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Vanessa Schernickau News

Geelong Regional Libraries to welcome new CEO


Thursday 22 April 2021

Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) has today announced the appointment of Vanessa Schernickau as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following a highly competitive recruitment process.

Ms Schernickau is a strong advocate for public libraries and is passionate about delivering better outcomes for communities.

She is currently employed as the Regional Director for Barwon South West at the Department of Transport, where she is responsible for integrated transport, planning, policy implementation and delivery of major capital programs.

Prior to this, Ms Schernickau was the Chief Executive Officer for the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee where she successfully positioned the organisation to transition to the new Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority. In this role she was focussed on building a resilient organisational culture, financial sustainability and developing cultural protocol at the organisation.

Ms Schernickau is no stranger to the GRLC, having worked for the Corporation as the Manager Corporate and Customer Services from December 2009 until June 2012, a role in which she was responsible for overseeing corporate functions and customer services initiatives. She was an important advocate in securing funding for the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre, the GRLC’s flagship library branch and now an icon building in Geelong’s Cultural Precinct.

Ms Schernickau also has significant local government experience, having spent a number of years at the City of Port Phillip in various senior roles. She holds a Graduate Diploma, Human Resources Development from Deakin University and a Master of Business Management from Federation University.

Chair of the Board of the GRLC, Cr Ron Nelson, said that Ms Schernickau’s appointment follows a highly competitive recruitment process and that the recruitment panel was confident that she will bring outstanding and relevant experience to the role. 

“The Board of Geelong Regional Library Corporation was in the privileged position of selecting from a pool of very high calibre candidates, and we are delighted that Vanessa has accepted the role. She will bring to the organisation a wealth of relevant experience from executive roles in government and community organisations, as well as a great understanding of our region and our organisation from her time working here,” Cr Nelson said.

“Vanessa impressed the Board with her experience, ability to build strong relationships with stakeholders, work closely with staff members in an inclusive manner and drive successful outcomes for the community. Her values are closely aligned to those of the organisation, and she has a demonstrated commitment to empowering communities, supporting arts and culture, and developing opportunities for lifelong learning,” Cr Nelson said.

Ms Schernickau’s appointment follows the resignation of Patti Manolis OAM from the role of CEO of the GRLC in late March 2021, a position she held for 14 years during which time she oversaw a period of massive growth and improvement for the organisation.

“Vanessa has a reputation for being community-focused and outcome driven, and I have no doubt that she will build on the strong legacy left by Patti Manolis as she leads the Geelong Regional Library Corporation into a new era. I wish her all the best and look forward to working closely with her in my role as Chair of the Board,” Cr Nelson said.

Cr Ron Nelson joined fellow Library Board members Cr Susan Salter, Cr Jim Mason and Cr Owen Sharkey on the recruitment panel tasked with appointing the new CEO.

Ms Schernickau will commence at the GRLC on Monday 7 June 2021.

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