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The Board

Carol Nolan – Board Chair

Elected Board Director since 2020
Risk Management, Audit, and Governance Committee

Education
Masters in Nursing
Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
Diploma of Applied Science (Nursing Education)
Certificate in Nursing
Certificate in Midwifery
Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors
Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training

 

I am an accomplished health professional with a broad experience in health care. My most recent role as Chief Operations Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of a Primary Health Care Organisation included managing health programs, clinical services and human resources. It also required me to work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors in providing strategic direction and clinical governance for the organisation. I have worked in a variety of clinical nursing roles in Victoria, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. I have a strong background in providing both hospital and university based nursing programs. As the manager of a private community health service, I gained a more balanced picture of the Australian Health Care system, its challenges and its workforce issues. This knowledge has been further developed over the last 15 years and has included tackling some of the community workforce issues through our organisation’s establishment and running of a Registered Training Organisation. Core to my roles has been the need to work across sectors and organisations to bring about change. I have undergone partnership training, choice theory and lead management to help support staff through periods of chaos, change, growth and development. Learning and teaching have always been a huge component of my career journey.

What role has education played in your life?
I have always enjoyed learning but not until I started working did I see the real value education played in shaping me as a person and in contributing to my life experiences and career direction. I had always wanted to teach but strangely undertook a career in nursing which I have never regretted. Not only did it prepare me how to care and support others in times of need, it provided me with a solid foundation from which my career and life choices grew. While I continued to work in health my career began to include education, as well as managing a business, human resources, clinical services, quality assurance and risk. This was all supported by formal and informal education. My learning had a direct link to what I was doing and challenged all of those roles to help me provide best practice. Teaching others new skills has always been a focus of mine and this in turn strengthened my own learning and knowledge.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
My career path has involved ongoing learning – both formal as in my nurse training, Diploma, Bachelor and Masters degrees, and informal such as on the job learning through practice, observation, reading, research, short courses and seminars. Taking on new challenges is exciting and does involve new learning, challenges and of course mistakes from which we grow our knowledge. I have been on a number of external committees which requires learning how to effectively work with other organisations and sectors to gain best outcomes for all even though individual goals may be different. Ongoing professional development whilst it was a compulsory component of maintaining my nursing registration, it was not my only driver. I have always tried to better myself and the work I do. I believe if anything is worth doing it is worth doing well – of course learning is core to success.

Why is adult learning and education so important?
Adult education is essential to a vibrant healthy community. Learning is life long – it doesn’t finish with school, a certificate or a degree – these are just the foundations on which new learning and experiences are built. Adults are able to use life experiences to make sense of new knowledge and to apply this learning to the real world, if they see the linkages. It is important as educators we support this process and build on individual life experiences. Life takes on many twists and turns and education helps us to navigate the world. It help shape us as people which in turn shapes our community.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
The Centre provides opportunities for adults to gain confidence as learners and to develop new skills in a supported environment. The new knowledge can lead to employment or to further studies. The Centre has always been an important part of the Wangaratta community for as long as I can remember. I am pleased to be part of the Board to help support and grow such a wonderful community resource.

 


Kirsten Williams – Deputy Chair

Deputy Chair since 2020
Board Director since 2019

Risk Management, Audit and Governance Committee

 

Education
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (Criminology and Psychology)
Graduate Diploma in Criminal Intelligence
Graduate Certificate of Management

 

Education and learning has played an important role in my professional and working life. I enjoy continuously developing my skills and knowledge through engaging in education opportunities and networking with like-minded people.

What role has education played in your life?
Learning has enabled me to grow personally and professionally and opened up numerous opportunities to develop and give back to my community.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
I regularly engage in learning opportunities from anything ranging from activities such as reading to formal courses and networking to enhance my knowledge and skills.

Why is adult and community education so important?
Learning and enhancing skills is key to ensuring that our communities thrive and achieve. I believe access to learning opportunities is particularly important in regional communities.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
The Centre is a unique and important community service which provides access to learning and skill development for all.


Dion Stevenson – Treasurer

Elected Board Director since 2020

Finance Committee

Education
Bachelor of Science (Zoology & Botany)
Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (Civil)
Graduate Diploma in Law (Construction)

 

 

 

I’ve been living in the North East of Victoria since 1995, moving to the region after graduating from university and securing my first job with VicRoads. In 1996 I began a business which contracted road maintenance and construction activities to the Victorian government during the period the Kennet government outsourced a lot of public works. The business grew substantially and was sold in 2007 to a multi-national contractor, Transfield Services. I worked for a few years with Transfield Services in business management and business development roles. After which and until 2018 I contracted and consulted to various organisations in engineering management and business development and have been involved in the development and delivery of projects from just a few thousand dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars. More recently I’ve been content working on independent projects. My wife Trish and I live on our farm in Upper Ryan’s Creek south of Wangaratta.

What role has education played in your life?
As I was growing up my family had a high regard for education. At the time I think I just went along for the ride, attending secondary school followed by a tertiary education ‘as expected’. When I reflect on my life’s journey, education has given me so much more than a platform to earn a living which is how I viewed it at the time. Education and its value is a cornerstone of my life; learning to learn and having an inquiring mind has enabled me to take on many challenges in my work and personal life that I would not have had the opportunity to tackle otherwise. My formal education forms a smaller part of what I’ve learned on my journey but my family’s emphasis on formal learning has made me value all of the other learning opportunities along the way.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
As and when I want or need to find something out I seek a place of learning. Those places of learning are as varied as the things I’ve learned. Clearly I’ve spent some time in educational facilities to gain formal training and qualifications (including the Centre), other less formal classrooms have been in machinery, workshops, on the side of the road, out in the paddock, in the park, on the water and of course the internet. My learning is generally focused on what I’m passionate about these days and how I learn is still as varied as what I learn. What I can say about being a learner is that it’s ‘moorish’, the more you learn the more you want to learn.

Why is adult learning and education so important?
Education is like providing the keys to an otherwise fenced area. Without the keys you cannot explore the opportunities within. I’m particularly passionate about providing the keys to those who may have been disadvantaged or need additional help. Education provides people with new skills and confidence.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
My initial association with the Centre was through my wife and her family. There is a strong connection to the Curtis family in the Centre’s history and I hope I can add some value through my experience. In addition, a few years ago I worked with the Board and Management Team around managing some organisational changes. I have some personal pride in how well the Centre is placed now and when the opportunity arose to become a Board member this, combined with my family connection and an understanding of the great work the Centre does, I accepted.

 


Linda Huzzey

Elected Board Director since 2019

Finance Committee
Performance Remuneration Committee

Education
Bachelor of Science (Geology)
Master of Science (Geography)
PhD (Marine Science)
Diploma of Spatial Information Services
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

 

Linda grew up on a farm in north-east Victoria and went to high school in Wangaratta before moving away for study and work, including 25 years in the USA. She returned to the area in 2006. She has primarily worked as a scientist and educator, teaching at a maritime college as well as various vocational education and training colleges. She currently lives on a small farm near Chiltern and is also an active volunteer with the local CFA.

What role has education played in your life?
Education and learning, especially relating to the natural world, has always been central to my life. From an early age I can remember (as can my family!) picking up rocks or plants and bringing them home whenever we went on picnics or outings. In fact I may still have some of those rocks! I was fortunate to get a scholarship to study at Melbourne University, and from then on have frequently worked in association with tertiary colleges. I was the first person in my family to undertake any tertiary education but learning was always encouraged in our family and many evenings were spent, by all of us, looking things up in our set of encyclopaedias. That curiosity and interest in the world around me still pervades my daily activities.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
Primarily by reading, but also by challenging myself to learn new skills and seeking out people with expertise. After returning to Australia in 2006, whilst working full-time, I pursued my interest in mapping by obtaining a Diploma of Spatial Information and also completed my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I regularly attend workshops, listen to podcasts, or read blogs and articles on a wide range of topics.

Why is adult and community education so important?
It is essential that everyone has access to continuing education, not only for employment but also for furthering their understanding of the world. Education does not cease when you leave high school but should be able to be picked up and pursued throughout your life. This requires colleges that can provide a welcoming and safe learning environment for all members of the community, regardless of age, background or prior education.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
The Centre has been an important part of Wangaratta and the surrounding rural areas for many decades. My mother studied there to complete her VCAL, and thus move on to other training, when she was in her late forties. It made a huge difference to her life. This story would be true of countless other people over the years. I am proud to be part of the Board to help support the continued growth and development of The Centre.


Eliza-Beth Brennan

Elected Board Director since 2020

Finance Committee

Education
Grad. Dip. Business Leadership
Ba. Environmental Science (Hons)
Training in Trauma Informed Positive Education Strategies (Berry Street)
Adv. Dip. Holistic Counselling & Psychotherapy
Adv. Dip. Shamanic Practice

 

Eliza-Beth has a diverse employment and education background. The common threads being; customer service/client relationship management, education, leadership and personal development (self and others).

She is the founder of a Holistic therapies business (Holistic Soulscape) and holds academic and board positions with a Holistic training college (Metavision Institute). She is also currently working in the disability sector as a support worker on a casual basis, supporting youth and adults experiencing; anxiety, depression and autism.
Eliza-Beth has experience facilitating groups in an outdoor and organisational setting. She has been a Director and State Leader for a large NFP and held leadership positions with a range of organisations.

“I am passionate about supporting people on their journey to holistic well-being, this includes meeting their highest potential on all levels (academic, professional, spiritual, emotional, physical etc.).”

What role has education played in your life?
Education has been fundamental in supporting my holistic growth. Not only has it given me the skills to pursue professional pathways, it has also enabled me to be an empowered life long learner and provided the gifts of; self-confidence/esteem, self-reflection, social and emotional intelligence and a belief in my capacity to achieve the goals I set for myself.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
I continue learning in a range of ways, these include; reading, seeking new experiences and perspectives on life, daily self-reflection, taking on new roles (paid and voluntary) and saying yes opportunities that challenge me.

Why is adult and community education so important?
I know from my own experience that adult and community education can change a person’s life. It provides not only professional skills which offer pathways to greater financial security and fulfilment, but offers opportunities for emotional and social growth – which are fundamental to supporting well-being.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
The Centre fundamentally is about supporting people and communities to grow through connection, support and education. I believe The Centre strikes a balance between providing people with the skills for industry/employment and the skills for life. It also provides an invaluable service to industry and the community addressing important needs of both. As a person who has worked eight years in a similar organisation, I feel honoured to be of service in supporting; effective leadership, a strong organisational culture and a financially sustainable organisation now and into the future.

 


Harry Westendorp

Elected Board Director since 2020

Risk Management, Audit & Governance Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

My working life has been predominantly across a variety of roles in the IT industry since 1968. These roles started with early experience in technical roles writing programs for real-time applications and operating systems. From there I moved through sales support roles in systems engineering and product marketing. The majority of my time in the industry has been in sales roles. These included sales of hardware from mid-range systems to supercomputers, and application software ranging from healthcare administration packages through to sophisticated simulation and scheduling systems. One of my major achievements was to penetrate the North American market for innovative Australian-developed software. Along the way, I joined a multinational software company as its first non-North American employee, and successfully established its Asia/Pacific presence through a reseller network. In January 2000 I moved to operational systems deployment and technology to support customer-focused sales forces. Later in my career, I delivered effectiveness training to sales managers and their staff based on enabling technology.

My governance experience dates back to 1978:
• Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology representing my employer – Cray Research Inc.
• Director of a School Board for 14 years and Chair of that Board for 6 years. During my time on this Board I was able to lead a transition to a new governance model that distanced the Board from the operational aspects of the organisation.
• Deputy Chairman and member of the Board’s Executive Committee at Reformed Theological College in Geelong for 10 years during which time we established a new governance model, and formulated new strategic directions.
• Councillor at Mansfield Shire Council representing Jamieson Ward, serving as Mayor of the Shire for 15 months.
• Chairman of Church Councils for multiple tenures

What role has education played in your life?
My formal education is mostly a story of neglected opportunities. I went to small country school where I started as one of the youngest in my year, but where I managed to learn two years of classwork in one year. This meant that I skipped my second year of primary schooling and was therefore generally up to two years younger my cohort through the rest of my primary and secondary education. I completed my studies through year 12 while I was still 16 years old. As a result, I lacked the maturity to properly appreciate the importance of the educational opportunities offered to me, and went into the workforce after Year 12. With maturity, I have come to understand the benefits that I failed to realise in my youth.

How do you continue learning in your own life?
While much of my formal education was not valued at the time, the courses that I have undertaken while in the workforce have helped form much of who I am today, An advantage of spending a lifetime in IT is that it’s a constantly evolving field that can’t afford to stand still. Since my entry into the industry I have constantly taken advantage of the training offered in technical areas, but even more so in human development and management disciplines. I have a need to keep learning about any areas in which I am involved and have, most recently, continued to undertake training also for Local Government.

Why is adult and community education so important?
I believe that adult education is most valuable, in that as adults we can better see the relevance of the skills we are acquiring. While I don’t endorse the adage that “Education is wasted on the young”, my own experience inclines me strongly to favour the relative merits of education for more mature students. Having attended ACE courses myself, I fully understand and endorse the value of such development.

What does The Centre mean to you, and why did you join the Board of Governance?
For me, The Centre is a leader in delivering a critical service to a large number of people in my wider area. Since making my own transition from the city to the North-East region I have sought opportunities where I can serve by utilising my governance experience. I seek to support The Centre by contributing my expertise to the Board.


Felicity Williams – CEO

CEO The Centre for Continuing Education Inc.
International Specialised Skills Institute Fellow (ISS)

Education

Bachelor of Arts (Melbourne University)
MBA

 

 

 

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 25 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 was Chair of this sector’s peak body – ACEVic – during its re-establishment, and now holds the position of Deputy Chair. She has served on the ACFE Hume Regional Council. She is also a Board member of Gateway Health and is currently Deputy Chair. She is currently Chair of Regional Sport Victoria.

In 2019, Felicity was awarded an international fellowship through the International Specialised Skills Institute. She travelled to Rome and the UK to understand best practice associated with supporting learners with learning difficulties within a vocational education environment. She is currently advocating for improved professional development, particularly for our Foundation teachers, to understand how to support learners with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD.

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.