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Indigenous Health Leader Wins Scholarship


19 May 2015 at 9:07 am
Lina Caneva
The CEO of a community-controlled Aboriginal health service in Northern Queensland has won the 2015 McCarthy Mentoring Not for Profit Executive Leaders Scholarship.

Lina Caneva | 19 May 2015 at 9:07 am


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Indigenous Health Leader Wins Scholarship
19 May 2015 at 9:07 am

The CEO of a community-controlled Aboriginal health service in Northern Queensland has won the 2015 McCarthy Mentoring Not for Profit Executive Leaders Scholarship.

CEO Suzanne Connolly-Andrews has led Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services in Yarrabah, Northern Queensland since 2012 following the transition from Government to community-controlled management of the service.

The scholarship is designed to assist a leader within the Not for Profit sector to progress their career, strengthen their leadership skills, manage organisational challenges and increase the impact of their work in the community.

It includes participation in a six month Executive Mentoring Program with a mentor external to the winner’s organisation.

McCarthy Mentoring’s Executive Director, Sophie McCarthy said Connolly-Andrews is a passionate, talented leader.

“(She) is keen to gain insights from someone who has extensive executive experience and can act as a sounding board to test ideas, guide through challenges and build further confidence in her role,” McCarthy said.

“We see the difference mentoring can make in the corporate and government sector – both personally and for the organisations – so we wanted to extend these benefits to a leader facing tough challenges and high demands in the NFP sector.”

McCarthy Mentoring said it received the highest number of applicants since launching the scholarship three years ago. The applications were from small to large social services, disability services, media, health, youth affairs and education organisations and demonstrated the high calibre of leadership in this sector.

“It has been an exciting yet challenging time so it’s wonderful to have been given this mentoring opportunity. It will be invaluable to have an advisor, outside of my community, to offer new perspectives and help me reflect and build on my leadership skills,” Connolly-Andrews said.

With 70 staff, the majority of which are local Yarrabah residents, Connolly-Andrews oversees the provision of Primary Health Care and Wellbeing services including women and men's health, child and maternal health, social emotional and wellbeing, home medication review and chronic disease management. The key focus is preventative health care and early intervention.

Her mentor, Marg O’Donnell AO, will draw on her experience as an executive, board director and advisor to the State and Federal Government to support Connolly-Andrews in her role as a CEO and offer insights into leadership and board dynamics in a confidential, independent forum.

Marg O’Donnell AO is currently Chair of Breast Cancer Network of Australia and the Visiting Committee, Griffith University Law School. She has been the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division in the QLD Department of Justice and Attorney General and the Director-General of three QLD Government Departments including Aboriginal Affairs and the Office for Women.

2013 scholarship winner, Karen Bevan received the scholarship for her work in advocacy for disadvantaged children and families at UnitingCare. Since then she has lead the submissions team on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has become the CEO of Playgroups NSW and is the Vice President and a Non-Executive Director of the NSW Council of Social Service.

2014 scholarship winner, Brett Macdonald is the Co-Founder and Executive Director for national charity, Dry July Foundation and a Director at Clear Heads International. Macdonald has been instrumental in Dry July’s year-on-year success and growth. It has collectively raised more than $15 million, helping support 37 cancer services across Australia and NZ.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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