Our Executive Team

The MS Executive Team is a passionate group of people with a broad mix of skills and decades of collective experience.

John Blewonski, Chief Executive Officer

John is a highly credentialed and respected leader in the community services and not-for-profit sector with over 26 years’ experience. John joined MS in November 2018.

John spent eight years as CEO of VincentCare Victoria, where he was responsible for strategic direction and operational delivery, with oversight of more than 400 FTE staff. Under John’s leadership VincentCare transitioned to the consumer directed environment including the delivery of Commonwealth Home Care Packages and a NDIS funded Disability Employment Program.

“The NDIS and My Aged Care are significant social reforms which present wonderful opportunities for those in our community living with a disability. While offering consumers a greater say in terms of choice and self- direction, navigating these new systems present significant challenges,” said John.

“I enjoy working with the MS team to ensure all those living with multiple sclerosis have access to the best advice and support appropriate to their needs and achieving their goals.”

John also led VincentCare Community Housing, an organisation which offers a range of accommodation options for people at risk of Primary Homelessness, managing housing properties, independent living units across regional Victoria; and rooming house properties. In 2016, John undertook a secondment as CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria. 

Before this John operated at Anglicare Victoria for eleven years, commencing as Executive Manager Corporate Services with accountability for operational leadership of key functional areas, and later moving into the role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer, managing the Agency’s corporate and community services. Earlier in his career John held the position of Director Community Relations & Development. 

John’s current Board appointments include those with the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) where he serves as Chairman; Catholic Social Services Victoria; DHHS Launch Site (Housing Access) Senior Leadership Group; and the Victorian Housing Minister’s Homelessness Advisory Committee.

Sandra Walker, GM Service Innovation

Sandra joined us as General Manager Service Innovation in November 2013 following a distinguished career during which she originally trained as a nurse. She went on to gain her RMIT Graduate Diploma in Quality and Business Management and has held a number of senior management roles spanning the public and private sectors, primary health, community health, charitable organisations and mental health services.

A Kiwi by birth, in one of her recent roles Sandra was the General Manager, Specialist Mental Health Services at the Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand. She has chosen to make Australia her home and held the position of CEO of Gippsland Medicare Local.

Throughout her career, Sandra has remained passionate about maintaining a focus on the consumer and she has been a willing advocate for those most in need. She also firmly believes in using evidence-based models that are proactive and lead to making a difference in the longer term to the lives of the people she serves.

Ben Holgate, General Manager Strategic Fundraising

Ben joined MS as General Manager, Strategic Fundraising in June 2017. For the previous six years Ben had been Director of Marketing & Fundraising at Plan International, Australia,  where he was responsible for a child sponsorship and fundraising portfolio of around $28m per annum.  Ben spent his time at Plan focusing on new drivers of growth, including building strong relationship with donors, digital marketing and effective storytelling. He also led the establishment of the Plan International global fundraising directors’ forum.
Prior to entering the not-for-profit sector in 2011, Ben commenced his career in commercial marketing, initially with ten years as a new business specialist in the UK and Middle East advertising industries. A graduate of London University, Ben came to Australia from his native UK in 1996 and was recruited to take responsibility for the promotion of Coca-Cola’s Sydney 2000 Olympic Games sponsorship. Moving to Victoria in 2001, Ben was director of marketing for the award-winning TAC road safety campaigns and then later, two of Australia’s most significant export businesses, AWB Landmark and IDP Education.
Ben has served on the board of Circus Oz and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association. He is a successful practicing artist and has had work exhibited in several national exhibitions over the past five years.

Ian Hobbs, Chief Financial Officer

Ian joined us as Chief Financial officer in July 2017.  Ian is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience within the health and broader charitable sector.

Originally from South Australia, Ian began his career working with two of the big accounting firms in Adelaide before being transferred to London.
On his return to Australia, Ian moved to Melbourne where he has held a number of chief financial officer and general management roles in a range of commercial and not-for-profit entities.
As Chief Financial Officer, Ian is responsible for a range of corporate services which support MS and its clients.

How your support helps

Our fundraisers are our heroes — we couldn’t deliver supports and services to people living with multiple sclerosis without them! Find out more about how your support helps.

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