Meet the team – Ellen Webb
September 9, 2021
Ellen Webb is the VHA’s Director of Corporate Services. A certified practising accountant by trade, Ellen enjoys contributing her skills and experience to help make a difference. Ellen is passionate about equity and inclusion, and wants to keep developing her expertise to help others working at for-purpose organisations.
Where has your career taken you and what led you to the VHA?
I’m originally from New York and moved to Melbourne after meeting my husband when he was on a secondment. I am a CPA and have held many traditional finance roles in my earlier career – auditor, consolidation accountant, division accountant and financial controller. Through these roles I was exposed to many different types and sizes of companies and industries and have developed a deep understanding of how companies operate. Following this, I have continuously worked to expand my experience areas, and have held roles encompassing HR, IT, project management, investment management, property management, OH&S, risk, governance, and quality.
My first role in Australia was at ICI and, as I had my four children, I was able to try new roles and work part time during their pre-school years. I enjoyed working through the transformation where ICI went from a local subsidiary of a multinational to being a major multinational with many overseas subsidiaries.
After my first-born son died at the age of three from neuroblastoma, a very rare form of cancer, I joined the Cancer in Kids Auxiliary @ RCH (CIKA). I have been the Vice-President since 2003 and have seen many advancements in paediatric cancer treatment and outcomes, although there is still much to do. This interest in cancer research led me to join Cytopia, an Australian biotechnology company, and subsequently Cancer Council Victoria.
Following this, I moved to companies that focused on the environment; first with Greening Australia Victoria and, subsequently, OTEK. I loved learning about environmental issues, soil and groundwater assessment, remediation, sustainability, climate change, and visiting sites where we had restored the native vegetation.
I then joined a union, United Voice (now United Workers Union), where I gained a much deeper understanding of the causes and drivers of inequity in the employer/employee relationships, particularly in insecure work. Working for the union further advanced the understanding of the need for and role of advocacy, equity, and inclusion, which I had learned in previous roles at for-purpose organisations.
I really enjoy a broad role where I can use my expertise, and make a difference, so when I was asked to apply for the role at VHA I leapt at the chance and was delighted to be offered the role.
What are some things you’re working on at the moment and what most excites you about these projects?
I’m currently focused on a range of initiatives to support the execution of our Strategic Plan in my portfolio areas of finance, information technology, facilities management, risk management, people and culture, and other corporate resources. I’m excited to be:
- looking at the requirements of a new Customer Relationship Management system, to enable us to provide better support to our members
- working on development of staff development and career planning tools to enable staff to develop skills and work on long-term goals
- driving our forecasting and reporting tools to ensure we deliver on planned financial targets
- looking for my first non-executive board director role to enable me to add value to other for-purpose organisations and further develop my skills.
What do you love about working in the public health space?
I am passionate about improving healthcare and making it accessible and affordable to everyone who needs it.