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Community Spirit Foundation announces new CEO

Community Spirit Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Shellee Strickland as CEO, effective from 11 September 2023.

Ms Strickland is a strong Aboriginal woman born and raised on GunaiKurnai Country with cultural connections to Yorta Yorta and Torres Strait Islander People. She has a wealth of senior management experience working in community-controlled organisations across a range of services that support First Nations Peoples. Most recently, Shellee spearheaded the reform of the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative. She also presented evidence at the Yoorrook Justice Commission.

Community Spirit Foundation Chair Larissa Behrendt said Ms Strickland’s appointment represented an exciting milestone for the foundation.

“She will grow the stalwart legacy of former CEO Jade Colgan, and build on the strengths of the foundation to realise opportunities for the partner communities we serve,” Ms Behrendt said.

“Her proven record of developing and implementing strategic plans, passion for driving positive change, and enthusiasm for meaningfully partnering with our partner communities and supporters, makes her the ideal person to lead the foundation into the future.

“The Board and I are looking forward to working with Shellee and the Community Spirit Foundation team to realise our goal of deepening our impact and supporting more First Nations young people through sustainable expansion.”

Ms Strickland has worked in a diverse range of services, including health, justice, family violence, mental health and family services and brings with her a profound understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by First Nations communities.

“I believe we can significantly improve the outcomes for First Nations young people if we begin supporting their educational journey as early as possible, and with a holistic approach,” Ms Strickland said.

“I’m excited to lead the foundation into its next phase and am looking forward to connecting with our four partner communities to hear from them about their aspirations for their young people, and how we can best support them.”


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