Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) 2017

Recognising women’s inspirational leadership within the Victorian Public Sector

Across Victorian Local and State Government and Statutory Authorities, the public sector has a significant number of exceptional female leaders building high performing teams and transforming their communities.

Davidson is delighted to announce the Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) for 2017 and to support the identification and development of exceptional female leaders across the public sector.

Click the button below to view images from the event.

Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) 2017

Alison Leighton

Alison Leighton

Chief Operating Officer, Mornington Peninsula Shire

Alison is responsible for a $140m operational budget, delivery of the Shire’s $65m Capital Works Program, and more generally ensuring the community infrastructure assets are managed to meet the highest standards. Alison strives to lead her 450 strong team in an authentic and contemporary way and is an advocate for gender equity in both technical positions and senior public sector leadership roles. She regularly acts in the position of Chief Executive Officer at Mornington Peninsula Shire and actively mentors young professionals working in the public sector.

Alison Beckwith

Allison Beckwith

Director Community Programs, Banyule City Council

Allison’s career in local government has spanned 25 years working across a range of community service roles and appointment to her current role as Director of Community Programs. Throughout her career Allison has built successful relationships with community, industry and sector partners and is highly respected and valued by all, in and around Banyule.
Allison has been instrumental in driving several major initiatives, a recent example is Council’s regional aquatic centre ‘WaterMarc’ in Greensborough. The largest Banyule Infrastructure project in recent history. It has delivered great community benefit and a favourable financial business model outcome exceeding Council expectations and allowing for a return on investment back to the community.

Anita Curnow

Anita Curnow

Executive Director Access & Operations, VicRoads

Anita has led high performing teams over the past 15 years. In her Executive Director role at VicRoads, she has the rich and diverse opportunity of working with Transport Safety Services who are responsible for truck safety, through to the incident response group who clear accidents from freeways during morning and evening peaks. In addition to these, Anita has responsibility for the Traffic Management Centre, coordinating all movements across Melbourne’s major roads, Road Safety Behaviour, Transport Technology pathways and Emergency Management.

Anne Farquhar

Anne Farquhar

General Manager External Services, Yarra Valley Water

Over the last 15 years Anne has driven a sustained culture transformation at Yarra Valley Water that has elevated the performance of the organisation. Anne’s work has touched the lives of thousands of employees who have all played a part in driving improved customer satisfaction, innovation and efficiency, and outstanding environmental performance. As part of the Executive Team, Anne has played a crucial role in creating and delivering Yarra Valley Water’s long term strategies. Anne recently extended her influence beyond Yarra Valley Water by initiating an industry-wide project supporting regional and rural Victorian water corporations in best practice to improve culture, reduce cost, lift productivity and modernise systems.

Bridget Wetherall

Bridget Wetherall

Water Industry Manager, South East Water

As a leader of the Water Resources and Policy Team, Bridget plays a key role in driving and delivering key collaborative initiatives for the South East Water business, the Victorian Water industry and women seeking a career in STEM fields. Bridget has enriched South East Water’s culture through the creation of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group. This group, consisting of 25 members, recognises the role female scientists and engineers can play to enhance gender diversity and support the delivery of the organisation’s Diversity and Inclusion Framework. Bridget has demonstrated a positive contribution to the community through her development and delivery of South East Water’s ‘Women in the Pipeline’ program which aims to give high school girls visibility of career pathways across STEM fields.

Brigid Sunderland

Brigid Sunderland

Executive Director, Youth Justice, Policy Strategy & Business Services, Department of Justice & Regulation

In her current role, Brigid has led the development of the Support and Safety Hubs, the redesign of Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management and the development of a policy framework for service navigation for the family violence and broader service system. Brigid also led work to support Government’s significant investment in the roll out of the Support and Safety Hubs. Brigid is a driven and meticulous operator who is committed to improving outcomes.

Carol-Anne Nelson

Carol-Anne Nelson

Chief Operating Officer, V/Line

Carol-Anne is a senior executive with experience across both the public and private sector in industries including rail, energy and infrastructure. Carol-Anne’s drive and passion for Victoria’s regional public transport has been demonstrated through a significant customer focus for V/Line that resulted in improved customer satisfaction during a time of patronage growth. Carol-Anne implemented a customer charter and fresh approach to customer service, culminating in V/Line becoming the only Victorian state owned enterprise to receive Customer Service Organisation certification under the International Customer Service Standard.

Carol Jeffs

Carol Jeffs

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Port Phillip City Council

Carol is committed to driving community value and making a measurable difference to diverse communities. In her role as interim CEO at Port Phillip City Council, Carol has worked with the newly elected Council to develop a 10 year council strategic and financial plan including an incredibly comprehensive and progressive community engagement process. The process ran for three months, yielded over 3000 responses from community members and was inclusive of traditionally hard to reach community members such as young and older persons, non-English speaking and those more socially vulnerable.

Catherine Morley

Catherine Morley

Chief Executive, Rural Northwest Health

Catherine is a community focused leader with genuine interest in the health and welfare of everyone, not just those clients and staff of Rural Northwest Health. She has been the springboard and mainstay for many community initiatives that are aligned to Rural Northwest Health’s strategic plan to keep people well in the community. Since moving to Warracknabeal to take on the role of CEO, Catherine has ensconced herself into many levels of the community. The health service is the largest employer in the shire, extending its influence into the broader community. Catherine’s strengths are her passion to improve health and wellbeing, to drive and deliver outcomes, to question the norm and develop innovative projects that are designed by the community and team members in which they serve.

Celia Haddock

Celia Haddock

Director Corporate Services, Maribyrnong City Council

Since commencing at Maribyrnong City Council in 2013, Celia has demonstrated a unilateral commitment to community improvement through a combination of community engagement best practice, tireless effort and an enthusiastic and authentic approach to leadership. Working alongside the communication team, Celia reshaped Council’s engagement processes utilising a centralised and innovative approach. She established a dedicated community engagement unit and cross organisational consultancy model, which is relatively unique in Local Government.

Charmaine Quick

Charmaine Quick

Executive General Manager Service Delivery, Melbourne Water

Charmaine was the first female to lead Melbourne Water’s core operations group. She is responsible for delivering customer value through the provision of water, sewerage, waterways, drainage and recycled water to the people of Melbourne. Charmaine leads a team of more than 700 operational, professional and contract staff. Some of the assets that she has been responsible for include the Eastern and Western treatment plants, major dams like the Thomson and natural assets like the Yarra River. Charmaine has continuously demonstrated results that make a positive contribution to the community. She has championed efforts to make systems more sustainable and to continuously improve value in water and sewerage service provision. She has been instrumental in Melbourne Water’s work to recycle waste water.

Christina Asquini

Christina Asquini

Deputy Secretary, Operations, Department of Health & Human Services

Christina has had a long and distinguished career in the public service, commencing as a child protection worker. She has held a range of senior operation and policy reform roles in child and family services, and disability services. Recently Christina was involved in the critical challenge in the youth justice service which resulted in riots, damage and escapes. Christina demonstrated significant commitment to staff, attending the sites at these difficult times where young people, staff and other professionals were involved in extraordinary circumstances. Christina was active in supporting staff whilst providing leadership to the management of the situation and ensuring Secretary, Ministers and media were informed.

Christine Wyatt

Christine Wyatt

Deputy Secretary, Planning, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

Throughout her career, Christine has demonstrated a dedication to improving community outcomes through both her approach to her work and her commitment to giving back through voluntary appointments. The focus of Christine’s career has been on creation of public, environmental and community value through project and process design and stakeholder and community engagement. Christine has championed the creation and ongoing development of the Department’s key strategic document DELWP 2020. Under her leadership this has become much more than a document, it is the way that the whole organisation focuses on aligned, integrated and supportive actions and work programs.

Claire Ferres-Miles

Claire Ferres Miles

General Manager, Place Strategy & Development, City of Port Phillip

Claire has demonstrated a strong and enduring commitment to the Victorian community over 10 years at executive level in both State and Local government. In her role at City of Port Phillip, Claire has made a positive contribution through excellent communication and authentic community engagement. Feedback from community stakeholders has indicated that her leadership and contributions provided breakthroughs in their understanding about planning issues. Recent examples include community consultation to resolve a complex planning outcome for 1-7 Waterfront Place, Port Melbourne and leading a co-design process and multiple community engagement forums to develop a new Masterplan for the St Kilda Triangle.

Elise Cafarella

Elise Cafarella

Senior Policy Officer, Department of Premier & Cabinet

Elise is an emerging leader within the Victorian Public Sector (VPS) who is changing the work environments across the state. She is the current chair of the Victorian Public Sector Pride Network (VPSPN) – a peer led network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse and Intersex staff at the VPS. The network spans all seven departments, Victoria Police and agencies including WorkSafe, EPA and VicRoads. As one of the co-founders of the VPSPN, Elise has been instrumental in building the network and strengthening its reach. The VPSPN has provided a safer and more inclusive sector for LGBTI people.

Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips

Deputy Secretary, Agriculture, Food & Fibre, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources

Emily leads work with agriculture, forestry and game industries, primary producers, and rural communities in Victoria to drive sustainable economic growth in the food and fibre sector. She is also responsible for the provision of policy, regulation, and advocacy to support industry development and transition. Emily has broad executive leadership experience in driving policy reform and delivering programs across the Victorian Government. She has previously led policy and program delivery in regional development, sustainable agriculture, water and catchment management, environmental protection, and industry and community engagement.

Fiona Blair

Fiona Blair

General Manager, Infrastructure & Amenity, City of Port Phillip

Fiona has executive responsibility at the City of Port Phillip for the management of assets for parks, foreshore, roads, footpaths, drains and buildings; as well as for a large amenity team, local laws, compliance and parking services. Approximately four million visitors come to the area each year and Fiona is responsible for ensuring the amenity and safety of the city is maintained. Under Fiona’s leadership the city has sustained extremely high community satisfaction demonstrated in the bi-annual community satisfaction survey. For example Parks & Open Space – 96%, Beach Cleaning 92% and Street Cleaning 89%. Each of these scores has increased between 6-9% under Fiona’s leadership.

Frances Diver

Frances Diver

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Country Fire Authority

As CEO of the Country Fire Authority, Frances has led the largest volunteer-based organisation through a difficult year of industrial and volunteer unrest and positively contributed through significant community consultation to ensure parties remain unified and focused on community safety at all times. In addition, her work has enabled the CFA to review and improve in areas including financial management, governance, risk assessment, risk management and inclusion and fairness.

Gayle Smith

Gayle Smith

Executive Director, Quality, Planning & Innovation, Eastern Health

Through Gayle’s leadership, Eastern Health has become a leader in patient experience following the successful development and implementation of the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience. Hearing the voice of the patient and responding to their positive and constructive feedback has seen a dramatic shift in the culture and responsiveness of Eastern Health clinical leaders and teams to patient and family. Results from this work have seen changes to capital developments, models of care and behaviours. As a result of this, the draft Eastern Health 2017-2021 strategic plan has a new value of Patients First. Through Gayle’s leadership, this will culminate in the next phase of maturity of patient experience.

Gill Callister

Gill Callister

Secretary, Victorian Department of Education & Training

Gill manages a $12 billion budget and leads 2,300 corporate staff to deliver and improve early childhood, school education, and vocational and higher education services across Victoria. She employs a further 55,000 staff in government schools. Gill has worked to bring to life her genuine belief that there is no greater public value in Victoria than that created through education. Embarking on an ambitious reform program, Gill has overseen the delivery of key education initiatives including – Framework for Improving Student Outcomes, Learning Places, LOOKOUT Education Support Centres, Victorian School Building Authority, Early Childhood Reform Plan and Skills First.

Hannah Pexton

Hannah Pexton

Manager Land Liveability & Stewardship, Melbourne Water

Hannah has made an outstanding contribution to the community through her work, which is both tangible and visionary. She recently led her team through the development of a partnership between Melbourne Water and Hope City Mission. This led to the Mission being granted permission to use Melbourne Water land for their ‘Garden of Hope’, where fresh, local produce is harvested by the community. Hannah supported her team to break down barriers within Melbourne Water that were preventing construction of the garden. It now grows enough fruit and vegetables to feed more than 100 families weekly, while simultaneously creating opportunities for community members to build and develop their gardening and construction skills. Hannah also works tirelessly on freeing up public land to add greater public value. Working with VicRoads and Wyndum City Council, Hannah led her team through the creation of a new park at Williams Landing on land set aside over 100 years ago for a sewerage channel, but now unused.

Jacqui Weatherill

Jacqui Weatherill

Chief Executive Officer, Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

Jacqui commenced as CEO in 2012 and two years into an amalgamation of eight former cemetery trusts. The amalgamation was an extremely difficult one with no plan to guide its success. Over the past five years Jacqui has transformed the organisation through her leadership from a dysfunctional one with eight different cultures, to one with a clear vision and common culture. Over this time Jacqui has implemented new executive and leadership teams whilst also implementing a regional approach to delivering services. This regional approach allowed the 21 cemeteries to be geographically managed into three regions, each with a Regional Manager, thus promoting consistent service delivery and also enabling a stronger focus on the individual needs of each community.

Jane Evans

Jane Evans

Director Quality Planning & Innovation, Corporate Services & Performance Excellence, Eastern Health

Jane has over 20 years’ experience in public healthcare supporting both direct hospital service delivery and state government policy and programs. At every level, Jane has made a significant contribution to her community which includes the Eastern Health community and the healthcare community at a state, national and international level. Jane’s work with the Department of Health from 2008-2011 saw her undertake the management of the Health Reform programs, the development and implementation of the statewide Redesigning Hospital Care Program and taking the lead in other health reform programs. During this time, 31 health services and Ambulance Victoria were provided with funding, capability training and support to understand hospital redesign which resulted in 105 programs of improvement activity across the state. Jane has continued to support the maturation of the Redesigning Hospital Care Program since her transition to her current Eastern Health role.

Jenny Atta

Jenny Atta

Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure & Finance Services Group, Department of Education & Training

Jenny has many years experience in senior public service leadership roles, notably at the Department of Treasury, the former Department of Human Services and more recently with Department of Premier and Cabinet. In her current role, Jenny leads the Group which is responsible for finance, procurement, information technology and infrastructure strategy. The Group provides support to over 1500 schools and in excess of 900,000 school students in addition to the early childhood, and the training and skills sectors. Within this context, Jenny is responsible for an annual budget of almost $12 billion with a capital investment program of $2.5 billion.

Jenny Gray

Jenny Gray

Chief Executive Officer, Zoos Victoria

Each year approximately 13 million hectares of natural habitat is lost worldwide. In Victoria alone, more than 30% of animal species and 44% of plant life are threatened. In 2009, these ever-increasing challenges compelled Jenny to champion the transformation of Victoria’s three zoos. Jenny made two powerful commitments: 1) to fight extinction by pledging no Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species goes extinct on her watch, and 2) to motivate Victorians to become the most wildlife friendly citizens in the world by inspiring millions of zoo visitors to act for wildlife. A 20 year strategy was launched, which outlined the path to embed conservation into everything zoos do. This paved the way for the development of Zoos Victoria’s first Wildlife Conservation Masterplan, and a Community Conservation Masterplan for employer communities to address human driven threats to wildlife. Jenny’s clear vision not only inspires staff and other businesses, but has influenced other zoos throughout the world, leading them to shift their purpose too.

Jerril Rechter

Jerril Rechter

Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth)

Jerril’s positive contribution to the community is integrally linked to the transformation of VicHealth over the past six years to a strategic, performance-focused and innovative organisation that makes a difference to the health and wellbeing of Victorians. Jerril has leveraged VicHealth’s unique statutory public sector status to take health promotion and prevention into new territory where communities and individuals are empowered to live healthier, resilient lives. Jerril is driven by working to find solutions to big societal challenges through creative thinking and innovation.

Jill Gardner

Jill Gardiner

Deputy Secretary, East Division, Department of Health & Human Services

Jill is a highly motivated and energetic leader with extensive experience in health and human services in the government and non-government sector in Victoria and the United Kingdom. She has a record of accomplishment in leadership and operational service delivery and in policy and project management roles in a variety of settings. Jill has sophisticated people management skills and has led large workforces through significant periods of change and ambiguity. Her political acumen is strong and she is an astute problem solver who can drive client focussed, high performance culture that aligns with organisational strategic directions.

Julie Reid

Julie Reid

Director Engineering Services, Greater Dandenong City Council

With 29 years of serving communities through Local Government, Julie brings strong leadership and compassion for making a difference. She is committed to ensuring all that she delivers is aligned with the community needs. Through her role, Julie assists local residents by ensuring the delivery of a $50 million capital works program. This includes roads, drains, buildings, open space improvements and provision of new assets to deliver services to the community.

Kate Gillan

Kate Gillan

Chief Executive Officer, Lorne Community Hospital

Kate places a very high value and importance on contribution to the community, especially in the rural health sector, recognising the significance and the important impact that health services provide in the non-metropolitan areas. Her overall commitment to the health sector in general has been substantial, given her 15+ years in executive leadership, however, it is in the last six years in public sector rural health that she has particularly shone. Kate has provided nursing and CEO leadership to Lorne Community Hospital over the past six years and more recently has extended her role to provide interim CEO support to Otway Health, a neighbouring health service which has experienced significant challenges.

Kathy Mitchell

Kathy Mitchell

Chief Panel Member, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Kathy has made an outstanding contribution to planning in Victoria over a 30 year period. She has contributed through her work in private practice, local government and planning before devoting over 20 years to the public service. Kathy’s expertise covers urban planning and social impact assessment skill areas. As Chief Panel Member, Kathy has been trusted to Chair a wide range of Victoria’s major matters through Amendment Panels, Advisory Committees, Environment Effects Statements and planning Permit Call-ins.

Katy Hariree

Katy Haire

Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and Education Group, Department of Education & Training

Katy has been at the forefront of addressing some of the most complex government challenges, including family violence and improving outcomes for indigenous students. She is a true reformer when it comes to increasing the public value of government services. At the Department of Education and Training, Katy leads a major schools and early childhood reform agenda that at its core will be the bedrock of substantial reforms in the delivery of education. The introduction of ten ‘Tech Schools’ is just one example of this. These high-tech learning centres will connect secondary students (and their teachers) to the future world of work and amplify STEM skills and the ability to think digitally, critically and creatively when solving real world problems. It is a much needed initiative to ensure Victoria has the workforce it requires to survive in a much more global and technologically advanced world.

Leeanne Miller

Leeanne Miller

Director, Child Protection, West Division, Department of Health & Human Services

Leeanne began her social work career as a child protection practitioner in 1993 and quickly became acknowledged for her sensitive and considered practice. Since that time, Leeanne has consistently demonstrated how hard work, dedication, striving to improve and always maintaining focus on the child and family delivers results. In 2016 the Royal Commission into Family Violence report was tabled in Parliament which was the culmination of a 13 month inquiry. Representing child protection practitioners, Leeanne was one of nearly 100 Victorians – advocates, experts and policy stakeholders – who provided a written statement to the commission, appeared at the public hearings and attended an expert roundtable meeting in September 2015.

Lill Healy

Lill Healy

Acting Deputy Head, Employment, Investment & Trade, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources

In her current role, Lill leads the design and development of initiatives to implement key economic and employment strategies for government. A key accountability of Lill’s is to lead the coordination of local responses and support to government efforts to improve outcomes for Victoria’s most vulnerable communities. Lill’s work includes working with disadvantaged Victorians to gain better access to the labour market and secure employment. Lil also leads work to help individuals and communities in transition, for example, leading the work to support displaced automotive workers.

Lisa Eldridge

Lisa Eldridge

Manager, Family Violence Programs & Initiatives Unit, Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Lisa’s work ultimately contributes to community safety by improving the court and justice system’s response to family violence. Lisa has played a leadership role for courts in establishing partnerships and working across government, police, legal, justice and community services on family violence system reform. As a result of this ongoing work, there will be better protection for victims and families affected by family violence, improved case management and connection to services, better sharing of information between agencies and importantly accountability for perpetrators of violence. Lisa has been a key coordination point from courts in all of this work to date.

Louise Meadows

Louise Meadows

General Manager, People & Capability, City West Water

Since arriving in Australia ten years ago, Louise has empowered organisations to actively achieve greater gender equality across senior management in both the private and public sectors. Louise’s passion and dedication to improving workplace equality has most recently resulted in the successful rollout of City West Water’s ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ strategy across the business. Engaging over 30 employees, the strategy encourages each participant to become change agents both inside and outside of the organisation. Participants are supported in seeking opportunities to work with local cultural and linguistically diverse community members to improve connections and collaboration with those in City West Water’s multicultural service area.

Margaret Bennett

Margaret Bennett

Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Health Wangaratta

Margaret is a highly respected member of the local community not only because of her leadership, but because of her ongoing and consistent commitment to the people of Central Hume. As a Nurse by profession, Margaret’s DNA is infused with a lifelong commitment to the community beyond health services and her role as a large employer of local people. Her deep commitment to listening to the community to better respond to and anticipate local healthcare needs is evidenced in her successful initiatives. These include the Community Well Ageing Vision and Engagement (WAVE) project, regular Community Engagement forums, and the BPangerang Nungara Plan which has brought together Employment, Educations and Health services under one umbrella to drive accountability in being a culturally responsive healthcare service.

Margaret Grigg

Margaret Grigg

Director, Mental Health, Department of Health & Human Services

Margaret is an experienced mental health professional with a demonstrated record of success in strategic leadership, operations, policy and program development, and research and evaluation. She has worked for the Victorian Department of Health as a senior executive for many years. Margaret has a PhD in Health Policy and Administration and previously was Deputy Chief Executive of Mind Australia and Vice President of the Kyneton District Health Service Board.

Margarita Caddick

Margarita Caddick

Director Community Services, Hume City Council

Margarita has more than 30 years of social development experience in the public sector, with a wealth of experience in Local Government. In her current role, Margarita’s scope of responsibility is vast, leading the provision of beneficial services to the community including Community Development and Learning, Family Youth & Children’s Services and Health & Community Wellbeing (including Aged Services). Margarita has established a range of community facility projects and initiatives over the past few years, including the Newbury Child and Community Centre, Annadale Interim Community Centre and Broadmeadows Community Hub.

Marnie Williams

Marnie Williams

Executive Director Health & Safety, WorkSafe Victoria

Since joining the public service in 1996, Marnie has led several large multidisciplinary teams in three regulatory agencies. All of these roles have had a focus on ensuring the community receives high quality service and support. Marnie is a strategic thinker who leads by example and takes accountability. She develops trust and credibility with her team, setting clear expectations and empowering them to deliver. Stakeholder communication is very important to Marnie and she ensures that clear communication channels are established and remains accessible to her team and stakeholders.

Mel Jeffery

Mel Jeffery

Youth Programs & School Partnerships Coordinator, Maroondah City Council

Mel’s passion and commitment to positive community change is evident throughout her work history. At the time
that she arrived at Maroondah, there was no specific work being done on the inclusion or support of LGBTIQ community members. Through Mel’s initiative, determination and passion, Maroondah can now proudly call themselves a leader in this space in the Eastern region. Mel independently developed and delivered training for her colleagues on LGBTIQ issues and gained endorsement from Council to implement innovative strategies to increase Maroondah’s inclusiveness.

Melinda Collinson

Melinda Collinson

Executive Director, Business & Technology Innovation, Transport for Victoria

Melinda has worked in the public sector for 20 years. Over this time she has undertaken diverse roles, many of which have directly contributed to the safety of Victorians. Examples of these include leading health and safety prevention and compliance programs for WorkSafe; and regulating driver licensing and vehicle registrations at VicRoads (including managing demerit point scheme, and the medical review function). Melinda has ensured that the community needs and impacts are considered through initiatives such as developing the Stakeholder & Community Engagement Framework for the Department of Transport; leading social impact assessments and community reference groups for major planning studies as part of the Environmental Effects Statement process; and Leading community engagement programs for the construction of major road projects such as the Eastern Freeway tunnels and the early phase of SEITA (now EastLink).

Melissa Skilbeck

Melissa Skilbeck

Deputy Secretary, Regulation, Health Protection & Emergency Management, Department of Health & Human Services

Melissa’s contribution to the State of Victoria spans more than 20 years in central government agencies and now with the state’s largest service providing agency. Melissa leads the department’s responsibilities in emergency management, mobilising resources to provide immediate response to emerging incidents, contributing to whole of government actions to build community resilience and funds, and supports social and human recovery in disaster impacted communities. Some high profile, high risk examples include the department’s response to Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma, Bourke Street Mall Incident, floods and subsequent Ross River Virus outbreak.

Nancy Hogan

Nancy Hogan

Chairperson, Peninsula Health

Nancy has been on the Peninsula Health Board for ten years and Chairperson for the last five years, during which time she has stewarded over $150 million in capital infrastructure projects, significant improvements in quality, safety and patient outcomes and strong financial management with ten consecutive years of achieved budget surplus.

Nicole Rich

Nicole Rich

Executive Director, Family, Youth & Children’s Law, Victoria Legal Aid

Nicole’s work enables access to justice for thousands of disadvantaged Victorians experiencing legal events. In the 2015-2016 financial year Nicole’s program assisted 31,302 acutely vulnerable clients, including 5,304 from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and 1,354 from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Beyond this, Nicole’s advocacy has also led to improvements to the legal system and the operation of the law, particularly for children, LGBTIQ Victorians and people experiencing family violence.

Noelene Duff

Noelene Duff

Chief Executive Officer, Whitehorse City Council

AS CEO, Noelene has been an outstanding role model and advocate for women in local government in Victoria for both officer and elected representatives over the past 17 years. She manages and leads an organisation with over $1.8 billion worth of assets for the benefit of 160,000+ members of the Whitehorse community. Her particular interest in ensuring sustainability of community assets saw her lead a review of Council’s Capital Works program and a refocusing on investing in assets for the community. In her time as CEO, Noelene has overseen the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Box Hill Town Hall, the Aqualink Leisure Centre in Box Hill and the purchase and redevelopment as a Community Hub of the Nunawading Primary School site.

Rebecca Falkingham

Rebecca Falkingham

Deputy Secretary, Social Policy, Family Violence & Service Delivery Reform, Department of Premier & Cabinet

Rebecca has a strong commitment to public service and working with the community to deliver real results that make a difference. This is evidenced by the range of senior roles she has held in the public service and her key achievements. Rebecca’s group is responsible for a wide range of issues including Aboriginal affairs, Multicultural affairs, LGBTI equality, full roll out of the national disability insurance scheme, education, justice, health and human services. Rebecca recently led the development of Ending Family Violence – Victoria’s Plan for Change which outlines government’s long-term vision for all Victorians to be safe, thriving and live free from family violence. The 10 year plan is a critical part of the response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence prevention and policy reform in Victoria.

Ro Allen

Ro Allen

Victorian Commissioner for Gender & Sexuality, Department of Premier & Cabinet

Ro has over 20 years’ experience in community services, governance, social justice and LGBTI advocacy and is the first Victorian and Australian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality. As founding CEO of UnitingCare Cutting Edge, Ro established Victoria’s first rural support group for LGBTI young people and a state wide network facilitated through the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for training and workers support. Ro has been working tirelessly with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and Cabinet Equality Branch to embed LGBTI inclusion across the whole of the Victorian Government policy directions and projects.

Sally Curtain

Sally Curtain

Strategic Director, Customer Focus & Innovation, City of Casey

Sally has made a measurable contribution across the state of Victoria delivering public services for 20 years. Her passion and commitment to the public service can be seen over the course of her career as a Board Member, Executive, Corporate Strategist, Project Manager, Change Manager and Regulator. Sally has been the chief protagonist and change evangelist to lead Casey through their three year transformational ‘Efficiency and Effectiveness Program’ . She has done much of the heavy lifting, personally providing executive sponsorship to more than half of the 21 projects that cut across the organisation from how they plan and budget, to how they engage with the community. She leads from the front, faces adversity head-on, embraces change and uses her big thinking and visionary approach to inspire the rest of the organisation to follow in her footsteps.

Sarah Noel

Sarah Noel

Executive Manager, Organisational Capability, Mount Alexander Shire Council

Sarah has worked at Mount Alexander Shire Council since 2015 and as Executive Manager Organisational Capability has responsibility for HR, Payroll, Risk & Safety, Governance and Service Reviews. Sarah has led significant restructure and cultural change efforts to build an innovative and values driven organisational culture. Significant achievements include the negotiation of a new Enterprise Agreement with unlimited family violence leave, purchased leave for part time staff and leading Mount Alexander Shire to become the first Council in Victoria to introduce soft-compulsion super, which will significantly benefit women in the organisation.

Vijaya Vaidyanath

Vijaya Vaidyanath

Chief Executive Officer, City of Yarra

Vijaya is a highly experienced leader having held CEO positions at two Councils in New Zealand prior to taking on the role at the City of Yarra. She is renowned for her innovation, integrity, inspiring leadership style and a unique ability to deliver results. She has enormous interest in social justice and value based leadership. Vijaya has transformed Council’s approach to consultation and engagement, placing community education and empowerment at the centre of their decision making process. Major community infrastructure improvement has been a feature of Vijaya’s tenure at Yarra, and many of these will support residents for generations to come.

For more information about the Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) initiative, email marketing@davidsonwp.com