How did you first hear about WAGEC and what was your first impression of the organisation?
I first heard about WAGEC through my Social Leadership alumni network. My first impression of WAGEC was its grassroots approach in providing holistic case management to a disparate client base of transgender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and culturally diverse women and children. I remember walking in the door to be greeted by the piquant aroma of a Moroccan tagine being prepared by one of our clients for a neighbourhood lunch.
What is the single biggest learning from your time with WAGEC both personally and professionally?
The single biggest learning from my time with WAGEC personally is in the kindness and resilience of our clients. Professionally it’s about the importance of good governance for quality outcomes. Over the years I have met some of our clients, heard their stories and shared in their joy when they found a safe home for their families.
You have been with WAGEC for nine years, what has been our most notable transformation?
The 2014 Going Home Staying Home reform was a pivotal transformation. WAGEC evolved from a small charity to a lead specialist homelessness service with expanded outreach services provided across the Inner City, Inner Western Sydney and South West Sydney local government areas, delivering crisis and transitional accommodation across 45 properties and a tenfold increase in revenue. More recently, the development of our Reconciliation Action Plan which continues to strengthen how we engage with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and encourages constitutional recognition.
Although you are leaving, you will always be part of the WAGEC fold. What does this community or the idea of community mean to you?
Community is where we draw strength from each other, from our relationships and our wider communities. It’s where we see wonderful acts of kindness and connection. It’s also at the heart of WAGEC which brings together an amazing group of women working for women, supporting clients on their journey escaping domestic violence to find a safe home, work and self-determination.
Last one, who is a strong woman that continues to inspire you and why?
Dame Quentin Bryce was ahead of her time and is a powerhouse of ideas and initiatives for women. From the outset of her career she was a supporter of women and progressive, especially in terms of women’s education. She was the 25th Governor General of Australia from 2008 to 2014 and is the first woman to have held the position. In 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting her in person when she visited WAGEC in our Surry Hills premises. She was warm, gregarious and genuinely interested in bringing our clients into her fold.