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Michelle Bruggeman

Chief Operations Officer, Levande

A dynamic, inspiring and innovative leader with over 30 years’ experience across the corporate, government and non-profit sectors, Michelle believes success results from inspiring people at all levels of an organisation, developing an amazing culture amongst teams and learning from mistakes, challenges and adversity along the way. “When together we believe in the vision, develop a strong plan to achieve the vision, and exceed visitor/customer expectations, having fun along the journey – then success will come.”

A 25-year career with YMCA, one of Australia’s largest for-purpose organisations, spanning six different industries, with a turnover of over $220m, 6,500 staff, 1,500 volunteers and. Michelle was the Deputy CEO and Chief of Corporate Services, specialising in Governance, Strategy and cultivating new sector markets for the YMCA to continue to grow. Michelle then joined Zoos Victoria as the first female Director of Melbourne Zoo in its 157-year history. Zoos Victoria is the world’s leading zoo-based conservation organisation, working to secure a future rich in wildlife, by protecting threatened species, animal welfare, community engagement and enabling people to thrive.

Today, Michelle is Chief Operations Officer with Levande, the third largest provider of retirement living in Australia. Levande is a new national company owned by European-based private equity firm EQT which bought the Stockland retirement division in 2022. The remit for a complete business transformation is never short of a challenge; develop a market-leading strategy, create an efficient structure, build an incredible operations model, and deliver an awesome resident experience. This has provided a challenge requiring inspirational leadership and innovative thinking, while always keeping people and residents at the heart of all decision-making.

An expert in large-scale project and change management, visitor experience, governance, risk, property construction, acquisition, crisis management and much more, Michelle is well known for her operational background, often being brought in to turn poorly performing properties into star attractions. Michelle offers a unique blend of strategic expertise, personality, well developed people skills, attention to detail and leadership acumen that connects well with stakeholders from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds.

Michelle is presently a Director on the Board of St Johns Ambulance Australia and Basketball Victoria.

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