Personal journey leads Collin to top job
23 September 2013 at 10:31 am
Emma Collin has hit the ground running since taking over the reins of Parkinson’s Victoria as CEO in May. She is this week’s Changemaker.
Hard at work developing a Strategic Plan for Parkinson’s Victoria, Emma Collin came into the CEO role from Carers Victoria, where she was executive manager in care representation and engagement – her responsibilities included securing government, philanthropic and community support and investment for key issues and programs for caring families.
She has also worked at Melton Council – where she was responsible for the planning and development of new and existing services and facilities for a community experiencing the fastest growth in Australia.
It was her own personal experience as a carer that drew her to the Not for Profit sector, with her father passing away from Motor Neurone Disease, and also having a sister with Multiple Sclerosis and mother-in-law with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s Victoria President Peter Raymond said Collin had a clear understanding of the burden of diseases such as Parkinson’s on, not just the family, but the community as a whole.
“Emma’s background working with stakeholders in the carers community gives her a unique insight into the challenges faced by family, healthcare professionals and co-workers when someone they care about – or for – has with Parkinson’s,” Raymond said.
Parkinson's Victoria is a Not for Profit organisation which provides information about Parkinson's, coordinates a network of peer support groups, and promotes the positive aspects of living with Parkinson's. The organisation is also active in advocacy initiatives to improve funding and services, and also funds and supports Parkinson’s research.
What are you currently working on in the organisation?
At the moment I am working on the Parkinson’s Victoria’s Strategic Plan – it is the key document to take our work for people living with Parkinson’s forward.
The external environment is changing at a rapid rate, with DisabilityCare Australia and other key reforms.
Parkinson’s Victoria needs to ensure people living with Parkinson’s: will receive timely, relevant and valued services in the future; and that research and the pursuit of a cure are always on the agenda
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
My strong value base and personal experience drew me to the Not for Profit sector – a father who passed away with MND, a sister with MS, and a mother-in-law living with Parkinson’s.
Of course I know now that I was a young carer, and although I have had some breaks from caring in my lifetime, my lived experience and family journey has been a long one.
What is the best thing about working in the sector?
I find that people working in the Not for Profit sector have great energy, creativity and are incredibly resourceful. They are highly committed to the work and draw on their own contacts and non work related skills and talents to make an impact.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
The best thing about Parkinson’s Victoria is the people. The broad Parkinson’s community, Parkinson’s Victoria Board and staff are all committed to change, so I know taking the work to the next level will be well supported.
I’m always being asked …
How do I balance family life with work commitments? The simple answer is that I don’t try.
My family supports me and are involved in my work. They fundraise, volunteer and offer in-kind support whenever they can and when I can’t be there, they help out at home.
From their perspective my work is important, not just to me but to other people in the community and they want to contribute to that too.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I’m watching the ‘Wonders of Life’ series, hosted by Professor Brian Cox.
What inspires you? Who inspires you?
Many people inspire me, but on a day to day basis it is the life stories of people living with Parkinson’s or other conditions and their carers that really inspires and energises me.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many extraordinary people living life to the full, often without services and supports we know they and their families need.