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ACFID National Conference 2023
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Ms Susanne Legena

CEO - Plan International Australia


Professional Bio

Susanne is the CEO of child and girls’ rights organisation Plan International Australia. Bringing more than 25 years’ experience in community development, corporate communications, government relations and campaigning, Susanne’s career has been grounded in making a positive social impact.
Susanne is a passionate feminist, champion of young people and with a keen interest in design thinking and human-centred design, Susanne is interested in shaking up the aid industry to co-design solutions to wicked problems like poverty, gender equality and climate change.
Susanne joined Plan International Australia’s executive team in 2011 and held various roles.  Susanne was appointed as the organisation’s CEO in 2017. She is serving her second term on the ACFID board of directors.
Susanne is passionate about a sector that is building the organisational resilience, leadership and culture needed to adapt to change. Susanne is passionate that a healthy sector needs a healthy eco-system inclusive of all agencies big and small, broad and niche and has a strong interest in gender diversity in NGO leadership, localisation, shifting power and the involvement of more young people at ‘the big table.’
Before joining Plan International Australia, she was Chief of Staff for the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources & the Arts where she contributed to key policies on energy and climate change as well as whole of government social policy action to address disadvantage and promote inclusion and participation.
Susanne has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Flinders University and aMaster of Arts (Professional Communication) from Deakin University.
Susanne is is the Chair of the board of Community Plus + a community development organisation located in Melbourne’s West. Susanne has previously been an Executive Member of the Campaign for Australian Aid, the Caritas Adelaide Diocesan Committee, the Adelaide Jubilee Committee, the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and the Second Story Youth Health Service.
Susanne has had a career dedicated to working on social justice issues and transformational change; she commenced working life as a community development worker for an international youth-led student organisation and has worked for several smaller non-government organisations tackling family violence, poverty, youth unemployment and homelessness.