The Federation welcomes a new board and chairperson

December 08, 2023 |

At the Federation’s Annual General Meeting on 22 November, representatives from Victorian Community Legal Centres elected three new members to the Federation’s board to replace the outgoing board members.  

The Federation warmly welcomes Melissa Hardham (WEstjustice), Tracey Gaudry (commUnity+/Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre) and Jenni Smith (Northern Community Legal Centre) as the newest members of the board. We look forward to the dynamism and deep understanding of the sector that each individual will bring to the Federation’s governance, and thank them for voluntarily offering their time and expertise. 

Melissa, Tracey and Jenni will join Bryanna Connell (Barwon Community Legal Service), Damian Stock (ARC Justice), Elena Pappas (Law and Advocacy Centre for Women); and non-Community Legal Centre board members Jo Bradley, Emma Greeney and Nithya Gopu Solomon, who were appointed earlier this year. Following a change to the Federation’s constitution in 2021 to strengthen the board with expertise from outside the community legal sector, we are already benefiting from the diverse insights and perspectives that Jo, Emma and Nithya bring. 

We say goodbye and a huge thank you to outgoing board members Chris Povey (Justice Connect), Jennifer Beveridge (Tenants Victoria), and Kris Wallwork (South-East Monash Legal Service) who represented the Federation with enthusiasm and passion during their time on the board.  Collectively, these three board members contributed an incredible 18 years of service to the Federation’s governance! 

A particular mention goes to Kris, who sat on the Federation’s board for 10 years, and was Board Chairperson for six. Kris has supported the Federation to grow, adapt, and flourish, and has led the Federation with exceptional skill to better support the sector. She will be greatly missed.  

The newly elected Board Chairperson is Bryanna Connell. CEO of one of Victoria’s Rural, Regional and Remote (‘RRR’) Community Legal Centres, Bryanna is a CPA-qualified operations leader with over 15 years’ experience in executive leadership roles in corporate and community organisations. Bryanna is committed to ensuring the community legal sector is well-resourced and sustainable. This will be Bryanna’s fourth year on the board, and her second in a leadership role, having been Board Treasurer last year.  

Jenni Smith has been elected as Secretary and Jo Bradley as Treasurer. 

We congratulate Bryanna, Jenni and Jo on their roles. 

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