Executive & Team
MPH, BA, BTheol, GradCertMgt, GradDipEd
Ilsa commenced in March 2016 as CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, bringing extensive experience in the strategic integration of pastoral and spiritual care in aged care. Prior to joining Meaningful Ageing Australia, Ilsa worked for 8 years at aged and community services organisation Baptcare (Victoria & Tasmania) in a number of senior roles; and held various sector positions such as Chair of the multi-faith Diploma of Pastoral Care and Ageing Committee, and Chair of Spiritual Health Victoria’s Aged Care Advisory Group. From 2002 Ilsa also worked on secondment as a supervisor (mentor and coach) in Clinical Pastoral Education in various locations around Melbourne, building on ten years of experience as a spiritual care practitioner in a wide range of settings. Ilsa had a parallel career teaching migrants and refugees prior to taking up aged care leadership positions.
She is a strong strategic leader, clear and creative communicator as well as being collaborative and a positive innovator. Ilsa has extensive experience presenting at conferences and forums Australia-wide.
Ilsa lives in a five-generation household in Melbourne’s north.
Specialist Educator (Muslim)
Mahjabeen co-authored the first report on Muslim aged care in South Australia–Muslims in Australia and their Aged Care Needs: An Exploratory Study with Reference to South Australia included in the Review of Australian Research on Older People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), 2015. Prior to moving to Australia, Mahjabeen taught as full-time faculty in undergraduate, graduate, and executive MBA programs at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Bangladesh’s leading business school at the University of Dhaka.
She is a seasoned and very successful communicator about the needs of older Muslims in aged care, and Muslim cultural awareness more generally for staff in a range of sectors. Mahjabeen was the winner of the Governor’s Multicultural Award (inaugural Aged Care—Individual category) in South Australia.
Mahjabeen is a strong advocate of cultural appropriateness in care situations for the Muslim community and, as part of her advocacy role, she has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences.
The Little Things Project Assistant
GradDip, Therapeutic Arts Practice (MIECAT), BA, Media Studies (RMIT)
Alicia has extensive experience in program coordination and community development. She has worked as Program Manager for the Australian Business Arts Foundation and Creative Partnerships Australia and has developed, run and evaluated programs for older people with employers such as Benetas and Uniting Church Australia’s Uniting Journeys responsible travel program.
Alicia has a graduate diploma in Therapeutic Arts Practice and has facilitated community arts groups for older women at various community centres. Her interest in using the arts to strengthen relationships led her to establish the arts collective The Seam. Their collaborative theatre works for families have toured nationally and internationally. Alicia has a deep interest in spiritual care and working with older people to explore and understand their lived experience. She is based in Melbourne where she lives with her husband and two young children.
BA, DipAppSci (Nursing), GradDipEd (Health), GradDipHealth (Palliative Care), DipMissiology
Jenika is an experienced palliative care nurse, who has also had numerous roles in the aged care sector, both in residential care and in the community. She spent thirteen years working in Nepal, and helped establish the first palliative care training there. She continues to run workshops in Australia, Nepal and India on a wide range of topics, and in particular palliative care and communication skills. Jenika enjoys integrating spiritual care into her professional practice in these different cultural contexts. Jenika is passionate about adding meaning and purpose to life, in all its stages, through interpersonal connectedness and meaningful community. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and four children.
Ad Dip.Min, Dip Leadership, Dip Community Services, Dip Training & Design, Dip Vocational Education and Training
Merisa is a proud indigenous woman and has been involved in leadership and spiritual care for 25 years. She has extensive experience in training and facilitating accredited courses and professional development across community services, faith-based communities and in the education sector. She has worked as a service manager in homeless services, as a spiritual practitioner in faith-based and community contexts and as a vocational trainer. She has also been mentoring young leaders for 15 years. More recent roles include spiritual care practitioner in residential aged care, and she is currently working as a seniors chaplaincy (spiritual care) team leader. She is driven by her desire to provide high quality spiritual care for residents and their families, and also to staff in aged care facilities so that they feel supported in the important work that they do. Merisa has a particular interest in dementia care and is currently studying a Bachelor of Dementia Care through University of Tasmania. She is also a trained facilitator for The Virtual Dementia Tour. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and has three adult children.
Office Administrator/Executive Assistant (part time)
Graphic Reproduction (Tradesperson), BCouns.
Helena brings a wide range of experience in marketing and administration from over twenty years in the advertising profession. Commencing an apprenticeship in graphic reproduction, Helena focused on digital image manipulation and publishing, evolving into project management of online retail content systems and digital advertising, validation and distribution into media outlets across Australia and New Zealand.
During a career break to concentrate on family, Helena completed a Bachelors Degree in Counselling, choosing placement in aged care pastoral care. A long time volunteer as an aged care companion, Helena has a passion for the experience and wellbeing of older people in our community. Helena lives in a three generation household in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
Educator and Senior Consultant
BA, BTheol, Dip.Min (Honours), MA (Research), JP
Kim has found himself in the company of older people throughout his life. He loves to learn from seniors – and highly values the opportunity to be with them. Kim has worked for Eldercare (South Australia) since 2010 as a residential care chaplain and, more recently, as both a chaplain and a project manager – assisting with the development of a ten year strategic business plan for the organisation. Kim is also a serving chaplain with the RAAF and was a police chaplain for over ten years. He has worked as an electorate officer, co-manages a small hospitality business and worked in a number of innovative faith communities both in Victoria and South Australia. Kim has wide-ranging experience as a spiritual care supervisor, key-note speaker and conference presenter. His subject matter has ranged from peace activism, spiritual care of people living with dementia, spirituality and postmodernity and, the intersection of faith and politics in Australian history. Kim has extensive and diverse experience in project management and consultancy – in community, government, faith community and corporate contexts. He is also an amateur astronomer and is involved with the Planetarium at the University of South Australia. Kim is currently working on a PhD thesis through the department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University.
Amy Heath is a La Trobe University PhD Candidate working with Meaningful Ageing Australia from August 2017 to August 2019. Amy’s area of focus is the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care.
Masters in Therapeutic Arts Practice (Community Arts and Health – MIECAT), Bachelor Health Sciences (Public Health with Hons)/Bachelor of Pastoral Care (La Trobe University)
Michelle has more than ten years of experience working on projects in pastoral and spiritual care with La Trobe University, Spiritual Health Victoria, Australian Catholic University and the Cabrini Institute. Michelle has published in international journals and has experience presenting at conferences. She is currently employed by Meaningful Ageing Australia on a range of projects including the development of practical tools to assist organisations meet the outcomes required in the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care; and other key resources.
BBus, PGradDipBus, MCom(HRM)(Dist), FCPA, GradDipChap, MChap,MSCA
Marilyn’s early career was spent in accountancy practices, including 16 years in her own taxation and business services practice. She then obtained post-graduate qualifications in both Business Management and Human Resource Management, leading to roles in: Corporate Services; Company Directorship; Adult Education; Group Facilitation; Negotiation, and Mediation, as well as expanding her financial advisory services to include Deceased Estate and Succession Planning.
Marilyn became increasingly aware that maturing people were seeking not only sound financial and estate planning advice, but also the meanings of their lives, and spiritual wellbeing. She then made the move to multi-faith chaplaincy and pastoral care, and ended her long commercial career in order to study the new Master of Chaplaincy course available in Perth. During this time she completed a research project focused on assessing the spiritual needs of people living in residential aged care.
Marilyn works part-time as a Chaplain at Bandyup Women’s Prison and serves on committees for: professional standards; Spiritual Care Australia; prison and aged care chaplains; and community seniors’ interests. Marilyn, her two adult children, and her five grandchildren all reside in a coastal region south of the Perth metropolitan area.