Felicity Williams

Bachelor of Arts
Graduate Certificate in Leadership
Master of Business Administration (Executive)
Member Australian Institute of Company Directors

Chief Executive Officer since 2014

Board member since 2014

Ex-Officio member of all Board Committees

 

In September 2014, Felicity took up the role of CEO of The Centre for Continuing Education, fulfilling her desire to return to the tertiary sector within an adult community education college. Felicity’s passion for the vocational education and training sector is embedded in its capacity to link people to community and industry, and because education has the power to change lives. Provision of education through an adult education college such as The Centre is enhanced through the sector’s close and intimate connections to community.

Felicity grew up in Melbourne, but gradually moved further out finally settling in Corowa 20 years ago. Following completion of secondary school, Felicity completed her Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University and took up a junior editor position with a Melbourne publisher, eventually working as an editor for Penguin Books. Following this she commenced her career in public relations and marketing within a number of organisations, including an educational scholarships group.

While raising two daughters, Felicity set up a successful marketing and business consultancy in North East Victoria and worked closely with businesses and various organisations, including Aboriginal Corporations, through the North East and Southern NSW.

During this time, Felicity was a member of the Albury Wodonga Area Consultative Committee where her passion for building links between education, industry and regional development grew. In 2007, Felicity began her association with the vocational education sector as Marketing Manager of Wodonga TAFE. This was followed by a senior executive position at Bendigo TAFE, and then a business management role at a Catholic Secondary College.

Felicity deepened her skills and knowledge of business concepts and practices when she achieved her Master of Business Administration. She has also lectured in marketing for Federation University.

Felicity is Chair of this sector’s peak body – ACEVic. and also serves on the ACFE Hume Regional Council. She is also a Board member of Gateway Health and NE TRACKS LLEN.

What role has education played in your life?

Education has definitely been an enabler for me. But I fear that I squandered my experience at Melbourne University when I completed my Bachelor of Arts – I truly wish I had that time over, but with the benefit of a little maturity, more commitment to achieving outstanding results . . . and perhaps less partying.

My experience in completing my MBA was wonderful – even though I was working full time and raising a family, my commitment was true. I was able to achieve my MBA with Distinction. I actually mourned a little when it was over. I very much embraced the opportunity to fully explore the various themes, theories and practice associated with management and business.

How do you continue learning in your own life?

I have embraced lifelong learning and am constantly seeking ways to learn. I am currently participating in MOOKs – free courses offered by universities from around the world. This has proven to be a great way to access global thinking and ideas.

I am constantly reading articles – my favourite source tends to be Harvard Business Review, which contains articles that are thought provoking, innovative, sometimes challenging existing thought and practice, but largely practical and lend themselves to practical application. I also listen to podcasts about wide ranging themes. I find this source of discussion, thinking and exploration of issues to be a rich source for my thinking about The Centre and our possibilities.

Why is adult and community education so important?

Adult and community education is absolutely vital within our educational landscape. It provides a way in for people with significant barriers to access formal education and economic empowerment. We have learners of all ages – from 15 through to 65+. They mingle, learn from each other, and have ownership of The Centre. Our approach is learner driven – not teacher driven. Our learner experiences form a vital part of the learning journey within the community education vehicle. We change lives, we provide hope, we build resilience in people through connections to community, and a road to health and wellbeing.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why do you want to be part of the Board?

I feel honoured and privileged to be able to lead The Centre, working with our wonderful Board and my fantastic leadership team. The Centre is an intrinsically important part of our regional community, as evidenced by the outstanding turnout to our community meeting in 2016. Our passionate staff make The Centre a wonderful place to work, learn and contribute. The work we do genuinely makes a difference to peoples’ lives – this is what gets me out of bed each morning.