Our Team

Standing Tall in Hamilton Inc. is led by a Committee of Management that includes 6 dedicated members of our local community, plus 2 passionate and committed part-time staff members. Read about our team below.

Rob Vecchiet


Rob Vecchiet is our Chairperson. He is the former Principal of Baimbridge College and has been involved with Standing Tall in Hamilton Inc. since its inception 19 years ago. He is dedicated to the Program, and is a passionate supporter and advocate for the youth in our region.

Joan Lewis


Joan is our Treasurer. She is a longtime Hamilton local keen to give back to this community, especially our younger generations. She has a background in financial management and tax accounting; and was previously employed with Iluka Resources, then as a local government Director. She is committed to Standing Tall in Hamilton, our youth, and is pleased to offer her skills in financial management to support our organisation.

Nat Templeton


Natalie is our Secretary. She was a Kindergarten Teacher for 10 years before becoming the Pedagogical Leader at Combined Preschools of Southern Grampians. Natalie joined the Standing Tall in Hamilton committee to give back to the community. She is keen to assist as she believes in the wonderful Program we offer in our local schools.

Ewan Macdonald

Vice Chairperson

Ewan is our Vice Chairperson. He moved to Hamilton from Darwin with his family in 2013 and began teaching at Baimbridge College in 2014. In his time at the school he has worked closely with Standing Tall in Hamilton in his capacity as a Year Level Coordinator and Sub-School manager of mentees. Ewan is passionate about student wellbeing and dedicated to our Program.

Doug Ward

Committee of Management

Doug is a Committee Member. He has a Higher Diploma Teaching Secondary and a Bachelor of Nursing. He was a secondary school teacher for 35 years, and is currently a Disability Support Worker with Southern Stay. Doug was a Councillor for six years and volunteers on various committees, always giving back to our community. He has been a mentor for five years and believes it is an enriching experience where his counsel and company is valued, and he commends the experience to all.

Elise Rhook

Committee of Management

Elise is a Committee Member. She is employed as a Learning Support Officer at Good Shepherd Senior School and she is currently completing a Diploma in Youth Work. Elise joined the Standing Tall in Hamilton committee in 2021 because she is passionate about helping young people in our community and local schools.

Dee Barrera

Program Manager

Dee is originally from Sydney, has lived and worked in Hamilton for over 10 years and is passionate about this community. She previously worked as Council, the SES and most recently at WDHS. Dee loves volunteering and has supported Hamilton parkrun, parkrun Australia, Hamilton SES, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Hamilton Running Club, and the Silent Book Club Hamilton. She has an Arts Degree in Tourism, an Undergraduate certificate in Human Biology, and is currently completing a Bachelor of Psychological Science and Sociology degree. She is a breast cancer and PTSD survivor, passionate about health and wellbeing (especially mental health and preventative healthcare) and is open about her health in the hope that speaking up will help others. Dee is passionate about STiH as she has personal experience in the area, having been supported by a mentor when she was a teen. Dee strongly believes that early intervention via mentoring can change lives, not only for our young people, but for their mentor, and for our wider community. Ultimately, keeping young people engaged is the greatest social and economic investment a community can make.

Mel Fitzpatrick

Program Coordinator

Mel resides in Tarrington with her husband Mike and has three children. Mel has a Bachelor of Business Management and has many years of experience in administrative, finance and communication roles, grant writing and event planning. One of Mel’s favourite aspects of her previous positions was working with young people, liaising with local schools, and collaborating with local youth organisations.

Mel is passionate about Standing Tall in Hamilton as it provides young people in our community supportive encouragement and guidance to build resilience and self-belief ensuring they are fully equipped to forge their own path in life.

Jeanette Pritchard


Jeanette is the Founder of Standing Tall in Hamilton Inc. She was instrumental in leading the establishment of the award-winning, school-based mentoring program in 2003 at Baimbridge College, and has since gone on to be a long-term friend and partner of the program. Jeanette continues to work in the mentoring space, and has a vision to have a strong cohesive society where young people are valued and supported to fulfil their potential. She wants to continue to make a contribution to building of cohesive communities by facilitating connections between young people in schools and supportive members of the community through the establishment of mentoring relationships.

The Late Dr Geoff Handbury AO


We honor the legacy of our esteemed Patron Dr Geoff Handbury AO. Dr Handbury was a strong supporter of the work of Standing Tall from its inception in 2003 until his passing in late 2019. His generosity and dedication to this program will always be remembered fondly. He has touched the lives of so many young people through his time as Standing Tall patron.

Standing Tall in Hamilton acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and in each of the communities in which we live and work, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
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