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Helen Rodd

Helen Rodd is a passionate community development practitioner, educator and researcher, living and working in the western suburbs of Melbourne and connecting with communities beyond her heartland.

Helen has been working in a range of roles across the community development, youth work and education sectors for over 30 years. Her passions include working alongside diverse communities, and practicing (and teaching) community development.


Her life pursuit in this field is understanding and facilitating the complex dynamics of generational and social change. Helen seeks an answer to this question:

how do we create environments where we can live well with each other,

where all (people and planet) can thrive?

The name "Hot House" reflects this purpose:

to nurture and facilitate growth and transformation in a safe and engaging environment

for individuals, groups, and communities.


Her current focus is transforming communities through grass roots community participation, community leadership and community-based research.

This focus has enabled her to partner with local government, community health and other community organisations to develop and deliver over fifty bespoke community leadership programs. Facilitating a groundswell of local action and a platform for community voice, influencing the culture, values and priorities of their local communities.

She has a soft spot for the Neighbourhood House sector, seeing them as unique places where community can connect to create and determine their present and future,

as well as generate thriving, dynamic communities of care and belonging.

Helen works collaboratively with like-minded creatives and innovators

who bring fresh thinking to social justice and community transformation.

She partners with Avaivilla Group (a First Nations led enterprise) and

Track C Consultancy who bring extraordinary diverse perspectives and inclusion to the work of community building.


Helen was born in Wollongong but moved to the Mornington Peninsula

when she was seven years old. She loved roaming in the bush and exploring the bay.

She moved away from rural life to the “big smoke” when she finished secondary school

and loved the diversity, energy and opportunity city life offered.

Her own journey of generational change has seen her settling, with deep belonging roots,

in fabulous Footscray, marrying a lovely local fellow, having 3 children, and

living an ordinary but fortunate suburban life with one dog, four chickens

and a very friendly raven named Waaah!

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Hot House Collaborators


Spase Veljanovski

Spase (he/him) has over 30 years experience in access and equity work across mental health, local government and community health. He started work as a bilingual worker and has found this position to be widely misunderstood, but a role currently proving to be a missing link in the health and community sector workforce. He has a keen interest in language services, health literacy and organisational cultural competence and is an entertaining facilitator, generous with tales and wisdom gained from years in the field.


He holds a Master of Public Health, Bachelor of Arts (Multicultural Studies) and Certificate IV Training & Assessment. He is fluent in Macedonian and dabbles in other languages. He has a passion for Australian Rules football that he weaves in to his training in interesting, sociological ways.

Reach out to Spase here


Terori Hareko-Avaivilla

Terori Hareko-Avaivilla is the founder and director of Avaivilla Group, a First
Nations business established originally as a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander female artists to grow their brand within the First Nation visual art space. The
consultancy half of the business was added later to combine Terori’s love of sharing
her creative culture and education, providing traditional and cultural education through
creative means to offer deeper learning for participants. 

Terori comes from a strong Islander heritage from Papua New Guinean, Torres Strait Islands

and Samoa. She has lived in Melbourne most of her adult life though her childhood was spent

in many locations such as Arnhem Land, Vanuatu, Port Moresby and other South Pacific locations,

travelling with her parents who were community development workers for AusAid.

Her personal and professional development has been very much shaped by the collective

learnings from those early years, giving her a strong sense of cultural knowing as her

understanding and knowledge of the global village become much more established.

In 2015, Terori was recognised as an Emerging Leader for her leadership in First Nation women’s

health education by the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership. She also sits on a number

of committees and board where she provides advice and strategic scoping.

She believes her family, culture and community are three very important aspects of her decision

to work within community development, social justice and health frameworks over the course

of her professional and personal journey.

Reach out to Terori here

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Pirooz Jafari

Pirooz was born in Iran but has called Australia home since mid ‘90s when he pursued a career in law and worked in various community-based organisations and statutory bodies over the years.

For a significant part of his career, he worked with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from different countries. He has a deep sensitivity in working with people who have experienced war, conflict and loss of culture and home, possessing a profound understanding of the impact of these experiences on migrants and refugees and their everyday life in Australia.

Pirooz is also a photographer, a writer and a storyteller, with his unique set of skills and sensitivity to capture people’s stories and voices.

Reach out to Pirooz here


Victoria Mathison

Victoria is chief communications officer at Hot House Community Projects – a role where she loves to support and connect on site during program periods just as much as she enjoys copywriting and getting creative behind the screen.


Having grown up in Melbourne's west, Victoria experienced its passionate and vibrant communities first-hand. Through her work with Hot House she appreciates being able to bring her writing and editing skills to the community development space and helping empower those wanting to develop their leadership skills to strengthen their communities.

Victoria is especially interested in creative writing and is currently undertaking an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing, as well as a Bachelor of Arts.

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