“ If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm”. Warren Wendel Wiersbe
After more than 3 challenging and inspirational years, my time with EGA will come to an end on 22 January 2019.
It’s been such an honour to have worked in the disability sector and with an organisation that held a 50 year legacy of providing opportunity & support for people living with a disability.
I would like to extend a personal thanks to some amazing people & organisations who have been a major part of EGA and/or supported us more recently through the voluntary administration process.
To all the dedicated EGA staff, past & present, who showed astounding resilience despite significant leadership turnover and many & varied financial & operational setbacks. Thank you for going above and beyond and for never losing sight of our core purpose – to serve our clients and place them always at the centre of every decision.
Absolute gratitude to Bec Curtis for her unwavering support, undeniable candour and courageous leadership which provided much needed stability and consistency for our dedicated employees …
and to Kellie Martin for her impenetrable integrity and balanced advocacy for our supported employees and their families and for her unprecedented loyalty to the organisation for more than 10 years.
Special thanks to Kirbie & Tahnee McWhirtner and the entire PerformHR team who joined us at such a critical and challenging time and quickly became an extension of the EGA team. Special thanks to Megan Kennewell & Caitlin McMahon for their dedicated on the ground support and especially for their change management support through the recent finalisation of our operations.
To our EGA supported staff who were sadly displaced from their employment as a result of the closure of our social enterprises. Thank you for teaching us every day what it means to find real purpose in our work. It was humbling to watch the way in which you (& your families) faced the challenge of having to find alternate employment head-on with such courage and determination.
To our EGA social enterprises staff who were also sadly displaced from their employment as a result of the closure of our social enterprises. Thank you for supporting our supported staff to bring their best to work each day and for helping them to build capacity and resilience.
To the inspiring EGA clients, who provided daily motivation and much needed perspective, despite ongoing organisational changes and unparalleled uncertainty around continuity of your supports. Thank you for trusting us and standing by us when we could not validly offer any real certainty in return. Thank you for showing us what it means to have faith and never give up.
To the resilient EGA Parents, Carers & Families, who played such active roles in their loved ones’ advocacy and support. Your loyalty and belief in us provided much needed motivation – energising us to continue to work through the various challenges we faced together.
A special thank you to the amazing Parents & Carers Consultative Committee members who provided relevant and balanced input and feedback through changes that were often intense and protracted. Your contribution and dignified response to the difficult process of closing our social enterprises helped to balance a highly sensitive and challenging process.
Special thanks to Carol Edgerton, Janet Standen, Maggie Stefan, Jane Walton & Faye Clifford. Our sincere gratitude for your foundational and sustained contribution to the Endeavour organisation over the years.
To Mitch Griffiths, Chad Rapsey and the highly professional team at Rapsey Griffiths who carefully handled the voluntary administration process with the precise balance of integrity, diligence and empathy. Thank you for considering the potential community impact a standard VA approach could have had – and for providing an opportunity to assess alternate options through the extensive EOI campaign. Your navigation of the successful sale of the Disability Services unit enabled continuity of support for more than 200 clients and continued employment for more than 200 staff. Thank you.
My specific and sincere gratitude to the outstanding efforts of Simon Van Loon, Craig Newell & Daniel Howaerth from Rapsey Griffiths who worked tirelessly, side by side with our team throughout the entire VA process, the subsequent closure of our social enterprises and registered training organisation and the sale of our disability services business unit. And to Casey Hammond who worked diligently in the background providing valuable (and often unseen) support as the team juggled multiple priorities with concurrent deadlines.
To Matt Sykes and the NDIA team for your guidance and support with the transition of our accommodation services, for your help with displaced supported employees and their families and for your assistance with transitioning clients.
To Judith Frost and the Sunnyfield project team for taking such a collegiate, considered and dignified approach to the integration of our Disability Services business unit and the safe transition of employees and clients.
To Karen Stace and the supportive team at National Disability Services (NDS) for your constant sharing of knowledge and your ongoing assistance during the last 3 years. Special thanks to Helen Bednar & Jocelyn Endermann for their recent assistance with NDS customer engagement processes as part of the controlled wind-down of our social enterprises.
To our EGA Social Enterprises Customers. Thank you for your loyal business, your patience, understanding and support through the recent wind-down process. We appreciate that many of you were long-term Customers of Endeavour Industries Limited, and changing your supplier was a significant transition for your organisation.
Thank you for believing in the social, community and economic contribution social enterprises make. We hope you are able to continue to place your business with other social enterprises and continue to provide meaningful work opportunities for people living with a disability.
To our loyal and supportive Suppliers. Thank you for your patience and tolerance as we worked through our financial processing challenges over the last 3 years and more recently through the voluntary administration process. We are sincerely grateful that you continued to support us through these challenging times.
To our Fellow Disability Service Providers. Thank you for offering your hand in support. For all of the kind emails, phone calls, discussions and messages of encouragement. Thank you to those who collaborated with us at our Community Provider Forum at Maitland. Your participation helped to correct misinformation that had begun to circulate and cause anxiety for our much loved EGA staff, clients and families.
Thank you also to all who attended our Supported Employment Expo and DES Provider forums to assist displaced employees (& their families) in finding alternate employment. Specific thanks to Access Industries, Mai-Wel, Hunter Commercial Services, House with No Steps, Witmore Enterprises, AIMBIG, APM, Castle Personnel, Octec and everyone who participated and assisted on these days.
Despite the NDIS transforming the provision of disability services into a competitive marketplace, I could not have witnessed a more supportive and caring group of businesses.
Special thanks to Pennie Kearney, Lucy Crawford and the team at Mai-Wel and to David Carey and the team at Connectability for the kind, genuine & repeated offers of support and encouragement.. (and coffee) to myself and the EGA team.
And finally, a huge thank you to my family who have empowered and enabled me to provide leadership and support to EGA during one of its most challenging periods. Thank you for knowing that my work was purposeful and fulfilling and for being my cheer squad during some significantly challenging times. I could not have done this without you.
I hope to continue in the sector, but regardless, I know that I leave EGA knowing everyone involved gave their all. It was indeed a magnificent storm in so many ways – but I am grateful for the chance to see that sometimes, what may seem like an imminent fate can give rise to a new future, with exciting possibilities and outcomes which can take many forms and come in many colours.
So thank you EGA … for the honour it has been to work with you and for the chance to better understand the feeling that comes from truly doing work that inspires you.
Tabatha Kattau | Acting CEO | Endeavour Industries Limited