Management

True Stories: Kathy Taylor – My one regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!

Photo of blogger Kathy Taylor

Before entering the disability sector I worked in a small goods factory for 10 years. A family member worked in the sector and suggested I try a career change and go work with him at Nexus Inc.

At first I was scared about the change, in particular the fact that someone apart from my family would be relying on me to care for them. After a gentle shove from him I bit the bullet and approached Nexus about a job. After completing a 3 week short course about community services I commenced work on the 27th November 2006.

I was allocated 3 houses to work across a on a casual basis and within 3 to 4 months I was offered a trial permanent position. This was the start of the best experience of my life.

Working with the residents is so rewarding. You feel like you can make a difference to how somebody sees themselves. It’s great going on outings, holidays and most of all just spending time with awesome people.

In 2009 I was offered a chance to try out for a House Manager position. This was something I had planned to do in the future, so when the opportunity arose I took up the position. This gave me a whole new outlook on things.

Over the time I have seen the sector grow and change for the better.

I only have one regret about entering into this sector and that is that I didn’t do it sooner!

Kathy Taylor
House Manager
Nexus Inc.
Granton, Tasmania.

True Stories: Jenny Spinak – Never thought I would end up working at Sydney Opera!

Jenny SpinakI never thought when I undertook my social work degree that I would end up working at Sydney Opera House one day.

In 2006, after spending many years working in the disability sector with both adults and children, I began working as Sydney Opera House’s Program Manager, Accessibility. The role was created as part of Sydney Opera House’s commitment to improving disability access.

My role involves managing the House’s accessibility program by overseeing its auxiliary access services and facilities, conducting regular staff awareness training, providing advice on physical building upgrades, implementing equitable ticketing policies, upgrading our website’s accessibility and customer access information, as well as creating student internship and employment opportunities.

I also organise live performance experiences for people with disability – through such initiatives as autism-friendly performances, audio-description of the opera, sensory tactile tours and sign-language interpreted performances.

True Stories: Helen Walker – Multi-skilling was a prerequisite when I entered the sector!

Helen Walker_edited

I oversee the service and systems management of my organisation, including financial management, staff supervision and support. I also coordinate service funding and policy development, reporting to the Board of Management and liaison with the community and our funding bodies.

I entered the community sector as a volunteer. I had just moved to a totally new area and had three young sons, two with disabilities. I desperately needed an outlet and contact within the local community.

I started as a meals on wheels driver and then worked as an office receptionist at the local neighbourhood centre, before being employed as the ‘pay person’ at the centre.

True Stories: Gerry Foo – A family affair!

I’ve had experiences working in disability services on and off for a number of years and I keep coming back to it. I’m very drawn to the sector as I feel it is important to recognise individuals and give them a voice. It’s also a family affair as my husband also works in the sector and my children have had direct contact with it through volunteering. One of my daughters is also considering the sector as a career path.

For me, it all started when I graduated from high school and worked as a Teacher’s Aide at a special needs school in Singapore, where my aunty was the principal. After that experience I studied law and pracGerry-Foo_editedtised for a year. I then ran a series of businesses and migrated to Australia in 2004.

I got into the disability sector in Australia through volunteering at Sunshine 5 years ago, where I now work as the Fundraising and Community Engagement Manager. My initial volunteering role involved helping out with Sunshine’s annual art exhibition and then a position came up in their Community Access Program, working with clients who had high support needs.

True Stories: Ryan Kiddle – Combine my skills and love of sport

Ryan-KiddleIf you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be working in the disability sector, my answer most likely would have been no. I grew up on the south coast of NSW and people with disability were not a big part of my life.

I was studying for my Bachelor of Education at the University of Wollongong with a focus on Physical Education, at the same time I started as a casual with Sport & Recreation Services at The Disability Trust. On my first day I was awestruck and new to it all, but today I’m one of the managers and look after a team of 75 casuals and 5 permanent staff.