Our Board

Andrew Weatherhead


Andrew is a retired Physiotherapist, with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physio), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy and a Level 4 certificate in workplace training and assessment.

As a past President of Box Hill Central Toastmasters Club and past Area Governor, Toastmasters International, Andrew received a Distinguished Toastmaster Award.  This is the highest award possible in Toastmasters International and has won numerous speaking contests.

Andrew provides training for the public speaking team and has been a Board member since 2012. Andrew is a devoted husband and father to Erica and Max (deceased).

Damian Marken
Vice President

Damian is a self confessed geek — on the inside, and has been operating his own web development business for the past 15 years. Applying knowledge from a Bachelor of Business (Computer Science) along with a deep curiosity of how things work, Damian provides both technical aptitude and business acumen in helping sole traders and small to medium businesses with their online ventures.

When his sister, Brenda, died in 2007 he became a member of The Compassionate Friends.  After experiencing the positive change that TCF made to both his parents, and his own life, Damian joined the Board in 2016.

Damian and his partner Jason like to ‘get out of town’ as much as possible.  A weekend away to a family farm, a camping trip or International travel all help in work/life balance.

Daniel Bendel

Daniel commenced his professional career in the mid-1970s as an accountant (FCPA), and has worked for a number of organisations. In the last 30 years he has simultaneously worked as Director/Company Secretary at The Stafford Group, Australia’s largest Men’s Wear manufacturer and run on a part-time basis, a successful accounting practice.

Daniel has a Bachelor of Business (with Distinction) and Graduate Diploma in Taxation.

In 2003 he joined Compassionate Friends after his son, Joshua, died in December 2002. He became Group leader in 2006, then a Board member in 2009.

He has a keen interest in music and likes to play as many instruments as badly as possible (except the harmonica).

Dorothy Ford

Dorothy has a Bachelor of Arts, a Diploma of Social Studies and a Masters of Social Work. Dorothy practiced social work for over 30 years in program development and research, including working at SIDS and Kids for 16 years and managed the bereavement and community education programs and later coordinated the national health promotion program to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Dorothy’s brother Russell 65, died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1999. Now retired, Dorothy has had a long association with The Compassionate Friends Victoria and joined the Board in March 2012.

Ian Zadow

After many years managing supermarkets, Ian utilised his skills of sales, marketing, budgeting, pricing & distribution to go into his chosen career path of computerised shelf management (i.e. product placement in retail outlets) across Australia. Ian enjoys a successful career with Australia’s leading provider of world class dairy and other food products.

Ian joined TCFV almost 6 years ago, after losing his “Little Sweetheart” Lauren-Kay in a tragic incident –  falling from a car – in October 2010.  Since then, he has volunteered in such things as being involved in the Men’s Group, the Speaking Team and running workshops on story book writing amongst other things.

Ian is passionate about building on the strength of TCFV: about being able to support grieving families and helping to educate others on understanding grieving families.

Ian is married to Cathy and has two cats and two Schnauzer dogs.

Sonia Aberl

Sonia Aberl re-joined the Board in 2016. Sonia has a Bachelor of Arts degree (honours in Psychology and Italian), a Graduate Diploma in Grief and Loss Counselling and qualifications in Project Management.

Sonia has worked predominantly in the disability and aged care fields and she has experience in counselling, case management, staff training and implementation/management of ICT systems.

Presently, Sonia works at the Royal Freemasons as an Applications Manager – providing support to staff in clinical, rostering and financial software systems. Sonia is the proud mother to her two children, Isabella and Benjamin and she enjoys spending time with them and her husband David. Sonia lost her brother, David (age 29 years) to suicide in October 2007.

Jan Harris

Jan is a Remedial Massage Therapist, a Division 2 Nurse and is a member of the Australian Association of Massage Therapists. 

Jan’s career spans working with the Box Hill Hospital in their Health Promotion Unit, the Forest Hill Clinic providing remedial massage therapy as well as providing support to disabled children. Jan also has an extensive volunteering career that includes desktop publishing, caring for a disabled boy and conservation work.

Jan’s daughter Melissa died by suicide at the age of 18, 21 years ago.  Jan joined The Compassionate Friends Victoria 20 years ago and has made a significant contribution as a Public Speaker, Group Leader and Grief Call telephone answerer amongst other things.  Jan joined the Board in August 2016.

Rhonda Galbally AO

Patron of The Compassionate Friends Victoria

Dr Rhonda Galbally has spent more than 25 years as a CEO in non-profit, educational and community organisations including the founding CEO of ‘Our Community’, a gateway of tools, information, advice and training to improve governance and to help Australia’s 700,000 community groups find funds, grants, insurance, business partners and board members.

Rhonda Galbally has received a number of awards in recognition of her work in social and disability advocacy. She was recognised with an Order of Australia in 1991. In 2005, she was inducted on to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and in 2012, she received the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Disability Awards.