Facilitation testimonials

What it’s like to work with me as a facilitator

I’m a facilitator. I often ask people to identity what their superpower is. Facilitation is one of mine. It sits at the core of everything I do – even my governance and coaching services. I facilitate the change and all those ideas into action.

I have provided facilitation services for more than one hundred incredible organisations for over a couple of decades now.

The best part is hearing about what happens after I have left, after I’ve done my facilitation and workshop work. They’re great stories. They’re more about them than me.

Find out more about my facilitation services. If you want to know more about me – my background and all that I do – you can read my story and or an overview of who I am and what I do.

We were pleased to have Helga facilitate a strategic planning session for the North East Catchment Management Authority. It was a particularly challenging time with plans constantly changing due to the pandemic lockdowns. Helga’s flexibility and patience in the lead up to our workshop was extraordinary. Helga’s facilitation was second to none. She very effectively led us to achieve the outcomes we had set. It was an efficient, worthwhile and fun experience. thank you Helga!T

Leanne Mulcahy, non-executive director at North East Water

Helga spent a day with my team and managed to fit in a full training and development program on technical and adaptive challenges while also guiding the team gently towards some strategic decisions which had to be made. Her flexible, engaging and relaxed style made it an enjoyable and productive day, and every team member was actively involved. The benefits and conversation are continuing, which is sign of a successful day.

Michelle Delaire, Director, Strategy and Innovation at Taxi Services Commission

Helga facilitated our board planning day. What made it so successful was her direction around the mix of presentation/workshop style items and the timing in the pre-planning phase. On the day, she was as always amazing!!!

Alison Rowe, Chief Executive Officer at Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd

We were very satisfied with the preparation and follow up for this project and the delivery went extremely well. Helga was always professional and responsive in her preparation for the workshop, she tailored the sessions and their delivery to meet the needs of both Sustainability Victoria (SV) and the participants and she sought feedback and responded thoroughly to requests associated with reporting and closing out the project. She is responsive, thoughtful, well organised and great company. I was very happy with Helga’s delivery and it was an absolute delight working with her.

Lisa Shadforth, Sustainability Victoria

On behalf of 3CR's committee of management (CoM), I'd like to thank you for your excellent work on 3CR's strategic business plan. CoM met last night and passed the documents required by ACMA and it's such a relief to have that done, so thank you so much. We couldn't have done it without you.

James McKenzie, chair, 3CR

I've worked with Helga, both as a participant and as an organiser, of a number of different strategic planning sessions. I've always found her great at maintaining enthusiasm within the group, keeping us all on track while allowing room for a variety of voices. I would highly recommend Helga for any facilitation work required to deliver what can be sometimes difficult to achieve objectives.

David Meiklejohn, Executive Officer at Northern Area Greenhouse Alliance (NAGA)

Helga skilfully facilitated a strategic planning session for our community board recently. Her ability to process information quickly, focus on priorities, be flexible when necessary and guide participants with an effortless energy and enthusiasm, made her an essential element in the day's success.

Stephen Torsi, Civic Events and Engagement Coordinator at Brimbank City Council

Helga was a pleasure to work with, she has a natural understanding of people management and facilitation to meet both participant and organisation needs. She was flexible and supportive in event design and delivery.

Kristy Roche, Strategic Coordinator at Sustainability Victoria

The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) engaged Helga to assist with the development of our policy platform. This was a complex and potentially fraught process and Helga played an invaluable part in ensuring that our board's deliberations were productive and meaningful. In the lead-up to the meeting, Helga offered sound advice on how to most effectively structure the discussion - including appropriate techniques for resolving any disagreement that might arise. On the day, she demonstrated a deft touch as facilitator, intervening only as required and always ensuring that our discussions were on track. The ARM would use Helga's services again and I recommend her to anyone looking for a professional and experienced facilitator.

Tim Mayfield, National Director at Australian Republican Movement

Helga is a highly effective facilitator and strategist, whose assistance with a recent service review was invaluable. She was committed, flexible, engaging, and above all great to work with.

Mark Patterson, Manager Family & Cultural Services at Bayside City Council

Helga facilitated a panel of speakers at a joint AICD and CPA Australia event. Helga was a dynamic facilitator with the ability to engage the panel and the audience, promote discussion and the sharing of ideas and experiences. Helga's energy and enthusiasm were palpable and assisted in the overwhelming success of the event.

Gloria Sleaby, Victorian Divisional Council Councillor at CPA Australia

Helga is a highly experienced and capable facilitator and consultant, possessing a unique brand of infectious energy and passion that brings out the best in the teams, individuals and projects she works with. Helga worked with Bayside over 2015 as a business partner, supporting the delivery of Council's Arts & Culture Strategic Service Review. As the project manager of the review, I was impressed by Helga's personable style, her project management skills, the insights she brought to the table, her approach to engagement and her ongoing focus on the client relationship. Helga made a fantastic contribution to the review process, supporting its successful completion.

Matt Kelleher, Executive Manager at Bayside City Council

Helga facilitated a panel of speakers at a joint AICD and CPA Australia event. Helga was a dynamic facilitator with the ability to engage the panel and the audience, promote discussion and the sharing of ideas and experiences. Helga's energy and enthusiasm were palpable and assisted in the overwhelming success of the event.

Gloria Sleaby, Victorian Divisional Council Councillor at CPA Australia

Helga did a fantastic job facilitating business planning workshops to assist the executive team prioritise projects within available resources. Helga flexibly adjusted her approach to accommodate changing circumstances and to ensure strategic decisions were made in a timely manner. All participants appreciated her open, energetic and respectful manner. As the person responsible for the process I felt well supported by Helga and look forward to working with her again.

Julie Richmond, Manager, Climate Change Program at Sustainability Victoria

The NRCL asked me to write to you in appreciation of the excellent work you undertook with our board review. It was incisive, forensic and focussed analysis which enhanced the board's self-belief and enabled it to address an area you singled out for further attention.

Mike Hill, Director of WestWyck eco-village

What a find Helga was! She quickly came on board and learnt about our needs, our organisation and community. Helga made some great suggestions for our workshop and facilitated the day with confidence, good humour and professionalism. I would recommend Helga to anyone needing a professional and competent, community development focused facilitator.

Noelene Blair, Senior Consultant at Curve Group

Helga runs workshops that bring the best out of a team. Her facilitation helped the social enterprises team to contribute to critical decisions with the unanimous support of all involved. Furthermore – the workshops were enjoyable!

Rodney Weston, General Manager, Corporate Services and Social Enterprises, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Working with Helga has been an absolute delight. She is a great listener / thinker and was able to formulate a plan that was creatively formulated and professionally executed. She is very thorough and goes beyond what is normally expected from a consultant in my experience. Highly personable and easy going Helga has delivered great results that will help transform The Thin Green Line Foundation.

Brent Masters, Operations Manager, The Thin Green Line Foundation

Helga facilitated a workshop for my team to explore and define our role and strengths. The workshop was a great success. Helga worked with me to clarify our aims for the day, she was organised, professional, challenged us and kept us 'on track' to ensure we were able to succinctly articulate our role. Helga's humour and understanding of strategic issues were an important part of her success in this role.

Julie Garbutt, Sustainability Victoria

It was so enjoyable working with Helga who is thorough yet flexible, quick to understand the subject and audience, creative in delivery and fun to be with. Helga needs to take a great deal of credit for the success of the Climate Change Community Conversations run by Sustainability Victoria in October this year. The workshop results and feedback speak for themselves.

rish Kevin, Strategic Coordinator - Grampians region at Sustainability Victoria

Helga has recently assisted our organisation to undertake a new strategic plan, involving both the Committee of Management and senior leadership team. Helga's extremely capable skills and ability, combined with a great style has made what can often be a complex and difficult process an absolute pleasure for all involved. I would highly recommend booking Helga if you want an engaged group, a professional and efficient facilitator and of course great outcomes for your organisation.

Lisa Darmanin, Branch Executive President at Australian Services Union

Helga facilitated a dynamic strategic planning afternoon for the Medley Hall College at Melbourne University. She was clear about what could be achieved in the time available. As a facilitator she was engaging, kept us moving and drove the group towards outcomes. It was a very positive day.

Jennifer Fraser, chair, Medley Hall Collect and Board Member at East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

We hired Helga to help us recruit five new board members to our non-profit. From the start she was warm and engaging plus professional and knowledgeable. She guided us through an excellent process so recruitment and interviews became easy. She was adaptable to the dynamics of the group and listened to input from all stakeholders. Working closely with Helga as chair was an absolute pleasure. We plan to utilise her as a facilitator during strategy sessions.

Paul Smith, Chair, Jane Goodall Institute of Australia

As a member of the Thin Green Line Foundation board, we benefited significantly from the pro bono advice and expertise of Helga who conducted a board capability and review. The expertise Helga provided enabled the TGL to completely overhaul its board talent matrix and governance structures. Helga conducted this review with professionalism, directness and sensitivity.

Jill Riseley, Director, The Thin Green Line Foundation and Managing Director at Meliora Group

Helga is energetic, enthusiastic and extremely professional. Her ability to plan and deliver effective and engaging workshops is only one element of her broader expert ability to engage stakeholders and deliver great results.

Heather Sheffield, Melbourne Water

Helga was a diligent, passionate and inspiring leader as CEO of Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project. I found her to be direct, open, honest, intelligent, practical and respectful. I enjoyed working with her.

Tim Lightfoot, chair of Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project Board and Consultant Physician at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

I have known Helga Svendsen since 2010 and since that time I have worked with Helga on numerous projects. Helga is bright, compassionate, clever, articulate and insightful. She has added real value to all the projects we have been involved in and I have always gained from her perspectives and relationships that she develops with co members. Helga is interested in issues, people and ideas and has always been one of the first (if not the first) to put up her hand and say 'include me, I want to be involved'.

Sunita Varlamos, Volunteer Engagement Advisor at Save the Children Australia

Helga is an excellent facilitator: she's organised, thorough, strategic, friendly and respectful. She enables all voices to be heard and respected, while at the same time ensuring any process is focused on making decisions and developing realistic forward plans. Her diverse experience also means she's capable of working in a wide variety of environments from government to NGOs to corporate businesses.

Gabrielle Kuiper, Director at Department of Premier and Cabinet (NSW)

Helga is a focussed and capable worker who takes on challenges with enthusiasm and good humour. Her work as a facilitator at Sustainability Victoria was excellent. She managed both internal and external stakeholders with aplomb and was widely complemented for her work style and quality. Helga combines intellect with a good sense of humour to balance the challenges of the facilitator role. I would gladly work with her again.

Cameron Frazer, General Manager Commercial & Community

As a member of the board of the Asylum Seeker Project (ASP) at the Hotham Mission where Helga was the CEO, I was in contact with her on a monthly basis at Board meetings and from time to time, directly, one-on-one. Helga came to the project with a strong reputation for networking, management, drive and commitment. These were all confirmed and more. Intellectually quick, outgoing, and a natural team leader, she added greatly to the reach of the ASP. She had the full confidence of the Board who found her performance exceptional.

Ian Howie, Adjunct Professor, International Development and Global Studies at RMIT University

NAGA's 2013 annual strategic review and planning process was facilitated (and energised!) by Helga Svendsen. Strategic planning for alliances and groupings of sometimes disparate members can be challenging due to conflicting needs, priorities and interests. Helga worked closely with NAGA's Executive Officer, Chair and Governance Committee to shape and deliver an annual event that effectively brought together and provided a forum for all members to work collaboratively to reinvigorate their shared vision, and to build a sense of concerted and coherent forward momentum for achieving goals and objectives. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail, commitment to understanding the context and background, all contributed to the success of the process.

Judy Bush, Executive Officer, Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action

Helga has assisted the Moreland Energy Foundation Limited board in a number of ways over the past couple of years. She has facilitated our half yearly strategy/planning days, as well as providing specific support and individual director coaching on our stakeholder engagement strategy. She has a great ability to keep an a group on track with their agenda, syntheses divergent views into a coherent way forward and uses clever interactive exercises to surface key issues and build consensus. I would recommend her as an excellent facilitator to other groups and organisations.

Monique Conheady, chair, Moreland Energy Foundation Limited

Helga understands strategy development and has skillfully worked with our Board and management to strengthen and refine our strategy over the last 12 months. Helga’s approach to facilitating strategy development is very effective as she is skilled at quickly understanding the essence of diverse views and working them into a unified narrative. I am particularly impressed by Helga’s ability to understand the components of strategy and where the work needs to be done to build a strong, supported and effective strategy.

Paul Murfitt, CEO Moreland Energy Foundation Limited

Helga was an excellent facilitator and coach, that brought together the ideas of a disparate group of individuals to produce a coherent and useful set of action items. Her ability to draw out information, prompt discussion and identify what people are actually trying to say was the key to our success. Thanks for your hard work and flexibility Helga!

Kimberley Nell, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Terrific feedback from the board last night regarding the first planning session. They wished me to relay how well the session was facilitated and structured and how fruitful they found the discussion. Ditto from the staff, who felt it created purposeful discussion of key issues and an opportunity for greater connection with the board.

Veronica Pardo, CEO, Arts Access Victoria

Helga Svendsen assisted our team and our board to develop a new strategic plan. Over two interactive sessions with a combination of exercises to assist our thinking and a range of key processes we made excellent progress in our planning for the next three years. Helga has a style that is responsive to what is going on in the group but also gently directive which kept us on task. Thanks Helga for your skilled assistance in doing this important planning work.

Morag McArthur, Director Institute of Child Protection Services, Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Public speaking

Helga presented her "Courageous Leadership" session to RMIT's inaugural Inspiring Leadership program. The program has a great mix of students from post graduates to under graduates, 1st years to 5th years and obviously vast differences in leadership experience. While I knew Helga was bright and engaging what was most impressive was Helga's ability to pitch to the various levels of leadership experience. I have received wonderful feedback from students who now feel better equipped to be courageous leaders. Thanks Helga!

Sally Tanner, Sport Management | Student Engagement

Helga is an engaging speaker and facilitator. I have especially appreciated her passion and ability to quickly connect with people. Her engagement with various groups of NAB executives, as part of a leadership development program, always produced very positive feedback from the participants.

Diana Renner, adaptive leadership practitioner

Helga is someone who Leadership Victoria (LV) loves to work with and we do so on a very regular basis. Helga is a regular speaker in LV's Igniting Leadership program, presenting on the topic of 'Courage, Leadership and the Big Issues' and as a regular speaker in our Board Leadership Program on 'Effective Boards'. Helga is a story teller and is very effective at getting her messages across by sharing her lived experiences. I would certainly recommend Helga in any facilitation role where engagement and enhanced participation are intended outcomes.

Tony Matthews, Manager Leadership Development at Leadership Victoria

I am privileged to facilitate a Leadership Victoria program which Helga Svendsen is often a guest speaker addressing the subject: Courage, Leadership and the Big Issue. It’s a great interactive component, in which Helga engages the group with an exercise to develop Ccurage. I have vivid memories of a participant sharing her courageous goal to become a life coach in addition to her full-time role. In the past 12 months’ this goal has been achieved in an amazing proactive manner. It’s testament to Helga’s model and ability to quickly gain the trust of the group to participate.

Louise Thomson, Leadership Performance Specialist

Do you have a story to tell?

These testimonials are an important part of my business. If you’ve worked with me before and would like to share your experience, give me a call or send me your story.
We’re working on a series of case studies to support a couple of exciting projects. So, let me know if you have a bigger story tell and would be open to be interviewed for a case study.

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