Executive Team

Mark Dupe

Chief Executive Officer


Mark is a Senior Executive with 30 years of experience at senior levels in the private, Local Government and not for profit sectors. Prior to being appointed Chief Executive Officer of Baw Baw Shire Council, Mark served as Interim CEO and as Director Corporate and Community Services.

Mark has worked both domestically and internationally throughout his career. Mark joined the organisation from his previous role as General Manager Corporate Services at National Heart Foundation of Australia. Mark has also held senior executive positions at Telstra, Bayside City Council and Knox City Council. He holds a Bachelor of Economics, an MBA and post graduate IT qualifications. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a CPA.

Cohen Van der Velde

Director Strategy and Organisational Performance


With a strong passion for developing high performing individuals, teams and workplace culture, Cohen is a certified organisational coach, practitioner in the Myers Brigss Type Indicator and Life and Group Styles Inventory tools, as well as an accredited facilitator in engagement through the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and holds an Executive MBA. 

As Baw Baw’s Director Strategy and Organisational Performance, Mr Van der Velde will lead Council’s Corporate Strategy, People and Culture, Finance, Family and Children Services and Community Services departments. 

Over the course of 5 years, Cohen has been a valuable member of Baw Baw Shire’s Executive Leadership Team and guided the Community Infrastructure Directorate through several notable achievements, before being successfully appointed as Director Strategy and Organisational Performance in April 2023. 

Martin Hopley 

Director Governance and Information Services



Prior to local government, Martin was Chief Information Officer at the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance where he was responsible for the delivery of the State Resource and Information Management System.

Mr Hopley is also a qualified primary school teacher, qualified project manager with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is in the final stages of completing a Master of Business Administration (Corporate Governance) with Deakin University. 

Dominique Foenander

Acting Director Governance and Information Services

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Prior to working in Local Government, Dominique completed her tertiary education at the University of Melbourne, and worked extensively in the hospitality sector and in support roles in public education. Since commencing with Baw Baw Shire Council in 2015, Dominique has thrived off the diversity Local Government offers, working in Customer Service, Fire and Emergency Management, Councillor Support, Executive Support, Governance, Property Management and Risk. Dominique has also had the opportunity to provide leadership to Council’s Governance and Information Services Directorate.

Currently acting as the Director of Governance and Information Services at Baw Baw Shire Council Dominique is able to draw on her experience in leading teams, managing change, driving legislative compliance, fostering positive workplace culture and delivering services to the community in a customer-focused manner. Dominique is a motivated and contemporary Governance professional with varied Local Government experience, and a genuine passion for the sector.

Ben Wood


Director Community Infrastructure 

Ben is a happy and pragmatic leader focused on people and outcomes. With a leadership career spanning more than 30 years in both the private and public sector, Ben brings a wealth of experience from a diverse working life. His roles have included manual labour, hospitality and customer service, consulting, project management, asset management, commercial services, provision of maintenance services, engineering design, and capital and construction management. 

Ben is a qualified engineer and about to embark on a Masters of Leadership. He joins Baw Baw Shire following 6 years at Cardinia shire as the Manager of Operations, and prior to that over 10 years at Melbourne Water in a variety of roles.

Mark Kestigian

Director Communications, Economic Development,  Arts and Advocacy


Mark is a senior public affairs executive who has managed communications, marketing and government relations’ teams for leading public sector organisations, including Port of Melbourne Corporation, Strategic Industry Research Foundation (SIRF), Port of Hastings Development Authority, Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA). Mark also has experience in identifying key markets, developing strategies, managing communications and creating effective marketing campaigns for a range of ASX-listed technology companies.

Luke Connell

Director Planning and Development

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Luke is a leader who embraces the importance of people, community and relationships. In his 19 years in Local Government, Luke brings a focus on delivery of new communities, policy development, protection and revitalisation of townships and a big focus on jobs delivery for the local community.

His roles in local government have included areas such as strategic planning, statutory planning, subdivisions, major projects delivery, urban design, economic development and growth area planning.

Luke has qualifications in Town Planning and Environmental Science and joins us from Cardinia Shire Council where he was previously the Manager of Planning and Design.