Sally Isaac was an exceptional and accomplished young woman who died too young after a challenging 12 month battle with cancer.

Sally was raised in Melbourne and following completion of her studies in Planning and Conservation, she soon began working in the area that she was to have such a deep and lasting impact: Local Government.

Sally’s professional motivation was captured in an article in the Age in 2000 profiling her early career where she was quoted as saying ‘I have seen a growing divide in Australia.  We need to do things to stop it getting larger.  I’d like to think Australia is still an egalitarian place’

After four successful years working with the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA), Sally joined Yarra City Council December 2003 as a young but assured manager. Her strong values and keen intelligence were applied in a challenging environment to developing practical and effective social policy  and  programs.

In her five years at Yarra City Council, Sally made a profound difference on both a professional and personal level.  Sally recruited and fostered a new team and through her leadership there were many shared successes. Sally and her team developed and implemented an innovative and inclusive consultation policy and action plan for the city.  She was nominated for and awarded a Leadership in Local Government Award for the Plan.   Sally worked closely with the local Indigenous community, enhanced the role of the arts, partnered with the community to strengthen social inclusion and provided opportunities to the most disadvantaged members of the community.  Sally also worked on the issue of sexual violence and maintained an enduring commitment to solving the entrenched problems associated with public drinking and street based anti-social behavior in Yarra.

In 2005 the Council received the Wurreker Award for local government in acknowledgement of the work Sally led in aboriginal partnerships, in particular to enhance social justice and empowerment.

Sally’s success can be attributed in part to her extraordinary team building and management skills, her flair for taking on difficult community problems in an innovative and creative manner and her innate ability to engage with the community.

In 2006 Sally was appointed to the position of Director Community Programs at the age of 33 in recognition of her proven skills and capabilities. Sally’s direct responsibility was for some 342 multi-skilled professional staff in aged care, childcare, community planning, advocacy and library services.

Five years is a very short time for anyone to make such a profound difference in any organization but Sally’s commitment to social justice and her dedication ensured that Yarra City Council is indeed a different and better place today.

Sally’s amazing capacity for developing people, engaging in policy debate and her absolute commitment to social justice in the community is sorely missed.

Sally was exuberant and brave, bright and insightful, brilliant and engaging.  She was focused and intelligent and an enduring commitment to making things better.  Sally was also humble, loving and full of fun with wisdom beyond her years.

There was truly something special about Sally Isaac and for all who knew her she will remain close to our hearts and an inspiration for all.

Following her death Sally received “The 2009 Outstanding Alumna Award” from Genazzano College, LG Pro has annually awarded “The Sally Isaac Leadership in Local Government Award” and the Victorian Local Government Women’s Charter has instituted bi-annually “The Sally Isaac Young Woman Community Activist Award”.