Governance

Comm Unity Plus Services Ltd has a constitution that covers all areas of governance.

Comm Unity Plus Services Ltd is governed by an elected, voluntary Board of Management, which meets bi-monthly.

Our Board

Susanne Legena – Chairperson

Susanne LegenaSusanne was elected to the commUnity+ board in 2016. She is Deputy CEO of Plan International Australia and an advocate for foreign aid and community development, gender equality and youth participation.

Susanne has held various executive roles at Plan International Australia including Executive Manager overseeing and leading operations, Deputy CEO and Director of Public Engagement leading policy, advocacy and communications efforts. She has previously served as Chief of Staff to the Victorian Minister for Energy, Resources and Community Development where she contributed to key policies on energy and climate change as well as leading the implementation of A Fairer Victoria a whole of government social policy action plan to address disadvantage and promote inclusion and participation.

Susanne has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Flinders University and a Master of Arts (Professional Communication) from Deakin University. She has had a career dedicated to working on social justice issues and commenced working life as a community development worker for an international youth-led student organisation and for several non-government organisations tackling family violence, poverty, youth unemployment and homelessness. 

James McCarthy

James McCarthy Chairperson

James has been a board member with commUnity+ since 2004 when we were known as Community West and has been the chairperson for 9 years and deputy chairperson for 3 years. James is a Social Worker with over 20 years’ experience in the social and human services sector, and is currently working with Eastern Palliative Care. 

He is involved with several other organisations and is the current chairperson of No To Violence, C-Collective (an organisation started by James) and was the previous president of Interchange Victoria. James has a number of other volunteer roles in the community including being a Justice of the Peace and roles with the Office of the Public Advocate.

James has a range of qualifications in areas including; family violence, governance, AOD, mental health and training and assessment. James has maintained a strong connection with the Western suburbs of Melbourne through the many roles he has held that aim to contribute in empowering and growing resilient communities.

Sejla Kadric - Treasurer

Sejla KadricSejla was elected to the commUnity+ Board in 2012. She is a senior manager and chartered accountant at ShineWing Australia Pty Ltd. Sejla moved to Australia in 1996 and grew up in the western suburbs. As a Board Member, her financial expertise ensures commUnity Plus has highly developed financial and internal control systems to mitigate any risks. Sejla has significant experience auditing not-for-profit organisations and understands the structures, rules and reporting obligations of incorporated associations. Sejla was appointed to the Board as Treasurer in 2013.

 

Kim Nguyen

Kim NguyenKim was elected to commUnity+ Board in 2013. She has worked extensively in the employment and asylum seeker sector assisting culturally diverse clients find pathways to employment and seek asylum in Australia. Arriving to Australia as a refugee over 17 years ago, Kim is passionate about the rights of culturally and linguistically diverse communities and advocates to remove barriers to employment. Kim has strong professional networks in Melbourne’s north and west which add enormous value to her work with our Board. She strongly believes in integrating compassion, respect and honesty into her daily work.

Nella Buccheri

Nella Buccheri

Nella was elected to the commUnity+ Board in 2016. She is currently the Associate Director of Legal Practice at Victoria Legal Aid. She has significant experience in criminal law and has over 10 years’ experience working in the delivery of legal services through her role in the Legal Practiced Directorate. Nella is responsible for the general oversight of the operations of Assignments Unit to ensure that strategic objectives and priorities are being met. Nella provides advice to the VLA Board and the Senior Executive on issues relating to eligibility for grants of legal assistance and expenditure. 

Nella is a local resident of the Melton area and has a strong interest in social justice. She is very supportive of the work we do in the west and would like to be part of that. Nella is conscious of the issues faced by people in the west, in particular those of new and emerging communities and family violence in the Melton area.

Greg Bowers

Greg Bowers joined the commUnity+ board in early 2017. Greg is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Trust for Nature in Victoria. Trust for Nature is a statutory authority protecting native plants and wildlife on private land in Victoria. A Certified Practising Account with a Business degree from Ballarat University, Greg has extensive experience in financial management.  Greg has overseen large scale financial and process management at the Australian Crime Commission and PMSC. A certified TEFL teacher, Greg has worked as an English teacher overseas and is passionate about opportunities that come through adult education.  Greg offers commUnity+ his extensive financial and operational management experience to oversee the next phase of the organisation’s growth into the North Western and Inner Melbourne regions. 

Hassan Ibrahim

Hassan IbrahimDr Hassan Ibrahim joined the commUnity+ board in early 2017, possessing a strong background in education, resettlement programs and community development. Hassan is currently the programs and practise specialist at Life without Barriers, working to ensure smooth service delivery to all stakeholders across all programs. Also senior advisor of Refugee & Migrant Education to the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Holding a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education from Canterbury University, and a Masters in Philosophy in International Development Studies from Massey University New Zealand, Hassan brings his academic understanding and extensive experience within the community development and education sector to commUnity+.

Rachna Muddagouni - Chief Executive Officer

RachnaRachna Muddagouni was appointed the Chief Executive Office of commUnity+ on 12 June 2012. Rachna has over 20 years’ management and executive experience in community organisations and public statutory bodies. She has worked in the legal, health and housing sector where she developed an appreciation and passion for innovation, strategic planning, change management and integrated service delivery.

Rachna formerly worked at Victoria Legal Aid as the Manager, Stakeholder Engagement and Innovation, where she managed the Bushfire Legal Help Project and established the Victorian Legal Assistance Forum (VLAF). In 2006, Rachna was awarded Victorian Law Foundation Community Legal Centre Fellowship.

 

Our Senior Management Team

Andrew Burns - Chief Operating Officer

Andrew Burns

Andrew provides support to the program and corporate teams of commUnity+. He oversees the Education, Legal and Child Contact Programs along with Human Resources and Operations of the organisation. Andrew also manages the delivery of organisation-wide strategic projects and provides strategic and operational guidance and support to staff. He oversees the strategic work of the legal practice as well as finance, sustainability and compliance matters.  It’s important that Community Legal Centres ensures its resources have the most impact for the community.  

Andrew has 8 years’ experience working in the public sector, primarily in the area of statutory compliance and people management across various disciplines. In each of his roles, work has brought him into contact with the people, places and services of Melbourne’s West and at commUnity+ he directly supports the delivery of much needed services to our community.

Melissa McShane-Murphy - Chief Finance Officer

Melissa McShane MurphyMelissa commenced working at commUnity+ in July 2013 and has since been a part of the Finance and Operations teams. As the Chief Finance Officer, Melissa oversees the the finance, risk, reporting, contract management and compliance work of the whole organisation with  a team of finance professionals.

The Finance team also delivers bookkeeping and payroll services to several external non-profit organisations as a part of our social enterprise strategy. 

Prior to commencing with commUnity+, Melissa has worked as an accountant at a business unit of Toll Holdings and various other finance roles.

Branka Stevanovic - Program Director, Education

Branka StevanovicBranka commenced working at commUnity+ in May 2007 and has since been a part of the Adult Education Program team. Prior to this role she worked as the Education Training Manager, Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) Coordinator, Pre Training Assessor and  as a Trainer at commUnity+.

 In her role as the Director of Education, Branka  oversees a large team of staff who have the responsibility for the development and implementation of all education programs and ensures all contractual arrangements for SEE, Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) and Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) programs are met.

She is a qualified professional and has excellent knowledge and understanding of adult education principles. In addition Branka has great understanding of, and experience working with newly arrived communities who have limited or no literacy skills. The focus of the adult education programs include strategies to increase participation  of our community  to achievie their social, educational or employment goals to reach their full potentials.

Marlene Dixon - Program Director, Legal

Marlene DixonMarlene Dixon joined commUnity+ in November 2016 as the Principal Lawyer of Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and recently took on the role of Program Director - Legal Practice.

Marlene brings over 15 years of legal experience and is a Law Institute Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law. Before joining commUnity+, Marlene was a Senior Lawyer at Victoria Legal Aid. She also spent a number of years at Aboriginal Legal Services in the Northern Territory and Victoria, living and travelling to remote aboriginal communities. During her career, she has appeared in the Magistrates, County and Supreme Courts. She is also experienced in Alternative Dispute Resolution, having started her career as an Investigations Officer at the Telecommunications Ombudsman. 

Simon Roberts - Manager of Community Engagement and Communications

Simon RobertsSimon Roberts is the Manager of Community Engagement and Communications. He started working at commUnity+ in 2014. The focus of his role is to oversee, the internal and external communications functions of CU+, and working with all programs on stakeholder engagement. Simon also oversees the Reconnect, CAIF projects and the Auto Supply Chain Project.

Before coming to commUnity+ Simon worked in roles in media and communications in the not for profit sectors (NFPs) and unions. He also has management and stakeholder experience in NFPs and government.

Laura Dillon - Team Leader, Child Contact Service

Laura Dillon

Laura Dillon commenced in the role of Team Leader for the Children’s Contact Service (CCS) at commUnity+ in 2017. She is a qualified Social Worker, and has worked for several years in the foster care sector in the Southern region. She also has experience in child protection and in a hospital setting.

As the Team Leader for CCS, Laura oversees the CCS team and day to day management of the program, and has a high level of client involvement. 

Laura thoroughly enjoys her role at commUnity+ and is passionate about rebuilding and maintaining positive family connections within the community.