Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2017 Contents Can you briefly tell us about your
background and how you came to
Originally I was trained as
a registered nurse in a
large tertiary hospital in
Melbourne. I then moved into
a health and safety role at the Royal
Children’s Hospital and then a larger
human resources role.
In 2000, I joined Anglican Aged
Care Services Group – now known
as Benetas, initially in a HR role and
quickly moved into an operations role.
In 2006, I moved to the Regis
Group and became the national
general manager of operations. Since
2010, I have had the privilege of
leading the transformation at Jewish
What would you most like to
achieve as CEO this year?
With the changing landscape in
disability and in-home care, Jewish
Care is transforming its organisation
to ensure we can compete successfully.
This is a wholesale change from
information technology, human
resources, marketing and sales through
to the delivery of products and ser vices.
Our organisation has embarked on
the construction of six new assets to the
value of over $200 million.
A good example is our senior living
precincts that provide economic scale to
ensure sustainability; choice to capture
the diversity of our community; and a
small house design that embraces the
principles of our new Hand-in-Hand
model of care.
What are the big opportunities
and how are you positioning to
capitalise on them?
Jewish Care is reimagining its product
offering and models of care, taking into
account changes in social trends, chronic
disease and life expectancy, as well as
carer wellbeing, health promotion,
financial capacity, consumer expectations
and government policy.
Whilst change is always ver y
exciting, we need the right policy
decisions to ensure we have a quality
workforce in place, that we can deliver
ser vices in rural and
remote areas, and that
the sector can remain
What are the
challenges facing your
organisation and how
will you respond?
Like all organisations at
a macro level it’s about
remaining relevant to
the people you ser ve as
the community’s needs
change, as well as being
Jewish Care’s turnover
this financial year is around $70 million,
of which around 6 per cent will be
through philanthropy and the balance
will be via government and client
We are investing around $4.2 million
into unfunded or poorly funded services
to our community in 2016/17 – we call
this our social justice contribution.
Securing donations to support
operations is becoming increasingly
difficult as the philanthropic space
is becoming more sophisticated and
competitive. It is important that we are
prudent about which services we invest
these scarce resources.
What keeps you awake at night?
The things that keep me up at night
are really the significant social issues
that we seem to struggle to get on
top of both in Australia and globally.
There is a significant deterioration in
social cohesion across many towns and
suburbs in Australia, which is resulting
in a massive loss of social capital.
In Australia, the growing divide
between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’;
family violence, homelessness, youth
disengagement and radicalisation widens
the opportunity gap and is creating an
Australia that is quite unfamiliar to me.
I believe Australians deserve a well-
articulated and executed bipartisan
macro-economic reform strategy that
will result in an Australia where every
citizen can live a safe, fulfilling and
decent life. This keeps me up at night.
What’s the best advice
you’ve received that
helped you as an aged
Two pieces of advice I
would share include: The
only place that success
comes before work is in
the dictionar y. The reality
is that the harder you work
the luckier you become.
The second piece of
advice I received early
in my career: ever ything
in life is not black and
white. I needed to learn
to be more comfortable
working in the grey,
when things are less clear. I think I
have become more able to focus on the
things that matter, be less judgemental
and find a way through the ambiguity to
What qualities make a standout
aged care leader?
Good leadership is about creating the
right climate for people to flourish.
And that’s about facilitating clarity,
paying attention to performance
and results; having open and honest
conversations; building trust and
respect; doing what you say you are
going to do, and creating a sense
of belonging by celebrating and
The ultimate measure of any leader
is not where they stand in moments of
comfort, but where they stand at times
of challenge and controversy. Calm seas
are the easiest to navigate, but when
you are in the eye of a storm, it takes
strength of character, resilience, skill and
self-belief to sur vive and thrive. n
BILL APPLEBY, CEO of Jewish Care Victoria, on the challenges and opportunities
facing his organisation, and leadership in the sector.
‘Creating the climate
for people to flourish’
30 | MAY–JUNE2017
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