True Story: Lilly Wicks – Open to opportunities

True Stories - Lilly Wicks with Nariah

As a new graduate, I wasn’t aware of where my qualifications could take me. 12 years ago I completed an Applied Science degree in speech pathology. Upon graduating I secured an early intervention role at Lifestart. While I’ve been with the organisation ever since, I’ve had the opportunity to change roles every two years, working my way up to my current position as a Professional Services Manager. I think I’ve moved around in the company so much because I was always willing to grab opportunities when they came up.

Having worked in a variety of different roles over the last 12 years has helped me grow and develop, and ultimately helped me to become a better manager and achieve the position I have today. Through my career, I’ve been able to learn to understand people better, discover what motivates them, improve my interpersonal skills so I can connect with others and help them thrive at work, as well as learning how to think and work creatively and implement innovative ideas and strategies.

In my initial role as a speech pathologist, I worked with families and schools. Then I helped facilitate some parent training programs. Next I stepped up to an area manager role where I oversaw a small team and helped support a group of families. I’ve also worked on and coordinated major communication research projects and funded programs. These days, as a Professional Services Manager I develop training for staff, support staff to maintain and build their skills as well as enhancing their professional development. I also have the opportunity to help future professional services specialists by organising practical placements for university students within Lifestart. Additionally, I write policies and learning and development programs in my area of expertise.

A typical day in my working life includes speaking with an educational provider about potential workshops for my staff, developing a webinar on how to set up university student practical placements, creating and uploading clinical resources onto the staff blog, consulting as a speech pathologist specialist, and working as a part of a committee for a large project. Occasionally I still get to do some face-to-face speech pathology work with families, but I’m predominately supporting staff.

Like every role, this one has its challenges such as being time poor, dealing with budgets and ongoing recruitment. But those challenges pale in comparison to the overwhelming positives I encounter, such as seeing staff excited and inspired about their work, and having a front row seat to the positive experiences and progress that Lifestart’s families and staff have.

I’ve been the Professional Services Manager at Lifestart for 18 months now and I can’t see myself anywhere else in the sector just yet, but I imagine when the time comes I’d like to further my involvement in learning and development, technology and research.

Lilly Wicks
Professional Services Manager, SPS 10

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