Committee of Management

The Railway House is an incorporated association and has a set of rules which guide how it operates. The rules explain the Committee’s role and how it is chosen.  

What is the Committee’s purpose?  

The key roles of the Committee are: 

  • Compliance – checking to make sure the Railway House operates in accordance with legal requirements and its  
  • Finance – monitoring financial reports and deciding how funds should be spent 
  • Performance – supporting the Railway House to perform at its best by approving and monitoring important policies and plans 

How is the Committee chosen? 

At each annual general meeting, the members decide how large the Committee should be and elect the: 

  • president 
  • secretary 
  • treasurer 
  • ordinary members 

Each of these roles has specific responsibilities which are detailed in the rules. All Committee members are volunteers and must comply with the Railway House code of conduct. 

How much work is involved in being a member of the Committee? 

The Committee usually meets once a month. In addition to preparing for the meeting, committee members are also encouraged to support the Railway House by volunteering their expertise to support staff (for example, IT skills), attending events, supporting staff in developing policies and seeking funding and volunteering in programs. 

The Committee has created three subcommittees: 

  • Garden 
  • Finance and Risk
  • Fundraising 

Each of these subcommittees includes at least one member of the Committee of Management as well as other members selected by the Committee of Management. Becoming involved in a subcommittee is another great way to support the Railway House. 

Contact the Railway House if you are interested in joining the Committee of Management or one of the subcommittees. 

2019 – 2020 Committee of Management

Megan Scannell – President

I joined the committee of the Railway House last year.  I am particularly proud of the work I have done in collaboration with other committee members and staff, to:

  • Support staff and volunteers to deliver programs at the house which best serve our diverse local community
  • Enhance strategic planning
  • Refine governance arrangements and policies to ensure the Railway House meets legislative requirements and those of funders

 I have particularly enjoyed learning more about the programs run by the Railway House, participating in events and getting to know people who attend, volunteer and work at the House. 

I have lived with her family in Princes Hill for more than 20 years and has had a long career working in law and public policy with a particular focus on advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of children and young people.

After receiving my law degree in the United States, I moved to Sydney, Australia and worked as a solicitor in private practice and then Redfern Community Legal Centre.  Since moving to Princes Hill in 1994, I have held a variety of senior legal and policy positions in government departments and agencies.  As a Principal Policy Advisor in the Commission for Children and Young People, I supported the development and promotion of a range of resources designed to enhance child safety in organisations. 

In addition to my law degree from Harvard Law School, I have an Executive Master of Public Administration from Monash University and a Diploma of Family History from the University of Tasmania.

Kenneth Gardner – Treasurer

Immediate past president for last 2 years.

I have led the review of the House Constitution and an overall improvement in the governance of the Railway House.

I have a legal qualification and a background in management including CEO of Energy Safe Victoria and the Master Plumbers Association.

I am currently on a number of Boards in the construction sector. 

Jack Verdins – Secretary

I moved to Carlton North in 2015 and became active in local community activities upon retirement in 2016. Jack has been on the Railway House Committee for 3 years. My other local activities include member of the Parish Council at St. Michael’s Anglican Church North Carlton, and member of Friends of Public Housing Victoria (FOPHV), both of these have a strong connection with Railway House.

My personal skills are in Marketing, Business Strategy and Planning, Information Technology, and Data Management and Analytics, following a 36 year career at IBM.

Olivia Bakyew – Ordinary Member

I am a local resident, living near the North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House.  My community is important to me and I strongly believe in giving back to the area, which is why I wish to join the Committee of Management.  I’d like to offer my professional skills to the Committee and act as a representative of my community.

 I am a service designer by practice with a background in law.  My expertise includes; establishing collaborative partnerships and projects across the not-for-profit legal sector in Victoria, designing services to meet client needs and expectations and advising on change management initiatives. 

 I have a diverse range of experience on advisory groups and committees:

  • Member of the Sector Innovation and Planning Committee
  • Member of workplace Reconciliation Action Plan champions network
  • Trustee of the Awesome Foundation, a group that provides small bursaries based on grant applications received

Tony Dalton – Ordinary Member

I am a resident of North Carlton and know that The Railway House has been an important contributor to local level social support and community-based education. It is seeking to grow its contribution to local community development, especially through the community garden project. My career was in university research and teaching in social policy, focussing in particular on urban development and housing.

I am now Professor Emeritus with the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University following retirement at the end of 2016. I have also been involved in non-government sector policy and advocacy through Shelter, ACOSS, Hanover Welfare, Housing Justice Roundtable and Launch Housing

Geoff Hopkins – Ordinary Member

My recent background is in human resources and executive development, including the last 15 years at Partner level in international firms. I offer a good understanding of people, motivation, organisational structure, learning models and team dynamics. I have worked for the Premier as a division manager and further back was a social worker and youth worker, so I have good insights into local/state governments as stakeholders. My qualifications are Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business and social sciences.

 I have been a resident of Princes Hill for 37 years and I have been a volunteer as well as a program participant at Railway House. My interests include learning Spanish, photography, fitness, flying, biking, kayaking and I am a member of Probus.

 I have substantial experience on boards and committees, including as Treasurer on the Railway House Committee of Management for the past 12 months.

Patricia Sexton – Ordinary Member

I’m a retired educator. Professionally I spent 19 years in Primary and Special Schools.  I was an active unionist and promoted issues of equity and access for women and people with disabilities.  Later, I worked with the Ford Motor Company in their Training Department, where I was employed to develop curriculum and deliver programs to people in the workplace who may have had very little formal education. From there I ran my own business as a Training Consultant specialising in team development and leadership skills. 

My other interest has been personal development. I attended The Augustine Centre in Hawthorn and later became a group leader. I volunteered in this role for many years and have always appreciated being able to apply what I learnt to my professional and private life. 

 I retired to become a grandmother at 58. My partner and I have a blended family that includes 7 grandchildren. We’ve been very fortunate to be involved in their early years as caregivers. Added to that I’ve been a  renovator, gardener, cook, keen traveller, and more recently a writer. 

Family and friends are a priority as is being healthy and fit, living sustainably and accepting difference. My most recent hobby is bottling produce from our garden. Pickled figs are a speciality. 

Pam Tuffield – Ordinary Member

I have a degree in Social Sciences & a professional social work qualification. I worked with children & families for Local Authorities in the UK, managing a team of social workers for my final 10 years.  On retirement I moved to Melbourne in 2008 to be near my 2 daughters & 6 grandkids.

As a user of the Neighbourhood House (and a volunteer) I think it’s important for at least one committee member to be familiar with the day-to-day activities and programs from the participants’ viewpoint.  I have been participating in programs at Railway House for a number of years and I currently participate in the choir, community lunch, cooking class, tai chi, book club and the monthly bus trip.

Diana Walpole – Ordinary Member

For over 20 years I have lived in Princes Hill and have been involved in and supported community based programs such as the garden at Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, art courses and Tai Chi. Programs such as these support and enrich community life and provide many opportunities for new friendships.

I have many interests including music, trekking and travelling and am particularly interested in environmental & sustainability initiatives – and try to walk the talk by cycling everywhere. The establishment of a Community garden at the Railway House is a very exciting development.

I have worked in schools as a music teacher and librarian and am currently employed Tuesdays part-time at the Princes Hill Community Centre, another locally based organisation.