Cafs is led by CEO Wendy Sturgess, with an Executive Team of three and governed by 12 Board Directors.

The Cafs Executive Team lead over 300 staff across the Central Highlands Region; to strengthen nurture, and empower children, young people and families to live their best lives.

   Wendy Sturgess - CEO

Wendy has extensive experience working in senior leadership roles, she is a skilled strategic leader who has successfully led organisations in times of change, she has a strong passion for community engagement and works tirelessly to provide opportunities for vulnerable children and families, especially in regional and rural areas. Over 20 years ago Wendy made a conscious choice to leave the corporate sector, having had a successful career in leadership roles she decided to bring her commercial experience to the community sector and she hasn’t looked back.

Other areas Wendy has worked in:

  • CEO of Wimmera Uniting Care located in Horsham, providing a wide range of services across the Wimmera, including – youth, crisis housing, mental health, disability and family services including Child FIRST.
  • CEO of Crisis Support Services, mental health and men’s counselling services, she helped set up Mensline Australia and the beyondblue advice and information line.
  • CEO of Alpha Autism – providing services to people on the autism spectrum in metro Melbourne.
  • Executive Officer for White Ribbon Victoria working to secure corporate partnerships and grow the Ambassador program

Wendy is a graduate from Monash University, she holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Diploma of Marketing. In addition, she has undertaken training in areas which include; suicide prevention, trauma-informed practice, counselling skills and a raft of training in relation to Not For Profit management skills, ranging from working effectively with Boards to financial literacy.  

Wendy believes her knowledge and experience will allow her to focus her skills and experiences on strengthening Cafs to empower the Cafs team to fulfil our vision and mission.

Cafs has been supporting and assisting our regional communities most vulnerable children, young people and families for over 150 years.  Wendy is very passionate & keen, she looks forward to leading Cafs in the next phase of its journey; working with a caring and committed team of staff, carers, volunteers and supporters.


Melissa Riddiford - Executive Manager, Client Outcomes