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Get to know our new CEO - Nicole Yade


Published on February 21, 2024

Since starting at WAGEC two years ago, Nicole has served as both Director of Client Services, and the Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Now, she's running the show as CEO. Let's get to know what life looks like in her new role, and hear about why you should apply for her old one to join the team as WAGEC's Deputy CEO.

Who’s your favourite feminist icon?

Only one fav is tough! I am inspired by so many amazing women everyday!

Growing up it was definitely my nan. She was orphaned in her early teens and got sent from Orange to go and live in Sydney with some distant relatives and separated from her two sisters. Her courage and determination, given her circumstances, is really inspiring to me. She reminds me to make the most of your opportunities, and always help others. She encouraged me to pursue my education and was an advocate for the girls in the family – she used to always say – the girls can do anything the boys can do! And she wouldn’t tolerate any nonsense from the men either!

bell hooks is also an absolute favourite – and her books I return to time and time again. Her focus on the undeniable links between racism, poverty, colonisation, discrimination and sexism still needs reinforcement in feminism today. I love her heart for justice, truth telling, community and connectivity.

How did you start working at WAGEC?

I was drawn to WAGEC for its feminist heart and commitment to real change, not only for the individuals we serve but for the community as a whole.

Two years ago I started at WAGEC as the Director of Client Services, working with the incredible Client Services team who serve the women and children who walk through our doors. Every day the Client Services team do transformative work and help create safety for our clients while facing so many challenges in a broken housing system.

Moving into the Deputy CEO role was a chance to work with more of the wonderful WAGEC team in Fundraising and Communities and in the creation of the Quality and Impact team, and People and Culture department. From our senior leaders and right across WAGEC, I am always so grateful that every part of our organisation is so focused on women and children at the heart of everything we do.

I am just four weeks into the CEO role now but I have already enjoyed opening a new service for women leaving prison, seeing the team ace our accreditation and engaging in strategic planning with our leaders to safeguard our future too.

It’s been busy but it has been team work at its best – and our team is one of the best things about WAGEC!

What are you most excited about for the future of WAGEC?

WAGEC has such a proud history of commitment to ending gender based violence, and I am so excited about ensuring that legacy continues long into the future. In particular I am excited about our commitment to serving the most marginalised women and children in our community.

Our new Helping Children Heal program works with children directly impacted by violence and trauma and in child-centred ways helps them recover and find a way forward. I am really proud to say that all children who stay in our refuges are considered clients in their own right and have a dedicated team supporting them. Likewise, our new FROM NOW program works with women leaving prison. With a focus on pregnant women and women with children, we are working on intergenerational issues. Sadly, too many women leave prison into homelessness and this program will make a real difference for the women who join us.

WAGEC also has a proud tradition of advocating on these issues, and combining that work with our engagement in primary prevention demonstrates the deep commitment WAGEC has to change in our community. Our new Lived Experiences Advisory Panel is made up of women who have been service users who advise us on how we can continue to improve and ensure women's voices are heard will help us inform new projects as we continue to grow.

Sadly, the needs are great and our services are needed more than ever but the whole team at WAGEC stand ready to assist!

What does your day-to-day at WAGEC look like as CEO?

It is such an honour to lead the team at WAGEC. Its wonderful to be working with so many incredible, committed women to improve the lives of the women and children we serve.

I’m not sure I have had two days the same just yet – but everyday is incredibly busy, from working with our Fundraising and Communities team on our upcoming Walk for WAGEC, to meeting with our Client Services leaders on emerging trends and how we can stretch resources to improve things on the frontline – there are always challenges that require our best thinking and team work.

Many of my days are spent on strategy with our Board, and in consultation and advocacy to government. WAGEC has a truly relational style that understands the only way to get the work done is by working together.

This is when I am so grateful to our donors and community for their support and helping spread the word – one of my favourite things to do is to connect with the community and share the impact they have helped us make.

We’re currently hiring for the DCEO position! What qualities are WAGEC looking for in this role? And as someone who has worked in this position before, do you have any advice for interested candidates?

We are looking for someone who has a feminist heart for clients and operational experience leading NGO’s. The Deputy role is critical to our success so its an incredibly busy role so someone who is dedicated, hardworking, relational and an expert ‘prioritiser’ and problem solver is what we are after. As some of our work is funded by government someone who has strong experience managing government contracts and building positive relationships with donors is also critical. Strong communication skills, adaptive leadership skills and an expert people leader are all essential!

In exchange, I found the Deputy role to be an incredible opportunity to make real impact and work with a wonderful team right across WAGEC. I also think Im a pretty good boss! 😉