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Update from the CEO

By Helen Silvia

Published on September 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

In the twenty plus years since I started working in this sector I have never worked for an organisation which I believe in so deeply and for whom I am so willing to give all of what I’ve got, to make my small contribution count.

I have never been so able to bring all the many parts of who I am to work each day, with such comfort and confidence, and feel good about sharing them, letting them hang out exposed and open to examination. To give and receive and to learn from those around me in a way that makes me a better person, every single day.  How lucky am I?

Over the past twelve months the WAGEC leadership team, along with the support of Meredith Turnbull has been developing our own unique leadership model. This month we held the first of two whole of staff leadership development days; “Leading and Learning Together”.

Our organisation, like any community, is a living organism. Our leadership model seeks meaning in the metaphor of a tree, a forest – a living, breathing entity that relies on the strength and reciprocity of symbiosis. 


The principles of our leadership model are built on Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Hope, Structure and Strength, leading to Social Change. 


As Audre Lorde reminds us “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” and so with self-determination, we become the creators of our own tools.  Where leadership is something that we can all do, at any time. Our model is strengths based and grounded in hope and structure. It is inclusive and relies on collaboration and underpinned with respect and integrity.  


Building a strong organisational culture and model for leading in turn helps build our collective resilience and ability to face head on, the challenges we meet each day. It makes us stronger and more unified in our efforts to shape a safer, fairer and more just society.


Tonight, in Australia 1 in 200 people will be homeless, and most of these people will be women and children escaping domestic and family violence.  Organisation’s like ours are pushed to our limits, we receive calls for request, support and accommodation each day that we try our best to meet, often times our staff have to make the heartbreaking call that we simply don’t have the capacity to support, our beds are full.


Homelessness Week (4th-10th August) is an opportunity to bring the issue of homelessness into the spotlight and onto the agenda of local, state and national governments. We are calling for a National Housing Strategy, and for government at all levels to treat the scourge of domestic and family violence as a National Emergency so that we can all work together to keep women and children safe.


Best wishes,