About Us

Founder and Director Moira Deslandes

me_willungaMoira has worked from the kitchen table as a direct service social worker through to the cabinet table as a Chief of Staff to a Minister. She has extensive strategic and operational experience in the not-for-profit sector and in government at state, regional, national & international levels.

She contributes to policy advocacy, capacity building and engagement, and has extensive social media experience, creating and curating content. 

Moira has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and politics, a Bachelor of Social Administration in Social Policy and family therapy and a Master of Letters (Distinction) that included coursework in economics and ethics. Her research was a detailed analysis of Catholic Social Teaching from feminist perspectives. She also have a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.

Moira seeks to connect in deep and direct ways to help make sense of stories, information, data ideas and apply foresight. By stimulating, facilitating, reflecting, training and supporting interactions of individuals, systems and policy, Moira co-creates and collaborates to imagine and generate novel approaches to decision-making and problem-solving. She brings a robust ethical and values-based filter to governance and organisational processes that foster inclusion and creativity.

She has designed and implemented change management via community development strategies  and enabled and supported community and organisational development activities in Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, UK, Canada, USA, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

Moira has served and led in governance on statutory and regulatory bodies (e.g Medical Board of SA), not for profit boards (eg Southern Domestic Violence Service, Issues Deliberation Australia/America) as well as providing executive and strategic leadership roles including as CEO of Volunteering SA & NT Inc and Global ED of International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). She is a Non- Executive Director of Scope Global, a specialist international project management company with people as the focus of its program delivery.

Dissatisfied with the lack of gender equity in investment and contribution women led start ups, entrepreneurs and social enterprises get from the market, Moira founded Chooks SA in 2017. Learn more about this network and advocacy movement here. Please subscribe through the website to keep in touch with developments and follow on twitter @Chooks_SA.

She blogs regularly for Pro Bono News and StartSomeGood.  Moira is also a public speaker, essayist and poet.

Her latest publication is Come with a whoop! 250 child-friendly engagement activities for everyday policy and planning. In 2017 Moira founded Chooks SA, a movement to foster gender equity for women innovators and entrepreneurs.

Moira lives in beautiful Willunga, South Australia on Kaurna country and gratefully acknowledges their spiritual and ongoing relationship to the land.

kateSenior Associate – Kate Simpson

Kate Simpson has spent the last 20 years working with individuals, groups and organisations to make the change they want, in complex settings. As a leader and facilitator, she is a specialist in brokering multi stakeholder collaborations, working with groups looking at how to effect change across whole systems and assist individual organisations to manage change to more effectively to meet their highest ambitions.

Her experience includes working with global partners on World Trade negotiations, with communities and advocates tackling HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, with the UN and donor governments and International NGOs in the interests of disaster effected communities in Asia, Closing the Gap here in Australia and leading organisational change with two large not for profits. Recently she has lead a social change start up working with South Australian leaders to establish child focused collective impact initiatives across five regions. These leaders came from local communities, politics, public sector, philanthropy, services and business. She has provided specialist coaching, training and facilitation for and with local leaders towards building diverse, inspired and effective leadership teams; ensuring community members are leading the work; brokering multi stakeholder commitments to change plans; advising around data use and indicator setting and political and policy influencing.

She is deeply committed to ensuring citizen participation and has been a member of the South Australian Community Engagement Board advising the Premier.

Most importantly, she brings a deep commitment to genuine partnership and exchange with the people she works alongside. Check her LinkedIn profile.

Engagement and Communications- Melody Bendindang

Melody brings her experience in volunteer management, communications, and building networks for social impact to MDC.  An early career connector, she hosts MDC events and supports Moira with relationship management, engagement and community relations.  Melody is a First Nations Iban woman from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, who has made Adelaide her second home.

In 2017 she led an exciting initiative called Fired Up with thanks to sponsorship from City of Adelaide – stay tuned! Like the story President Obama shared, Melody is Fired up and Ready to Go!

Cheryl Bencetti supports MDC with finance and administration and works on projects where these skills can enhance decision-making and action.We highly recommend her business Southern Vales Book-Keeping.

APearce2017 Associates at Large

Adrianna Pearce has over a decade’s experience in communications within the advertising, marketing and PR industries. Acquiring a Bachelor of Communications PR, and a Masters in Film, she is a passionate communicator.

Her experience has seen her consult across industries, including, real estate, renewable energy, film, and most recently the not for profit sector. This is where her passion lies; in making a difference in the world with a people focus. MDC shares her integrity and philosophy, and provides the opportunity to combine story telling, creativity, communications and the facilitation of futures, to improve communities, societies and the lives we all lead.  Adrianna will be returning from maternity leave in 2018.

paulaPaula Dickson is passionate about making sure people are heard and is skilled at lifting the energy of groups and individuals. Her background spans community building, policy and service development, philanthropy and evaluation. Paula is an adaptive leader who values human-centred design and aims for joyful accountability.

Paula has experience in supporting government, community, corporate and civil service organisations in capacity building, community engagement and co-designing outcome measurement systems. She established the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia – South Australia Chapter she has a keen interest in connecting funders with social investment opportunities to address complex social problems at scale.  In 2017 Paula is volunteering in Bali working with a permaculture project.