About Us

Founder and Director – Moira Were (formerly Deslandes)

20171115_WPBF_SCF_NAC_FPL_3905Moira 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 was a Winnovation 2017 State finalist and 2017 Westpac Social Changemaker only South Australian national finalist. In July 2018 as part of the GOGO events team Moira was one of ten finalists in the Hybrid World Lab developing an idea about measurement using the Sustainable Development Goals, blockchain, machine learning with festivals and events.

For a number of years, she was a regular contributor 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. As she heads into Act 3 of her life she is reclaiming her family of origin by reverting to Moira Were.


Senior Associate – Kate Simpson

IMG_2211Kate Simpson BA (Hons), MA (Development Studies)

Kate 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.  She has facilitated change and engagement process in a wide range of settings locally and internationally and brings a depth of experience in citizen participation and capacity building networks, organisations and collaborations for influence and effectiveness .  Kate has been a member of the South Australian Community Engagement Board providing advice to the Premier and the public sector on these issues.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 affected communities in Asia, Closing the Gap here in Australia and leading organisational change with two large not for profits. Recently she was CEO at 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.

Recent clients/partners have included: SA Power Networks, Justice for Refugees, Department of Corrections, Office for the Ageing, Attorney General’s Department, Opportunity Child and ac.care.

Kate is a member of IAF (International Association of Facilitators), IAP2 and trained as a Climate Reality Leader by the Australian Conservation Council with Al Gore. Kate is an active member of Engage to Act.She is deeply committed to ensuring local people are influential and to genuine partnership and exchange with the people she works alongside.

Check her LinkedIn profile.


Support Team

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.


Associate at Large

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 mid 2018 Paula completed a volunteering assignment in Bali working with a permaculture project.

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