Chair and CEO Report
Board committee reports
The AQA Board is informed by four committees: Governance (convened by the Board Chair); Quality & Risk; Strategy; and Finance & Audit.
Quality & Risk
The Quality and Risk Committee works to empower our people and to empower our clients through supplying robust risk and compliance advice to the Board.
Finance & Audit
The Finance & Audit Committee reviews the financial performance of the organisation and works with the Executive to challenge systems and processes.
Hours of in-home and in-community service delivered
Hours of Support Coordination delivered
Hours of peer led and allied health services delivered
Community Network gatherings facilitated
Active peer mentors and other volunteers
Volunteer hours contributed
The path to refreshing our brand language and resetting our strategy brought enhanced appreciation of our strengths and a broader understanding of our mission. Our Living Well project pioneered a more integrated and powerful approach to resourcing people from lived experience, and the expansion of our Allied Health team extended our services menu.
Strategy and brand language
Living Well project
Allied health expansion
Over 2020-21 we have made good on our intention to develop an allied health service that is informed from lived experience. A team of six support coordinators and occupational therapists is building its reputation on its capacity to accommodate complex circumstances and deliver impartial advice.
Three strategic pillars support our intention to scale our impact: Create experiences that empower our clients; Empower our people to be more effective; Build our sustainability. Our reciprocal approach to resourcing presents us with pillars that are mutually reinforcing: for example, clients whom we resource may also be people who resource other clients.
Empowering our clients
Over 2020 and 2021 we have grown our lived experience and allied health teams under the unified banner of Community Engagement, allowing us for the first time to explore the full range of AQA resources with new people from a single gateway.
We have lifted the readability of the AQA magazine NewsLink, and have made our scheduling staff more available to clients of our in-home and in-community services.
People inquiring about AQA resources now have a single point of entry from which they can learn about the full range of supports, services and other resources we offer.
Resourcing that point of entry is Mark Hanson, Community Engagement Coordinator, a qualified Occupational Therapist with lived experience of spinal cord injury.
Enhancing our accessibility
Telephone support for AQA in-home services has always been available 24-hours. However, this year we have extended the accessibility to our clients of the in-office Scheduling and Allocations team at AQA, which is now available from 8:30am to 9pm weekdays. Clients and support workers alike have welcomed the enhanced communication and more direct support.
People in the AQA community resource one another through sharing their experience.
They might do so through our Peer Mentor program, as Peer Coaches for our personal development workshop Discovering the Power in Me, in meeting face to face and online through our Community Networks, or in contributing and sourcing powerful stories published on our website and in our free bimonthly magazine, NewsLink.
The whole is more than the parts: Dion's story
Long-haul truck driver Dion Woodward found himself unemployed and unable to walk after a tumour developed on his spinal column. He tells of how his engaging with a broad range of AQA resources transformed not only his capacity to sustain himself independently but also his outlook on life.
“I feel part of a community. I’ve learnt so much from everyone I’ve met, and been so inspired by them.”
Empowering our people
The phrase our people paints with a broad brush at AQA, encompassing our lived-experience volunteers and coaches, other volunteers and pro-bono contributors, our office staff, and our extensive roster of community staff who bring so much dedication and commitment to resourcing our clients.
This year our Living Well project piloted a training program for people living with spinal cord injury that would prepare them to be Peer Leaders at Living Well residential courses. We engaged our volunteer Peer Mentors in more than 1500 hours of support and debriefing sessions, and trained 10 new team members.
We developed an Occupational Health and Safety Management System for all our staff under the banner Safety For Everyone, began to test our digital Customer Relationship Management system, and supported our dedicated community staff with communication and PPE as they adapted to ever-changing Covid-19 requirements.
Building our sustainability
Among a range of projects that fall under the head of building our sustainability have been the redefining of AQA's high-level strategy, the reimagining of our brand and brand language, the reshaping of our online presence, and the relocation of our business processes to cloud-based systems that will make us easier to transact with - our Digital Transformation project.
We have redeveloped our former corporate website at aqavic.org.au, which had formerly served as a gateway to separate sites for our in-home services and our peer support. A key objective was to reflect the integration of our services with our lived-experience resources, a development well under way at the office.
Joining the conversation
One of the ways in which AQA can resource our community is by presenting a view on public policy and other matters that will or may affect us.
This year we have supported the Disability Doesn't Discriminate campaign coordinated by spinal cord injury support organisation Spinal Life Australia. We have also made a strong case to the Australian Parliament opposing the compulsory introduction of independent assessments for NDIS participants, arguing that independent assessment should instead be made optional.
Digital Transformation Project
BSW, Social Work; Grad Dip Rehab; Mast App.Sc, ISM
Chairperson; Convenor of Governance Committee
Michelle was introduced to AQA through her work at the Transport Accident Commission, where for many years she managed clients with acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury. Over that part of her career she was most engaged by the opportunity to resource people as they realised their passions and developed their potential after injury. She sees AQA’s values and peer-based philosophy as aligned very closely with her own.
Michelle has a sound background in industrial relations, and is experienced in not-for-profit governance, organisational development, employee management, and State Government compliance.
Board member since April 2013
Member of Quality & Risk Committee
BN, MHSM (Mon), MAICD
Convenor of Quality & Risk Committee
B.Sc/LLB (Victorian Legal Practising Certificate 2021)
Deputy Chairperson; Company Secretary; Member of Quality & Risk Committee
Board member since March 2014
MBM / DipMA
Convenor of Strategy Committee
Joe has served the AQA Board in committee roles since 2012, having been invited to contribute from his business experience. Through his associations with other inspiring personalities working with AQA, he has become passionate about creating opportunities so that anyone with a disability can grow, develop and experience life to its fullest. He joined the Board as a Director in 2019.
Joe has a background in Sales, Marketing, Value Based Commercialisation, and Strategy Development and Implementation. He has worked for large FMCG retailers and manufacturers, among them Coles Myer, SPC Ardmona and Coca-Cola Amatil, and has been President of SMART Networking Group. He is General Manager of Australia's leading organic health foods and products distributor.
Treasurer; Convenor of Finance & Audit Committee
Master of Public Policy and Management
Member of Strategy Committee
Brydie is passionate about providing opportunities to people living with disabilities, and has a particular interest in engaging frontline workers through increased education, supervision supports, and the application of frameworks in practice. She is the National Head of Quality and Innovation at Able Australia, leading a team pursuing innovative approaches to supporting people’s needs and ensuring NDIS Quality and Safeguards requirements are met and exceeded.
Brydie has more than a decade of experience as a Director in Victoria’s public hospitals, tackling issues of patient flow and access, quality and risk management, and transition supports. Prior to this, she held strategic advisory and project roles with the Victorian Department of Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Board member since February 2021
- National Disability Insurance Agency – individual support packages to people with disabilities
- Transport Accident Commission – individual support packages to people with disabilities, and innovation project funding
Industry and Project Associates
- Austin Health - Victorian Spinal Cord Service
- Alfred Health - Caulfield General Medical Centre
- Transport Accident Commission
- Independence Australia
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (NSW)
- Spinal Life Australia (QLD)
- Paraquad NSW
- Paraquad South Australia
- Paraquad Tasmania
- Disability Sport & Recreation
Industry and Project Associates, cont.
- LaTrobe University
- Monash University
- Swinburne University
- Wendy Brooks & Partners
- Global Leadership Foundation
- The Robert Rose Foundation
- Clayton Utz
- Miles Real Estate
- Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
The Full Financial Reports for the financial year 2020/21 including a summary of significant accounting policies, other explanatory notes and declaration from Directors and Auditors are located on the AQA website, and can be opened from the image below.