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The Lighthouse team congratulates our former and founding Executive Officer Lisa McKenzie on being awarded an OAM for her service to community as part of the Kings Birthday Honours List.

Establishing a place-based, collective impact organisation such as Lighthouse is no small undertaking and we thank Lisa for her tireless work and dedication in creating a movement that delivers positive outcomes for our regions children and young people, as well as the broader community.
We also acknowledge Lisa's contributions to many other organisations and initiative such as founder and inaugural Chair of the Liftoff Scholarship Fund, co-founder of Shepparton Foodshare, Chair of the Goulburn Murray LLEN Board, member of the La Trobe Shepparton Campus Regional Advisory Board, former CEO of the Community Fund (now the Greater Shepparton Foundation), EO of the Fairley Leadership Program and co-initiator of the GV Cares emergency response program, just to name a few!

Well done Lisa and thank you for your incredible contribution and service to community. A well deserved honour.

The following interview with Lisa by Grace Carter was published in the Shepparton News on Monday June 9.

A Shepparton local has been awarded a prestigious King’s Birthday Honour.

Lisa McKenzie has received an OAM in the General Division for her service to the community of Shepparton.

She said it was “humbling” to be recognised and that everybody she’s worked with over the years also deserves recognition.

“Everything I've done has been in collaboration with many others,” Ms McKenzie said.

“I’ve never done anything alone. I’ve only ever been in partnership or collaboration or (the leader) of a committee.

“Any recognition for me, is recognition for all those people as well.”

She said she’s a strong advocate for “change for young people and families” and helping them with “opportunity, access and social equity,” as well as with the basics of “housing, food and a decent education.”

Her first year of the Fairley Leadership Program in 1997, was part of what inspired her to take on the work that she does.

“That really changed me, and made me realise that leaders were people just like me, and that I could be part of change,” she said.

“I started to see opportunities to act, find gaps, and change things. Once you get a taste for it and realise that change is really possible, it gets exciting.”

After 30 years of living in Shepparton, Ms McKenzie has been a part of many different community organisations, including being the former executive officer of the Greater Shepparton Foundation, a co-founder of Shepparton FoodShare, a foundation member of RiverConnect and many, many more.

However, she is perhaps most well known for being a founding member of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, an initiative to support the wellbeing and educational outcomes for Greater Shepparton’s youth from conception to career.

After being the executive officer for eight years since its inception, Ms McKenzie stepped down in 2022 for “a bit of a rest”, which she said she is “pretty fortunate” to be able to do.

“I’ve been working pretty solidly for a long time, and I didn't want to burn out,” she said.

“I’m having a break, but I am doing quite a lot of other things… I’m staying pretty busy and active in the community, but really just biding my time.

“I do feel like I'd like to do more things, but I guess (it’s good) having a rest and a reflection on all those years when it was sometimes too busy to think. It's nice to just pause.”

Ms McKenzie said Lighthouse and all the other projects she’s been involved in are “thriving” and “it’s fantastic to see.”

To other people who are considering getting involved in community initiatives, Ms McKenzie said she really encourages people to “just to make a start and have a go.”

“I would encourage others that I’m not particularly exceptional in any way really. It’s turning up, doing the work and being persistent,” she said.

“There’s lots of opportunity out there, and there’s lots of resources out there to bring about change.

“If you’re doing it for the right reasons and you get the right people, change will happen, and it’s exciting and fun.”

Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project acknowledges and pays respect to the traditional custodians of the Shepparton region on whose lands we are located, the Yorta Yorta peoples and their Elders past, present and emerging. Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project recognises, respects and supports all community members regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability, or age.

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Office phone: 0419 555 939

Office location: 7715A GV Hwy, Kialla, VIC. 3631

Postal address: PO Box 924, Shepparton VIC 3632