Left Right

Our people


Bob Crosthwaite


Bob Crosthwaite has been involved with the Gawith Foundation since its establishment in 1998. Bob brings a wide range of experience, which underpins his 25 years of involvement on the board of Gawith Villa and now Inclusion Melbourne. Bob started his working life in the industry as an electrical engineer moving into math and physics teaching and then taking a short foray into theatre.

Returning to tertiary education at The University of Melbourne and consulting both nationally and internationally in places such as Hong Kong, South Africa, and Ghana he gained a wide range of experiences and life skills.

When employed by the Department of Human Services (of the time), and as part of a team that compiled the “Human Service Workers Induction Program,” he gained a greater understanding of disability.

As a mature-aged retiree, married with three kids, he continues to commit to the Mission and Vision of Inclusion Melbourne, “I take my role as a board member seriously and will participate as long as I have something to contribute”.

Chris Allan


With a history working in financial markets and banking, Chris now heads a boutique financial planning business and he utilises these skills to ensure the stewardship and prudent management of the Foundation assets.

Chris was introduced to the needs of people with an intellectual disability through one of his clients and has become a passionate advocate for people with intellectual disability and in working with parents to secure financial assets to be able to continue to provide for their adult children with a disability.

Beverley Jeffreys

Beverley has been working in education for over 40 years of which the last 25 years have been in Vocational Education. Beverley started in VET as an English Language teacher for newly arrived migrants to Australia before being appointed as Manager on Industry Training specialising in the design, delivery, and assessment of accredited training to develop the language literacy and numeracy skills of employees in both manufacturing and service industries.

Over the past 20 years, Beverley has held various senior management roles in international education working with Government bodies, vocational institutes, and industries in many countries including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, PNG as well as several African countries. Beverley has a strong interest in developing the professional practice of VET teachers to ensure course designs and delivery methodologies are industry-relevant to enhance the learning experience and outcomes for students.


Paul Gleeson


Paul has over 30 years of experience as a commercial lawyer. He is a principal and the managing director of Russell Kennedy, a respected law firm based in Melbourne and Sydney. He also has over 20 years of experience as a not-for-profit Director, with a particular interest in the disability sector. As a lawyer, he practices in intellectual property, information technology, corporate and commercial law, competition law, and corporate governance. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University, and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

In his spare time, Paul is a long-standing Essendon supporter tragic and a proud co-contributor to the welfare of four daughters.

As a Board Member of Inclusion Melbourne, he also serves as chair of the Strategy, Audit, and Risk Committee. He is also the chair of the Gawith Foundation, responsible for the custodianship of the foundation’s buildings and financial portfolio.

Mark Hearnes

Mark enjoyed a long career in the community services sector including service delivery, service development, training, governance, and consulting roles. Areas of service included protective services, juvenile justice, disability, social housing, support for the homeless, aged services, and community services education. Mark has been involved over several years in the development of a Microboard which provides a circle of support, advocacy, and life planning support for a friend with an intellectual disability.
In recent years Mark has been increasingly affected by the neuro degenerative condition Parkinson’s Disease. This has provided him a personal journey into disability, personal support and professional services. He these days is an increasingly experienced consumer of the NDIS, affording him concurrently the perspectives of both the consumer and service provider.
Mark has retained a strong interest in service quality and innovation and is a strong supporter of Inclusion Melbourne’s contributions to research, practice development, consumer education and systemic advocacy.

Ellie Hearnes

Ellie Hearnes joined the Boards of Inclusion Melbourne and the Gawith Foundation in November 2021. She has been a policy and projects volunteer with Inclusion Designlab since 2020.

Ellie is studying a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Science at Monash University and is interested in social justice, not-for-profit governance and mathematics.

Ellie works in property and commercial law. She co-ordinated a social justice leadership program for the Monash Law Students’ Society in 2020 and 2021, facilitating seminars and projects on issues including the rights of people with a disability.