As manager of IMPACT Support Services, Sandra Higgins is used to juggling multiple priorities to meet the needs of her teams and their clients.
Sandra manages the Positive Start Parenting Program, Family Mental Health Support Service, Community Visitors Scheme, the local partner office for the Cashless Debit Card and the Community Navigators team.
She also manages the Foundation for Life midwife program which helps women when they’re at their most vulnerable and in need of assistance; sometimes she even accompanies pregnant mums-to-be into the delivery room when they have no one else.
This is the personal and human touch that characterises Sandra’s approach to supporting others.
It’s a privilege to be part of the lives of all the people in all our programs,” Sandra said.
“The trust they give you when sharing in their lives is very powerful and humbling.”
Program participants needn’t look any further than Sandra for inspiration.
Sandra had to grow up quickly in her teen years.
She was brought up by a single mum with six children, living in a housing commission home.
Her eldest brother left school to support the family and Sandra followed him, leaving in Year 9.
Sandra’s own employment history is as rich and varied as her current workload.
She has worked with Housing NSW as well as in strata management, community development, youth work, retail and she’s even operated her own successful businesses.
Sandra educated herself while raising her own family and climbed every step to where she is today through hard work and determination.
She never accepted someone else telling her she couldn’t do something.
Now Sandra leads 14 people, who are all highly skilled in their area of work.
The goal across all her programs is to facilitate and foster solutions that promote resilience and community connections and help participants achieve their personal goals.
Sandra has a never-give-in attitude.
She was determined to be self-reliant and that is perhaps what IMPACT saw when they looked beyond her resume.
“IMPACT look beyond your qualifications to see if you’re a good emotional and cultural fit,” Sandra said.
She said IMPACT was an amazing place to work, and even though it had an above-average number of women on staff and on the board, she didn’t see any special favouritism of one gender over another.
“Women are treated well here because all staff are treated well,” Sandra said.
Sandra believes that the advantage of being a manager is meeting people she never would normally have the opportunity to meet, and to be involved in things that bring about real change.
One of Sandra’s current passions is trying to effect change in family law, getting down to real brass tacks and improving the lives of her charges at the foundations.
This profile is part of our Women of IMPACT series. Each day during Queensland Women’s Week we share the story of one of our amazing female team members whose work helps make such a big difference in the lives of so many in the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.