Living Positive Victoria Staff
Chief Executive Officer
Peer Support Manager
Senior Policy and Research Officer
Business Support Manager
Cristian Cortes Garzon
Business Support Officer
Senior Communications Officer
Speakers Bureau Co-ordinator
Health Promotion Officer
Health Promotion Officer
Health Promotion Officer
Community Engagement Officer
Board of Directors
Craig A Brennan
Michele trained as an intensive care nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and completed an MBA at Monash University and has worked in healthcare and pharmaceuticals for over 20 years.
Michele’s expertise covers the following key areas:
Strategy; development of initiatives (patient outcomes, pathways and clinical trials); strong access, policy and advocacy; creating evidence-based interventions including digital solutions; global public health; government affairs; corporate communications and driving Partnerships and Collaborations.
Passionate about healthcare for their whole career, Michele has worked in pharma since 2003, and worked for ViiV Healthcare (a specialist HIV company) for over 10 years in Australia, US, and UK. Michele is currently an independent consultant working in healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Living Positive Victoria is their first board appointment and Michele is thrilled to have this opportunity. Michele is a staunch advocate for PLHIV. As people are now living longer, their passion is to ensure that they are living well with HIV and having the means to do so. Michele believes in diversity, human rights and living a life that is free of stigma and discrimination. Another passion is that Australia has done extremely well in reducing the number of new infections and transmission of HIV which is testament to the power and unity of the community, bipartisan government support and the tireless research and clinical efforts of the healthcare community. However, with this success is the concern that the government feels that the ‘job is done’ and that we no longer require to invest in the same levels of funding and research into this area. Michele believes that although significant progress has been made, we need to vigilant in promoting and advocating for the rights of the community and PLHIV to ensure that adequate funding, infrastructure and support is continued. HIV is not eliminated and the job is not yet done.
Michele is married to Pete (husband) and they are passionate travellers and love learning about new cultures and history. One day they would like to retire to the beach and have a veggie patch, and maybe even with a goat or chicken or two!
As Living Positive Victoria’s treasurer, Matt does more than punch out digits. With over 10 years accounting experience he’s a self-proclaimed un-accountant-ey human, obsessed with putting numbers and business smarts to their best use. Matt thinks in figures and speaks in plain English, a quality that draws businesses and individuals to his door.
With finance an organic part of his make-up and three successful businesses of his own, he’s well placed to oversee the annual budget and expenditure at Living Positive Victoria. He also sits on the board, helping the fundraising committee steer the organisational ship – keeping it sustainable and relevant. An experience he describes as invaluable. Matt thrives on sharing his knowledge for the success of others. Big or small – watching a business flourish and triumph is what he finds fulfilling.
And it’s not just work, it’s personal too. Matt has experienced first-hand the valuable front line community support that Living Positive Victoria provide. The Gen Next Program and Phoenix Workshops helped him come to terms with his own diagnosis, navigating a time that would have been much harder without LPV’s guidance.
Matt knows how to balance work with rest. Beyond the busy roles of treasurer and manager of multiple companies, he’s a keen explorer. From a local Sunday drive, camping or country get-away to one of his many trips to Europe. With Edinburgh and Florence being hands down favourites – he knows how to unwind. When he’s not scouting out new destinations, he confesses to a love of home baking with a soft spot for carbs; pastries, pies, pasta and bread.
Jeffrey has been involved with Living Positive Victoria for nearly 20 years, in which time he has become a fierce HIV activist and public speaker, fighting discrimination and stigma at every opportunity. Jeffrey spoke out against personal discrimination and stigma he experienced, educated himself about HIV, before choosing to educate the wider community about the rights of people living with HIV. He possesses eight years of governance experience on boards, and was integral in the merger between Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows. In addition to almost two decades of experiencing volunteering for positive not for profit organisations, Jeffrey has extensive management experience. He worked as a chef at reputable hotels worldwide, where he organised and managed high numbers of staff in kitchens.
As a Board Director, he wants you to know that his life as a positive person matters, as do the lives of all positive people that he’s connected with over the years. Jeffrey hopes to make a real difference to the lives of a diverse range of PLHIV in Victoria.
Rosaria has been an educator for the past 19 years, with experience in government schools and cultural organisations. She is a current Commissioner for the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), in the third year of her tenure. She works and promotes CALD communities in Victoria and has strong ties to the Italian community of Melbourne. Her work with the VMC has forged strong ties to vulnerable CALD groups and in particular in the current pandemic (COVID-19) has brought to light how CALD communities have been greatly affected.
Her interest in connecting with LPV is to impute and advise how the current LPV strategic plan can reach out and engage with CALD communities around the issue of Living Positive with HIV.