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 the 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. 

Greg Bowers - Treasurer

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. 

Greg was appointed to the Board as Treasurer in 2018.

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

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.

 

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.

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 Executive Team

Andrew Burns - Chief Operating Officer

Andrew Burns

Andrew commenced work with commUnity+ in 2016 as the interim Director of Legal Programs. As Chief Operations Officer he oversees the operational planning and delivery of the core programs of commUnity+. These include Family (Child Contact Services), Legal (Brimbank-Melton Community Legal Centre) and Corporate (Human Resources & Operations/Facilities) Programs. His role is key to the effort to embed an integrated service delivery approach across the organisation. 

With a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Social Science, Andrew has built upon this academic foundation working in multidisciplinary contexts to develop expertise in the areas of statutory compliance, governance, program and people management.  This experience gained over an 11 year period has often brought him into contact with the people, places and services of Melbourne’s West. He brings this experience to the role of Chief Operations Officer to ensure the programs of commUnity+ can work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to support the delivery of much needed services to our communities.

Andrew commenced work with CommUnity+ in 2016 as the interim Director of Legal Programs. As Chief Operations Officer he oversees the operational planning and delivery of the core programs of commUnity+. These include Family (Child Contact Services), Education (AMEP, SEE, Skills First & ACFE), Legal (Brimbank-Melton Community Legal Centre) and Corporate (Human Resources & Operations/Facilities) Programs. Andrew also manages the delivery of organisation-wide strategic projects, managed services and provides strategic and operational guidance and support to staff. His role is key to the effort to embed an integrated service delivery approach across the organisation.

With a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Social Science, Andrew has built upon this academic foundation working in multidisciplinary contexts to develop expertise in the areas of statutory compliance, governance, program and people management.  This experience gained over an 11 year period has often brought him into contact with the people, places and services of Melbourne’s West. He brings this experience to the role of Chief Operations Officer ensure the programs of CommUnity+ can work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to support the delivery of much needed services to our communities.

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 - Director of 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.

Simon Roberts - Strategic Partnerships Adviser

Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts is the Strategic Partnerships Adviser.  He started working at commUnity+ in 2014. The focus of his role is to provide strategic advice and build partnerships in collaborations with the program areas to articulate the value of our existing program and/or develop new programs.

Simon has strategic responsibility to support programs with community engagement, stakeholder relationships and partnerships across the organisation.

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.

 

Our Leadership Management Team

Martin Ha - Principal Lawyer

Martin Ha 2

Martin has been with the Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre (a program of commUnity+) for 4 years and during that time has developed a strong generalist practice.

In his role as Principal Lawyer, he envisages that the centre will maintain its course towards being a community (and sector) connected program that delivers enhanced legal outcomes as well as one that supports and
empowers its clients.

Martin’s focus and objective is to build leadership capacity within the legal program and for it to continue to develop effective strategies and projects
|that are client-centred and delivered by way of integrated services.

Prior to joining the Brimbank Melton CLC, Martin practiced as a criminal defence lawyer with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS).

During his 5 years at VALS, he travelled throughout much of the state to assist and represent Victoria’s most disadvantaged and marginalised clients. It was during this stint that Martin developed a strong interest in the promotion of access to justice.

Martin’s Vietnamese language skills are utilised to provide legal assistance via the Vietnamese Lawyer Project. His bilingual ability has enabled our centre to connect with, and engage, the large Vietnamese-speaking community within our catchment area.

 

Sangeeta Lata - SEE Training Manager

 Sangeeta is a SEE Training Manager located at the Broadmeadows office at CommUnity Plus.  She has extensive experience in adult teaching and has a varied repertoire of professional knowledge and skills.

After graduating with a degree in Education, her first Masters in Linguistics and Language Teaching was obtained from the University of Auckland in 2009.  She has completed a Master of Arts in TESOL in 2014 from the Flinders University. Sangeeta strives to provide adult migrant learners with authentic experiences and various opportunities to discover, learn and enjoy their journey in acquiring English skills, Sangeeta became passionate about teaching English to adults in an adult educational setting. 

In her new leadership role, targeting quality management, effective leadership and productive outcomes, Sangeeta works to capitalize on the strengths, skills and expertise of her own and others working with her to maximize collaboration and revitalize the efficiency of training and skills development.

 

 

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Shahed Ahmed - AMEP Training Manager

Shahed joined commUnity+ in May 2018 as the Training Manager of Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). His key role is to manage the delivery of the program as per the strategic plan and to carry out the training plan in line with commUnity+ operational plans and funding contracts in consultation with the Director of Education and the Learning for Employment consortium.

Shahed has taught and managed departments at universities and VET institutes in Australia and abroad for fourteen years. He was a professor and head of English Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology; coordinator of the Institute of English Language (IEL) at Leading University; and course coordinator of Foundation Studies Department at Melbourne Polytechnic. He has also taught at Wyndham Community and Education Centre and Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services as the AMEP and SEE teacher and at Discover English as the senior English language teacher. Before commencing teaching in 2004, Shahed worked as the office manager of British High Commission in Bangladesh for two and a half years.

Shahed has Bachelor of Arts in English with honours, Master of Arts in English, Master of TESOL and PhD in English. He has researched extensively on English language and literature and actively participated in and led various projects in this field. He enjoys creating innovative resources and assessments, training and mentoring teachers, and participating in conferences and workshops.