Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help.

Serving the post-adoption community for over 25 years.

Make a Donation


Print this page

Patron - Jan Owen AM Jan Owen 2013

Jan is VANISH Patron and brings a personal experience to her passion for working to support people affected by adoption, intercountry adoption, donor conception and ‘Forgotten Australians’ who have lived in institutional settings.

Jan is CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and a pioneer of the youth sector in Australia.  She is a highly regarded social entrepreneur, innovator and child and youth advocate. From 2002 – 2010, Jan was Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia, which aims to increase the impact of the Australian social sector.  Prior to this Jan founded the CREATE Foundation and was its CEO for nine years.  She is the only non US citizen to receive a fellowship for leadership and innovation to the Peter Drucker Foundation (USA) and has been awarded membership of the Order of Australia for services to children and young people.  In October 2012, Jan was named The Australian Financial Review & Westpac Group ‘Woman of Influence 2012’ and Social Enterprise category winner.   The inaugural ‘100 Women of Influence’ awards recognised the important contribution female leaders make to Australia’s future.


Manager - Charlotte Smith   Charlotte Smith Selfie






Chairperson - Penny MackiesonPenny Mackieson 2013

Adopted as a newborn in Melbourne and raised in rural Eastern Victoria, Penny returned to Melbourne to undertake tertiary studies.  Penny completed Bachelor and Master degress in Social Work at the University of Melbourne, where she is currently undertaking full-time PhD studies in permanency for children in out-of-home care with a particular focus on Permanent Care.  A social worker for more than 30 years, Penny has worked in a range of roles with, or contracted to, the Victorian government - primarily in the children and family services sector.  A member of the VANISH Committee of Management since 2014 and Chairperson since October 2015, Penny brings extensive relevant personal and professional experience and expertise to the role.  She also brings a deep commitment to advocacy for those seperated from family members through adoption, donor conception and surrogacy.  Penny is the author of Adoption Deception: A personal and professional journey (2015).


SECRETARY                        Tricia Lester

TREASURER                        Simon Pryor


Cathy Burnett, Sue Green, Maureen Long, Lyn Moore, Romana Rossi, Paul Ruff.
The VANISH Committee of Management welcomes new members and volunteers.  Please contact Penny Mackieson or Charlotte Smith, through VANISH, to discuss your engagement with us.