As Chief Executive Officer, Louisa provides strategic leadership for the Federation. Louisa has worked as a Principal Solicitor in the community legal sector and in private practice, and spent 13 years living and working in developing countries. In the Pacific, she was a Justice Adviser to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and partnered with community groups to advocate for the introduction of family violence legislation. In Africa, Louisa was named Anti-Corruption Lawyer of the Year in the Lawyer’s Weekly Women in Law Awards for her work with Senegalese Law Firms. Louisa is an elected member director of the Law Institute of Victoria Board. She loves helping kids to ‘grow inside outside’ through volunteering with Camp Cooinda and her local Scout troop, and has written two childrens’ books, one of which was presented as an official gift to the Duchess of Cambridge on her 60th Jubilee visit to the Pacific.
As Executive Assistant to the CEO and Board Assistant, Linda is our resident ‘go to’ person for anyone trying to reach our CEO and Board. You’ll find her managing calendars, events and emails, and generally making sure our CEO is equipped for all her meetings and priorities. After working in the corporate sector, Linda moved into not-for-profit organisations and hasn’t looked back. As well as being committed to her family and her cat, Linda has a cookbook collection that would be the envy of cooks the world over – 2,000 in total!
Before joining the Federation, Rachael was a senior lawyer at Eastern Community Legal Centre in Victoria and Central Australian Women’s Legal Service in Alice Springs where she focused on advocating for women experiencing family violence. Rachael has also worked as a lawyer in Sydney at knowmore Legal Service, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service and at corporate law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills. As our Policy and Advocacy Manager, Rachael is committed to improving social justice outcomes for people experiencing social and economic disadvantage and meeting the holistic needs of clients through collaboration between legal, health and community sectors. She has Masters’ degrees in Public Health and Family Law. When not advocating for social improvement, Rachael can be found playing with her rambunctious and emotional border collie and exploring any national parks she can find on bike or on foot.
Bron is a Senior Legal Policy Adviser and Climate Justice and Disaster Lead at the Federation – in other words, she’s our climate justice champion. Bron works with Community Legal Centres and the wider legal sector helping them to prepare, adapt, respond and recover from disasters and the impacts of climate change. Through the Climate Justice Legal Project, Bron is helping Community Legal Centres embed climate justice into their practices to ensure the most marginalised members of our communities have equal access to climate justice. With a background working in Community Legal Centres and consulting with international NGOs on law reform strategies, and a PhD on environmental crime and climate litigation, focusing on climate justice is a natural fit for Bron. But it was working as a firefighter in France that ranks as Bron’s proudest moment. That experience also helped reinforce for her the importance of locally based support for communities. When not advocating for climate justice, Bron can be found indulging in “terrible” TV, gardening, or swimming in any kind of water she can find.
As a Senior Legal Policy Adviser, Rohini Thomas works with Community Legal Centres to understand the challenges they face and the injustices experienced by the communities they serve. She uses that information to look for shortfalls in laws and policies and seeks out opportunities to build a fairer justice system. Rohini has a history of working on human rights issues at local, state, Commonwealth and international levels on issues as diverse as modern slavery and trafficking, family violence, discrimination, advancing rights in equal pay and refugee law. She has worked with grassroots organisations in Tanzania and as a community lawyer in Perth. Rohini has just started her Masters in Public International Law and was adopted by her neighbours’ cat during lockdown. When not working, she enjoys interior design and painting and is a committed world traveller who loves learning about new cultures and visiting national parks. If you’re wondering, her favourite is the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
As a Legal Policy Adviser at the Federation, Sarah helps ensure Victoria’s laws are fair for everyone who lives in the state. After starting her working life in corporate law, Sarah transitioned into a policy role with the Federal Government but was keen to use her skills to help advocate for people who experience disadvantage due to social, cultural or economic circumstances. At the Federation, she gets to align her love of analysing complex legal and policy issues to find practical solutions with working with people who share her values. When not advocating for better laws, Sarah volunteers for the Good Box Enterprise, delivering essential items to people experiencing homelessness. She is also a devoted mum to labradoodle Arlo.
Tim is the Federation’s Project Manager for Data Systems, which means he is helping the sector develop a modern legal management system to better collect, interpret and analyse data. It’s a big job, but ultimately it will help the sector plan for current and future community legal needs. After many years working in management positions for large, complex government organisations, Tim enjoys the flexibility of a small, peak body and values the opportunity to help create changes that will benefit this important sector. Tim is well placed to work with the diverse network that makes up Community Legal Centres across Victoria – after all, he grew up with four brothers and four sisters!
As our Implementation Analyst, Skye is helping to build practice management systems and data collection across more than 20 Community Legal Centres. Skye has two decades of experience managing projects, people and stakeholders in a broad range of industries including legal, finance, retail and hospitality. She has overseen change management and innovation projects at Community Legal Centres and has been instrumental to improving significant infrastructure and business processes. As a data crusader, Skye is passionate about streamlining and simplifying data collection and using clever analysis and insights to build better services to help those the sector serves. Once she exits the spreadsheets, Skye loves her caring for her rescue dogs, gardening and has a fascination with vintage fabrics and patterns.
Simon is the Quality and Capacity Development Manager with the Federation. Simon helps us by conducting the National Accreditation Scheme for Community Legal Centres, overseeing and informing the Federation’s member training calendar, supporting the Professional Standards and Support Committee and helping to administrate the Integrated Services Fund. Hailing from the Netherlands, Simon brings a wealth of experience both from his home country and working here in Australia in various community sectors as a social worker. This career path led Simon towards work in quality improvement, where he discovered a passion for best practice and standards, a culture of continuous improvement, and making services better for clients. When Simon isn’t at the office or cycling to and from work, he has been known to feature on SBS Dutch community radio, to cook up a storm for his family, and to coach a women’s community soccer team.
As the Quality and Program Support Officer at the Federation, Kimberly supports members with the administrative processes of the National Accreditation Scheme, Professional Standards and Support Committee and the Integrated Services Fund. Kimberly has a BA in Psychology and Sociology and honours in Women’s Studies. After years of working in not-for-profit organisations, she excels in administration, process improvement and operational organisation. When not working at the Federation, Kimberly can be found at the beach swimming or surfing or spending time with her dog – a seven-year-old border terrier named Mickey.
As the Federation’s Training Coordinator, Gabby spends her days thinking about how to ensure Victoria’s Community Legal Centre staff have the training they need to do their jobs most effectively. From researching training options, working with facilitators, coordinating all aspects of training sessions and following up with attendees afterwards, Gabby ensures the Federation delivers a comprehensive training program that best meets the needs of the sector. With a background in events and project management, Gabby is perfectly suited to manage our training calendar. When not thinking about training, Gabby has a very eclectic set of interests – from reading everything she can to researching early Australian film and theatre, from sewing vintage patterns to listening to live music. But her one true love is MotoGP and World Superbikes.
As Digital Communications Officer, Izzy oversees the website and all our social media channels. She also helps out with broader communications and puts together our newsletters. After studying communications at university and working in digital marketing, Izzy wanted to do something that aligned with her passion for the not-for-profit and social justice sectors. In her role at the Federation, she gets to interact with the wider community and find out what issues matter most to Victorians. Izzy has a passion for screen media and can often be found catching up on the latest TV sensation or behind the lens creating moving art. She also volunteers with Survivors of Suicide and Friends, a regional-based mental health awareness organisation.
If you’ve ever contacted the Federation, you’ve probably spoken with Rosanna, our frontline Office Coordinator who handles everything from online and phone queries to office coordination and administrative support. Rosanna has more than 25 years’ experience in administrative roles in sectors as diverse as legal recruitment, information technology, children’s services, social work services, mental health services and even a stint in scientific innovation. But she is at her happiest working in the not-for-profit sector. When not at the Federation, Rosanna moderates a 10,000+ strong Facebook group for her local community, and enjoys cooking with her home grown produce or dancing up a storm at a Zumba class.
Michelle is the Operations Manager for the Federation. She’s the team member who makes sure the systems and processes are in place to help us all work more efficiently and effectively. In short, she makes sure our business runs smoothly while quietly making changes in the background that improve our processes. When not thinking about how we can improve our work processes, Michelle loves the beach, nature parks and buying cookbooks despite the fact that she does not love cooking!
Project Coordinator Thanh Coutts helps ensure the Federation’s IT-related and operational projects are working, are delivered on time and within budget. With more than 20 years’ experience in executive support, corporate governance and project coordination roles in Vietnam and Australia, Thanh is well placed to help keep our projects on track. Along with an accounting and research background, Thanh has a strong focus on continuous improvement and collaboration. And, as a problem solver, she is always looking for different ways to enhance business efficiency. Thanh is bilingual and has many talents, but loves nothing more than spending time with her family and reading a good book.
As the Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer, Angela works with Federation staff to ensure the wheels of the organisation keep turning. She can often be found playing tetris with calendars. After years spent working in administrative and executive assistant roles, she is adept at helping organisations operate effectively. At the Federation she gets to do all that in a role that aligns with her personal values. She most appreciates the organisation’s willingness to embrace innovative ways of working to ensure we remain effective in what we do. Angela always starts her day with a workout, anything from a HIIT class to pilates or a run, but balances it out with an avid interest in wine.
Tanya is all about the people at the Federation. As People and Culture Adviser, Tanya leads the Federation’s workforce planning, recruitment and on-boarding, performance, remuneration, wellbeing, culture, awards and policies, and payroll. For Tanya it’s all about listening, supporting, advising, coaching and enabling – at both the organisational and individual level. After studying psychology and science, Tanya fell into HR and has worked in the higher education and not-for-profit sectors. In her downtime, Tanya regularly cooks for the people in her community who need a meal and is a self-confessed chocoholic.