Jo Porter: QVWC’s new CEO comes full circle

By Amy Gray

The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre was the starting point for many women, quite literally with the thousands of women born there. But it’s even more amazing when one comes back to usher the centre into a new era.

Meet Jo Porter, QVWC’s new CEO.


“I was inspired to come to the QVWC because of its continuing relevance to the women of Victoria and the work that is carried out by the organisations based at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre”. For Jo, this is a combination of the organisations within QVWC  – “supporting women enter politics, breaking the silence about sexual assault and helping victims/survivors, health and wellbeing information for women to live their lives in safety – and also those who ensure the building’s legacy remains powerful. “I am inspired by Trust and other staff of the QVWC who ensure that the building is preserved as a physical monument to the giants upon whose shoulders we stand and celebrate initiatives that address matters of inequality and inequity”.

Yet Jo’s path back to the QVWC is a long one, her career mixing creativity with community. “Until about 6 years ago, my work was primarily in the performing arts as a producer and administrator in many parts of the world. Recently, I have put my efforts into a Masters of Development Studies and working with artists whose access to resources has been limited.”

This work inspired Jo to support creators whose access was limited by “gender, geography, language, perceived disability and age. These and other attributes add layers of disadvantage”. The solution– collaboration and community – led her to rethink her approach on a grand scale, as both concepts guide her CEO role. “My commitment is to support and nurture networks that will seed collaborations of all kinds, populating the Centre with organisations and individuals committed to continuing to build initiatives for women, by women”.

The concepts of collaboration and community take form with this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, which she explains in this hilarious post ( “I thought of IWD 2019 as a series of initiatives that inform our future. And where better to think, meet people and find out information than sitting in a garden, chatting at a picnic or discussing China’s Feminist Five?”

While it’s the birth of something new at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, somehow it always come full circle to the same forces of good: women working with women to empower and educate.




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Amy Gray is a Melbourne writer whose work focuses on feminism, culture and parenting. She tweets via @_amygray_

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