Going through the process of defining our organisation’s purpose recently led me to ask the question of myself – why do I do what I do? I found the answer in my family’s story.
I think the seed was first planted as a young child, watching my dad and other members of my family become the voice my Nonno needed to keep engaging with the world, when a massive stroke stole his ability to speak.
It grew roots in listening to the stories of my mum’s students – highly skilled migrants struggling to communicate their needs, and those of their family, and hearing how they were dismissed or worse, because they weren’t as articulate in English as their native tongue.
But it truly blossomed, when my sister and I stepped into the role of carer for our mum, when early onset dementia took away her ability to navigate the difficult choices related to her care and we became advocates for her needs.
What these experiences fostered in me was a desire to help others share their stories of poor health and adversity, to improve how they are supported in our community. They also formed my belief that understanding and empathy should underpin how we communicate – it’s a respect everyone deserves.
I’ve worked in healthcare communication since 2004. I was attracted to it because I appreciated the profound and broad-reaching impact poor health can have. I’ve stayed a consultant in this field because I’ve seen how effective communication can help drive changes in health behaviour and healthcare more broadly.
At SenateSHJ, we describe the glue that binds us as our desire to work with people we respect on projects that matter. We believe communication can drive progress and that’s why we do what we do.
Purpose-driven work is important to me because of my experiences. That’s why I help people share their health story – because I want to improve how people in poor health and adversity are supported in our community, as part of the team at SenateSHJ.