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-five 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.
Access our 2022 Annual Report
View the LEAD Loddon Murray Strategy
To see thriving, self-determined communities who are actively supported in their growth and development through our efforts and those of our Alumni.
To grow, maintain and support local, transformational leaders who will drive positive change in the communities they serve.
Authenticity: We strive to be genuine and transparent to create a culture of trust and respect.
Accountability: We take ownership for our actions to maintain a culture of continuous improvement.
Integrity: We maintain strong ethical principles and adhere to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, trust and equality.
Meaningful work: Our programs provide our participants with the tools to deliver meaningful and transformative outcomes to their communities.
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, including related programs such as Leading Excellence Maryborough, Women of Community, Regional Leaders Orientation and Stepping Stones Youth Leadership Program. Having been a benefactor of State Government support for a number of years, LEAD is moving into a new era of financial independance and partnerships in place of government funding. It is an exciting future for the development of our regional leaders, and opportunities for regional businesses to contribute to community capacity building.
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 was the principle partner of LEAD Loddon Murray and major financial supporter of the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program for a number of years. The Victorian Government, through Regional Development Victoria has invested 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 led to LMCLP Graduates playing a key role in engaging communities in critical policy issues, evident in Regional Assemblies, agriculture round tables and rural women’s networks.
State Government funding of Victoria’s Regional Community Leadership Programs ceases in December 2023. It is an exciting future for the development of our regional leaders, and opportunities for regional businesses to contribute to community capacity building. LEAD are actively seeking and building new financial partners to secure the longevity of the important work and contribution LMCLP and our current partners make to our regional communities.
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.
Chairperson, Independent Member
Lisa is the Executive Officer of Lifeline Loddon Mallee, having joined them after three years as Business Manager for LEAD Loddon Murray. An accomplished leader and senior administrator with extensive experience in the private sector in HR, Financial literacy and relationship management roles, Lisa also has significant experience in board positions on NFP’s and previously ran a small café business with her husband.
Lisa holds a Bachelor of Business and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Business Administration at La Trobe University.
Deputy Chairperson, LMCLP 2022
Dutch by birth, Liesbeth is a primary producer together with her husband. They are fifth generation farmers, circa 1876, producing fine Merino wool, prime lambs, export oaten hay, canola and cereal crops in the Central Goldfields. Liesbeth is actively involved in all aspects of farming including the management of accounts. Off farm, she’s a Casual/Relief Kindergarten Educator and has a Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. In 2020 she was elected as Councillor in the Central Goldfields Shire.
A keen community volunteer, Liesbeth is passionate about nurturing local communities through personal action. For the past 19 years she has been a member of the Bowenvale Hall committee and the Bowenvale CFA. She was President of the Timor Primary School Council and a member of the Highview Secondary College Board, notably as the College’s first female Chair.
Liesbeth is a graduate of Leading Excellence Maryborough, the ADAPT Loddon Mallee Climate Leadership and the LEAD Loddon Murray Community Leadership Programs. In 2023 she joined the LEAD LM Board and is currently the Vice Chair.
With an immense love of the great outdoors, Liesbeth enjoys overnight hikes, cycling, photography, reading and spending time with her family.
Together with her husband she has three adult children and one grandchild.
Treasurer, Independent Member
Commencing her career as a clinician, Vicky has held a range of senior leadership roles across the public health sector both as an executive and board member. She possesses post graduate qualifications in management and public health, is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Services Management and Leadership Victoria as well as a graduate of the Australian Company Directors Program.
Working now as an independent consultant she works with individuals and organisations brokering ideas, relationships, opportunities and connections, strengthening values-based leadership with the long-term aim of improving community health and wellbeing.
I am a graduate of the 2019 LMCLP.
I work with one of the largest Service providers in Victoria as an Intake officer.
My role is to assist our elderly navigate the My Aged Care portal to receive services that assist them in staying at home independently as long as possible.
I also volunteer at Annie North refuge for women fleeing domestic violence and I’m on the finance committee of Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Showgrounds.
My great passion is working with refugees in Bendigo. I have assisted some of them to obtain work in the Care industry. One of the ladies from the African community said to me “we know Jan you are always looking out for us.”
I’m a member of a Rotary club in Bendigo who organises fund raisers for Scholarships to students attending Bendigo and Lockwood Schools. Rotary also raises funds to end polio, bicycles so students can ride to school and many other good causes.
My greatest achievement this year was to finish my LMCLP project. I organised a bus trip with our newest arrivals from the Karen community to visit communities in the Loddon Shire.
Mark has spent much of his professional career working in the public sector in natural resource management and agriculture roles, most recently with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as the Regional Manager for Community and Partnerships. In February 2022, Mark joined Djaara as the Manager for Partnerships and Policy.
Mark is passionate about civic leadership and supporting people to be their best, closing the gap of disadvantage for our most vulnerable, genuine change and opportunity for truth, treaty, self-determination and cultural rights for Aboriginal Victorians and maintaining cultural and natural values for future generations.
At a personal level, Mark is an active participant and in mentoring programs and has been active on school councils, coaching junior soccer and as president of the Bendigo Masters AFL Club, where he still plays. Originally from Ballarat, Mark settled in Bendigo in 2003 which is now definitely home. He lives in the Whipstick with his partner and four teenage children.
Colleen is a Graduate of the first ever Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program in 1988 and has been actively involved in community life ever since, being a Loddon Shire Councillor for 16 years, Chair of the Kooyooro Women’s Network, a Board Member of Inglewood & Districts Community Bank, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, and the North Central LLEN. She is also a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors and Australian Rural Leadership.
Her reason for nominating for the Board is to support the program and she has many skills in strategic planning, governance and understanding financial reports.
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.
E: [email protected]
M: 0428 855 991
Brett is a 2019 graduate of the LMCLP and has remained a vocal advocate of LEAD Loddon Murray.
After 12 years managing environmental and water quality issues with Coliban Water, Brett is embarking on a new career that is people centred, in which his attributes in relationship building, empathy and vulnerability enable the personal-growth of others. Having started a Masters in Teaching (Secondary) at LaTrobe University to start this journey, his role as Executive Officer of LEAD Loddon Murray is representative of opportunities that present themselves to lifelong learners and those who pursue their passions.
Brett enjoys many of the lifestyle offerings of the Loddon Murray region. A lifelong hockey player, coach and local committee member, you are likely to catch him enjoying the region’s bushlands and wetlands on foot or by kayak. Brett hopes to continue LEAD’s proud history of stewardship of self-determined communities and grass-roots leadership, while modelling inclusion and gratefulness to his young family.
LMCLP Program Director
E: [email protected]
M: 0499 171 663
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.
Get in touch if you have questions