Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Are you one of the Sydney awards finalists!?

Are you one of the Sydney awards finalists!?

21 June 2022

What a list! Did you or one of your team make the Sydney Disability Staff Recognition Awards 2022 shortlisted finalists?

We’re about to roll out the red carpet for the National Disability Leadership Organisaton’s Sydney Disability Staff Recognition Awards 2022 night of nights on Friday, July 1, but before the night kicks off here’s a sneak peek at the nominees across the seven categories.

Fronting the judges as finalists in the coveted Support Worker of the Year category are: Emma Gutierrez, from @Accessible Care & Lifestyle Services Pty Ltd, Joshua Parke, from @What Ability, Tais Lauxen, from @Jigsaw Australia and Sonia Aya, from @Avenue /Fighting Chance.

This award will go to the support worker deemed to have achieved great results, who went above and beyond and showed true professional excellence with supporting others. 

Emma’s nominator claims she has a heart of gold that’s plain to see. She is described as being “full of empathy and compassion, a very patient person who has a passion for her role and is able to pick herself up after a hard day of work due to her drive and love as well as respect for her role.”

Joshua is described as “the most caring and compassionate young male I have ever seen work in the disability sector in all my years” on his nomination form, adding “Josh will move mountains for participants and puts himself second in every situation”.

While only new to Jigsaw this year, already Tais has already proved she is “amazing”! Her nomination reads: “Tais has an amazing attitude and makes everyone’s day better. Tais’ impact is seen with the participants she works with as they’ve all made fantastic progress since she started.”

Sonia’s great sense of humour and ability to be a real team player comes to the fore in her nomination. “She has a great sense of humour, and has a lot of fun with the participants … Sonia is also a team player, and always up for any challenges that are thrown at her.”

They say teamwork makes the dream work, and helping their teams are Team Award finalists: @Approved by Frankie, @Provider Choice, @EnableAbility and @Believe Services!

Approved by Frankie’s nomination form passionately states: “The ‘Frankies’ are very unique in this industry as we are independent Support Coordinators and Specialist Support Coordinators, that’s all we do! We are passionate about choice and control and making sure the NDIS scheme evolves to a marketplace of providers where quality drives expansion.”

Provider’s Choice clients had the final say in their nomination, testifying to how the organisation’s support coordination not only made life easier but also “very friendly, patient, helpful, unfailingly polite, knowledgeable and efficient”!

The EnableAbility nominator claimed “They are the most amazing team, who work in tune with their values. All heart and soul put in by everyone. They go over and beyond to provide care and support to one another and the participants.”

The entire Believe Services team was named in their nomination, going on to say: “To say we are proud of our support staff would be a gross understatement. There are no words, no dollar value or action that can ever be taken to repay the dedication they have given.”

This award will be presented to the most outstanding NDIS provider team that displays exceptional service to participants in the disability sector. This will be a close-knit team, which is constantly raising the bar and have a natural click and team energy. They may be professionals delivering face-to-face programs, internal stars, project groups or committees or exceptional staff teams working with participants. 

Whether its projects, strategies, new ideas, drawing on research and best practice, reforming how they do things or how the organisation works, the winner of this year’s Sector Innovation Award at the Sydney Staff Disability Staff Recognition Gala Awards 2022 will have it all.

Let’s introduce the finalists for the Sector Innovation category: Cheryl Drury from @First Step Solutions, @Engage VR Pty Ltd, Stuart Smith from @Options Theatre Company and Vik Naidu of @Oyster Care!

“First Step Solutions have created a one-of-a-kind program educating NDIS participants in an area which has only recently been under the spotlight,” the nomination states. “The stigma around people with a disability, sex & relationships is finally being addressed and reduced. Our educational program, developed and delivered by allied health professionals with experience in the community services sector; utilises strategies and tools to deliver the content in a unique and fun way to encourage interaction and deeper thinking.”

Engage VR is a multidisciplinary allied health business incorporating a range of new technologies to improve participants’ compliance with their rehabilitation and achieve better outcomes. “Engage VR was one of the first allied health providers to use Virtual Reality gaming as a part of our rehabilitation programs and our commitment to technology is evident with our business name.”

“As artistic director of Options Theatre Company, Stuart Smith has demonstrated his outstanding abilities in performance arts by bringing out the best in our participants,” his lengthy and detailed nomination explains. “His innovative teaching style combined with a deep passion for working with people with disabilities has achieved extraordinary results.”

Vik also has some heavy backing, as his nomination shows: “Vik Naidu has been able to exemplify such prominent traits of a sector innovator within the world of disability. Through Oyster Care he has been able to demonstrate key personalised characteristic traits that enable him as a provider to best serve his clients within the world of NDIS; consisting of leadership, passion, care, love and empathy.”

The winner of this section will think outside the box and is creative, takes a current approach and revolutionises it. If not creating a new idea this person has led, dragged and pushed their service, team or even their managers to a new level and never listens to the saying, "that's just how we have always done it". 

Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, in part, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists” and guests at the upcoming Sydney Staff Disability Staff Recognition Gala Awards 2022 will get to discover the disability sector’s hidden leaders at our gala night. Here’s a sneak peek at our four Leadership finalists.

Congratulations to Vanessa from @Approved by Frankie, Indra Wisener from @The NEXTT Group, Kirsty Smith from @Champions Life Skills and Donna Purcell from the @National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)!

Vanessa believes a good company culture is at the heart of successful support coordination delivery and she is central to this at Approved by Frankie, according to her nomination details. “Vanessa is our team’s heartbeat and a testament to the value of the role of a true Independent Support Coordinator in the NDIS Scheme.”

Indra’s nomination sings her praises: “During periods of critical resourcing needs and a lack of support worker availability. During a recent employee engagement survey. Indra’s reporting relationships, peers and managers collectively agree Indra is a valued, values-driven employee that has been a strong individual to provide leadership and support during very uncertain times.”

Champions Life Skills CEO Sam Strada nominated Kirsty because: “her infectious enthusiasm has to be witnessed to be believed. She is simply amazing. I thank you in advance for looking at my proposal that is so well deserved.”

Donna is blind and has a position in the NDIS “but goes above her position toward enabling other blind people to reach for employment, management positions and have self-awareness that being disabled does not mean they are unemployable. She frequently tests new technology to help blind people and is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship award where she strives to constantly educate industry to employ disabled people,” her detailed nomination explains.

This award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leadership that has a significant and positive impact on a business/organisation and the disability sector. At a local or senior level this professional has steered, inspired and supported their team/organisation through a challenging 12 months, new projects, change or service decisions that required expert skills and real passion, values and commitment.

Here’s a sneak peek of our Contemporary Practice finalists.

Let’s congratulate Michelle Rickenbach from @Approved By Frankie, Jen Webster from @MindFlare, @InSitu Housing and Steve Dresler from @What Ability!

Michelle is known as “The wise woman of Frankie and we are proud she chose to work with us and has become a much loved and integral part of the team. Michelle consistently advocates for innovation in service delivery for indigenous NDIS participants

Jen Webster is described as devoting herself to ensuring MindFlare is always up-to-date and providing new and invigorating ideas to improve its practice. “She embodies positive change, innovation, and creativity by being the voice behind our brand and what MindFlare and we as a team, stand for.”

InSitu Housing provides much-needed assisted living solutions away from the segregated and institutional housing models of the past. In their nomination, they state they believe they not only have the responsibility but also the opportunity, to enable people with disabilities to participate equally in the community.

What Ability CEO Steve has “revolutionised the disability sector through his utilisation of semi professional and professional athletes as support workers,” according to his nomination. It goes on to say “Steve’s vibrant energy is infectious and radiates throughout the team, creating a positive, fun work environment.”

The way this Contemporary Practice professional works must demonstrate up-to-date knowledge, best practice and an awareness of current research, with experience drawn on past history and recognition about where we have come from as a sector and where we are going in the future. They devote themselves to new ideas and are always looking for the latest research to improve practice and outcomes for participants and the organisation.

Please meet our finalists in the Frontline Manager category: Martha Macnab from @Myndie Care, Harriet Bradbury from @Avenue, Natasha Williams-Lawton from @Life Without Barriers and @MindFlare’s Alexis Leitch!

The reasons behind Martha’s nomination are amazing: At only 20 years of age Martha runs her own NDIS service provider company and has 16 clients and 11 employees! Martha continues to work directly with clients to understand their needs and to learn while studying her Certificate IV in Disabilities.

Harriet’s nomination describes her as person-centred and passionate while achieving “amazing things for our community - keeping our participants engaged and connected over the last 12 months. She went above and beyond to organise clinics, making sure our whole community was vaccinated, and stepped up from assistant manager to manager in the middle of the pandemic. Harriet is always there for her staff.”

Natasha receives high praise in her nomination, being described as “an amazing team leader, she is always there for the team. She is extremely supportive and guides the team to be the best we possibly can be. She works directly with participants if a team member is off and there is no extra staff so the staff feel very supported.”

Patience, resilience and passion are behind Alexis’ nomination. Her organisation describes her as “going above and beyond for our team, clients and their families. She deserves this award because she has and continues to demonstrate outstanding and professional leadership skills as a senior practitioner manager, as she brings structure, organisation and endless joy to our workplace.”

The winner of the “Front Line Manager” award will demonstrate they are constantly there for their team, they have their staff's best interests at heart and they have their team’s back.

And last, but by no means least, the finalists for the Above and Beyond Award are… @24/7 Care Ozzie Tours and Day Trips’ Sarah MacRae, Jonathon Salgo from @Provider Choice Plan Management, Michael Boutros from @Tender Loving Care Disability Services and Concept Care’s Jennifer Voda!

Reasons behind Sarah’s nomination included that she strives to give participants the utmost quality of care and keeping that care going and growing, while Jonathon was nominated by his organisation “because of the way we help our participants, even those who are not registered with us. His knowledge and what he shares is amazing”!

There were many reasons behind Michael’s nomination, the key being his passion. “Michael’s career is full of success stories. TLC is proud to have Michael on board. His wealth of experience adds value each day for both the company and the participants.”

Concept Care nominated Jennifer because she “has done everything humanly possible to ensure continuity of care for our clients, and safety of our staff. From organising shift covers in 20 minutes, to personally delivering rapid tests to staff and clients, Jen’s dedication to her clients and role has proven that she is a shining star of Concept Care.”

The “Above and Beyond” award recognises an individual, team or team member who has performed or delivered tasks or services in an exemplary manner and have gone “above and beyond” what is expected in their normal range of responsibilities. 

What a hard task for the judges! Best of luck to everyone.

And, of course, we’ll be unveiling the winner of the Expo Display Award from the expo at the gala too.

The Gala Awards Dinner will be held at the Hyde Park Ballroom, Doltone House Hyde Park from 6.30pm this Friday, so if you've been thinking about going, get in quick for your tickets - or perhaps even book a table! Help raise funds for the NDLO’s chosen charities this year - RizeUp and the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia.

Purchase tickets here: https://f.momentumtools.io/?form=v4_cnwgdgefzagl

Find out more information here: https://www.developingauscommunities.com.au/gala-dinner


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