018. Her role as a support coordinator involves building the capacity of families and participants to navigate the NDIS.

Vimbayi has worked in a variety of projects that support the inclusion of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, identifying opportunities for meaningful engagement and developing resources that foster social participation. As a Support Coordinator, Vimbayi looks forward to working with families in understanding the NDIS and assisting them to link into a range of services and supports.

‘I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work for an organisation values the voice of families, participants and support staff’.

 


Ricky Bartolo

Support Coordinator

Ricky joined Interchange Inner East as a Support Worker in May 2018, and has enjoyed providing care for participants in a 1-1 setting, and in a group setting. He has a Bachelor of Psychology, and has volunteered with the Office of the Public Advocate as a Community Visitor. In October 2018, Ricky started working as a Support Coordinator.

“I am passionate about providing individualised support to help participants and their families to engage as much as possible with their community.”


Christine Carter

Finance Administrator

“I am privileged to be working in the Not For Profit sector where going to work can make a difference.

The passion and commitment I’ve witnessed by the staff at Interchange Inner East is a credit to them all.

I am honoured to be included in the team.”


Julian Bradley

Team Leader

Julian started at Interchange as a Support Worker in 2015 where he gained extensive experience with a wide range of clients in both individualized support and recreational programs. After completing his Bachelors of Psychology, Julian moved into the Support Planning team to enable greater influence on the supports provided to Interchange families. Now as Team Leader for the Individualized Support stream, Julian strives to maintain the highest standards for all families accessing Interchange Services.

“I always endeavor to provide the support that I would want for my own family. I think it is important not to lose sight of the little things, as it’s the little things that make big things happen. I have a passion for empowering young people to reach their potential and I feel privileged to be able to do that with Interchange on a regular basis”.


Ioanna Gagani

Positive Behaviour Support

Ioanna is a qualified psychotherapist trained in the method of psychodrama. She has been working in the disability sector, specialising in Autism, since 1999 both in schools as well as privately in Australia and in Greece. She has published articles and presented at conferences about the use of psychodrama with young Autistic children. Now living in Melbourne, Ioanna worked for a year as a Support Worker atInterchange Inner East. She is now employed by Interchange as a positive behaviour therapist.

Her new role involves providing positive behavioural support to participants presenting with behaviours of concern as well as training for caregivers and others in behaviour management strategies.  Her approach incorporates social stories and the development of behaviour support plans. Her services align with the NDIS categories of Improved Relationships and Improved Daily Living Skills.

For Ioanna every person and every family are unique so they need a unique approach with resources specifically designed for them. Working with great respect, understanding and flexibility, she aims to include the whole family in finding strategies that they can all manage as she strives to achieve positive and strength based outcomes for her clients.


Emily Allen

Active Days Facilitator

Emily started as a support worker at IIE mid-2017, and began her new role as Active Days Planner in April 2018. Emily has worked within the disability sector for over six years, starting out in early childhood intervention, then working in schools and now supporting adolescents and adults. Emily has a Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Health Science (Developmental Disabilities) as well as a Certificate lll in Early Childhood Education. Emily has experience in behavior management, mental health support, advocacy and support for families, and extensive knowledge in disability studies.

“I am so excited to be the Active Days Planner at IIE, it is such an innovative and positive program. I am passionate about using evidence-based approaches, and person-centered supports, to ensure the best outcomes for the participants and their families. I aim to influence the attitudes of mainstream community members, encouraging them to become more positive, flexible and understanding toward people with disabilities. Throughout my career I have always aimed to give people with disabilities choice and power over their own lives, and an opportunity for their voice to be heard.”


Daniel Powell

Active Days Team Leader

Daniel began working for Interchange Inner East in 2018 as a Community Mentor in the Active Days program before moving into a Team Leader role in the program.  Prior to commencing with Interchange Inner East, Daniel worked in a number of Disability support organisations around Victoria in support worker and consultancy roles.

Daniel is passionate about the meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in the community and providing high quality services to the people Interchange support.

Daniel is also the Interchange Inner East Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ambassador and works with participants and their families who identify as being indigenous.