The IABC Victoria Chapter is led by a dedicated team of volunteers, all successful communication professionals from a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and talents.

The board manages the day to day operations and administration and financials of the chapter, representing IABC at a local level.

Board members are elected by IABC Victoria members each year. The board works closely with other chapters across Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and internationally, to ensure we continue to deliver the best resources, research and opportunities to our members.

We are also fortunate to have a number of volunteers who work alongside the board on our many projects and events.

Meet the IABC Victoria team

Merrin Fabre


My name is Merrin and I began my career as a science communicator traveling across Australia and teaching students about physics, chemistry and genetics in (hopefully) an entertaining way. I’ve worked for a number of science agencies and institutes promoting research, discoveries and technologies that benefit Australian society.

For the past ten years I’ve worked extensively in internal communication, change management and employee engagement, helping organisations to help their staff adapt to change.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication and a Master of Communication. In my spare time I tend to run, usually half marathons, and hike when the weather is nice.

Salam Hasanein

Vice President

My name is Salam and my experience spans corporate and public affairs, radio, digital and social media. I’m skilled in copywriting, writing and publishing, marketing, event planning and design.

Right now I’m working for Metro Trains Melbourne as a Senior Communications Advisor for the Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale Level Crossing Removal Project leading and delivering communication activities for internal and external stakeholders and supporting with media and internal communication publications.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University, with majors in Public Relations and Journalism and a Master of Journalism from Monash University.

I believe in a holistic approach to achieving successful outcomes and often draw on creative attributes to tackle issues and connect to others.

Deb Ganderton

Immediate Past President

My name is Deb and I’m passionate about business, communication, content and data driven customer insights. The challenges of cultural change associated with creating and maintaining a customer-centric organisation gets me out of bed in the morning. I’ve successfully blended traditional communication and customer service roles with community and employee engagement roles to support my quest for customer centricity.

I’m a recognised leader in strategic communication, government relations, media, and community and employee engagement with over 30 years’ experience. I hold a Master of Arts (Communications) from Deakin University and a Master of Management (Strategic Foresight) at Swinburne University.

I’m a story teller, an influencer and a futurist working with a passion for people and the urban environment. I live with my architect husband John Henry (and his many chairs) in Research, Victoria.

Dimi Patitsas


Dimi is a strong, authentic leader who builds trust and connects people and stakeholders with the organisations vision.  A leader in transformational change with strong organisational development expertise focused on positively shaping an organisation into the future by implementing contemporary initiatives that build a positive workplace culture of engagement and inclusion.

Dimi is an accomplished and dynamic, values and results driven executive with over 20 years’ experience delivering on operational and strategic outcomes. Dimi has worked in large local government organisations, medium sized not-for-profit organisation and most recently in the state government public sector in a statutory authority.

Dimi is currently the Chief People & Risk Officer at the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust where she leads and manages human resource management, people & culture strategic planning, employee communications, organisational change management, employee and industrial relations, policy development, employment legal compliance, occupational health and safety (OH&S), compensation and risk management.

David Imber


My name is David and I joined the IABC Board in 2020.  I have recently started work at Incolink heading up their corporate affairs function.

I’m a passionate corporate/public affairs professional with experience across a range of communications disciplines and sectors. I’ve worked in communications, government and stakeholder relations, advocacy, strategic campaigning advice and public policy in the public, private and not for profit sectors. Professionally, my strength is in developing external affairs strategies and in managing and enhancing corporate reputation through effective media strategy and stakeholder engagement. I have a track record of building productive working relationships with people at all levels, of solving critical problems and delivering on corporate strategy.

My varied experience allows me to see and tackle issues from a number of perspectives and that’s why I am so happy to be contributing at IABC.  I am a people person and getting to build my network was what drew me back to IABC in 2019 when I was consulting (having previously been a member whilst at Telstra).  This is a great organisation and I’m keen to meet more of you.

On a personal level I enjoy the arts, dinners with friends, travel and keeping fit.  I’m also a huge news junkie which helps me not always feel like work is a burden!

Carmen Sanchez

Partnerships Co-Chair

I am an experienced senior communicator with over 24 years experiences in Australia and abroad namely the UK.  i have worked for BHP, BP (Australia and UK), Cisco (UK and Emerging Markets), SHK (JV Exxon Mobil, Shell and Qatar Petroleum), Anglo American, Centrica, Shell, AGL Energy and opr agency.

Predominantly working in the oil and gas industry as well as mining and technology. My proudest moment was during BP Australia, where the Australian government did not envisage how they would support a renewable energy target. At BP their vision was that renewables was the future and they saw that a renewable energy target was needed to advance new energy for the nation. BP needed to persuade the government to implement a renewable target.  Creating a think tank of BP expert leaders we prepared a strategy to influence the government. This strategy was so successful it resulted in BP winning a $15m grant for the industry, further implementing a renewable energy program nationally.

A seasoned professional working in Emerging, Mature and mid markets with a proven record of designing specific strategic industry solutions and coherent messaging for targeted audiences.

I am a functional expert comfortable in both internal and external communications; managing teams, major agencies and specialist consultants with a strong capacity to lead risks, issues and crisis management.

I influence senior levels of the organisation stakeholders, including board members, Federal Government(s), journalists and state. I have lead issues and crisis for all the organisations I have represented.

With an undergraduate and masters degree from RMIT University, my majors were politics, mass media and strategic communications.

Finally a dual linguist fluent in Spanish enjoying painting, reading, cooking and sailing

Sophie Bigaignon

Partnerships Co-Chair

My name is Sophie and I am a communications management professional who is passionate about the role of communication in advancing business success.

I started my career in the not-for-profit sector and have since worked in the private sector in the property industry – previously at an award-winning global architecture practice, and currently at a leading multi-disciplinary city shaping advisory firm.

I joined the IABC Victoria Board to support the organisation’s efforts in driving communication as a force for good in business, and society.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts (Global) from Monash University with a double major in communications and international studies, and an Executive Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

Outside of work, I am a keen Guide Dogs Victoria volunteer and design enthusiast.

Natalie Hasapaki

Brand & Communication Chair

My name is Natalie and I am a Public Relations Consultant specialising in corporate and financial services communication.

I have over 6 years experience working with clients across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, developing integrated communication strategies that work to build reputation and trust in their brands.

I have a BA in Communications (Social Inquiry) from The University of Technology Sydney and am looking to further my professional development by undertaking further studies in financial communications.

Liz Hebditch

Events and Engagement Chair

My name is Liz and I’m a purpose-led communications practitioner, specialising in health and sustainability.

From the UK, I started my career in London before moving to Australia and joining WE Communications and consulting part-time for Plastic Free July.

I’ve worked extensively with pharmaceutical companies and leading care providers and love the role communications plays at the intersection of scientific innovation and human stories. Similarly, how communications can connect people to solutions in the sustainability space. I believe only informed patients and consumers can truly make positive change.

I joined IABC because of its capacity to bring people together to share experiences and grow. I’m excited to start this role in 2021 as we all continue to adapt to the changes in the world around us.

I hold a Bachelor in Human Physiology and spend my time running trails, learning about regenerative farming or frequenting one of Melbourne’s many dance floors!

Amy Gibbs

Professional Development Chair

My name is Amy and I am the Editor in Chief of Digital Pulse, a PwC Australia publication on all things digital – ranging from technological innovation and people experience to business transformation. I joined the IABC Victoria board in 2021 to help communications professionals get support and gain recognition.

Over the last 15 years I have worked in education and member organisations in roles covering corporate social social media, editorial and content. In those positions I actively promoted the importance of social media communication in reaching customers and spoke at national and international conferences on social media and technology.

I have a PhD in Communications, where I researched online community longevity and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with Honours, where I studied history and archaeology. I am a passionate writer, true and fictional crime buff, photographer and genealogy enthusiast.

Lee Byrne

Memberships Chair

Hi, my name is Lee and I deliver complex communication strategies and campaigns, integrating content and audience segmentation across multiple platforms.

I am interested in connecting my networks and developing communication professionals through shared knowledge and collaboration. I joined the IABC Victoria Board in 2020 and have enjoyed promoting the benefits of IABC membership from the local community events, to regional discussions and global education opportunities.

I have worked in a range of sectors, including education, science, health and government, both here and in the UK. I hold a Master of Communication (Journalism), a Graduate Diploma of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Communications).

Want to know more about how IABC Victoria can help develop, connect and recognise your achievements in the industry? Contact us or visit our Memberships page.