Changemakers - Joe Capozza
20 February 2012 at 8:32 am
Joe Capozza, National Manager for Volunteer Services at Make-A-Wish Australia, is profiled in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
Make-A-Wish Australia is a Not for Profit organisation with a mission to bring hope, strength and joy to children with a life-threatening medical condition. They do this by granting children a most cherished Wish. Make-A-Wish Australia is sustained by a comprehensive network of 58 volunteer managed branches around Australia involving over 1150 volunteers and receives no ongoing government funding.
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
At the end of 1996, I made a deliberate and conscious decision to move into the Not for Profit sector. I had a strong sense motivation to utilise the skills accrued over years in sales and small business management for the benefit of others less fortunate than I.
As my father had been before me, I became a volunteer for the local Catholic Church and Treasurer for an Italian Community group during my youth. I suggest this was when the seed on giving to others was planted and my deep respect for volunteers.
What was your first job in the Not for Profit sector?
My first paid role within the sector was with the Australian Kidney Foundation [now Kidney Health Australia] as Executive Manager SA/NT. After 6 years in this position, I took on a role of Executive Officer for 8 Industry Groups, corporate volunteers, through BusinessSA before moving onto Flinders Medical Centre as Director of Volunteers.
I was with the wonderful volunteers at Flinders for 6 years before moving into a CEO position for a Community Housing association involved with women and their children escaping domestic violence.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
After volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for around 5 years, I soon discovered the ‘power of the wish’. The lifting of spirits of child, and their family, is inspiring and humbling. Since commencing employment with Foundation in August last year, I am in a very fortunate position to be a part of hundreds of wishes Australia wide and am enthused by the letters and beautiful messages of thanks we receive daily.
Roger Federer once said to a group of school children quote – ‘It’s nice to be important. It’s more important to be nice!’
If you could have dinner with 2 people from history, who would they be?
Ayrton Senna would be one due to his focus on success and his humble, quiet achiever nature. Second would be Frank Sinatra. I would love to his stories on the connections he made during his career and who his influencers were.
What (or who) inspires you?
I’m inspired by the children we serve. Children with a life threatening medical condition display inner strength and great human spirit. They do not let negatives get in their way.