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Our Team

Volunteer Board

Steven Takacs-Gal (Chairperson)

In addition to my role as Chair of Inner West Neighbour Aid, I am also on the boards of other non-government organisations and as well volunteer in my local community. I had a long career in the NSW public sector and a couple of stints in community organisations; working in the areas of aged care, disability, First Nations, youth, employment, education, health and natural resource management. What attracted me to Inner West Neighbour Aid is the organisations' professionalism and empathy in working with the people we support in the community. We value our clients, volunteers and staff very highly and I believe we are well placed to embrace the future changes in the Aged Care sector.

Ben Lever

I’m a Garden Aid volunteer interested in agriculture and horticulture. I’m a software engineer with a commercial background. I’m currently working as a business consultant. I’ve a strong understanding of the 5 Senses Garden project, having assisted with a marketing strategy provided pro bono through our business consultancy.

Jeanette Gilbert (Volunteer Representative)

I have worked for many years in government departments and not-for-profit organisations. My experience is primarily accounting and administration in the education sector. My favourite thing about Inner West Neighbour Aid is the staff and their passion for what they do. It inspires me. I also love the clients and their life experiences.

Alison Muir (Secretary)

I have worked in for-purpose organsations for over 19 years, and came to operational leadership from the ground-up, holding a series of administrative, service delivery, fundraising and business development roles, now heading up operational improvement, client success strategies and growth areas of a for-purpose disability organisation. I am deeply commitment to, and understand the challenges of navigating the financial, governance, service and operational challenges within the NFP and disability sectors, facilitating strategies and business plans that deliver cost-effective growth and positive impact to the communities we support. One of my passions is empowering all individuals to live their best life and I gain immense satisfaction in breaking down barriers and building support systems that connect individuals to community and promote independence. I live in the inner west with my two precious dogs.

Simon Leong (Client Representative)

I am one of the Client Representatives on the board. Since I retired in 2019 I have two strands of personal development. The first is how to deal with babies and toddlers. I have 6 grandchildren and meeting all their needs and mediating with them and amongst them can be challenging. But I am learning how to communicate with this young generation, with guidance from my wife Linda who is a retired kindergarten teacher. The second strand of my personal development is related to being a client and board member of Neighbour Aid. In this role I am learning how to interact with others in the community and this gives me a sense of purpose. Connecting with clients gives me a feeling of joy as there is something that is medicinal when you have a pleasant conversation with people who have led interesting lives. The depth of knowledge, perspective and experience is something that should be shared. If our paths cross at a Neighbour Aid program or function I’d be delighted to have a chin wag (if that term is still understood and used). Cheers to all our seniors.

Tina Higgins

I am a lawyer and public policy professional with over 20 years' experience working in legal, policy and parliamentary roles. I am passionate about supporting those that are vulnerable, providing access to justice, particularly for First Nations peoples and inclusion and diversity. I joined Inner West Neighbour Aid because it is an organisation that has values that align with mine. Staff and board members are dedicated to creating an organisation that is strong, uplifting and connected, and it is a privilege to be part of that important work.

Suzanna Pawley

With nearly 25 years of dedicated service in the community services sector, I am a passionate advocate for fostering healthy communities. Throughout my career, I have championed initiatives aimed at empowering families, children, young people, and older community members to thrive. I am grateful for the opportunity as a board member of Inner West Neighbour Aid to contribute to our pursuit of providing spaces and opportunities for people to connect, participate, and share.

Samantha Guthleben

I have worked in diverse environments including arts and culture, community and disability services, local government and the media. I enjoy balancing the challenges of business priorities with financial long-term organisational sustainability in a for-purpose environment. My volunteer career has spanned a number of years from Sydney Story Factory, Dress for Success, Youth off the Streets and the Sydney Film Festival. I am passionate about empowering seniors in our community to connect with each other and enjoy active, social and independent lives. I value the commitment and compassion that underpins everything we do at Inner West Neighbour Aid, and look forward to continuing to work with the board and team to ensure we are in the best position to support clients and volunteers in the aged care environment.

Margaret Lergessner (Client Representative)

I feel very privileged to have been able to spend over 40 years working in India, and being able to make a difference in the lives of many by means of education, social work and medical work. Returning to Australia in 2000, I worked as a therapist with women in Silverwater Prison, was a volunteer with Salvation Army in their outreach to women who had been trafficked and a regular visitor to Villawood Detention Centre where my knowledge of Hindi also helped many to make their conditions known to authorities, or even just to share conversations. I enjoy being with people and I believe in ‘casual conversations’ with anyone I believe needs a word of support or encouragement, eg “Are you ok?”, “I’m sorry, but do you need some help?, “You’re looking gorgeous!”, etc Over the past year, I have come to new relationships with my being part of Neighbour Aid’s DanceMoves program and ongoing engagement with both participants and board members. Age is no deterrent when there is someone to whom one can reach out to, or to approach when one’s own self may be in need.

Peter Malhotra (Treasurer)

I have over 15 years’ experience across diverse industries including aged care, health, hospitality, logistics, and non-profits. My career is marked by successful project management, strategic leadership, and a passion for continuous improvement. Being involved with Inner West Neighbour Aid is incredibly fulfilling, as it allows me to apply my skills to support and strengthen our community. I enjoy collaborating with like-minded individuals to drive initiatives that make a tangible difference in the lives of our communities.


The Inner West Neighbour Aid team are passionate and committed to improving wellbeing of our clients. We take time to get to know clients and their individual requirements.
Allison Yee-Brogan

I bring my diverse senior management experience in the disability, aged care and youth at risk sectors to Inner West Neighbour Aid. Qualified in Economics, Chartered Accounting and Community Management, I have a strong background in organisational planning and business development. Amongst my passions are outdoor adventures, travel and cultural experiences, martial arts and healthy living. Family and a sense of community are very important to me.

Maja Sorensen

I have been working in the Garden Aid team at Neighbour Aid since October 2020. I have qualifications in Environmental Biology, Social Media and Marketing and have worked as a Chef in the past. At Neighbour Aid I attend to client’s gardens and run the 5 Senses Garden and Living Well with Dementia Workshops. I love being outdoors and sharing food with my family and friends.

Emma-Lee Torres

I came to Neighbour Aid back in 2016 as a Social Support Worker. I loved attending outings and exercise activities with everyone. You have most likely spoken to me on the phone if I haven’t met you in person. My current role as Client Services Coordinator started in 2020. Navigating My Aged Care and the ongoing changes can be difficult, please call the office to speak with me if you need some assistance. When I am not in the office, I am at home with my twin girls, Flordeluna and Milagros and their little brother, Ezra. They keep me very busy! Weekends are filled with trips to the park, playing at the beach and swimming lessons.

Indah Kusumawati

I began working at Inner West Neighbour Aid in October 2011. I am qualified in Economics. Before joining Inner West Neighbour Aid, I worked as an accountant for another non-profit organisation in Indonesia funded by the Australian Federal Police. I love cooking for my family and meeting friends in my free time.

Karen Paige

My work in community services started over ten years ago and I have been with IWNA since November 2021 as Client Service Officer. This position has given me the opportunity to assist new clients at the referral stage and connect with existing clients in everyday matters regarding their Neighbour Aid services. While most of these interactions are via phone calls, opportunities arise occasionally for me to meet clients face to face at IWNA events or in our social support group settings. It’s such a joy to get to know our clients and assist them to get the most out of their service and have continuing social connections through IWNA

Joanne Santas

I started at IWNA in March 2022 as a horticulturist with the Help at Home program. I’ve been gardening for 22 years and I gotta say working with the IWNA Team and our Clients is by far the most rewarding job I’ve had.

Natesha Somasundaram

I joined Inner West Neighbour Aid in 2023 as a Garden Aid Team Leader, driven by my passion for community care and environmental conservation. With a background in theatre, screen and creative writing, I also develop content for Inner West Neighbour Aid’s social media platforms. Currently, I am completing my certification in horticulture, and I love helping our community connect to the magic of gardening!

James Wohlfiel

I started working with Inner West Neighbour Aid in January 2022 in the role of Social Support Worker (Community). I have a degree in psychology (honours) from Sydney University and have prior experience working both in the aged care sector and as a mental health support worker. Working in this field is a real passion of mine and I find great joy in working with our incredible group of seniors. I enjoy music, Brazilian jiu jitsu, meditation, and nature walking are my hobbies

Nicholas Robinson

I started working with IWNA in June 2021 as a Garden Aid Team Leader and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been working in horticulture for the last 9 years. It’s been an amazing experience to impart my knowledge and skills with all of our clients, whether it be fixing up their gardens or answering the many questions thrown my way. I love getting lost in the bush.

Stuart Blundell

I joined the Inner West Neighbour Aid team over two years ago. I have over ten years’ experience working in the Aged and Disability government sector. I am passionate about horticulture and love helping others to enjoy and be proud of their own gardens. I am a qualified horticulturist and enjoy cooking the food grown in my garden.

Emel Jurd

I am part of IWNA’s Social Support Team. I have over 30 years experience working with vulnerable clients in the community sector and 20 years experience developing and facilitating group programs across the health, education and not-for-profit sectors. I love coming up with new creative ideas for Strong Together activities and providing the exercise program each day the group meets.

Josslien Sadtler

In September 2022 I started working for Inner West Neighbour Aid as a Social Support Worker. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and my background includes working with children and people with disabilities. I did work as a Disability Support Worker in Germany and Australia for a few years. In my spare time I enjoy traveling and like to explore new places and good food.

Jake Lackner

Mikali Anagnostis

Chantel Jurcevic

I have been working in the Social Support team at Neighbour Aid since February 2024. In my work life I have had the privilege of spanning across the community sector to support children and young people, young carers, carers and families, as well as people with access needs, and people experiencing mental distress. It is a great opportunity to now work with elders and seniors, there is such a wealth of knowledge to glean from supporting and connecting with our clients. I also enjoy working across the arts and creative industries. I completed a degree in Gender and Cultural Studies. My role at Neighbour Aid includes assisting the Workshops at the 5 Senses Garden and facilitating the Stand Tall exercise program. I love bushwalking, swimming, cooking, and dancing with friends and family.

Service Providers

We are proud to develop long term partnerships with service providers who align with our vision:

  • CSP Five Dock - Stand Tall
  • Fleur Denny - Alive & Kicking
  • Angela & Peter Moniaci - Lawn Mowing
  • Mario Caruso - Lawn Mowing