Why Community Leadership?
Strong, vibrant and sustainable communities need great leaders and contributors.
Community leaders are not always visible, however we feel their presence and contribution, where it exists and in its absence. We feel it in a community’s response to crisis. When a hospital requires fundraising to purchase new equipment. When farmers need advocacy to influence policy. When a group of people are being isolated or marginalised. When the environment is at risk.
Community leaders emerge, listen, bring people together, keep everyone motivated and on track. Their guidance makes a difference. Over time, communities come to know and trust an established group of leaders. Sometimes in rural and regional communities, this group shoulders a lot of responsibility for maintaining the health and vibrancy of a place. Maintaining the health and capacity of established leaders, while inducting and developing new contributors is vital to the sustainability of rural communities and regional cities.
LEAD Loddon Murray has twenty-one years’ experience in supporting established community leaders and actively developing emerging community leaders.
Established leaders engage LEAD Loddon Murray for succession management, governance masterclasses for community groups, short courses on change management, understanding generational differences in community engagement and opportunities to connect with each other to discuss the capability and culture of leadership in the region.
Emerging leaders come to LEAD Loddon Murray to strengthen their understanding of the region as a whole and the unique characteristics of its communities. We actively develop emerging leaders by strengthening their awareness and skills as responsible leaders of themselves, their organisations and communities. We facilitate connections and mentoring between established and emerging community leaders through our events and programs.
Click on the following link to access our 2019 Annual Report.
View the LEAD Loddon Murray Strategy here.
Our vision is to grow inspiring, capable servant leaders to deliver a wave of change for our region, influencing systemic change that values self-determined communities.
LEAD Loddon Murray builds the capacity of local communities to drive change. Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector collaboration that is place based and builds the capability of the people it seeks to serve.
LEAD Loddon Murray is maturing into a purpose driven, closely networked community of practice, supporting and amplifying the work of community leaders to drive change. Our efforts span organisational and sectoral boundaries, taking in participants and partnering with clients across business and industry, government and the for-purpose sector.
Authentic: we are true to our vision and purpose, genuine and realistic.
Inclusive: embrace diversity as an ethical imperative of human rights.
Respectful: we are thoughtful of what we say and thoughtful of what we hear.
Our region is expansive and diverse, covering almost a quarter of the State of Victoria and serving 400,000 people, including ten local government areas. Home to the regional city of Greater Bendigo and regional towns of Echuca, Swan Hill, Castlemaine, Gisborne, Kyneton, Maryborough and Kerang. Our region’s economy is heavily influenced by agriculture (25% of all businesses are agriculture related) and manufacturing, (38% of Greater Bendigo’s economic output comes from the manufacturing sector). More than 80% of our small townships have a population of less than 1,500 residents and inspire us with their creativity and determination in continuing to meet the needs of local residents.
LEAD Loddon Murray began as the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP) in 1998 and arose from a consultation process to look at the future of the northern irrigation district following a leak in Torrumbarry Weir in the mid 1990’s.
At the time, governments at both Federal and State levels were unsure as to whether or not the Weir should be repaired, so a Committee was established to look at the future of the Northern Victorian Irrigation Region comprising representatives of both levels of government, and local landholders.
A range of community consultation activities was undertaken, and out of this process came the Loddon Murray 2000+ Rural Partnership Program which found that the region did indeed have huge potential with good soils, an excellent climate, and good access to water, but there was a need to build local community capacity in order to empower people to take advantage of the opportunities available within the region.
And so LMCLP was born and supported by government funding for the first three years while getting established, with the first group of 23 participants taking part in the program in 1998, under the direction of part-time Program Coordinator and a voluntary Committee of Management.
In 2002, when the implementation of the Loddon Murray Plus+ Program was completed, the LMCLP became auspiced by the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA), and the catchment area for participants enlarged to include north central Victoria.
To facilitate this, a full-time Coordinator was appointed and for the next four years the program continued to be auspiced, and predominantly funded by, the NCCMA, but by the end of 2005 it was becoming clear that this source of funding was no longer guaranteed and a decision was made for LMCLP to become an incorporated association in its own right, a process complete by the end of the 2005 program year.
In 2006 the program year began operation as independent association with a new Coordinator, and a motivated Board of Management who worked tirelessly (and continue to do so) to secure the funding necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.
The first Strategic Plan for the new incorporated association was completed in 2008, with the major recommendation that the organisation change its name to Community Leadership Loddon Murray Inc. to better reflect the broad range of programs the organisation now delivers, one of which is the annual LMCLP.
Since then the LMCLP program has grown from strength the strength, most recently the organisation have begun building and growing other program offerings including Leading Excellence Maryborough, Women of Community, Regional Leaders Orientation and Stepping Stones Youth Leadership Program. Along with this new growth the board choose this as an opportune time to re-brand the organisation to LEAD Loddon Murray.
Our partners invest in our vision of vibrant and sustainable regional communities. Partner organisations support our work by providing financial sponsorship, engaging in LEAD Loddon Murray Programs as participants, guest speakers and mentors and sharing their perspective of critical issues for leaders. We share our strategic intent and goals with our Partner organisations and they support us by sharing knowledge and resources. Together, we are building a stronger cohort of effective, accomplished regional leaders.
The Victorian Government is the principle partner of LEAD Loddon Murray and major financial supporter of the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program, Leading Excellence Maryborough and LGBTI Leaders. The Victorian Government, through Regional Development Victoria invests in the capability and capacity of regional leaders as it understands the critical role leaders play in building vibrant and sustainable communities. Our partnership with the Victorian Government includes Graduates of the LMCLP playing a key role in engaging communities to provide input and feedback on critical policy issues, evident in Regional Assemblies, agriculture round tables and rural women’s networks.
The Australian Government’s Building Better Region’s Program partnered with LEAD Loddon Murray to develop our Women of Community Retreat and Stepping Stones Programs. Aimed at preventing burnout in established leaders, serving the community in a number of roles, Women of Community was so well received by participants, LEAD Loddon Murray is now seeking partnerships to offer the program quarterly, across our expansive region.
LEAD Loddon Murray is an incorporated association governed by a Board of Management. Our Directors are passionate advocates for grassroots community leadership. Our Board is comprised of Graduates of LEAD Loddon Murray programs, (voted on at Annual General Meetings and serving two-year terms) and Independent Community Members appointed to the board for four year terms.
Moustafa is passionate about bringing ethnically diverse leaders into our local government and community organisations, to ensure the region has equality and fair outcomes for all citizens regardless of their ethnic or religion background. Moustafa’s experience as a refugee informs LEAD Loddon Murray’s strategy and program design in many ways, raising the organisations awareness of the experience of new Australians and of the value of inclusive leadership. Moustafa holds a Bachelor of Computer Sciences from La Trobe University.
Moustafa is also a Board member of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services and member of Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Regional Advisory Councils (RAC).
Stephen is no stranger to LEAD Loddon Murray after successfully graduating from the Leadership Program in 2015 and being actively involved with the organisation thereafter. Being a big believer in community and actively supporting a local community group at the Church on the Hill in Quarry Hill, Bendigo. Stephen’s involvement has led on from his LMCLP project of a community kitchen, to then raising funds and delivering numerous community projects which also included leading a team from his workplace, at Veolia, in demolishing an old toilet block and then delivering new toilet facilities with disabled access for the community. This was a great success, for everyone involved, which merged Corporate and Community together as one.
Stephen’s varied background in Engineering and Project Management and his passion for the community, provides the perfect foundation of leadership and governance to the role on the LEAD Loddon Murray Board.
I have worked at Coliban Region Water Corporation (Coliban Water) for the past 12 years in strategic and statutory land use planning for water management. The development of partnerships for Natural Resource Management of water and land use have also been an important aspect of my role.
I am active in the community as president of the Bendigo Mountain Bike Club and member of the Bike Bendigo Committee. I also the deputy chair of the Goldfields Track committee and a member of the Spring Gully Recreation reserve committee.
As a participant in the 2018 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program I am a keen supporter of community participation through my work place role and personal activity. It is important to me that though our roles in community we create Respectfulness, Equality and Passion to create a better environment in which we live and grow.
The recognition of the first peoples of this land and the importance of acknowledgment of past and present actions that have harmed the cultural way of life that has existed here for many years prior to the current cultural form is vital to our communities moving forward together. This is a fundamental personal motivation to my community participation.
I have been on the LEAD Loddon Murray Board for the past 12 months.
Sandra is passionate about improving outcomes for children and young people in regional communities. She has vast experience in project management having worked for both State and Local governments in areas of education and health. Her current role is leading the Go Goldfields collective impact initiative in the Central Goldfields Shire Council where she has been working for the past 4 years. She is particularly interested in achieving and measuring impact of social change in communities. Sandra is acknowledged as a public innovator having completed the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation course (2017), and holds a Masters of Youth Health, Education and Management (2008). She is lecturing in Education at La Trobe University. Her skills in community engagement and shared measurement enable her to make valuable contributions to the growth of Lead Loddon Murray.
Samantha Hilliard is an Education Development Advisor for Sunraysia Institute of TAFE based in the regional town of Swan Hill in the Northern part of the Loddon Murray. Samantha has sixteen years’ experience in Vocational Education and Training, is a TAFE fellow and 2018 LMCLP graduate who is passionate about accessible and dynamic education and leadership in regional areas. Her experience in these areas has been invaluable to the board over the past twelve months.
Samantha has taught Production farming and Agribusiness, specialising in chemical application and business planning for farms. Samantha is currently a committee member for Sustainable Living in the Mallee, the Swan Hill Lions club and is a past member of the Swan Hill Rural City Council Agribusiness Advisory Group.
Samantha enjoys travelling and experiencing different lifestyles, cultures, history, art and landscapes across the world. Through her travels Samantha has been
able to network and connect with people to promote her passion to nurture the acceptance of diversity, eliminate stereotyping, and engage with individuals who may feel alone and isolated in our communities.
Samantha also has an interest in sustainability. Through the Lions club she runs the Recycle for Sight program which recycles approximately 500 pairs of glasses in the district each year. Samantha also runs the communications for Sustainable Living in the Mallee, promoting the groups events and anything to do with sustainability within the region.
My name is Suzanne Hughes and I live in Castlemaine in central Victoria.
I work in the environmental segment. I’ve undertaken various roles over the past 30 years in both corporate areas and in parks. I have a passion for the environment and a belief that time spent in nature is critical to people’s wellbeing.
My current role enables and supports community engagement, building of healthy partnerships and strong stakeholder relationships. I work closely with the traditional owners of the land and the communities that have an interest in parks.
With my professional experience so relevant to the competencies outlined in the Board PD, I now step forward and would be humbled to be part of a like-minded team of collaborators that help others grow through the range of programs LEAD Loddon Murray offer.
I embarked on the LMCLP program in 2019 and grew tremendously throughout the year. I hope now to give back and help others have a similar experience.
On a personal note, the things that are most important to me are family, nature and community wellbeing. The values I hold highest are integrity, courage and acceptance.
Deputy Chair LMCLP 2014
Brenton is the founder and owner of Uptake Digital, a specialist IT services provider and President of Synergize Hub Inc, where his business is based. Brenton passionate about business and its ability to solve problems on a global level. Brenton educates and engages emerging leaders in understanding the role technology plays in facilitating transformational change for communities. Brenton’s industry background includes education, information technology and marketing. His business specialises in technology for Financial Planners and Not for Profits. Brenton’s skills in technology, digital marketing and strategy enable him to make valuable contributions to the growth and diversification of LEAD Loddon Murray.
Treasurer LMCLP 2012
I am a 2012 graduate of the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program.
I currently hold the position of Treasurer at LEAD Loddon Murray. As a Board Member, I enjoy the collaboration, leadership and enthusiasm of what a community organisation can achieve. The presence of a strong governance structure in the organisation has it well placed for the challenges of the future. I have previously held Board positions with Bendigo Sustainability Group (Treasurer) and Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, and I am currently member of the City of Greater Bendigo’s Community Grants Assessment Panel.
I hold a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Environmental Management, Master of Business Administration and formal qualifications in Energy Management, Project Management and Community Engagement. In my employment, I am responsible for the promotion, encouragement and implementation of business innovation across Coliban Water and leading energy and carbon management for a zero-carbon future.
I live in Lockwood with my family and numerous animals, and I am passionate about creating a sustainable lifestyle and a better future for my community.
Jenny is a lawyer with over 30 years experience practising predominately in family law, estate and business succession planning. Jenny was born, raised and educated in Bendigo.
She was admitted to legal practice in 1989 after graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Jurisprudence.
She gained valuable experience in property and commercial litigation in a major regional firm in Geelong, before relocating to the Goulburn Valley to practice in 2001. During her 22 years in the Goulburn Valley, Jenny was a partner, director and managing director of 2 large firms in the area.
She developed an extensive practice in estate and business succession planning and family law matters and a reputation as a fierce advocate. She currently practises as a sole practitioner in Bendigo.
Jenny enjoys being actively involved in the community in which she lives and works and is committed to giving back to those communities. She has held numerous positions on boards of management of various sporting and not for profit organisations in the communities in which she lives.
Independent Member, Chair
Rob Stephenson develops regional leaders as Head of Campus of La Trobe University Bendigo and through his service on regional boards with an emphasis on educational opportunity and economic and social development. Rob holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and worked in professional services firms in the non-banking financial services sector before becoming General Manager of the Bendigo Student Association at La Trobe in 2001. Rob participated in the inaugural Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) in 2006 and served as the Australian representative on the 2014 EPLD Conference Speakers Committee. In 2009, Rob undertook a study of leadership development programs for university students in the USA. Rob is a Fellow of the CPA Australia, Member of the International Leadership Association, College Student Educators International, International Town and Gown Association, Association for Smart Learning Ecosystems and Regional Development.
Keith joined LEAD Loddon Murray in August 2020 from an extensive career with Bendigo Bank, where his major focus was on community engagement and the building and support of the Community Bank network, including stakeholder engagement and development of locally-based Community Bank Boards. Keith is also a musician and has volunteered as a supporter of local music events, including the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival.
LMCLP Program Director
From small beginnings of country life to grand adventures of living in one of the worlds largest cities. It has been the clients, collaboration and team work with my peers that have defined me and my direction(s) in life. From Australia to the US, Central America to Dubai, China to South Africa, Philippines to London – worldly pursuits have and always will be my business DNA. Creating user experience master plans for mix use, retail developments, cities, countries and aerotropoli. Brand strategy to Placemaking strategy; bringing life to a brand, creating engaging & meaningful spaces, community capacity building, big picture visioning, strategic business solutions for public and private clients to consumers brands and retailers. Understanding how to integrate people, place and technology in an honest and relevant way. Emotive story teller that touches the human side of people and place.
Trend Forecasting, consumer psychology, customer journey mapping, retail, packaging and prop design, inspirational educational global tours, keynote speaker, workshops and collaborative roundtable discussions.
Jude participated in the Loddon Murray Community Leadership program in 2018, and connected with it so much, she is thrilled to take on the role of Program Manager for 2019.
Committed to building sustainable business solutions. Quadruple bottom line approach to business and life – culture, social, economical and environmental.
Live for laughter and creating a joyful world. A day without a smile is unimaginable.
Lisa is an accomplished leader and senior administrator with ten years’ experience in the private sector in HR, Financial literacy and relationship management roles. LEAD Loddon Murray gives Lisa the opportunity to support her community by developing quality leaders for a sustainable future. Lisa is passionate about bringing ethical and responsible leaders into our local government and community organisations, to ensure quality and holistic outcomes for the region. Lisa brings with her a wealth of experience at an operational level, from both professional service and hospitality sectors. She also draws on her small business experience through running a small coffee shop with her husband based in the CBD in Bendigo. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Business and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Business Administration at La Trobe University.
Learning and Development
With ten years’ experience serving in Chief Executive roles in the private sector, Leah brings a wealth of experience to the growth and renewal of LEAD Loddon Murray.
Leah’s previous roles include CEO of Be.Bendigo, Sustainable Regional Australia and Australia Cares. Leah served as Victorian Councillor of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chair of the local (Bendigo) branch. Leah is an Alumni of Melbourne Business School’s Leadership 21 Program (Mount Eliza) and holds Diploma’s in Training and Assessment Systems and Frontline Management from the University of Melbourne. Leah’s experience as a regional leader includes roles as Convenor of the Smart City bid for Greater Bendigo, Local Business Broker on the New Bendigo Hospital Build and champion of the Rob Hunt Transformational Leadership Program with Be.Bendigo.
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