Board of Directors

Elisa Grassa

Joined: January 2013
Position: Chairperson

Qualification and experience: Associate Diploma of Accountancy. Elisa has worked in local government for seventeen years as a business development officer – eleven years with the Boroondara City Council and six years with Moreland City Council, where she still works, in running the Moreland Business Network and the Moreland Business Women’s Network.
Particular interests: Creating resilient local communities with a focus on empowering women. Also passionate about business and community development, networking, local government liaison with the community and business, networking, and event management.
Other local involvement:  Board member of philanthropic group Engenda Ltd.


Natasha Maugueret

Joined: June 2017
Position: Board Member

Qualification and experience: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws (Honours).  Over ten years experience in the public sector, first in local government and now as a Managing Principal Solicitor with the State Government.  Volunteered for six years and worked for one year at a community legal centre.
Particular interests: Services for women and culturally and linguistically diverse members of the community; maximising the use of community resources and spaces.
Other local involvement:  Natasha moved to Thornbury last year and this is my first significant local involvement.


Briare McElhone

Joined: March 2017
Position: Deputy Chair

Qualifications and experience: Bachelor of Business, Certificate in Senior Managers Leadership and a Graduate Certificate in Business. In late 2015 retired from the fulltime workforce after a proud and successful career including 25 years in management positions undertaken in local government (Moreland and Maroondah City Councils) and private enterprise (superannuation industry – Superpartners and Host Plus).
Particular interests: To reduce social isolation in our rapidly changing neighbourhoods. To ensure affordable opportunities are provided to the all of our community members to connect with, learn from and meet other people.
Other local involvement: Volunteer with PRACE ‘Technology for Seniors Program’.


Linda Sue O’Connor

Joined: Committee of Management in July 2001 and joined the Board in September 2001 during a realignment of the organisation
Position: Secretary

Qualifications and experience: Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology with postgraduate Microbiology; Associate of Arts in Science Communication; teaching assistant, research assistant and lab assistant (UCI). Linda joined Span at the inception of the Span Volunteer Tutor Program (SVTP) in 2000 and was part of the first intake for AMES training. She is the owner of O’Connor Business Systems providing IT accounting support for other businesses. Linda has held the role of president, secretary but more frequently treasurer of the board.
Particular interests: Adult education to allow equal access to services and amenities, inclusivity and recognition of all members of our community, especially those discriminated against and/or isolated due to race, religion, sexual identity, mental illness, age or disability. Linda is an advocate of life-long learning for improvement and enjoyment.
Other local involvement: Linda presided over the Abbotsford Playgroup; she tutored in English at Spensley Street Primary School and Melbourne Girls College, volunteering in various capacities including committees, fundraising and volunteering at school fetes. Linda also served as Treasurer for St. David’s Uniting Church, Abbotsford.
Sub-committees: Finance, human resources, social media.


Yu Sun

Joined: February 2015
Position: Treasurer

Qualifications and experience: Master of Accounting, Bachelor of International Accounting, Associate member of CPA Australia. Yu has experience in accounting and finance areas.
Particular interests: Wellbeing and social inclusion of local community.
Other local involvement: Yu has been a member, as well as a sponsor, of Cerebral Palsy Alliance.


Wennie van Riet

Joined: September 2017
Position: Board Member

Qualification and experience Bachelor in Sociology and a Research Master in Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. Wennie has a background in working and volunteering for several not–for–profit organisations in various research and client facing roles in the Netherlands, South Africa and Australia. Wennie has experience working with CALD communities and people with disabilities and I am currently a Local Area Coordinator for the NDIS.
Particular interests:  Building connected and inclusive communities.
Other local involvement:  A proud member of various local mum groups.


Peter Dokolas

Joined: April 2018
Position: Board Member

Qualifications and experience: Peter holds Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy qualifications from Melbourne University, and a MBA from the Melbourne Business School. Peter has over nineteen years’ corporate sector experience in banking (technology and operations, finance, business banking); corporate superannuation; commercial aviation; and market research and consulting. Peter has also worked as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Cambridge University, UK.
Particular interests: Social inclusion of children with special needs particularly autism spectrum disorders. Improving digital literacy.