8 November 2023

Fitzroy Legal Service’s Board has announced that CEO Kristine Olaris will step down from her role as of 12 January 2024 following a legacy of purposeful growth.

Commencing as CEO of Fitzroy Legal Service in 2021, Kristine brought with her a strong background as an experienced CEO in purpose driven leadership.
Board Chair Claire Febey said Kristine was recruited to grow Fitzroy Legal Service’s impact and strengthen the organisation as it looked toward its 50th year of providing free and low-cost legal services to communities across Fitzroy, Darebin and surrounds.

“She joined us at a critically important time, steering the organisation through the challenges of the pandemic and overseeing our return to face-to-face service delivery,” Febey said.

“Kristine supported Fitzroy Legal Service through a time of significant change and also a period of purposeful growth, enabling FLS to increase our impact and financial sustainability.

Claire Febey, FLS Board Chair

“Under her leadership we have strengthened delivery of Fitzroy Legal Service’s strategic plan, celebrated our 50th anniversary and established new programs and services, aligned to our focus on making the legal and broader social system fairer, more effective and more just.
“This includes our outreach work with people with mental health issues experiencing homelessness, early intervention family violence legal services for parents, and integrated legal and social work services for criminalised women and non-binary people, to name a few.

“Most recently Kristine was responsible for the establishment of Q+Law, a vital new legal service with and for LGBTIQA+ communities.
“Kristine has brought a strong focus on stakeholder relationships, holistic program design, and on increasing our capabilities in impact evaluation. She has also strengthened our fundraising capacity, with a view to supporting our ongoing ability to have an independent and fearless voice.

“The Board would like to express its gratitude to Kristine for her dedicated service, integrity and unwavering commitment to the vision and goals of Fitzroy Legal Service.”
Kristine Olaris said, “I have been immensely proud of the achievements of Fitzroy Legal Service over the time I have been its CEO. It is a truly values and community driven organisation that consistently has its eye on its vision of a fairer and more just society.

“I have great confidence that the organisation will continue to go from strength to strength, and I look forward to following FLS’ successes from a different vantage point.”

Kristine Olaris, FLS CEO

Kristine will step down as CEO on 12 January 2024, and having overcome a cancer diagnosis and treatment during her tenure, will take a career break before considering new opportunities which she hopes to balance with personal endeavours.
Board Chair Claire Febey said that Fitzroy Legal Service is well placed to continue delivering high-quality legal services and access to justice for those who need it most.

“Kristine leaves a significant legacy having overseen the appointment of an impressive leadership team in Hamish McLachlan, Legal Director, Day Practice; Ryan Hsu, Service Director, Q+Law; and most recently Rebecca Johnston-Ryan, Service Director, Night Service’, who work alongside an exceptional team,” Febey said.
The Board is pleased to advise that Hamish McLachlan will step up as Interim CEO, providing stability, sound leadership and bringing extensive experience in the legal assistance sector to the role.

Hamish will work alongside an engaged Board and support the leadership team and staff during the search for a new CEO. More on this recruitment process will be provided soon.

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