Welcome to October
Welcome to October. The gardens are blooming, the birds are chirping, the evening curfew has been lifted in Melbourne, and we have tomorrow off!
Today the first of our virtual Annual General Meetings was held for South Australia (SA), with all states to follow over the coming fortnight. There is so much to be proud of when we reflect on the reporting year that was 2019/20. Here’s a quick recap video (2:16 mins).
At today's SA AGM Ross Pinney (President) acknowledged the retirement of our SA Vice Patron Helen Ashby who is an Honorary Life Member, our peak award for achievement and merit for the highest degree of service with Red Cross. It was great to hear updates from various regions of SA and celebrate the dedication and work of our members, staff and volunteers.
Photo from Helen’s retirement lunch. Helen’s in the middle, back, wearing a scarf.
Next week we’re celebrating Anne Macarthur OAM (Chair, VIC Divisional Advisory Board) for her 50 years of Red Cross service. Anne joined Junior Red Cross in 1952 and she was appointed to our Board in 2014. Anne also chairs the Red Cross Emergency Services Advisory Group. Anne has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of Australian Red Cross and an Order of Australia Medal.
We are grateful for her commitment, energy and feel inspired by her example.
I continue to be in awe of the work of our people. Of particular note this week is Caroline Sheehan (Director, Transformation) who is leaving us today. Caroline’s leadership has left a lasting impression on all those who’ve had the pleasure of working with her, as evidenced by the messages on her virtual farewell card. I am so grateful for Caroline’s work in leading us through change in Future Focus. Stacie Haber will step into Caroline’s role to maintain momentum. I wish Caroline the very best.
Michael Annear (Director, International & Movement Relations) and I joined an annual meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week. This is an opportunity for us to discuss critical issues and trends, and continue to explore how Red Cross can best support humanitarian efforts in our region. We can be so very proud of the high regard in which senior officials hold Australian Red Cross. It is a credit to the longstanding work of Michael and his team.
Let’s end our short work week with stories from our Queensland volunteers who’ve been making check-in calls to those in hotel quarantine - see “This is a time to be kind to ourselves and others”. Sometimes we are the only contact quarantined people have with the outside world. Every call we make matters, and every conversation is important. As volunteer Jared said, “In 70 years children will ask me what I did during the pandemic. I will say that I did what I could to make it a little less terrible.”
Thank you to the 160+ staff and 1,400 volunteers who have made possible our national COVID-19 response. Together we have supported 290,987 people to cope with the impacts of the pandemic over the last eight months.
Getting to know Lloyd
I’ve asked Lloyd Doddridge, our new-ish Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, to share a few fast facts.
- First and foremost I’m a husband and proud Dad. Lisa and I have been married for 36 years and have three wonderful children who live and work in Melbourne. This picture of us was taken in our favourite city of Shanghai where we lived for several years.
- I’ve been lucky to have worked in 53 countries so far. Kazakhstan was the most interesting for business, running a winery in the south of France was magnificent, but my favourite is definitely India, which proves I like food more than wine!
- I grew up as an academic kid, in an industrial town in South Australia, in the 70s. That was a unique education given it was a pretty tough town going through rough times. At one point, my year group at school had more convicted murderers than university graduates. On reflection the insight it gave me was that everyone has something special to offer the world, no matter their circumstances.
- I am hard wired to solve puzzles and riddles. As a leader I look to unlock potential by creating an environment that supports people to be their best. At Red Cross when I do that for our people, they can do the same for our clients. I am excited that my personal motivations can cause such ripples of impact.
- I believe the Red Cross culture is truly special. This is the most values and purpose aligned organisation I’ve experienced. But we all work so hard that we sometimes forget to talk to each other. In our rush to get things done we can forget to listen to one another respectfully and build relationships. I hope that the cultural work we’re doing will better connect us and enhance our transparency and accountability.
- I love basketball, but my ankles don’t any more. Along the way I was selected for the Australian Institute of Sport for basketball but chose not to go, which I now regret. Amusingly, I’ve only just realised that my nemesis in the 1980 South Australian junior country carnival was Kym Pfitzner!
Rest and reset
I plan to spend tomorrow’s organisation-wide day off quietly reflecting on what has been a huge learning curve for me these past few weeks. Some time with family and hopefully (as it is in Melbourne) enjoy some nice weather.
Penny Harrison (Director, Volunteering) is ‘staycationing’ for the Melbourne school holidays and tomorrow she’ll be making the most of the two hours allowed outside – bike riding and walking the family Weimaraner named Eve, then click-n-collecting a café order, before a serious reading session.
Michael Annear (Director, International & Movement Relations) is hoping to spend Friday in his veggie patch and finishing his new pergola, kids permitting. He too plans to attack the growing pile of books on his bedside table, starting with Reconciling People and Environment: Landscapes of our Hearts which sounds fascinating, exploring the potential the relationship First Nations people and non-Indigenous people have with the land we live on to pave the way towards reconciliation.
It’s an extra-long weekend in NSW, SA, ACT and QLD with Monday off as well. Belinda Dimovski (Director, Engagement & Support) is taking tomorrow for herself with a walk on the Bay Run followed by some time in the sun. Followed by a facial and a massage. And she plans to end the day at the Art Gallery checking out the Archibald entries before dinner with her family. She loves walking around the city on a day off.
Whatever your plans for tomorrow, enjoy the time off.