Meet the team – Giulia Portelli

December 2, 2021

Giulia Portelli is the VHA’s Learning and Development Coordinator. Following an unexpected but rewarding stint in the local government sector, Giulia is excited to contribute to VHA’s work in the healthcare sector and to learn about and addressing our members’ needs.


Tell members a bit about your background – where has your career taken you and what brought you to the VHA?

Initially my career took me geographically not too far at all, then to the other side of the world! I worked at La Trobe University while studying and after completing a Bachelor of Psychological Science there. I loved my time at La Trobe, and through this work I learnt the power of how fostering a genuine and positive experience can be so impactful for students’ (and indeed employees’) success.

From working at my alma mater, I took more of a leap further afield to the Netherlands where I undertook a paid internship at Maastricht University, coordinating programs for inbound exchange students. I fell in love with the country and was delighted to be offered to return the following year to take up a role at the university. In March 2020 the international travel ban was implemented – a week prior to my planned departure and move from Melbourne to the Netherlands – and my path took a different turn; a fortuitous one, however, that lead me to the local government sector where I took up a role to support new and mid-career council officers in developing their leadership capabilities.

I was truly inspired by the local government leaders with whom I was fortunate to work, and am thrilled to now be able to apply those experiences to the healthcare sector in my role as Learning and Development Coordinator at the VHA. I feel there is great value in working across different sectors. It is also important to me that my work makes a difference, so I was very attracted to the VHA as a member association with a long history of supporting the healthcare sector. I was particularly excited about the opportunity to have lots of contact with members, to learn about their needs, and be key in addressing these.


What are some things you’re working on at the moment and what most excites you about these projects?

I have joined the VHA at key time in which we are expanding our professional development offerings. I am enjoying being able to take a systematic approach to this growth by listening to our members’ needs and using this to inform a longer-term learning and development strategy to build capacity of the sector.

In line with this strategy, I am working on developing and coordinating initiatives across key areas of governance, leadership, sector-wide skills, and topical issues, with something to support professionals at all levels across the sector. These initiatives include continuing the established Mentoring and Health Board Essentials programs and Lunch and Learn series. We have also heard loud and clear about the need to support emerging and executive leaders, so I am particularly excited about our programs currently in development for these cohorts. Complimenting these will be a suite of offerings for professionals at all levels; to be able to further their skills and get a grasp of topical issues relevant to the sector.

With healthcare one of the largest employers in Victoria and the expected continued growth, there is so much opportunity to make a difference and support the sector as it grows. I see a lot of potential in this space and look forward to being a part of it.


What do you love about working in the public health space?

The healthcare system is present and crucial across our whole lifetime. I feel privileged to be able to in some way, support a system that supports us all. To be working at the VHA specifically, I am in awe of my team’s expertise and passion for the work they do, and am so grateful to be able to learn from them every day.