“I am so proud of what the organisation as a whole stands for and for the opportunity to be a part of that.”
Looking for a role where she could best use her skills and pursue her interests, Leah joined Relationships Australia New South Wales in 2015 and has since become a Team Leader. She has brought with her indispensable knowledge from a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and her current post-graduate studies in social work.
As a Team Leader within the Centre Support team at Macquarie Park, Leah and her team work to ensure clients receive outstanding support when interacting with RANSW. From managing reception to assisting a team of General Managers with reporting, she embraces the variety that comes with her role, and never has time to be bored! Leah is proud of the important work that the team consistently delivers to a high standard in what can sometimes be a challenging role.
“Being on the front desk, we’re the first point of contact for people calling and coming in. We deal with people in vulnerable situations so it’s important to have the right people in place. I’m proud to say our team is fantastic and we always go above and beyond. I’m really proud of us and how we work together. As team leader, being able to see people come on board and grow in their work, confidence and ability is very rewarding. It makes me so happy to come to work and see that happen.”
Beginning in a new role or organisation can be a daunting leap for anyone to take. Like many people starting a new job, Leah felt nervous on her way to work for the first time, but once she stepped through the door, that feeling quickly went away. Leah found that RANSW’s intense focus on relationships and strong communities extended to the teams around her.
“Starting out, I was pretty terrified to be honest! I’d never done this work before, but the training and support from day one was simply amazing. I couldn’t get over how friendly everyone was. There was no pressure to be perfect on day one and I was encouraged to ask questions. I found I settled in very quickly thanks to the experienced people who surrounded me in my team.”
Beyond the warm welcome that Leah received when first starting, she was also surprised to learn of the organisation’s wide reach across the state. She found that discovering this, and the grounding behind everything RANSW does, motivated her even more in her new role.
“You really can’t fully appreciate the scope of RANSW until you join. We’re involved in so many programs, including domestic violence support and groups for victims and perpetrators. These programs are based on incredibly extensive research. RANSW really leads the way in research and services, which is pretty powerful when you think about it.”
With a background and natural strengths in human services, Leah is passionate about helping people who need it most through her everyday work. In a single year alone, RANSW delivers over 56,000 client sessions on average, which presents thousands of opportunities to make a real difference to people, families and communities. These are opportunities where even little things can make a big impact.
“I know this will sound like a cliché, but being able to help people is amazing. I’m not talking about helping in a big way every time; it’s about helping with the little things – helping to calm someone down and make them feel comfortable with something as simple as making them a cup of tea . It’s a huge step for some people to come along to their first appointment. We’re here to make that step easier.”
The nature of the work that RANSW does can present challenges from time to time and it’s important to be agile in such situations. Working alongside people who truly care about what they achieve together and how they grow as a team always helps overcome any difficulties faced.
“In my role, the biggest challenge is working with emotional, vulnerable people. However RANSW and my team provide amazing support. There is always lots of training on how to deal with clients in difficult situations. I love that we get taught how to do that. It’s a big part of the role and it’s nice knowing that RANSW supports us to always do our best work.”
Leah is never one to shy away from pushing herself further in everything she does and it’s a trait that makes her such an important part of the RANSW team. She always strives for continuous improvement, and she links this strongly to positive client results.
“A challenge that I give myself, which a lot of people also do, is to constantly improve. Finding better ways of working and bringing our clients the best outcomes is very important. I also find it’s a great way to learn – there is always something to learn here!”
Learning is something that everyone at RANSW knows is vital to create social change. Without extending knowledge and skills, growing as a team and improving relationships within the community is difficult to achieve. With experienced people surrounding her, Leah is able to learn every day in a collaborative environment.
“It’s a very open environment here – people share their knowledge with you all the time. There is so much to learn from colleagues. If I ever have an issue I can’t resolve I can ask client services or counselling teams for support to get to a solution. No one ever brushes you off, I like that. I think that’s rare. I’ve had jobs where I’ve woken up and not wanted to go to work but it’s the complete opposite here!”
There are endless opportunities for people to be involved in different initiatives and social programs at RANSW. Leah currently enjoys being part of a group responsible for Reconciliation Awards, an initiative which puts a spotlight on work done with Aboriginal peoples and communities through RANSW. Another highlight for Leah has been joining the working party for LGBTQI inclusion and working on the 2017 RANSW float in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Being involved in the planning and execution for the event and seeing hard work come to fruition was a reward like no other.
“It was such an amazing experience! We had a float and it looked incredible. I loved working with a team as part of an event that’s really important to what we believe in. I really admire RANSW for their involvement in different causes.”
Leah is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as she continues in her role. With her main motivations being continual improvement and providing high quality client support, she has found her fit at RANSW and encourages others to join her.
“Having the right people is essential to what we do and there are great opportunities here for you. I think the best people for RANSW are those who are respectful, open minded, accepting, confident and have good interpersonal skills. Above all though, I think they need empathy. You can teach someone how to do a task but you can’t teach them how to be empathetic.
The work we do is so important. I’m proud of what the organisation as a whole stands for and for the opportunity to be a part of that.”