Flying into the NFP Sector
2 June 2014 at 10:48 am
Trained as an air traffic controller with the Royal Australian Air Force, Glenda Stevens led a multi-cultural fundraising charity in Ireland before taking the top job at Homelessness Australia. Stevens is this week’s Changemaker.
Holding a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a Masters in Business Administration, Stevens joined Homelessness Australia last October.
“Straight from school, I joined the RAAF as an air traffic controller – I loved the adrenalin and solving complex problems very quickly,” she said.
“A change of pace followed when I headed-up community relations department in a girls’ school. I then moved overseas as an ‘accompanying spouse,’ and headed-up an International Charity Foundation.
“Last year we returned to Australia and I joined Homelessness Australia. In total, I have been in the Non-Profit sector, in various roles, for just over 30 years.”
Currently Homelessness Australia is working with depression Not for Profit beyondblue to launch an online program, Tune in now, that will assist workers in specialist homelessness services to identify anxiety and depression in their clients.
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
I can’t remember a time when I was not involved in the Not for Profit sector, as either a volunteer or professionally.
As a child, I took part in walk-a-thons and spell-a-thons and organised fundraising events at school.
I graduated to community groups such as Rotaract followed by leading a girl guides pack and netball association, these were followed by all the usual ‘parent’ organisations. I never stopped at first base, when involved in P&C – I was on the NSW Parents’ Council board.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
Homelessness Australia (HA) is the national peak body providing systematic advocacy for the homelessness sector in Australia.
HA seeks to improve community awareness and understanding of the issues facing one in every 200 Australians who is experiencing homelessness.
HA advocates for people who are experiencing homelessness, aims to represent the interests of more than 1300 homeless assistance services, and contributes to policy development and the evaluation of Australia’s homelessness service system.
HA represents the families, women escaping domestic violence, young people and single men and women who access the diverse support and advocacy services.
My role is very diverse.
- Securing a continuation of federal funding for homelessness services has dominated the past few months and now we are working with other lobby groups to communicate the expected negative effects recent Budget announcements will have on vulnerable members of our community.
- We are about to launch an online program, Tune in now, that will assist workers in specialist homelessness services to identify anxiety and depression in their clients. This initiative is a joint project between HA and beyondblue.
- In August, HA hosts a national homelessness awareness campaign, Homeless Persons’ Week, which raises awareness of the diverse and valuable work done in specialist homelessness services. Themed Homelessness: we can’t afford to ignore, it looks at the personal, community and economic costs of homelessness and how solving homelessness is a joint responsibility.
Favourite sayings …
“Let’s look at the positives” and “What did we learn from that?” and “From one small acorn, might trees grow”.
I’m always being asked …
How did an air traffic controller end up where you are now?
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I have just finished reading An invention of wings by Sue Monk Kidd.
The book details the intertwined lives of historic figure, Sarah Grimke, an 19th century southern girl and her personal slave, Hetty.
Their struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression is a thought-provoking insight into the diverse forms of oppression, and the personal strengths needed to triumph.
My greatest challenge is …
Seeing so many opportunities but recognising that the need to work slowly and methodically to deliver a solid and sustainable outcome.
School taught me …
A lot… but mostly the joy of learning. That there is something to be learnt from everything, often you just don’t know what it is, at the time.
What (or who) inspires you?
The human spirit: people, who through no fault of their own, are placed in difficult situations, and who just keep going, and with good grace, eventually overcome the challenges thrown at them.
Where do you feel your passion for good came from?
It is innate – I hate injustice. I have always considered working towards a goal that has a positive effect on individuals and society to be a very worthwhile use of my energies.