New South Wales

Mariam Hussein – Building relationships and careers


I get bored easily, so when considering university degrees, I wanted to do something broad so my options weren’t limited when it came to careers. As such, I did a Bachelor of Business and majored in marketing. I am able to use the skills I learnt at uni, such as building and developing relationships and marketing in my job as an Employment Consultant with Afford Employment. (Which by the way is perfect for me because it is so varied – which means I am never bored!)

A key part of my role is relationship building. I have to build and maintain a network of employers across all industries, which then allows me to offer my clients more choice of jobs. I constantly look for new opportunities to develop new contacts and meet new people. From when I’m shopping, eating out or even visiting the mechanic, I’ll strike up a conversation and foster a relationship so that in the future I can hopefully secure a job for one of my clients.

My clients range in age and gender, and are also people with disability. Some have had troubled lives, lack trust and are very vulnerable. As such, I work extremely hard to develop a good rapport with my clients so they know that I am always here for them, that I will do my best to support them.

I split my day in half. I tend to spend the morning in the office, tending to emails, meeting with clients, helping them with job applications and resumes. Then in the afternoon I’ll hit the road to check in on my clients in jobs, provide training or have meetings with employers.

The best part of my job is seeing someone grow and develop. I have one client who has flourished. When he came to me he was so shy and this prevented him from communicating. I support him through a retail course and assist him to find a job in a shop stacking shelves. As his confidence built, he started talking to and assisting shoppers and now his confidence has grown so much he works on the check out. Knowing that I supported him to overcome his barriers is incredibly rewarding.

Mariam Hussein
Employment Consultant DES, ES6
Afford Employment


Natalie Morton – Creative work with innovative results

natalie_mortonI’ve worked in the health field as a social worker for 30 years now. I’ve worked as an individual, couple and family therapist in community health settings and private practice.

I also worked part-time for 11 years at TAFE teaching in the community services modules. Eight years ago, I started working as an external consultant for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Through this role, I discovered the disability sector, an area that I had never specifically worked in before.

The longer I worked at Cerebral Palsy Alliance and heard more people’s stories, the more engaged I became with the organisation and the work they did. I moved from being an external consultant to a permanent consultant for Social Work at Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

I am the clinical leader for social work and support the organisation through training, supervision and mentoring and general consultancy. Typically the consultancy has to do with procedures and policies, service process and new initiatives that relate to client and carer wellbeing.

Currently, I’m also completing a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work, which is a wonderful therapy in supporting clients to make long term changes in their lives and to see themselves differently.

I’m excited about continuing to use this new knowledge and techniques to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s clients.

The ultimate reward of my job is working with clients. But I also love being able to be creative and think outside the box with both clients and staff.

I have the precious opportunity to learn from the other social workers (each of who have unique and special skills) in my team and this inspires me to be even more creative and innovative in my work.

The biggest challenge I face is managing the variety and busyness of the role. I try to overcome this by planning my diary effectively and saying ‘no’ when I realistically can’t do any more work.

I’m definitely time poor, but I’m opportunity rich, which makes my work all the more interesting.

I’m a better person for working in the disability sector at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I’ve learnt to see people for who they truly are.

Natalie Morton
Consultant for Social Work, SPS10
Cerebral Palsy Alliance


Anita Le Lay – Working with authenticity

Uniting Care Portraits_ Anita Le LayI’ve worked in the care sector for 22 years. I’m a social worker by trade, and that’s where I started my career in the sector. It began in the UK, where I was working with young people with mental-health issues.

During the 1990s when the Disability Services Act was reviewed. A lot of services required change, so I did a lot of work in that area, looking at things such as accommodation, employment and transport.

It was all about empowering people with disability. It was difficult work, but it was essential and rewarding. I even opened one of the first disability specific vocational educational and training programs.

Today I work as a Director for UnitingCare. Having worked my way up from the ground level, I’ve had the opportunity to see both the frontline and the corporate services side of things. It’s been extremely helpful to understand both elements as it helps to meet people’s needs and address changes in the sector.

As a Director at UnitingCare, I am responsible for a 22 million dollar portfolio and over 220 staff, covering the greater Metropolitan Sydney, South-East NSW, the NSW Central Coast and ACT.

My job is all about helping a leadership team to support operations, services and projects in those areas, and to assist people to understand their role in this endeavour, to work towards specific program goals and outcomes, to work safely and to enhance quality of life for the people Uniting Care support.

A key component of my role is also leading the transformation of UnitingCare services so they are ready for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Something that I’ve believed in every step of my career is that I think no matter what level we work at – from frontline to executive management – is that people who do the best in their role are the people who bring their authentic self to work.

To me, this means living and working with truth and with purpose, and in the care sector, this means caring and striving towards supporting other people to be the best they can and to be included and valued in the community.

Anita Le Lay
Director, EM14