My First Year as CEO

July 27, 2021

It has been one year since I started in the role of Interaction Disability Services CEO and I don’t know about you, but the year has flown past for me. There have been two constants throughout the year and they are intertwined. The first is the constant level of change Interaction has implemented (and continue to implement) and the second is COVID-19.

Despite the year flying by, which is how one of our participants, Anthony described what he hoped would happen to COVID-19 in his Christmas video message last year, we have achieved a huge amount. I say we, because as an organisation we are only as good as our people. Throughout the year the Interaction team has coped with staffing changes, variable COVID-19 rules, increased involvement from the CEO and Board, process changes and more.

Apart from meeting Anthony during the filming of our Christmas message last year, I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of participants, parents and guardians since joining the organisation. Some have joined our Stakeholder Engagement Committee, some I have met during site visits and others when receiving their Goal Kicker of the Month awards. The most important factor in meeting each of you has been your ability to cope with COVID-19 restrictions. Well done to you all.

Thanks to the commitment of Interaction’s team and their willingness to do things differently, to challenge the status quo, to make suggestions and provide feedback, we have been able to achieve some fantastic things. Most notably, we have;

  • Introduced a clear committee structure providing minutes to all staff.
  • Updated the organisational structure, particularly in the former Operations area.
  • Introduced and funded First Aid and CPR as mandatory qualifications.
  • Updated and reintroduced a suite of mandatory NDS online training.
  • Implemented KPIs and business measurements to assist in managing the organisation.
  • Introduced monthly accountability meetings for the Executive and Senior Leadership Teams.
  • Commenced regular Pulse culture surveys with staff.
  • Communicating through SharePoint the “You said, we did” feedback from staff suggestions.
  • Scheduled and conducted regular Town Hall meetings for staff.
  • Formalised the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Established monthly Senior Leadership Team meetings to improve communication.
  • Revised and updated the Stakeholder Engagement Committee to include more participants and families.
  • Refreshed Interaction’s branding, launched new websites for Interaction and PWS.
  • Established multi-disciplinary working groups for projects.
  • Completed and IT needs assessment for IT software.
  • Commenced the exploration for a new Client Management Software application.
  • Introduced new rosters for the Accommodation services.
  • Developed and commenced the trial of standardised shift notes for reporting.
  • Opened four new accommodation sites in Lalor Park, Werrington (2) and Narara.
  • Managed many different COVID restrictions and service changes

Perhaps most impressively was the Interaction team’s ability to not only to reach these challenges, but to continue with business as usual, which is supporting our participants.

Looking back, I can see why the year has gone so quickly. Together we have achieved a tremendous amount and I’m looking forward to the next 12 months as we emerge ready to tackle the next opportunities that will come from the Disability Royal Commission and elsewhere.

Brett Thompson

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