7 minute read

Lived experience leadership and transformative systems change in the mental health and social sectors is the subject of Mind Australia’s inaugural The Stratford Lecture.

Ellie Hodges, a nationally recognised thought leader and founder of South Australia’s peak consumer organisation LELAN will be the guest speaker at the live event to be held on Wednesday 27 March at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.

The Stratford Lecture and The Stratford Scholarship have been established by Mind Australia to honour Anthony Stratford’s contributions to the Peer Workforce.

Ellie’s lecture will explore the need for high level system transformation that is informed and led by people with lived experience at all levels. She will speak to the important role of allies and other partnership efforts that are critical to the changes being realised together.

I want to talk about being on the leading edge of disruption and innovation within system change that truly transforms the mental health and social sectors.

Ellie has visioned, led and partnered with others on numerous cutting-edge projects to strengthen lived experience leadership and reshape systems to better meet the needs and preferences of people most impacted. This has included the development of the Model of Lived Experience Leadership, the Lived Experience Governance Framework and a working partnership with Mind Australia on the co-design of the Healing Place, a peer-led residential service, which was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

“I want to talk about being on the leading edge of disruption and innovation within system change that truly transforms the mental health and social sectors,” she said. “I will be drawing on elements of my own leadership journey and the dilemmas, tensions, challenges, brutality and beauty of it all.”

The event will also feature Mind Australia CEO Gill Callister and Mind’s Executive Director Lived Experience Katie Larsen and an audience Q&A session.

The recipient of the inaugural The Stratford Scholarship will also be announced. This is a $10,000 scholarship for an emerging Peer leader across Australia to complete a 12-month project that contributes to innovation and transformational change in their own and the broader community.

The lecture event will be followed by refreshments and a chance to meet new people.

Ways to participate in the Stratford lecture

You can attend the lecture in Melbourne, or livestream the event from anywhere in Australia.

Attendance at the Wheeler Centre event is free but reserve your tickets now on Eventbrite as numbers are limited.

Livestreaming will make The Stratford Lecture a truly national event. You can watch the event live via your computer and participate in the discussion by posting your own questions and comments. See information on how to watch and participate in the event via ZOOM here.

More about Ellie Hodges


Ellie has worked in the non-government mental health sector for over twenty years as a community development lead, therapeutic practitioner, manager, educator, strategy/policy worker, advisor and consultant. She combines her personal, professional and socio-political worlds, centring lived experience and a commitment to action. This is underpinned by a focus on innovation, social justice and leading together.

In 2017 Ellie founded LELAN (the Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network), the peak lived experience organisation in South Australia that she leads as Executive Director. LELAN draws on the collective experiences, expertise and leadership of people with lived experience of mental distress, social issues or injustice to drive desperately needed change in the mental health and social sectors.

Ellie is an individually appointed member of the legislated South Australian Suicide Prevention Council and loves cheese, particularly the stinky oozy kind.

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 
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