Announcing our 2021 Victorian Fellows

8 Dec 2021

2021 Victorian Fellows

IPAA Victoria proudly inducted our 2021 Victorian Fellows at our end of year event on Wednesday 8 December.

Victorian Fellowship is awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution to public administration, the achievement of IPAA Victoria’s objectives, and exemplary service to the Victorian community.

Congratulations to our 2021 Victorian Fellows.

Clare Amies Chief Executive Officer


Clare is the CEO of genU – which is a community-based disability services organisation which brings together the work of Karingal and St Laurence into an organisation that includes more than 3,200 staff at 200 locations across Australia.

Clare had previously been the Chief Executive at WorkSafe Victoria and the CEO of the Western Region Health Centre in Melbourne. She was an advisor to Bushfire Recovery Victoria and was also an executive in the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety.Clare has been a dedicated Board member of IPAA Victoria since 2018 and is a member of our Audit, Finance and Risk Committee, our Integrity and Ethical Leadership Program Steering Committee and is the Senior Leaders Connect Champion, an informal, safe space for senior leaders, predominantly agency CEOs, to come together to share and reflect. She has championed the excellence of Victoria’s public sector through her involvement in numerous public service events including IPAA Victoria events, such as host of Building public sector integrity during time of crisis or emergency and Managing Mental Health in the Workplace.

Sara Harbidge

Executive Director – Suburban Development

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

Sara has held Executive roles across several portfolios within the Victorian Public Service and has an established track record of delivering complex policy initiatives and public sector reforms that have a positive impact on our community and environment. Sara is currently Acting Associate Deputy Secretary – Local Government and Suburban Development at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.This includes leadership of the Office for Suburban Development, which is focussed on revitalising Melbourne’s suburbs in partnership with community and business leaders and local government.Sara is also proud to have recently worked with Victoria’s Aboriginal community to finalise the Victorian Aboriginal and Local Government Strategy.At the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Sara led the development and delivery of “Water for Victoria” - the first comprehensive water policy in more than 10 years, which also received the IPAA Victoria Leadership Award for Policy Development.In 2018, Sara was recognised as one of IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women. She has a particular interest in fostering diversity and inclusiveness, particularly in relation to indigenous participation, gender diversity and LGBTIQ rights. A passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion, Sara has volunteered as a mentor for women who are transitioning back into the workforce after experiencing domestic violence.

Jeremi Moule Secretary

Department of Premier and Cabinet Jeremi was appointed as Secretary for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet on 13 November 2020. Prior to this role, he was the Deputy Secretary, Governance Policy and Coordination at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, a position he has held since August 2018.Jeremi has held various executive positions in the Victorian Public Service over a 17-year period, was the CEO of a registered training organisation and started his career as a journalist.  He lives in Bendigo and has worked extensively in regional Victoria.He holds a journalism degree from the University of South Australia and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Katherine Whetton

Deputy Secretary Mental Health and Wellbeing Division,Department of Health

Katherine is the Deputy Secretary Mental Health and Wellbeing Division at Department of Health. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Division is responsible for the continued leadership and delivery of Victoria’s ambitious mental health reform agenda to better those who need it and sustain engagement with care providers.

Katherine has worked in the Victorian Public Service for almost 20 years and has extensive experience leading social and economic policy reform.

Immediately prior to her appointment as Deputy Secretary Mental Health, Katherine had been supporting the Department of Health and Human Services’ response to the pandemic as the Deputy Secretary of COVID-19 Policy and Strategy. Prior to this, Katherine was a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education and Training.

Katherine has a long history of supporting IPAA Victoria and its values and has participated in IPAA Victoria events including being a panel speaker for "Strategic Communications: Getting a seat at the table (not just polishing the silverware!)".

Katherine was recognised as a champion of women in the public sector as one of IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2018.

She completed IPAA’s Senior Executive Integrity and Ethical Leadership Program in 2019.

She is passionate about achieving public value, with demonstrated experience in service reform, contributing towards better public interest outcomes through fostering information sharing and awareness-raising of best practice approaches to policy, strategy, issues management and organisational practice.

Katherine has a strong commitment to leading a safe, equitable and engaging workplace.

Jennifer Wolcott Non-Executive Director

Jennifer has spent two decades at senior levels within the VPS, working on matters of environmental and natural resources policy and program reform, including a substantive body of legislation and regulations.She has also provided her professional and technical expertise to important policy development and review processes across the sector, including:
  • leading the Independent Fiskville Investigation for the CFA

  • and contributing her experience to:

  • the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority;

  • Emergency Management Victoria;

  • and DPC’s Equality Group.

Jennifer models the highest ethical standards, including for complex and contested issues and within challenging organisational cultures.

She has participated in and contributed to IPAA’s Integrity and Ethical Leadership Programs. She has consistently offered herself as a mentor and confidante to women at all levels across the public sector, particularly operating in non-traditional environments for women such as emergency services.

During her time as Director of the Equality Branch in DPC, Jennifer also provided confidential support and mentoring to LGBTIQ members of the VPS.

Jennifer has been a personal IPAA member throughout her career, participating in and contributing to many IPAA programs and - in 2016 - stepping in as Acting Chief Executive of IPAA Victoria.

She later joined the Board and currently chairs the Awards Advisory Committee and the Women’s Advisory Committee.

National Fellows

National Fellowship is awarded by IPAA National to acknowledge outstanding and distinguished contributions to the advancement and practice of public administration in Australia.

Adam Fennessy PSM


Victorian Public Sector Commission

Adam Fennessy PSM was appointed the new Victorian Public Sector Commissioner in June 2020. He is responsible for driving excellence in policy, service and administration across the public sector and will work to maintain the sector’s professionalism and integrity.  Adam is also a member of the Victorian Secretaries Board, which addresses issues and opportunities of strategic importance throughout the public sector.

Adam has over 20 years of public sector experience at state and federal levels, including four years as Secretary of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and prior to that the Department of Environment & Primary Industries.

Adam is a member of the Champions of Change Coalition, and was previously a board member of Infrastructure Victoria, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Women and Leadership Australia.

Adam was recognised for his service to the public sector with the award of a Public Service Medal in 2018.

Adam served on the IPAA Victoria board from 2016 to 2017 (as Deputy President) and became an IPAA Victoria Fellow in 2013.  Adam is a member of the IPAA Women’s Advisory Committee and has participated on the judging panel of the Top 50 Public Sector Women.  As Victorian Public Sector Commissioner, Adam has prioritised close collaboration and codesign with IPAA Victoria on programs to support and strengthen Victorian public sector leadership and capability.

Jenny Gray PSM

Chief Executive OfficerZoos VictoriaDr Jenny Gray is the Chief Executive Officer of Zoos Victoria, charged with the operation of the Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and the Werribee Open Range Zoo. Jenny has a wide range of public and private sector experience having worked in transportation, airlines and banking, before moving into the zoo industry.

Jenny has qualifications in civil engineering, transportation engineering, business administration and ethics. She brings a passion for animals and the environment to facilitate the transformation of Zoos Victoria into a zoo-based conservation organisation. Her operational and financial skills will ensure that this is achieved in a financially sustainable manner.

In 2016 Jenny completed her PhD in ethics with her thesis on An Ethical Defense of Modern Zoos. Her thesis has been turned into a book called Zoo Ethics.

Jenny serves on a number of governing bodies; she is past president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is a council-appointed member of the Victoria University Council, and President of Not In My Workplace, a small association committed to addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Jenny served on the IPAA Victoria board from 2015 to 2019. Jenny became an IPAA Victoria Fellow in 2017.  She remains an active member most recently as ‘guest provocateur’ in May at the Integrity and Ethical Leadership Program (IELP) alumni event.