Kismet Forward > About Us

About Us

About Kismet Forward

Kismet Forward was created by Jen Lilburn in 2007 and is based in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Jen and her colleagues have diverse skills and experience in inclusive facilitation, authentic community engagement, specialist strategy development and robust evaluation. We will help you build lasting relationships with your communities and stakeholders and help you make more informed and enduring decisions.

We have worked with a broad range of public and private organisations across many sectors, including natural resource management, waste, community and family services, planning, tourism and hospitality, health (including with First Nations organisations), earth resources, regional development, energy, export, horticulture and food and wine production.

Jen ensures that Kismet Forward always has the necessary capacity and skills to meet the needs of clients. If we can’t do it within time and budget requirements, we don’t take it on.

About Jen Lilburn

Prior to establishing Kismet Forward, Jen Lilburn worked in the public sector for 20 years, the last eight at an executive level.

Prior roles include:

  • Executive Officer, Western Coastal Board
  • Various roles for Parks Victoria/Melbourne Parks and Waterways/Board of Works including Regional Manager (leading 135 people), Manager Stakeholder Partnerships, Manager Albert Park (over the first two Grands Prix), Business Manager and Manager Media and Public Relations
  • Business Manager for Melbourne Wine Company/Provenance Wines
  • Secondary teacher, Tertiary tutor of biology, science, geography, environmental education for Deakin University and Department of Education

Across these roles, Jen has developed exceptional skills in community engagement (including in ‘outrage’ situations), facilitation, communication, conflict coaching, leadership, training, strategic development, program logic, project management and evaluation.

Jen works with clients and their stakeholders to fully understand the full breadth of issues, risks and potential solutions around a given opportunity or problem. Her fantastic communication skills enable her to quickly build relationships that are founded on trust and openness. This ensures that all points of view are aired and taken seriously in the development of the solution.

Jen takes a flexible, adaptive approach to her work. This is particularly important given the complexities of human interactions and relationships. This approach recognises that issues and priorities can change over the course of a project, and there is a need to build on what is learned along the way. Her strategic thinking ability enables her to put the ‘solution’ into a broader framework, indicating desired outcomes, flow-on impacts and the need for high-level actions/decisions.

Jen has acted as a champion for the resolution of issues faced by women progressing through the public sector. Her 2002 paper entitled “The Transition from Maternity Leave to the Paid Workforce… A Survival Guide for New Mums and their Managers” has been utilised by staff and HR departments in a range of organisations including Parks Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, Department of Human Services, several catchment management authorities and a number of local governments. This led to Jen being featured in ‘Sunday Life’ (Sunday Age magazine) in 2004; this article in turn was used as a teaching resource by RMIT during 2007. In 2021 Jen is still asked for copies of the paper, which is just as relevant as it was 18 years ago.

Jen’s Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Education – Environmental Studies
  • Bachelor of Applied Science – Environmental Assessment and Land Use Policy
  • Advanced Diploma – Group Facilitation
  • Certificate – Conflict Management Coaching
  • Certificate – Public Participation
  • Accreditation – GroupMap Digital Facilitation
  • Certificate – Laughter Yoga Leader

Jen was a Committee Member of Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management 2017-2019.

IAP2 Code of Ethics

As active members of the International Association for Public Participation, we adopt the following Code of Ethics:

Purpose. We support public participation as a process to make better decisions that incorporate the interests and concerns of all affected stakeholders and meet the needs of the decision-making body.

Role of Practitioner. We will enhance the public’s participation in the decision-making process and assist decision makers in being responsive to the public’s concerns and suggestions.

Trust. We will undertake and encourage actions that build trust and credibility for the process among all the participants.

Defining the Public’s Role. We will carefully consider and accurately portray the public’s role in the decision-making process.

Openness. We will encourage the disclosure of all information relevant to the public’s understanding and evaluation of a decision.

Access to the Process. We will ensure that stakeholders have fair and equal access to the public participation process and the opportunity to influence decisions.

Respect for Communities. We will avoid strategies that risk polarising community interest or that appear to “divide and conquer”.

Advocacy. We will advocate for the public participation process and will not advocate for a particular interest, party or project outcome.

Commitments. We will ensure that all commitments made to the public, including those by the decision maker, are in good faith.

Support of the Practice. We will mentor new practitioners in the field and educate decision makers and the public about the value and use of public participation.

Our Values

The values which underpin our work include:

  • Developing relationships founded on integrity, honesty, openness, respect and trust.
  • Building the capacity within our network of clients to plan for and manage towards ecological sustainability.
  • Responding to our clients’ and stakeholders’ needs in an empathetic, considered, timely and efficient way.
  • Doing our very best to exceed the expectations of our clients in all aspects of our work.
  • Continually evaluating and building on our performance and striving to do better.
  • Ensuring a flexible work environment that enables us to achieve our best at work while making the most of the other components of our lives.

Importantly, we only take on work where we believe we can deliver what our clients need. If we are not able to meet your timelines or budget, or incorporate the skills you need, we will tell you so.