Scholar Profile - Lacey Filipich PDF Print E-mail
Lacey Filipich


Non-Executive Director at Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA)

Awarded a BankWest Foundation / Governance Institute scholarship for a Certificate in Governance for Not-For-Profits, 2015

What sort of work does your organisation do?

We are led by and for people with lived experience of mental health issues. We help mental health consumers to share their views to support consumers’ wellbeing and recovery. We consult with mental health consumers, advise decision makers and services, provide education and training, raise awareness and facilitate peer support.

Describe a typical day's work.

My work revolves around monthly Board meetings and bi-monthly Committee meetings. In my role as Vice Chair, I help the Chair and Executive Director to prepare the agenda for meetings, including writing and coordinating board papers. I am leading work on completing our policy & procedure review. I have helped prepare and facilitate our annual strategy sessions. I have recently become involved in improving our financial and risk management reporting through my place on the Finance, Risk and Compliance Committee.

What are some of the key learnings from the Certificate in Governance for Not-for-Profits?

The course was a comprehensive overview of key areas of governance for any organisation with an emphasis on practical application in not-for-profits. I learned a great deal about our regulatory framework, the responsibilities of the various executive and non-executive roles in these organisations and how to interrogate risk and finance reporting.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

This course has given me the technical knowledge of governance to back up my 14 months of practical experience as a board member. Having completed the course after serving on the CoMHWA board, I have identified a number of questions and suggestions for improvements, which I will be taking to the board over the coming months. I hope these will improve our overall performance as an organisation. In particular, my new knowledge relating to risk and finance will be invaluable in my Committee role.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

In a professional sense, I was seeking family-friendly work options. Non-executive director roles seemed to fit the bill, and I am able to fit my board work around caring for my children easily. In a personal sense, I sought a volunteer role in mental health because my family has a history of mental illness. My father has depression and I lost my younger sister to suicide at age 24 after extended treatment for bipolar disorder. Their experiences in the mental health sector have not been positive, and this role means I have a chance to directly impact that and make it better for others.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

In the short time I’ve spent in the NFP sector, I’ve observed an abundance of passion. Preserving this is essential to build impact, however it must be balanced with the necessary skills and experience. To that end, I’d like to see us take a leaf out of Dan Pallotta’s book and start thinking of ourselves as social enterprises rather than ‘not-for-profits’ in the sense that making a bigger profit is a good thing, especially if it helps our overall cause. We need to be making the sector an attractive place to work so we can compete with private and public corporations in securing the best talent.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I am an advocate for mini-retirements: the practice of interspersing some of your retirement years throughout your working life rather than leaving it to take in bulk when you’re old. I’ve had five mini-retirements, totalling 22 months off in five years. It’s been revolutionary for my health, work output and family life. I highly recommend it.

Click here to read about other ASF scholars.

Click here to find out more about the Bankwest Foundation Community Leader Scholarship Program.

"This course has given me the technical knowledge of governance to back up my 14 months of practical experience as a board member."


Lacey is a chemical engineer with ten years experience in the mining industry across multiple commodities and countries. She also has extensive management consulting experience, which she applies to her role as Non-Executive Director and Vice Chair on the Board of Consumers of Mental Health WA. Lacey is also an Executive Director at Money School, a financial education program for families.

In 2015, ASF awarded Lacey a scholarship to attend the Governance Institute's Certificate in Governance for Not-for-Profits, supported by the Bankwest Foundation, Governance Institute and ASF.


Annual revenue / size:

Medium - $250,000 - $5m pa

Segment of NFP sector:


Operating in: