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Caring for the Future

10 November 2014 at 10:33 am
Xavier Smerdon
As the new CEO of Palliative Care Australia Liz Callaghan finds inspiration from other people working in the Catholic Health Sector. Callaghan is this week’s Changemaker.

Xavier Smerdon | 10 November 2014 at 10:33 am


Caring for the Future
10 November 2014 at 10:33 am

As the new CEO of Palliative Care Australia Liz Callaghan finds inspiration from other people working in the Catholic Health Sector. Callaghan is this week’s Changemaker.

Previously Director, Strategic Policy for Catholic Health Australia, Callaghan has held roles in the South Australian and Victorian Departments of Health, Metropolitan Domiciliary Care, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and the Department of Management at RMIT University Melbourne.

What are you currently working on in your organisation?

Palliative Care Australia is working towards ensuring quality care at the end of life for all. Palliative Care Australia has existed for 23 years and during that time we have worked to try and support the committed individuals who are caring for those people at the end of their lives. We are also committed to raising awareness about palliative care and are starting to work toward leading a national discussion on palliative care, end of life care, death and dying, and advance care planning.

What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?

Working in the not for profit sector allows me to align my values with my work in a meaningful way.

How long have you been working in the Not for Profit sector?

I have worked for the not for profit sector on and off for about ten years.

What was your first job in the Not for Profit sector?

My first job in the Not for Profit sector was at Metro Dom Care in South Australia where I was the manager of organisational development. This organisation had recently come together from four separate organisations into one, and part of my role was to develop not only the new strategic plan, but to also establish a new client services model.

In terms of your work sitting on a Not for Profit board, what would you say is the key to an effective NFP board?

Service providing medical and counselling services for victims of torture and trauma, and its main clients are refugees or asylum seekers. I think the key to an effective NFP Board is to understand its Board charter and to really know what responsibilities are the Boards and what lies with the organisation. Mixing the two can result in poor outcomes for organisations.

What does a typical day for you involve?

A typical day for me starts around 5.45am when I get up and walk my dog, with my husband. This gives us time, where we both plan out our day and check in with each other about the current goings on in the world. My husband would have already read all the news bulletins and he shares the most interesting bits with me. Once home again we make our children’s lunches for school and relish waking them up at 7am (two teenage boys means this is always fun!)

Then I get ready and drive the boys to school and arrive at work around 8.20 or so, where the day begins. It seems I don’t really stop until around 6 or 7pm, then I go home and my husband has already collected the boys from school and made dinner. Then after dinner I hang out with the boys for a while then my husband and I either go for another long walk or sit down and watch another episode of House of Cards. Then I may do some more work before retiring for the evening.

What (or who) inspires you?

Many people inspire me and I learn from everyone I meet. I recently left the Catholic Health sector where I came across many people who I now call friends, and who are carrying out amazing work in their own ways.

These are the people who inspire me- people who don’t sit around admiring the problems, but rather getting on and doing something about it. These people range from CEOs, members of executive through to direct service staff and especially the tireless administration staff.

Where do you feel your passion for good came from?

I think my passion for good came from my parents and family as well as my schooling. I have a strong interest in the principles of catholic social teaching, and recently co-edited a book on catholic social teaching and the social determinants of health – that invites discussion, within the Church and among policy makers and the broader public, of the need for a new paradigm of public policy focused on the social determinants of health.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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