Victoria Legal Aid

Meet our Career Trackers 2024 Gala Awards winners

Two of our staff were recent winners in awards celebrating First Nations excellence.

Tuesday 6 February 2024 4:17am
A group shot featuring VLA's two winners at the 2024 Career Trackers Gala Awards
L-R: First Nations Senior Advocate, Independent Mental Health Advocacy, Belinda Foley; Ljiljana Easey (Renee Henderson’s daughter); Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer, Geelong, Renee Henderson; Deputy Managing Lawyer, Geelong, Marie Casey; Regional Associate Director, South West, Lauren Galvin

Two staff in our Geelong office on Wadawurrung Country were recent winners in the Career Trackers 2024 AwardsExternal Link , which celebrate First Nations excellence.

Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer Renee Henderson was awarded Intern of the Year and Deputy Managing Lawyer Marie Casey took out the Intern Manager of the Year.

Associate Director South West Lauren Galvin is proud of both our winners and the contribution they are making to bettering the lives of First Nations peoples.

‘The Intern of the Year Award is the most prestigious Gala Award and is presented to an intern who has demonstrated all-round excellence in the three pillars of CareerTrackers, including university, internship and community.

‘They also display attributes that see them become a future leader, and Renee’s recognition is testament to her commitment to community and our values, as well as her desire to be an active and impactful member of our team.

‘Similarly, Marie’s award is a reflection of her high level of professional and personal leadership and the crucial role she has played in contributing to the professional development of Renee, and nurturing her talents,’ said Lauren.

The award means a lot to Renee and she is grateful for the support provided to her and the difference her work is making in the community.

‘The award for myself and for Marie, shows the commitment Victoria Legal Aid and Career Trackers have for helping place First Nation interns in an organisation that is paving the way for change.

‘The opportunity to work in the criminal justice system and support First Nations communities is my passion, and my role has certainly provided that to me.

‘Additionally, this award makes me see that time, commitment and family/work balance can be achieved, and this organisation has provided an amazing place to learn, feel welcome and be appreciated.

‘Through organisations such as the Wathaurong CooperativeExternal Link and the Koori Court, I look forward to the continued opportunity to support our First Nations community and bridge the gap in enabling our community to access legal assistance,’ said Renee.

Nurturing our First Nations talent

Just like her colleague, Marie believes the award is a demonstration of our commitment to First Nations peoples which is embodied in our Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-25.

‘Our Geelong office strives to be a culturally safe workplace for First Nations staff, and we support all team members to work with local community organisations so that we provide services that are relevant and targeted.

‘The recognition for Renee and myself means that VLA can be confident in our current RAP plan, and that we will continue to increase our cohort of excellent First Nations staff, and see these staff members progress in their careers to leadership roles inside and outside the organisation.

‘Working with Renee and our other First Nations staff is an honour and a learning journey for me,’ said Marie.

More information

Read more about our Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-25.

Learn more about our work with the Wathaurong Cooperative.

Reviewed 06 February 2024