Jess Lees


Jess Lees headshot
Jess uses strategic design and facilitation to solve complex client challenges, taking an adaptive and collaborative approach to engaging with others.
She has more than 15 years of experience leading projects, partnerships and strategy, as well as designing services, programs and policies, in peak and statutory bodies and the not-for-profit and public sectors. Jess brings expertise in planning, transformation, stakeholder engagement, human-centred design and leadership. She has experience in healthcare and has worked across human services, justice, Indigenous affairs and humanitarian response.

Influential work

  • Led business planning and deployed cloud-based software for an enterprise transformation that enhanced data-driven investment decisions
  • Established and led Design Lab to iteratively design and test a new operating model and data-driven outcomes framework with the client journey at its heart
  • Directed a cultural and service transformation, underpinned by evidence-based theories of change, including being a thought leader and public face of new ways of working, and coaching and training leaders to prepare for and sustain the transformation
  • Led an organisation through a merger, using change management strategies to guide integration and maintain brand and reputation through disruptive change
  • Piloted new approaches to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s statutory functions that increased the effectiveness and reach of its community education and engagement.

Outside of Nous

Jess provided strategic and operational leadership across a five-year transformation at cohealth, a not-for-profit community health organisation, and led the organisation’s community partnerships, programs and strategies across Victoria. Before this, she led education and engagement reform at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

Jess has contributed to policy reviews with Victoria’s Department of Health and The Royal Women’s Hospital and delivered sector capability-building initiatives with The Health Issues Centre and Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health.

Jess led international development efforts as a DFAT Youth Ambassador in Cambodia and built humanitarian response capability for Oxfam Australia. Earlier in her career, Jess led policy advocacy initiatives for peak bodies in youth, refugee and asylum seeker affairs.

In her spare time...

Jess loves cooking, gardening, and camping with friends and family.