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.
Access our 2021 Annual Report
View the LEAD Loddon Murray Strategy
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.
Sharon Morrison joined the LEAD Loddon Murray board in March 2022 and is a graduate of the 2009 Northern Mallee Leaders program.
Sharon has a varied background in banking, law and local government, and is currently working in the not-for-profit sector. From 2005 to 2008 Sharon was a councillor at the Mildura Rural City Council holding portfolios in Assets and Infrastructure, and Planning.
Sharon has a passion for helping individuals and organisations be the best they can be and is pleased to join the LEAD Loddon Murray board where her passion can be of benefit to the community.
Sharon lives in Marong with her husband and three sons, and enjoys many forms of embroidery in her spare time.
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.
Adrian is an active community member, particularly in the active transport/living space. Co-Founder and Event Director of Bendigo Botanic Gardens Parkrun, Committee member of the O’Keefe Challenge and Board member of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Inc, and Treasurer and Secretary of Bike Bendigo. He is passionate about community/regional development and the LMCLP that gave him the strengths and belief to be a far more effective contributor to his local community.
Adrian holds a BSc with Honours from the University of Melbourne and loves the opportunity to help shape the program that gave him so much benefit and see others prosper and help their communities the same way Lead Loddon Murray has set him on the right path.
With broad experience leading major projects and programs for two large public sector organisations, Nicky brings to the LEAD LM Board her passion for community development and engagement in rural, regional and remote areas, and strong skills in strategic planning, program coordination and partnership development. Nicky is a long-term resident of the Macedon Ranges, and currently works at the University of Melbourne leading emergency, critical incident, and business continuity management. With experience as a former diversity and inclusion practitioner in the emergency services sector, Nicky also brings grassroots community service and engagement experience as an active volunteer with CFA and SES. As a proud graduate of the LMCLP in 2020, Nicky remains deeply committed to championing the work of LEAD LM to support communities by developing courageous, capable leaders who can advocate for positive, sustainable change by enabling community self-determination at a grassroots level.
As a long-term resident of the Macedon Ranges, and emergency management professional and former diversity and inclusion practitioner, as well as an emergency services volunteer with two agencies (CFA & SES), I am confident I can offer the Board and broader organisation a valuable set of skills and experience as described in the skills list above.
Deputy Chair, LMCLP 1998
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.
Secretary, LMCLP 2016
Ric has been a web developer since 1998 until retirement but still has his own sites. He had a long career in banking, commercial and corporate finance before becoming a partner in an accounting practice, working in the practice as an accountant, auditor and business advisor from 1988 to 1998. Ric’s thinking is never confined to the square, and he is innovative and resourceful. He is involved in several community-based organisations as a volunteer, and did Governance training with LMCLP and also RSL Victoria. Ric has also acted as a mentor for participants on several occasions.
He see’s being on the Board is a good opportunity to give back to both LMCLP and the community. He believes our society and community is desperately in need of leaders at present that have high standards of integrity and ethics. “It would seem that sports people are held to a higher level of account than many of our public figures”. He would like to see upcoming leaders well versed in the need for ethics in leadership and lead without fear by the motto “That the standard you walk past is the one you are prepared to accept.”
A Veterinarian and Farmer, Jenny is a hard worker and clear thinker and has held positions on numerous Boards of Management and Committees such as the local Community Bank Community Investment Panel, Romsey Region Business and Tourism Association, Griefline Service Inc., Romsey Echotherapy Park, Romsey Primary School Council and Romsey Kindergarten.
Having completed the LEAD Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program in 2019, which she found to be an incredibly satisfying and valuable initiative, Jenny believes she has something to “give back” to assist LEAD Loddon Murray continue it’s important role in the development of community leadership in the Loddon Murray region.
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.
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.
E: [email protected]
M: 0428 855 991
Keith joined LEAD Loddon Murray as Executive Officer in August 2020 after a 36-year career in retail banking.
Keith’s early career was with one of the ‘Big Four’ banks, and in 1998 he joined Bendigo and Adelaide Bank where his major focus was on government and community engagement, and the building and support of the Community Bank (community-owned franchises) network, during that time working with communities in every state and territory of Australia. His career in Bendigo Bank included State Community Manager positions in Western Australia, and Victoria and Tasmania where he had responsibility for stakeholder engagement, community and corporate governance, and the development of locally based Community Bank Boards, with a majority of those communities in regional and rural areas.
Keith has an MBA (Marketing) from the University of New England and is an active musician, having played in bands for most of his life. He has volunteered and supported many local music events, including spending 8 years as secretary of the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival and is the inaugural chair of a new organisation, Live Music Bendigo who are advocating and working with local businesses, performers, and government to help build a more vibrant live music scene in Bendigo.
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