Carol Benda

Carol commenced working with the Centre in 1997 as the Office Manager. The Centre had only been open for six months. At this stage it was a very small team. There were four staff, three of whom were part-time. The early days were filled with working out systems and procedures on an administrative and legal level and Carol remembers it as an exciting time for the Centre.

Carol left in 2005 but returned in 2007 in the role of Coordinator. During her time at the Centre, Carol worked tirelessly to build the Centre’s profile and increase its reach within the ACT community. In 2008, Carol lobbied successfully for on-going funding for the Indigenous Women’s Project, which then became a Program. Shortly after, with funding from the Federal government, it grew to include a dedicated family lawyer, Rhonda Payget to work specifically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

As the Centre grew under Carol’s guidance, organisational skills and energy, it started to run out of space. In 2014, Carol successfully lobbied the ACT and federal governments for funding to move the Centre. Every ACT politician was invited to the Centre to see the problem first hand, media also reported on the squeeze. In collaboration with the other CLCs, funding submissions were written, cake was eaten, supports from every field recruited. It was a long battle which paid off in the end, with enough money being allocated by the ACT Government to allow for the creation of the CLC Hub where the Centre is located today.

Carol tells us that when she looks back on her almost 16 years with the Centre the most amazing part of the work for me was the relationship between staff, “we called ourselves a family, something I never had before in my career or probably will have again.” Both current and former staff recognise and appreciate the incredible contribution Carol made to the Centre.