Farewell to Lee Maiden, Outgoing CEO

Lee Maiden



On 30 September 2022 we bid farewell to Lee Maiden, our much-loved CEO.


Lee has had an amazing journey with Communities at Work, beginning in 1985 as a volunteer mum at Richardson Child Care and Education Centre and ending up as its CEO in 2019.


Over that time she has accomplished much, established valuable partnerships within the Canberra business community and built wonderful friendships within the organisation. She is only the fifth CEO in the 44 years that the organisation has been around (since 1977).

Under Lee’s stewardship as CEO from 2019-2022, she faced some of the most challenging circumstances any leader could face, with bushfires, choking smoke and then COVID. These challenges highlighted Lee’s adaptable and innovative leadership. Despite navigating the greatest health and social challenge our country and community have faced in decades, Lee continued to deliver positive outcomes for Communities at Work and the Canberra community.


Here are a few of these outcomes:

✔️ Communities at Work won the Large Employer of the Year at the ACT Training Awards four years in a row, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

✔️ Galilee School expanded to include Year 12, offering students the opportunity to complete their schooling. To achieve this, Galilee School undertook several million dollars in capital works projects for new educational spaces and learning environments.

✔️ Communities at Work opened a new community centre, the Denman Village Community Centre, catering to people in the Molonglo Valley region.

✔️ Communities at Work opened a new Best Dressed Store in Manuka.

✔️ Communities at Work opened a new OSHC and SHP service at Emmaus Christian School.

✔️ We expanded our community pantries in anticipation of growing demand from people in need – both in response to covid pressures and the growing cost of living.

✔️ Communities at Work’s Family Day Care Educators and Coordination Team were nominated for local and national awards in the Family Day Care Awards and Early Childhood Australia Awards. 4 educators won in 2020 and 2021.

✔️ Communities at Work partnered with the ACT Government and COTA to develop a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Expo and Forum to promote awareness and connection to support services.

✔️ In March 2020, some of our early education and care services saw a 90% decline in attendance. At the time, there was real fear we may need to close our services, which would not only impact thousands of families and children, but would have meant hundreds of job losses.  Under Lee’s leadership, no services closed and no jobs were lost.

✔️ Communities at Work partnered with the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) on recruitment and advocacy campaigns in response to the widespread workforce crisis in the early childhood education and care sector.

✔️ Lee’s vision for quality early childhood education has led to the innovative development of an Internal Auditing Program, assessing our Out of School Hours Care and Early Education and Care services to ensure continual quality improvement.

A Few Words From Our Employees


“She is an incredibly inspiring leader. She is empathetic and compassionate. She takes time to know her employees and remembers even small details about them, making them feel unique, special, and valued. “


“Lee is the most approachable leader I have ever met, and the best CEO I have ever known in my career.  She genuinely cares and loves what she does and what you do.”


“Lee’s dedication to the organisation and the capital region community is something we all aspire to. Her open door policy and willingness to sit down and talk things through have contributed to the growth of many of her staff, not only professionally but also personally.”
“She has a genuine interest in the learning journey of educators (and others within the organisation) and this interest is visible in what she does and how she communicates with others.”


“Compassionate – especially toward those less fortunate in our community.
Fiercely loyal – to her colleagues, the organisation’s values, and family.
Democratic and diplomatic.
Always happy for others to shine around her, which just makes her light glow brighter!
An intrepid and keen golfer – with 2 Holes In One!”



Goodbye …

Lee, thanks for all you’ve done.
For your leadership.
For your compassion.
For inspiring others to reach their best.
For supporting our community.



We wish you the very best in your new role at Ronald McDonald House Charities – as you continue to support families in need.

A special thanks to Nicole Lawder MLA, who very kindly paid tribute to Lee’s 33 years at Communities at Work in a speech at the ACT Legislative Assembly on 21 September 2022. You can view her full 4 minute speech here (at 5.21pm): https://broadcast.parliament.act.gov.au/vod/player/079d26c71d967f54ae34e51b9515af69?i=30169f79e9a94634a4480dff7e7a7b12-141


Lee Maiden

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