"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the introduction of a new IMPACT Hall of Fame initiative, recognising long-serving staff that live the IMPACT vision and values.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
As I was preparing my speech for our annual celebration over the past week, I found myself searching for inspiration. This may seem strange, especially given the nature of our work and the fact that we were honoured with the presence of five-time Olympian Nat Cook as guest speaker at our annual celebration.
At the time, I didn't have a clear idea of what I was looking for, but I was confident I'd know it when I saw it. I searched through quotes, journals, and blogs, hoping to stumble upon an idea that could serve as the focal point.
I found an overwhelming number of search results online about change –289 million to be exact. Of course, I didn't go through all of them, but I did get through a few pages. While there were some good one’s, nothing really stood out.
And then last week at our bi-monthly All Staff Teams meeting, there were all these familiar names and friendly faces in front of me. On that day we had over 70 staff from across all our sites. Aside from the usual updates and meeting formalities, we always dedicate time to sharing positive and uplifting stories.
We do this deliberately because we know that after a while, we can become desensitised and take for granted the ‘specialness’ of the work that we do. We often overlook the significance of our clients’ achievements, the choices they make, and the change they create.
It was in that moment I realised I had fallen into the same trap, taking for granted the amazing work that our people were doing to inspire change daily. The inspiration I had been seeking was, in fact, right there in front of me all along.
2023 has been a big year, probably the toughest in my time working with IMPACT. And that is saying something because there have been some doozies over the years. Since walking through the door of what was then Bundaberg Skills Centre on the 15 November 1999, it has been a baptism of fire for this former bank johnnie with no experience in working in the not-for-profit sector.
Over the years, our team has ridden the highs and lows together, with unwavering commitment to the vision of improving lives. There are no words to express my gratitude for their support and the inspiration that they give to me through their actions and the work that they do. I feel genuinely blessed to work with our people – watch them develop, learn, grow, get frustrated, grow a bit more, and when they are ready, they leave us to try new things.
Yet there are those special few that believe so much in the work that we do that they decide to stay and make their IMPACT job their career. They live the vision, the values, the mission, they are inspired by the change that they see within their clients. And sometimes, even within themselves.
This year, we have had 5 of our long serving staff decide to call time with IMPACT. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Daniel Leary, Sharelle Steinback, Steve Beer, Wendy Lindeman and Tim Van Kooten for the change that you have inspired during your combined 95 years of service and thank you for the legacy that you have created.
These good people have ridden some of the biggest, most challenging waves with IMPACT and in their personal lives. Yet, all of them have remained steady. They have carved out their own unique journey with IMPACT, yet their joint experience brings richness, connection, and a knowing that they have committed a huge part of their work life to making a difference to something bigger than themselves.
To celebrate this legacy, and those who went before them, I am pleased to announce that IMPACT has created a Hall of Fame, which will celebrate and immortalise staff who have left the organisation and contributed a minimum 15 years of service. The Hall of Fame will serve as a lasting tribute, preserving their IMPACT, showcasing the enduring legacy they've left behind, and inspiring us to continue ‘improving lives’ as we step into the IMPACT Community Services building each day.