Foundation board

Karen Inge



Ms Karen Inge
Chair, SVI Foundation Board
Ms Inge is an accredited practising dietitian with over 30 years’ experience, specialising in the areas of sports dietetics and nutrition communication. Ms Inge is the founding member and Past President of Sports Dietitians Australia and founding Head of Nutrition at the Victorian Institute of Sport. She has been a Director of the Institute of Health and Fitness, Melbourne since 1989. She is a respected  nutrition commentator for media and is heavily involved in community service and philanthropy.


Benni Aroni

Mr Benni Aroni

Co-Vice Chair, SVI Foundation Board
Mr Aroni is a qualified legal practitioner having been the managing partner of his own legal firm between 1982 and 1998. He has been a developer of Eureka Tower from 1998 to date. He now chairs Stralliance Developments, a property development and construction group. He was Vice President of JDRF Victoria between 1993 and 1998 and National Vice President from 1995.  Subsequently he has focused his charity work on the SVI Foundation. He is and has been a Board member of several companies, listed and unlisted.
Simone Carson


Ms Simone Carson

Ms Carson helped to found a dynamic not-for-profit called SecondBite 5 years ago. She remains on the Board of SecondBite with a special interest in volunteers and the relationships between Donors and Recipients. She is a member of AICD having completed a Company Directors' Course in 2009. After leaving school Simone completed her Nursing training at The Royal Children's Hospital, gained a certificate in Paediatric Intensive Care and a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University. Apart from her work in PICU at RCH, she also undertook part-time work helping to co-ordinate a research project for the Infectious Diseases Department.


Jeni Coutts


Ms Jeni Coutts

Prior to starting her own Corporate Affairs consultancy in 2003, Ms Coutts held senior positions in Corporate Affairs with some of Australia’s leading corporations including Transurban, Siemens, Hoechst and CitiPower. Her experience is wide ranging and has covered all facets of corporate affairs from issues, crisis and media management through to Government, Stakeholder, Community and Investor Relations. She holds degrees in Public Relations/Politics and Law. 


Jeni Coutts

Ms Bernadette Dennis

Ms Dennis is the Director of BD Concepts Pty Ltd, a consultancy company, focusing on providing customer service skills, sales training and marketing concepts for the hospitality, tourism and travel industries. Prior to its establishment in March 2007, Ms Dennis was Vice President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International‘s Global Sales Organisation based at the Marriott Asia Pacific Regional Office in Hong Kong. Ms Dennis worked for Marriott International for 22 years and spent 10 years working in hospitality in the US. Ms Dennis studied at Toorak Teachers’ College and taught in Victorian schools for 3 years. After working in hospitality the UK, she studied Hospitality Management at Florida International University.
Maria Foti


Mrs Maria Foti

During the past 20 years Mrs Foti has been the co-founder and Managing Director of National Educational Advancement Programs (Neap) Pty Ltd and its associated companies. Neap is an education services provider and educational publisher to the senior secondary school market. With a background in teaching and design, she has also been involved in a number of family-owned businesses, most notably owning, operating and designing garments for a wholesale ladies' high fashion label and boutique.


James Hatzimoisis


Mr James Hatzimoisis

Mr Hatzimoisis is a Licensed Estate Agent and Accredited Auctioneer. He is a Director of 8 Offices within the Barry Plant Real Estate Network and has been instrumental in the growth of the Network particularly throughout Melbourne’s Western Suburbs. His primary focus is training, mentoring and skill development of Sales Teams within the group. Outside of work, his interests include conducting many Charity Auction events annually; he has been actively involved with the Bluey Day Foundation, Convoy For Kids, the MS Society and most schools in Melbourne's Western suburbs and is a foundation Shareholder of the Melbourne Victory Football Club.


Thomas Kay


Professor Thomas WH Kay

Professor Kay is Director of SVI. He holds a Professorial appointment within the Department of Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne. He also holds the position of Honorary Endocrinologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Professor Kay’s research interests are in the area of autoimmunity, particularly of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.


Claire O'Callaghan


Mrs Claire O'Callaghan

Chair, SVI Support Group
A St. Vincent's Hospital trainee, Mrs O’Callaghan returned to part-time nursing once her five children were in full-time education. She has chaired a number of fundraising and educational organisations including the original Noah's Ark Toy Library for Handicapped Children and is currently Chair of the SVI Support Group.


Maria Palazzolo


Ms Maria Palazzolo

Maria Palazzolo is the Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Australia, a not for profit global industry body. Her role is to encourage industry leadership and collaboration to enhance supply-chain management and drive the competitiveness and profitability of Australian industry in local and international markets. Her business acumen and leadership skills are highly sought after; she is also an experienced facilitator and sits on several global committees, advisory councils and boards. Maria’s passion for community involvement has seen her represent Boards such as the Starlight Foundation and Visual Independence for the Blind.


Karen Plant


Mrs Karen Plant

Co-Vice Chair, SVI Foundation Board
Mrs Plant is a qualified interior decorator. With her husband, she helped establish Barry Plant Real Estate which has over 70 offices throughout Victoria and Southern Queensland. They also ran their own construction company Birchbank Homes. Her foray into charity work was the refurbishing of the cancer ward at The Royal Children's Hospital. She is a board member of The Deakin Foundation, for Deakin University, as well as a member of the REIV Charity Foundation Board. She enjoys family life with her husband Barry and children Nicholas and Ayleisha.


Brenda Shanahan


Ms Brenda M Shanahan

Ms Shanahan has a research background in finance in Australian and overseas economies and share markets. She is Chair of Challenger Listed Investments and a non-Executive Director of Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Ltd; DMP Asset Management Ltd and Kimberley Foundation of Australia Ltd. She is a former Chairman of St. Vincent’s Health Ltd, former member of the Australian Stock Exchange, and former Executive Director of a stockbroking firm, a fund management company and an actuarial company.


Mark Sullivan

Mr Mark Sullivan

Mr Sullivan is a Private Client Adviser with Shadforth Financial Group Limited and sits on the firms’ Insurance Committee. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ and has attained a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Economics from Deakin University, a Master of Professional Ethics from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), a Master of Business Administration - Executive at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), as well as a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).


Christine Tarascio


Mrs Christine Tarascio

Co-Vice Chair, SVI Foundation
Mrs Tarascio's family company is Salta Properties Ltd. She has been a very active fundraiser over a long period of time for various causes, including the Lady Mayoress’ Charitable Fund, the Queen Elizabeth Centre, PMB (raising funds for prostate cancer research), and Pampering Patients. Mrs Tarascio is currently assisting her family company with the redevelopment of the former Mercy Hospital.


Yan Li Wang

Ms Yan Li Wang

Ms Wang is a Partner of HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, a major Australian legal firm, practising primarily in tax and commercial law. For the past 10 years, she has been an advisory committee member and Australian representative of 3 private charitable foundations with a global reach in more than 40 countries, working with NGOs both in Australia and overseas on projects in medical research, education, Microfinance, social enterprises and post disaster reconstruction. She has been a member of the Melbourne Leadership Council of Social Ventures Australia, and is a current member of the assessment panel appointed by the City of Melbourne to evaluate applications for social enterprise and micro business grants.