CEO Update 12 October

CEO updates

Thanks and farewell

Retirement not only beckons but…commands!

Friday this week is my last day as CEO of Bayley House. Deb Stuart commences Monday next week and I will spend three days with her as part of her introduction to the organisation.

I have had the great fortune to spend five years at the helm of this extraordinary organisation, this family called Bayley House. And whilst it is for others to judge my impact, for what it’s worth, the things which resonate powerfully for me are –

Bayley Arts; no surprises there I know! I do not for a moment want to suggest that this was my achievement particularly; as with all success stories there is a veritable army of people who contributed to the win. I will take away Bayley Arts in my heart because it was always so ambitious, because it delivers for our clients at a level which would make anyone proud, and because it literally establishes a new benchmark, a new identity even, for Bayley House. Bayley Arts rises proudly from a rich history of creative arts which has been nurtured by this organisation for decades….and takes it to another level. It was never anticipated that it would open so close to my departure, but if as many tell me, Bayley Arts is my ‘legacy’…well I could not be more proud

BlueCHP partnership; like an ‘arts hub’, the need for us to be able to provide more and better housing for our clients was one of the first things I heard when I commenced. The development as part of the NDIS of a SDA subsidy which promised to underwrite that expansion of disability housing turned out to be as illusory as it was tempting. More than three frustrating years later we ‘met’ BlueCHP Housing Association and finally the pieces of the jigsaw were able to fit. Housing is so vital for people with disabilities and for their families and I am thrilled that as I leave Bayley House our partnership with BlueCHP is already beginning to bear fruit and I have absolute confidence that this opportunity will grow massively in coming years

COVID; the term ‘lockdown’ still strikes fear in the hearts of Melbournians, and with good reason. In March 2020, with days warning, we shut our services, we emptied our offices, we worked from home, we zoomed and Teamsed, we issued ‘work permits’ for staff who were stopped in the streets on the way to and from shifts. They were grim days which required hard decisions. But for all that, Bayley House rose to the challenge. It still brings tears to my eyes as I recall our amazing staff, despite the fear of COVID, turning up to shifts, volunteering to fill shifts at other houses when rostered staff were ill. Our day service staff who put up their hands to work daily in our houses in order to support our residents, most of whom ended up restricted to their homes for months on end. The test of a person, the test of an organisation is not how it performs when things are going smoothly, but how it rises to the challenge when things are at their most difficult and overwhelming. Our staff pivoted from their usual face to face groups to online with never a complaint (and who knew that you could do line dancing via zoom….)!? Our families supported us and showed their appreciation, and of course…no surprise really, our incredible clients demonstrated yet again how much we have to learn from them about resilience and positivity. We stepped into the abyss because we had no choice; but for all that, we delivered and I will remember that fondly and proudly

Thank you for inviting me into the Bayley House family. It has been a pleasure and an absolute privilege to be entrusted with the stewardship of this wonderful organisation. I hope I have brought some stability and perhaps helped the organisation to believe in itself and have faith to take risks. Our clients deserve the very best which we can offer and to do that we must constantly question ourselves and be prepared to get it wrong sometimes by way of growth. You do not achieve that without a culture of respect, inclusion and encouragement. I believe that Bayley House has that in spades and I am delighted and humbled to pass the baton to Deb next week. Thank you and farewell.