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FastTrack 2021

The Journey Continues



Friday, 1 October 2021
VLGA Councillor Leadership Program
Welcome - President and Minister For Local Government 
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Cr Denise Massoud 

President, Victorian Local Governance Association 

Denise Massoud has served as a Councillor for City of Whitehorse since 2012 and elected Mayor for 2016/2017 year.

Denise has tertiary qualifications in Chemistry, Information Technology, Education and is a Registered Electrical Contractor. Her career has encompassed secondary and tertiary education, Information Technology (eCommerce and Business Intelligence) for large corporate organisations and government agencies plus project coordination for domestic and commercial electrical projects.

A graduate and current member of Australian Institute of Company Directors, Denise has held several NFP Board positions and is a current elected Board member for Victorian Local Governance Association. She is also a member of the Executive Committee for ALGWA VIC and supports other women in their development as community leaders.

Council committee roles currently include Audit Advisory Committee, CEO Development Review, Disability Advisory Committee, Reconciliation Advisory Committee, LG Waste Management Forum, Eastern Affordable Housing Association. Denise has previously served on Domestic Animal Management Plan Advisory Committee, Visual Arts Committee, Whitehorse Business Group Board, Sport & Recreation Network, Eastern Region Group of Councils, and been the MAV Representative, giving a broad exposure to all areas in Local Government.

Denise’s passion for local government is fuelled by a great community and the reward of achieving the best outcomes for them and for the sector as a whole.

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The Hon. Shaun Leane

Minister, Local Government

Shaun was elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region in the November 2006 Election and was re-elected in 2010, 2104 and for a fourth term in November 2018. 

An electrician by trade, Shaun has worked for a variety of organisations in this capacity and later with the Electrical Trades Union. 
As well as his electrical qualifications Shaun holds a Diploma of Community Services and has a keen interest in the education and retention of apprentices. 

Born in Oakleigh, Shaun was only young when his father, a bricklayer who fought in New Guinea in WWII, passed away leaving his mother, a nurse, to work night shift to raise their family of eight children. 

From 2014-18 Shaun served in the Andrews Labor Government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Special Minister of State and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure. 
Shaun was elected as the President of the Legislative Council on the first sitting of the 59th Parliament on Wednesday 19 December 2018, a position he occupied until he was promoted to the Andrews Government Ministry. 
Shaun is now Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development and Minister for Veterans. 

The Council Term So Far: Retrospective
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Noelene Duff, PSM

Chair Administrator, Casey City Council

Noelene is currently Chair of the Panel of Administrators for the City of Casey. Prior to this, she was CEO of the City of Whitehorse for 19 years where Noelene worked with many Mayors!!

As an executive and board member of state, national and international bodies, Noelene has developed a sophisticated understanding of leadership and good governance.
In recognition of her enduring leadership in local government and for the promotion of women, Noelene was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2020 Australia Day Honours.

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Michael Stefanovic AM

Chief Municipal Inspector, Local Government Inspectorate

Michael Stefanovic AM is the Chief Municipal Inspector. Mr Stefanovic has 35 years of experience undertaking complex investigations in high-risk environments both within Australia and abroad.     

An expert in his field, having led teams specialising in fraud, corruption and misconduct investigations with the World Bank in Washington DC, he also served as the Director of the Investigations Division at the United Nations in New York.

Since November 2020, he has been the Director for Compliance Operations with COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria. Prior to this, Mr Stefanovic was the Director of Investigations for the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants.


His experience extends to post-conflict environments, having served as a United Nations war crimes investigator in The Hague, Chief Resident Investigator in UN peacekeeping missions and a member of specialist teams engaged by the US State Department to investigate crimes against humanity in Myanmar (2018) and Darfur (2004).

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Sarah Rey

Managing Partner, Justitia Lawyers

Sarah is managing partner of Justitia Lawyers and also a trained mediator. Sarah has a particular interest in early intervention to resolve conflict.

Justitia’s mantra is that to help clients create an exceptional workplace, a multidisciplinary team representing diverse perspectives is often required. In addition to providing legal advice, Justitia and Sarah seek to offer creative and workable solutions with a view to avoiding the costs of litigating protracted disputes.

Sarah’s principal practice areas span human resources law, employment and discrimination advice and litigation, arbitrating Code of Conduct breaches, workplace legal training and investigations into employee misconduct and bullying. Her clients are in the government, professional/legal services, education and retail sectors.

The Influence & Strategy Continuum: Policy Oversight
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Nicola Wass

Director Engagement, RPS Group

Nicola is an engagement practitioner and facilitator specialising in the design and delivery of engagement processes, from traditional methods such as focus groups to deliberative processes, such as citizens’ juries.

Nicola work life across a range of sectors includes 15 years’ experience in strategy planning and stakeholder liaison.

She has worked with all levels of government and has designed and delivered engagement processes for local government in Victoria and NSW across a diverse range of topics. These include strategic land use planning, environmental management and responding to climate change, and community visioning and the development of Council Plans.

Nicola is a member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Australasia and holds their Advanced Certificate in Engagement. She has been awarded the IAP2 Core Value Award Commendation for the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Citizens Jury, and the IAP2 Core Values Planning Award for the Management of Wild Horses in Kosciuszko National Park engagement project.  Gnarly issues!!

Nicola continues to work with a number of councils including delivery of robust, deliberative community engagement process and supporting the development of Community Visions and Council Plans.

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Kate Redwood, AM

Former Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor of Hepburn Shire
Former Councillor of the City of Melbourne

Kate Redwood has the unique distinction of having served two terms at each of Melbourne City and Hepburn Shire councils.

She was Deputy Mayor at Hepburn in 2014 and 2019 and Mayor in 2015. As a councillor with a strong commitment to diversity and social justice, Kate’s proudest moment on Hepburn Shire came in 2018 when the community working with Council – won changes to caravan park regulations so that the 11 long term residents were able to stay where they had lived for years and were given the dignity of making their own decisions as to where they lived.

Kate is a champion for leadership – not grandstanding about what needs to be done, but seeing a need and getting people involved in helping to solve it within a frame of public policy and public accountability. One of Kate’s current passions is to lead a community campaign to upgrade the Daylesford Hospital

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Andrew Day

Chief Executive Officer, Manningham City Council

Prior to becoming CEO Andrew was the Director of Corporate, Business and Finance at the City of Yarra. He has held a number of executive and senior management positions in local government over the past 13 years, as well as management roles in the not for profit and health sectors. Andrew holds a Master of Business, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is an Associate of the Institute of Internal Auditors Australia.

When Conduct Falls Short: Individuals Works as a Team
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Ian McCormack, CMC

President, Strategic Steps Inc.

Ian McCormack, President of Strategic Steps, is Canadian accredited as a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and also certified as a change management practitioner. Ian has a broad range of experience including work in government, for-profit, and non-profit spheres. In the past couple of years, he has worked in two US states, three Canadian provinces, and in two of Canada’s northern territories. His areas of interest include local government, ethics in governance, libraries, housing, post-secondary education, health, non-profit organisations and community safety.

He has contributed articles for Canada’s national local government magazine Municipal World, on topics as diverse as social media use, business planning for local governments, and how to measure community well-being.

His first book on the principles of good governance, Who’s Driving the Grader and Other Governance Questions was published in 2020. His second book on the attributes of the best functioning mayors is scheduled to be released shortly. 

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Chris Eddy

Administrator, City of Whittlesea

Chris has a broad range of local government and media experience, including his current appointment as Administrator at the City of Whittlesea.

He is a former Council CEO and has held interim CEO roles at LGPro and LeadWest. Chris is an independent member of Council audit and risk committees, a member of the Alpine Coordinating Council, and consults to councils on CEO performance management processes.

He also presents the twice-weekly podcast, Local Government News Roundup, and the VLGA Connect series of interviews and panel discussions

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Melissa Scadden

Partner, Justitia Lawyers 

Melissa is an employment lawyer with extensive experience supporting organisations, including councils, with complex workplace issues.

She is passionate about effective dispute resolution and early intervention, and works with employers to find practical, sustainable solutions. It has been a privilege to see that first hand in recent council workshops where we have collaborated.

Melissa has also delivered a variety of training the local government, legal, education, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Melissa has been involved in numerous disputes involving councillors, as a mediator, arbitrator or advisor and therefore has a unique perspective to share.

Closing Statements
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Kathryn Arndt

Chief Executive Office, Victorian Local Governance Association 

With over twenty years of diverse leadership experience including as a CEO, senior executive and a non-executive director across a number of sectors, Kathryn has an understanding of high standards of governance, accountability and performance whilst managing strategic risks and delivering outcomes within budget constraints.

Kathryn is the CEO of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA). The VLGA is a high profile independent (NGO) governance organisation supporting councils and councillors in effective local governance. As a peak body, the VLGA supports the local government sector through leadership, advocacy and professional development.

Kathryn currently sits on the boards of Diabetes Victoria and is Company Secretary of the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club. Kathryn was a member of the inaugural Victorian Ministerial Council on Women's Equality which concluded its term in mid-2020. In her capacity as CEO of the VLGA, Kathryn is a member of the Local Government Victorian Project Control Board overseeing the implementation of the Local Government Act 2020, the state government’s COVID-19 Local Government Roundtable, the COVID Response CEO Stakeholder Group, and Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Women Women’s Roundtable for Local Government. She is also a member of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability’s Reference Group.

Kathryn has a track record in leading teams and delivering success working at a senior and high-profile level in the Victorian local government sector; with a demonstrable ability to quickly grasp the issues facing a sector with multiple stakeholders and the legislated responsibility to provide oversight and governance to, and the delivery of, critical services on behalf of state and federal government to Victorian communities

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Steve Cooper 

Chief of Staff, Victorian Local Governance Association 

Stephen Cooper is Chief of Staff at the VLGA. Steve is an experienced and engaging trainer and facilitator. He has supported councillor induction programs, strategic work with councillors and senior staff, as well as culture and values projects. As a consultant specialising in ethics and governance Steve has worked across metropolitan and rural councils, as well as at state government level.

Steve’s career as a local government practitioner started in Swan Hill and he has also worked at Whitehorse, Port Phillip and Hobsons Bay Councils. His management roles include governance, media & communication, risk and OHS, corporate planning and reporting and contract management. He can lay claim to extensive insight as to the inner workings of local government.

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Chris Connolly 


Chris is an actor, improviser and presenter. As an improviser Chris has played many characters to help in the corporate sector, universities and numerous workplaces helping to develop empathy, motivation and emotional intelligence. As an actor in theatre, he has performed in numerous productions for the Melbourne Theatre Company, played Ron Barassi in Barassi the stage show, Australian tour of West Side Story, George in Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf. His television credits include Deadline Gallipoli, Bed of Roses, Stingers, Blue Heelers, Good Guys Bad Guys, Neighbours and The Adventures of Lano and Woodley.


His film credits include John Doe, Michael Rymer’s Face to Face, Queen of the Damned, Angel Baby and Unfinished Business. Chris has directed and devised several theatre projects both in Australia and abroad. He has also collaborated with refugees and people from developing countries and was the co-founder of the Maya Shakti drama school/company in Sri Lanka. 


Pamela Donnellan


Pamela is the Director of About People Counselling and Mentoring Services, where:


 -  as an improvisational actor Pamela has worked in many different roles in cooperate settings to support learning outcomes and organisational change.  

 - as a facilitator, Pamela employs interactive theatre as a tool to bring the theory of Emotional Intelligence into life through drama, making it accessible to all participants.

  - as an educator in mental health, Pamela translates complex theories into straightforward and easy-to-understand lessons, so that each person leaves with a deeper understanding of mental health and wellbeing.


 - as a counsellor Pamela continues to support people though life’s great challenges.