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Thank you Leslie, 14 Amazing Years of Dedication

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Thank you Leslie, 14 Amazing Years of Dedication

May 23, 2023


Interviewing Leslie Wood comes easily. She is open. She is honest. She is forward-thinking. She is inclusive. She is what Abound Communities stands for.

Leslie joined Council in 2008, at a time when the organisation was known as The Old Colonists Association of Victoria. She was working as a Community Development consultant and was also teaching Business Masters at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Interestingly, a professor put her in touch with CEO Phillip Wohlers who came and spoke to the students about e-business and the running of organisations.

Through this connection, Leslie also had her students go to Rushall Park. Most of these students were international students, and the experience was one that was interesting and one to remember. The students got to witness how an NFP organisation runs and the ins and outs of daily “business”.


In 2008 there was an ad on “Women on Boards”. Women on Boards (WOB) is a thriving network founded by Claire Braund and Ruth Medd in Australia in 2006 and in the UK in 2012, to improve gender balance on boards and in leadership roles. Through practical action, advocacy, and a willingness to do the hard work to achieve gender balance across all boards in all sectors, Women on Boards has changed the landscape for many thousands of women across Australia.

Leslie applied for the Council Member role and began her journey with OCAV. She came in with a strong voice about sustainability, growth, care, social agenda, governance, and conversations on change. Her views were always if a system is right, the values can and will be carried well.

Leslie had a theme through everything she did in the organisation which was “systems serve people, not the other way round”. In 2009 OCAV Council adopted a governance statement defining their responsibilities. A governance committee was set up in 2014 and in 2015 she became the Vice President.


This year in 2023, Leslie concluded her time as a Council Member after 14 years of incredible contribution.

Commenting on her time with us, Leslie explains the biggest strength she sees at Abound Communities is the stability of the organisation, the care they give, and its business model. She is proud of its 150+ year history and what it offers people. Abound Communities continues to identify real needs and is meeting them.


She will miss her conversations with residents and seeing them enjoy the freedom of a ‘place of their own’. She explains that each resident has the right to peace and stability in their home life. That to her was a measurable amount of success, as she knows each resident had a story to tell. Some of her fondest memories include the 150th Anniversary, catching up with residents and staff, working relationships with her fellow council members, and the aspect of having “Women on Board”. She will miss the deep conversations and the ally of strong females who ensure that Abound Communities continues to grow.


Leslie’s hobbies include association with the arts, and of course, her dear horses. There have been many over the years needing a home. She currently has 3 horses she cares for and explains what they do for her mental and emotional health, as much as she does for them physically is on par. Leslie has two children Meg and Lexie and three grandchildren; she enjoys time with all her family and happily looks forward to all of the future memories that are still yet to be made.


Leslie will miss being on our Council, but she will always continue to follow our journey and support us. She looks forward to having some time away in Paris with her brother and friends. She says it has been on the to-do list for some time now but was affected by Covid and the lockdowns. She looks forward to contributing further as a board member in organisatons in the future, but for now, she is taking each day as it comes.


She leaves knowing Abound Communities is in great hands and is well guided by Phillip. She will cherish all the times she had, especially the special moments a resident would say to her “If it weren’t for this place, I don’t know where I would be today”. Her hopes and visions for the organistion is that we continue with conversations around change, continue to provide affordable housing to those who need it most, and particularly to meet the needs of women who need stability and somewhere safe to call home.

Thank you for everything, Leslie.

We appreciate your hard work, dedication, and contribution over the last 14 years.