Melbourne Development Circle aims to provide a warm, friendly forum, where people working, or interested in the development, social enterprise and humanitarian sectors in Australia and overseas, meet together regularly to do a combination of the following:

  • Interact with engaging speakers from the sector
  • Meet new friends and make professional connections
  • Share information
  • Possibly work together on useful outcomes for the development sector

The Melbourne Development Circle Theory of Change outlines what we want to achieve and how we can contribute towards that positive change in the development sector.



To find out about our next event, sign up to the newsletter, or visit our Humanitix page.

You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @TheDevCircle.

Past events have featured discussion about:

  • Co-design
  • Ethical storytelling
  • Women in development
  • Shared value and public-private partnerships
  • Working with Aboriginal Communities: Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Practice
  • Innovation, Opportunity & Risk in Social Enterprise: An evening of food & conversation with YGAP
  • Inclusion for people with disability
  • Speaking Truth to Power
  • Tumultuous Times: Aid Cuts & Partnership Impacts

With speakers from a wide range of agencies including:

  • International Women’s Development Agency
  • CBM
  • WaterAid
  • Plan International Australia
  • TEAR Australia
  • World Vision
  • Save the Children
  • Australian Disability and Development Consortium
  • Australian Volunteers International
  • Donkey Wheel House
  • Women’s Melbourne Network
  • Monash Sustainability Institute
  • Campaign for Australian Aid
  • Reconciliation Victoria
  • YGAP
  • Australian Youth Climate Coalition
  • Kinfolk
  • School of Life
  • Oxfam

Tell us what topics want to hear about or contact us if you have any questions, would like to get involved or speak at an upcoming event.

Leadership Team 2020

Ju-Lin Lee, President

Promoting nutrition outcomes in rapidly urbanising lifestyles in Mongolia was Ju-Lin’s entry into the development sector. She now does similar work with disadvantaged communities in Melbourne leading the dietetics/diabetes education unit at a community health organisation, along with child public health research. Ju-Lin looks forward to sharing stories about reducing health and social inequities through MDC.

Rachael Wilken, Vice-President

Rachael Wilken resize

Rachael is a dedicated not-for-profit professional, with experience supporting social change internationally and in Australia. She has done a bit of everything from resource development and operational support, to quality management and governance. Rachael brings her experience in events and her love of a good process to keep the MDC team on track to create a vibrant community for MDC members!

Megan Jones, Vice-President

Megan Jones

Megan entered the development sector researching and advising on child protection matters in Nepal. She now works with community service organisations in Australia to ensure family safety and wellbeing programs meet various quality assurance requirements. Megan joined MDC to stay connected with the development sector and encourage others to do the same by sharing their experience and knowledge.

Menaka Radhakrishnan, Secretary 

Menaka headshot

With a background in international community development, Menaka has worked for the Australian Red Cross, as well as completed international postings with the Philippines Red Cross and the Sri Lanka Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Menaka counts her year working in Sri Lanka, her country of birth, as her greatest personal and professional achievement. Menaka has spent the last few years working with State Government and has just completed the Observership Program by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) observing the Australian Volunteers International (AVI) board.

Sophie Souchon, Treasurer 

Sophie headshot

While completing a commerce degree, Sophie volunteered with multiple international and community-focused social enterprises. This provided Sophie with insight into a new method of operating, focused towards inclusive social change which led her to the role of Business Transformation Co-Ordinator with the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA). She has joined MDC to meet new people working in different ways and to expand her understanding of the opportunities to advance methods of international development.

Toby Feldman, Partnerships Manager 

As a specialist in experiential and immersive event design/delivery with extensive experience in mass participation cultural events/festivals throughout Australia and beyond, Toby is passionate about user journeys and lived experiences. While new to the development sector, Toby brings his strengths in community/stakeholder engagement, design-led innovation, and strategic development to the MDC and is very excited at the chance to participate in such a worthwhile undertaking.

Kristy Tong, Communications Manager

With a background in marketing and communications, Kristy has worked with a range of non-profit organisations focused on vulnerable communities, refugee and asylum seekers, children, and youth and social justice issues. She has volunteered with environmental groups and is driven by making a positive impact. Kristy brings her international expertise to MDC and is looking forward to learning more about the development sector and connecting with passionate change-makers.

Jess Kitchen, Events Manager

Jess Kitchen headshot

Jess first entered the development sector as an over-enthusiastic volunteer with VGen, World Vision’s youth movement. Since then Jess has worked in Cambodia and Australia in a combination of international and community development roles. Jess currently works as Field Experience Advisor at World Vision and is an Associate with Living Collaborations, a partnership brokering consulting company. Jess joined the MDC to help other development enthusiasts nerd out with other wonderful, like-minded people

Bardie Barclay-Sutton, Events Manager

Bardie Barclay-SuttonBardie has spent the past decade working with NGO’s focusing on social justice advocacy, including assignments with Australian Volunteers International (AVI) in Indonesia and Mongolia. To further her interest in gender-sensitive design and inclusive practice she is currently pursuing her Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development. Starting her career journey with volunteer-led organisations such as World Vision’s youth movement, Oaktree and AYCC, Bardie brings experience in volunteer management, project coordination and evaluation, and is motivated by her passion for deep conversations on everything development.

Martin Pritchard, General Member

Martin’s motivation to work in development began with the inequities of global trade and finance systems. A career in IT and sustainability evolved to co-founding Pacific Research & Evaluation Associates which focuses on consulting on project design, training, and evaluation. Martin has held environment and social justice volunteer positions and now looks forward to making a difference in the development sphere as a member of MDC’s leadership team.

Harry Quealy, General Member

Harry is currently studying a Master of International Development Practice at Monash University. He has a wide range of interests in the development field, particularly in areas of natural resource management, climate change and gender. Along with the MDC, he currently volunteers at ActionAid and previously has volunteered at the Red Cross, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and has interned with the UNDP Sri Lanka. Harry is really excited to meet new and like-minded people through the MDC.

Sanjna Ullal, General Member 

Sanjna resize

Sanjna brings experience in communications and community development in a South Asia context. Currently pursuing her Master of Environment and Sustainability at Monash University, and with an economics background, she intends to continue working internationally in sustainable community development in order to apply her MDC learnings. Previously she has volunteered with organisations working in food waste and food security, and improving waste collection systems in India, and with ACF in Australia.

Emily Laurie, General Member 

Starting out in the NFP sector through environmental services, Emily now works in the higher education sector with a focus on philanthropy. With widening economic inequality as a key challenge of our time, Emily works with highly engaged stakeholders and supporters to identify and help mitigate the challenges that individuals face in accessing quality education. Emily joined MDC to collaborate across networks and share knowledge.

Dr Tanja Rosenqvist, General Member 

Tanja is an engineer, designer and researcher who uses participatory design and co-design to improve human life and well-being. She has worked with low-income communities in Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Indonesia to improve water and sanitation service provision, with small business owners in Montenegro to rethink informal employment and taxation, and with a range of Australians to improve aged care and to develop guidelines for the sharing of banking data. Tanja has a PhD in Sustainable Futures and works as a Lecturer in Humanitarian Engineering at RMIT.

MDC Co-Founders

Lexi Randall-L’Estrange, Convenor and Event Manager 2011-2013, Treasurer 2014, 2017-2018

Kelly Rae, Co-Founder, Convenor 2014-2015, 2017

Kelly Rae, Co-Founder, Convenor 2014-2015, 2017

Ian Jones, Social Enterprise Guru 2011-2014, Co-Founder

Ian Jones, Social Enterprise Guru 2011-2014, Co-Founder

Chris Piper, MDC Leader 2011-2013, Co-Founder Website:

Chris Piper, MDC Leader 2011-2013, Co-Founder

Foundation Steering Committee

Lexi Randall-L’Estrange, Chris Piper, Kelly Rae, Ian Jones, Lucinda Hartley, Kirk Fisher, Dr. Simone Buzwell.

Leadership Alumni

Emily Steele, Lucy Norton, Ángela Estévez Megías, Blaise Murphet, Sophie O’Halloran, Dan A’Vard, Ian Jones, Chris Piper, Chloe Piper, Melissa Reid, Petr Svoboda, Felicity Sowerbutts, Tanya Francis, France Pitt, Ashleigh Peplow Ball, Susanne Newton, Rebecca Green, Chrissy de Silva, and Charlotte Beresford.