Board

President

Michael Strong is the former Director of the Office of Police Integrity and prior to that was a judge of the County Court of Victoria for 20 years. He has held board positions in a number of other not-for-profit organisations.

Michael Strong was admitted to legal practice in 1972. He was employed at the Melbourne firm Mallesons until 1975 when he signed the role of counsel.  At the Victorian Bar, he had a general practice before moving into the speciality of commercial crime. This led to his appointment as a Prosecutor for the Queen in the Victorian Commercial Crime Group in 1981. He returned to the Bar in 1984 continuing his work in the area of commercial crime, as well as industrial law.

Michael was appointed a judge of the County Court of Victoria in 1988. He sat in all the jurisdictions of the Court and presided over Victoria’s longest police corruption trial. He served two years as a Vice President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Michael resigned from the bench in 2008 upon his appointment as Director of the Victorian Office of Police Integrity where he remained until his retirement from full-time work in 2012. Later in 2012 he was appointed a sessional Examiner with the Australian Crime Commission, a position he still holds. In 2013 he was appointed Chair of the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.

Michael has held positions in a number of not for profit organisations, most notably Berry Street Victoria, Victoria's largest independent child and family welfare agency. Michael was a member of the board for 16 years and served two terms as President. Michael is currently a director of Odyssey House, a respected drug and alcohol rehabilitation agency. He is also a director of the Accountability Roundtable, an integrity advocacy group.

Vice President

Brian brings 30 years experience as a senior executive with three major industry associations representing the Victorian property and building industries.

Brian brings 30 years experience as a senior executive with three major industry associations representing the Victorian property and building industries. Through his representational roles, Brian has been at the cutting edge of policy issues affecting the state's development over three decades - fostering strong working relationships with state bureaucrats and senior political figures from John Cain and Joan Kirner's government through to the current Andrew's government.

Coming from a commercial background to a career in representational roles in the Not For Profit (NFP) sector, Brian was executive director of two of the most influential Victorian industry groups over a 25-year period, reshaping these organisations to have a greater customer focus and value propositions, which led to significant growth and high brand awareness. Brian's representations included appearances at two Royal Commissions - the 2001 Cole Inquiry into the Building and Construction Industry and the 2009 Victorian Bush Fires, as well as numerous parliamentary hearings and investigations.

In September 2013, Brian established a consultancy servicing commercial entities, industry groups, charities and community organisations. He is a registered lobbyist.

CEO

Bambi Gordon’s career has been in marketing, particularly in senior roles with Fairfax Media – BRW Group of Publications, FOX FM, and the Ten Network.

For the past 15+ years Bambi has run her own business, with a focus on business to business development by way of creating community based B2B events together with consulting and training business owners.

Bambi brings to the role a depth of experience in organisational and business development, marketing, management and communications. She is looking forward to working with all NHW Vic stakeholders to build a renewed and refreshed brand that engages with our communities and supports Victoria Police resulting in stronger neighbourhoods and a better quality of life.

Outside of work she spends too much time watching Netflix while dreaming of going to the gym. And yes – that is her real name.

Victoria Police Representative

Superintendent Dave Cowan has been with Victoria Police for 26 years and has experience as a detective and a prosecutor and has led a range of reforms in the summary criminal justice system. He currently manages the Community Safety Division within the Corporate Strategy and Operational Improvement Department. The Division comprises of 5 Units including the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit, the Victims Advisory Unit, the Safer Communities Unit, Diversion Alignment Project and the newly formed Policing Innovation and Research Unit.

Prior to moving to the current role, Dave led a range of organisational wide reviews including a review of Counter Terrorism leading to the establishment of the CT Command. He led a review of persons in police custody which resulted in the reclassification of all custody facilities state-wide and cells upgrades at 80 locations. He led a governance review of Family Violence which resulted in the establishment of the first Family Violence Command in Australia. He also reviewed volume crime scene services in Victoria Police and implemented the Frontline Volume Crime Strategy. Dave recently led the development of the Victoria Police Corporate Plan 2016 -2018 which shapes the future direction of the organisation aligned to the Blue Paper.

Dave has a Graduate Diploma in Executive Leadership and in 2013 was awarded the Australian Institute of Police Management, Australasian Policing Scholarship where he undertook studies at the JFK Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Secretary

Geoff Kloot joined NHW in Manningham in June 1985 as a Zone Representative when Manningham 003 was established. He became the Area Manager in 1991 and the editor of the Area newsletter in 1992. He continues in these roles today.

Geoff joined the Executive of R4D1 (Banyule, Manningham and Nillumbik) in mid-2005 becoming Deputy Chairman soon after and in mid-2008 he became Chairman of R4D1. Following the re-structure of Neighbourhood Watch in mid-2010, Geoff became the Chairman of the Manningham Neighbourhood Watch. In September 2015, Geoff became Acting Chief Executive Officer of NHW Victoria, a position he filled until May 2017. In that role, he particularly enjoyed helping new NHW groups getting established and operational.

Geoff has received an Australia Day Award (in the Menzies electorate) in 2007 for his services to the community, the Neighbourhood Watch Victoria State Award of Honour in November 2007 and the Sgt John Cain Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Neighbourhood Watch in R4D1 in 2010. He won the NHW Australasia Malcolm Grant OAM Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013 and was the City of Manningham Citizen of the Year in 2016.

Geoff is a strong advocate of business planning and annual budgeting. He firmly believes that the funds raised by Neighbourhood Watch should be used for projects that improve community safety rather than left in the bank.

In his working life, Geoff was a senior manager with a State Government agency and then a management consultant. His work involved a number innovative projects and he has applied that experience to NHW in such projects as the Junior Watcher Activity Book and the Community Safety Guide - the funds for both of these projects coming from successful applications for Government grants.

Geoff is married and has two adult children with four grandsons and he enjoys photography.

Board Member

Graeme has been involved in Neighbourhood Watch since he became Treasurer of his local Area when it commenced in 1988 and has been Secretary/Treasurer of the Area for the past 20 years.

A little over ten years ago he was co-opted into roles in what is now Eastern Region Division 1 and was Divisional President from 2009-2011. With the restructure in 2010, he took the role of the Chair of NHW Whitehorse.

Since 2007 he has been a member of the State Honours Committee and has also assisted the Board in managing the Neighbourhood Watch Victoria insurances.

Graeme brings to the Board, his skills and experience gained as a senior manager in the financial services sector as an accountant, administrator and as a Company Secretary.

Board Member

Alison is a highly effective senior executive with significant experience managing people, projects and financial resources to deliver strategic advice, environmental outcomes, law and policy reform, and performance monitoring and analysis.

Alison's career has been focused on law, policy and governance from a perspective of federal, state and local government operations. In 2014, Alison was the Assistant Director for Public Policy and Organisation Reviews with the Victorian Public Sector Commission. From 2012 to 2013 she worked as the Environment Manager with the Bass Coast Shire Council, with responsibility for climate change and sustainability, coast and bushland management, and land and catchment management.

From 2006 to 2011 Alison was a senior executive with Victoria Police, successively managing the Planning Performance and Reporting, Planning and Business Intelligence, and Strategy and Policy Divisions and the Corporate Strategy and Governance Department. This department occupied a unique position within Victoria Police as a strategic thinking and planning resource for the organisation, having the capacity to validate the implementation of strategic frameworks through corporate risk, audit, governance and reporting frameworks.

Alison brings strong governance experience to the NHW Board of Management. She represented Victoria Police on a wide range of cross-government committees relating to legislative reform and drug and alcohol policy and is a past board member of the United Nations Western Port Biosphere Reserve. She has undertaken the Company Director's Course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds degrees in law and commerce.

Alison lives with her partner David and their adored dog Otto, and brings to NHW the perspective of inner city living combined with escaping on weekends to a holiday house on the beautiful Bass Coast.

Board Member

Helen has been a dedicated and committed NHW volunteer since the program began in Mildura. She was one of the original Mildura NHW steering committee members and started the program by knocking on doors, raising funds and recruiting volunteers. She joined NHW on July 1, 1987, at which time she became the Area Coordinator of Area 6, a position she still holds today.

In August, 2002, Helen was elected as Division Coordinator a position she has occupied for 14 years. In her role as Division Coordinator Helen has always made a point of servicing the entire Division regardless of distance and has a passion for the smaller more remote locations. She works closely with Victoria Police and Leading Senior Constable Joe Clarke in Mildura to deliver NHW initiatives.

In October 2016, Helen received the Malcolm Grant OAM Volunteer of the Year Award from NHW Australasia.

Board Member

My involvement in Neighbourhood Watch began approximately fifteen years ago when I was asked to take on the role of Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter Editor for Wallington. Five years later I was elected as Area Co-ordinator.

I have been a member of the Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Committee since 2000 and in 2005, was elected as Division Co-ordinator and remain in that role currently. In 2009, I was elected as Program Representative to the Neighbourhood Watch Victoria Board of Management and now find myself as Convener of the Events Committee, a sub committee of the Board.

This is a very challenging time for NHW, however, I believe that if we work together, and with the support of Victoria Police and community partners, our program will emerge more inclusive and much stronger. We must look at ways to adapt the program to fit in with modern community needs and the changing ways people communicate. We must develop crime prevention, community safety and community engagement initiatives that complement and support the work of Victoria Police.

Married to Peter and mother of two daughters in their 20’s, I live at Wallington, a rural area of the Bellarine Peninsula, approximately 15 kms from Geelong. I am employed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Community involvement has been a major part of my life and, apart from Neighbourhood Watch, includes involvement as Vice Chairperson of the Bellarine Police Community Support Register based at Ocean Grove and as Vice President of the Geelong Auxiliary of Queenscliff’s Cottage by the Sea.

In my leisure time I enjoy music, my garden and travel.

Board Member

Raph first joined Neighbourhood Watch in 2010 where as part of the newly formed Neighbourhood Watch group for the Casey PSA, he was elected as co-chair, a position he maintained for two years and now continues to be on the Casey Neighbourhood Watch committee.

Raph first joined Neighbourhood Watch in 2010 where as part of the newly formed Neighbourhood Watch group for the Casey PSA, he was elected as co-chair, a position he maintained for two years and now continues to be on the Casey Neighbourhood Watch committee.

A firm believer in being part of the change you want to see in the world, Raph embraces the values of Neighbourhood Watch and is enjoys working within the community to help educate people in how to minimise the opportunity for preventable crime and feel more secure within their neighbourhood.

Working in the field of Information Technology Management, Raph is hoping to provide some technical direction and assist Neighbourhood Watch in moving forward in utilising todays technologies effectively.

Board Member

Rob has had what can only be described as an interesting life. Married at 19, he spent the first few decades of his working life in administration or Sales and Marketing, in industries as diverse as packaging, telecommunications, software and construction. His work ethic led him to rise through the ranks to Senior national roles in Sales and Marketing, and eventually to General Manager positions in several organisations.

While involved in serving as a volunteer in his local church since 1971, the last 18 years have seen ministry take a larger slice of his time. Rob planted and then pastored a church, served as Victorian Director for the Australian Christian Lobby for five years while the most recent years has been with various not-for-profits, including ACCESS ministries, Inspire Chaplaincy and Heatherton Christian College where he now works in the areas of Media, Marketing and Government Relations. Rob also writes articles for Eternity Newspaper, Reach Beyond and other organisations.

Rob’s involvement with Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) began when asked to see what he could do to assist at Casey, where he was soon elected Chair and has since seen Casey NHW gather pace anew, responding to massive crime issues in one of Australia’s fastest growing and largest Local Government Areas.

Rob is married to Meredith and together they have three adult children and six grandchildren.