Centre for Better Relationships Governance

The Centre for Better Relationships shares Better Place Australia’s values of compassion, optimism, professionalism and empowerment.


We believe research should be conducted with integrity. This includes our legal and professional obligations to conduct research in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, and beingaccountable to research participants and the communities we work in.


We believe all people have the right to live safe and fulfilling lives and we aim to help improve the lives of Australians through our work. It is our experience that the best way to achieve this collective goal is facilitating it through the fair distribution of resources and access to services.

The Centre’s research and policy activities are conducted under the supervision of the Research and Advocacy Committee and the Board of Directors. CBR’s research focuses on organisational priority areas as determined by the Board of Directors. The Research and Advocacy Committee is chaired by the CEO of Better Place Australia and membership is made up of senior leadership representatives.

Current steering group membership:

Serge Sardo – Chair

Chief Executive Officer

Serge Sardo is the CEO of Better Place Australia. He has accumulated over 10 years’ experience as a CEO and non-executive director for not-for-profit or government organisations. In his previous role as CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Serge was instrumental in establishing the Foundation as a world leader in the delivery of counselling, support and prevention programs to over 100 different locations. Serge has an MBA qualification and strong commercial experience. With expertise in preventative programs, social policy and advocacy, he has delivered and managed a wide variety of community-based therapeutic and prevention services. Serge is a member of the Board for Family and Relationships Services Australia and Scope Disability. 

Graeme Westaway

Executive Manager Brand, Digital & Corporate Communications 

Graeme Westaway has over 20 years’ experience in brand, communications strategy and concept development. His educational background in Science and Marketing has been used across brand strategy, services development and web interaction planning. He has developed consumer goods, not-for-profit services, insurances and preventative health programs. Graeme’s not for profit services background covers child welfare, aged care services, government-funded services and medical research. His values are honesty, warmth and making a difference.

Dr. Rachel Bonnici

Senior Research Officer

Rachel brings expertise in qualitative research design and analysis. Rachel has worked for various not-for-profits, including membership organisations such as the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. Rachel’s interests lie in researching and collaborating with marginalised communities such as Aboriginal communities, individuals who are drug affected and women experiencing family violence. She has a particular skill in preparing briefings and condensing complex information.

Dr. Laila Hugrass

Research Officer and Data Analyst

Laila Hugrass has conducted research in the fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience at La Trobe University, Swinburne University and the Australian Catholic University. Laila holds an adjunct research position at La Trobe University where she is currently studying her Master of Art Therapy. With expertise in data management, applied statistics, quantitative analyses, data visualisation and data storytelling, Laila is very passionate about communicating research findings to non-academic audiences in an engaging and accessible manner.

Fotini Strongylos 

Executive Manager – Mental Health Services 

Fotini is a purpose-led Health and Community Services Executive with a strong commitment to improving health outcomes for consumers. She has experience in leading significant transformational reform across the health and not-for-profit sectors and is recognised for her exceptional leadership and governance skills. Fotini has considerable experience within the sector, her most recent role was as Executive General Manager for Mental Health & Wellbeing at South-East Melbourne Primary Health Network. Fotini has also held Director roles for Monash Health in the areas of performance, improvement, strategy, access and quality.

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