On the October long weekend we packed up our house in Victoria and headed to Newcastle. Put the kids, the dog and the cat in the car and drove up to start my new job the following day.

I felt at home straight away, you walk into the front office and people smiled...

Prior to joining Interrelate I had an opportunity to work in private practice. I also had an opportunity to work at Barwon Correctional Centre. Fortuitously, and very lucky for me, I secured a job with Interrelate as the Area Manager – Hunter Region. I didn’t know a lot about Interrelate and the work we do. Our Newcastle office had a massive Interrelate billboard, but that’s about all I knew.

My early experience had led me down the well-worn path for lots of Allied health graduates, and I entered the rehabilitation space. There were lots of positions for people with psychology qualifications - you leave as an undergraduate and you quickly find out there is nothing special about you.

When you get to the end of the conveyor belt, you start to realize that the journey doesn't end - it's just beginning, or the beginning of another chapter.

My first role was supporting people that were injured in the workplace or impacted by events; helping them to recover or regain quality of life. There was lots of case management and it was very business-focused, which I didn’t actually mind.

Since then, I have been fortunate to progress into leadership positions across a range of human services industries.

It’s a pleasure and a privilege to work for Interrelate. There is a big emphasis on keeping a family, work/life balance. We really do try and provide that flexibility, and I am a recipient of this as much as I try to bring it to the workplace.

Both my parents were school teachers so working in human services and helping is not foreign. I like to think I was shaped that way, but it’s also something I’ve had to work at.

I have also been very lucky. The only thing I’ve ever failed is an accountancy degree. At school I had a friend who was a trainee accountant. He had all the shiny things before we had them. So I enrolled in an accountancy course, but it might as well have been written in wingdings for me - I just did not understand. I couldn't get the concepts and it just wasn’t a good fit. I’ve taken a different path toward behavioural sciences.

I'd like to think that I'm an empathic and understanding person.

While I was doing the groceries last night, I passed a man. His life in that moment was not in a good place. He was perhaps suffering some mental health issues. It was cold. He didn't have any shoes on, and a shower cap is not something you would normally wear to the shops, so I don’t think things were going great for this guy…

I reflected on what this man’s options might be, and it occurred to me that one of the better outcomes for him could be if he were to get himself arrested, at least he would have had shelter for the night. Examples like this trouble me. Our ‘support’ systems do not offer an adequate safety net for all people.

We are an incredibly rich country; and yet that guy last night, and so many others like him, fall through the net.

In terms of my role with Interrelate I spend a lot of time thinking about - how do we support families that decided to separate. How do we support them to separate well? How do we provide a support framework for families, individuals and children? How do we challenge our community about the harm people do to each other?


... I am privileged to lead a team of professionals that are dedicated to improving the lives of the communities and people we serve.

For example, today in our team meeting, I was lucky enough to sit with 20 people who individually, have a significant and positive impact on the people they interact with. They are interested in what brings people to our service and how our skills and resources can help them. In many ways, they are improving somebody’s circumstances and hopefully improving their lives.

We can only hope that it is multiplied – if you’re improving one person’s life then they can improve another person’s life. I see that every single day and I am so lucky to be a part of that change.

Where it gets complicated, is looking at the collective impact of change, and are we doing that? – Yes. Could we be more effective? I think the answer is also yes.

I do get energised by this work and engaging with people on a daily basis. Self-care for me is about understanding that an experience is non-binary; it isn’t necessarily all good or all bad. For me, it’s about generating ideas around how to identify what I am experiencing.

Clinical supervision is a really valuable tool and Interrelate is incredibly generous and sophisticated with its supervision framework- it’s something I feel really privileged to be a part of.

I also just love having fun with my colleagues and learning from other people. That for me is a chance to breathe before going to the next thing. I’ve got 3 kids and a lovely partner; the time I have with them can’t be beaten.