Julius Colman was born in post-war Poland and came to Melbourne with his refugee family at age 4. Inspired by his own experience of the opportunities created by high quality state school education, Julius is determined to make sure those opportunities are available to children in disadvantaged communities in Victoria.
Julius is a lawyer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has brought his entrepreneurial drive to addressing the barriers to children from disadvantaged communities achieving positive life outcomes, focusing on education as the key.
Julius has negotiated landmark partnerships with the state government, initially for the development of Doveton College, and more recently with the agreement for the establishment of 10 more Our Place sites across Victoria.
In 2015 Julius was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his work with underprivileged children.
Prior to joining Our Place, Sean spent more than 20 years working in the natural resources sector across a range of international locations including 8 years living in Singapore and Canada.
During the latter part of his career, Sean has held progressively senior roles in BHP, culminating in three years in BHP’s head office in Melbourne where he led corporate planning and global strategy teams through a period of significant organisational change. In addition to senior executive experience, Sean also brings skills in people leadership, strategy, planning, business development, financial analysis & project development.
His decision to join Our Place is motivated by a strong desire to make a meaningful and positive impact in the lives of children and families in disadvantaged communities. Sean also sees tremendous potential for Our Place to influence systemic change that can lead to improved outcomes for all disadvantaged communities. Sean holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration.
The Our Place Model is the culmination of June’s experience and expertise developed over a career in policy and service development, research and practice in early childhood, family support and children’s services.
At Doveton since the very beginning, June has brought her vision and passion for the refocusing of early years and other services to provide more integrated support for families with young children.
June now leads the expansion of the Our Place initiative into our 10 new sites, working with local stakeholders to create the foundations for success and building capacity within the team to progress this work.
Shannon has been a key player in the Our Place team since the early days at Doveton.
Using her background in behavioural science, Shannon has been developing and refining the data, evaluation and research agenda supporting the deep evidence base for the Our Place model. Shannon leads our research partnerships with University of Wollongong and Deakin University.
During her career Shannon has combined her love of working with people and her passion for evidence and data, working with local communities to use data to evaluate their efforts to improve outcomes.
Eve joined Our Place in February 2018, after playing a role in the establishment of our current partnership while working with government. Eve is inspired by the Our Place vision and the potential for philanthropy and government to work together to improve outcomes for children and families in disadvantaged communities.
Eve holds qualifications in Law / Arts and has 20 years’ experience working in local and state Government. Eve brings skills in systems thinking, project management and communications, to support and promote the work of Our Place and our partnership with Government.
Cindy joined the Our Place team in May 2018, working with the partners at the Robinvale College Our Place site.
Cindy is a Robinvale local, strongly embedded in the community and working with the community in the early years sector. Cindy brings 30 years’ experience in early childhood education and community development and engagement. Cindy holds a Masters of Education and qualifications in teaching and management.
Cindy is a firm believer in the value of early years in creating lasting change for children and their communities.
In 2019 Julia joined “Our Place” as their Senior Advisor Early Years. She brings 30 years’ experience in the education and care sector with in three states of Australia in both the government and non-government school sector and the kindergarten and childcare sector especially working with children 0 – 8 years, parents, educators and teachers .
Most recently Julia has worked at Doveton College in their Early Learning Centre as Educational Leader for the 0-3 years old program. She has mentored a large multicultural team of educators and worked with closely with Monash Health Professionals in that community. During 2017/18 Julia piloted the first version of Baby College at Doveton College in Partnership with Our Place and the Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC). Baby College aims to improve the educational outcomes for disadvantaged infants by engaging and supporting vulnerable families from the prenatal period.
Julia’s passion is supporting families from vulnerable communities to achieve better educational outcomes for the whole family and mentoring educators to provide this support.
Heather Le Roy has been with Our Place since October 2018. Previously, Heather worked in senior leadership roles including GM, Victoria of The Smith Family and CEO of the Education Foundation.
She has a long-standing interest in tackling entrenched social problems through education. Based on her deep experience in the sector, Heather is certain that Our Place represents a major opportunity to build innovative partnerships between philanthropy and government that will make a positive difference to the lives of many students and their families and to put schools as a platform for broad social change at the heart of future policy.
We are thrilled to welcome Alex to the Research and Evaluation team. Alex comes to us with an outstanding academic background, (including a PhD in Sociology and a number of academic awards) combined with practical program and project management experience from across the local government and not for profit sector.
Alex will lead our qualitative data collection and analysis program, working with our sites as they develop, to capture the evidence and the stories of the new Our Place communities.
Samantha joined Our Place in February 2018, working as part of the Doveton College community engagement team, focussed on Adult Learning.
Samantha brings many years’ experience in the community sector, with qualifications in community development and education support and a commitment to providing practical support to people who want to change their lives.
Samantha has previously worked with a strong focus on youth engagement in education, training and employment and is now using these skills to support the parents and community at Doveton.
Marie joined the team at Doveton six years ago, bringing her many years’ experience in the development and implementation of projects across youth services, recruitment, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Marie established the broad range of adult engagement, education and training activities available for the community at Doveton College. Marie has developed valuable partnerships with service providers, as well as directly supporting individuals on their journey to development, training and employment.
Kerrie is a long term local in the shire of Cardinia and joined the Our Place team in February 2018, excited about working with the site partners to create a thriving community learning hub for the children and families in Officer.
Kerrie brings her commitment to community development and her many years’ experience working in school wellbeing teams, volunteer programs and directly supporting children and families.
She is currently completing her Masters in Community Counselling.
Sonja joined the Our Place team in March 2018, thrilled to join an organisation working so positively and directly with disadvantaged communities. Sonja brings a love of working with people and a strong belief in the power of education to change lives.
Sonja has a long history of service and support roles in the education and health sectors, with qualifications in Behavioural Studies and experience working with her local community in leadership and volunteer roles.
Sally joined Our Place as the lead facilitator at the Carlton Central Learning Precinct in January 2018.
Sally brings a wealth of experience in community engagement and partnership development in the education sector, using her background in teaching and psychology. Sally is excited to be part of the Our Place team, convinced that the Our Place model brings together the best elements of the many different approaches she has been seen.
Sally has a passion for working with communities, empowering and building capacity and is active with her own local community.