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Abound Communities
Chief Executive Officer
The appointment of Katherine Burton
Nurse with Patient

“On behalf of Abound Council I would like to formally thank Brooker Consulting for the assistance and expertise you offered in the recruitment of our new CEO. The process was efficient and accessible, and clearly effective - we are delighted and excited to welcome Katherine Burton to Abound. 

I wish to personally thank you on behalf of the Selection Committee for being so available and willing to provide helpful, practical advice on the various issues that arose during the recruitment process.”

Acting Chair

The Organisation

Abound Communities is a leading not-for-profit provider offering a continuum of care from independent living, assisted living and residential aged care in Victoria. With four villages in Melbourne – Berwick, North Fitzroy and St Helena plus a facility in Euroa – Abound Communities is meeting the needs of more than 500 older Victorians.

The company was formed in 1869 by Victorian founding fathers including George Selth Coppin, a Member of Parliament and philanthropist. The association’s first village was located in Rushall Park, North Fitzroy after the Government of Victoria gifted an acreage of land. Originally established to care for Victorian-based retired and poor actors, today the concept of “need” is broader, encompassing a variety of needs, physical, financial, and social.

Abound Communities excels at supporting residents, whether they live independently, in assisted living or aged care homes, to enjoy a balanced, active, social and healthy life. The mix of accommodation ensures residents can stay within the organisation and move between the different services as and when they need them. Abound Communities also provides specialised care and expertise in dementia, palliative and culturally appropriate care for people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The Brief

Following the untimely death of the organisation’s long-serving CEO, Phillip Wohlers, Brooker Consulting was invited to submit a proposal outlining our approach and methodology in a search and recruitment process to identify a worthy successor.


In summary, the brief was: The CEO is required to have an advanced knowledge of business procedures and the ability to demonstrate a sound knowledge base in the application of knowledge to practice. The CEO is a coordinator and must have excellent communication skills. They will be required to have a close working relationship with the Council and implement and comply with all relevant policies approved by the governing body. They will be required to liaise with other relevant service providers regarding the needs of residents and develop appropriate services to meet the identified needs and to promote and develop the management of the service across the four operational sites.

The Process

Meeting with the Council (governing body), staff and residents, Brooker Consulting undertook research to fully understand the organisation's need.

An extensive strategy was outlined and the campaign was launched by Brooker. We advertised in The Age and seven other avenues, to disseminate the opportunity to as wide an audience as possible.


In addition to advertising, the Brooker team of Lesley Lightfoot and Jeremy Wurm utilised referral partners to access a passive candidate pool. A comprehensive combination of external advertising and targeted executive search generated an impressive level of interest and a high-quality shortlist.

The Outcome

After the presentation of six worthy applicants to the Council, it was decided to interview five candidates over two days. From these interviews, two candidates emerged and were taken to a second round where they presented to the Council:

  • their style of leadership

  • vision for the organisation

  • areas of focus for the first twelve months.


Katherine Burton emerged as the preferred candidate and following reference checking, was appointed the next CEO of Abound Communities. 

Prior to this, Katherine held the position of Director Quality and Innovation Health Services at Mercy Health in January 2019 and was appointed Executive Director Quality, Safety and Innovation in 2021. With a clinical background in nuclear medicine, Katherine has more than 20 years’ experience in the health industry, holding various senior management and executive roles in quality, safety and operations across major tertiary and specialist health services. She also has extensive strategic project management experience with expertise in clinical governance, risk management, change management and process redesign.

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If you are interested in our services, please contact Lesley Lightfoot on 0458 543 485 or

Brooker Consulting is a prominent Australian talent acquisition and leadership advisory firm specialising in appointing interim and substantive CEOs, Board positions and c-suite executives. Our expertise spans the public and private sectors, with a strong focus on biotechnology, research, and health technology organisations.


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