Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2013 Contents LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH
Lyons was appointed CEO and once again, it was a first for the
organisation having a woman in the position. In her 10 years there,
to 2007, she grew the organisation from a client base of 700 to 5300
clients, with total assets growing from $32 million to $187 million.
But it isn't just numbers in reports that she is proud of. It was
here, she recalls, that she really had the chance to develop and
hone her interest and skills in strategic planning and governance.
"My strength really lies around leadership and organisational
development, change management and strategy. And using that
to enable growth of communities and ultimately a better world
for us all to live in."
"Strategic planning has always been a focus and an interest.
Given the support of the board, you can evolve a strategic
engagement right across the whole organisation," she said.
It's a strength recognised by the board of Villa Maria who
keenly welcomed Lyons back to the organisation in 2007 -- its
centenary year -- as the new CEO.
In a five-year citation at the end of last year, the board stated:
"She has lead the organisation through enormous change,
challenges, achievements and celebrations and done this with
passion, commitment and an exciting vision for the future.
"The introduction of strong governance and strategic
planning processes has enabled Villa Maria to move closer
to its vision of creating choices and building inclusive,
sustainable and compassionate communities. Villa Maria
has improved its financial performance and realised growth
in its community services capacity," the citation says.
There's a lot of personal pride for Lyons in her success. "The
major achievement for me, looking back five years on, is that we
brought to fruition everything in the original three year plan. Now
we're into the second cycle and planning the next one.
"If you look at our strategic planning and risk management
systems, they are as good as you're going to get in the community
sector and they're as good as many you'd see in the corporate sector."
While she wouldn't quite describe herself as a techie, Lyons has
strong views about technology and the important role it plays.
"Technology interfaces underpin everything we do," says Lyons,
who has also been involved with the Aged Care Industry IT Council.
"But the challenge is that it is not changing fast enough. We
need to be investing more heavily which we know is hard for
smaller organisations because of all the different systems and the
complexity required to be effective."
Like the front office reception area of your building, your
website can say a great deal about the values, the thinking
and the quality of your outfit. In Villa Maria's case, the website
paints a picture of a vibrant, contemporary organisation that
understands and promotes its purpose as a not for profit, values
driven provider of a wide range of human services.
But moreover, it demonstrates a strong instinct for
communication and a clear understanding of its diverse constituency
and the wider context of contemporary consumer expectations.
There are translation options on the website for eight
languages other than English, plus options for different font
sizes. There's also a video gallery, downloadable copies of the
organisation's strategic plans and annual report, an e-newsletter
to subscribe to and an impressive commitment to social media.
It's possible to find a service, volunteer, make a tax deductable
donation, or pursue a career at Villa Maria, all very clearly from
the home page. And the photography is all real. None of the usual
stock photos here.
The social media investment is big. Facebook, Twitter and
YouTube links for Villa Maria are prominently promoted, there's a
feed of recent tweets and you can tweet from any page within the
site. Lyons says she's really 'getting into social media'.
"We're very conscious of quality, whether it is services or
staff or web design or exposure and engagement with key
stakeholders," says Lyons.
"We try to be professional and at the competitive edge in
everything we do. We don't always achieve it but we try."
Spoken like a true 'Head Girl'. n
ON MILESTONE INFLUENCES
"The Myer report in 2000, the '2020 vision project' was a
big influence for me, philosophically. I saw the future was
in community care and at the time we were principally
a residential care provider. When I think of what we
achieved at Southern Cross across that decade, we really
established community care and became the largest
package provider in Victoria."
ON INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE
"I really admire Robert Fitzgerald [Productivity
Commissioner and lead Commissioner of the Caring for
Older Australians inquiry]. He is an inspirational and
dynamic leader and a great communicator, who gives much
wisdom and direction in many forums that significantly
impact our Australian social and economic fabric. I
particularly admire his breadth of understanding and
insights into all aspects of our society...and his capacity to
articulate issues from all stakeholders perspectives."
"I agree with Michael Goldsworthy, you need to get big
or go niche. That's a key issue for the future and the
sector needs to embrace it at a peak level. I believe you
need scale not just for now but the future -- it's a global
environment now; not just state or national competitors."
ON 'HAVING IT ALL'
"I do think it is possible to manage a career and a family
and do it well. I feel as though I have been able to do it but
only with lots of long term planning and picking the right
partner! All through my career, we planned all the breaks
and holidays a year ahead. And I have always tried to
negotiate some flexibility, including for staff. Family is the
most important thing but work is also really important."
"I would like to see a gender balance through both
governance and management structures across the
sector. We're still not there in the governance area. At
Villa Maria, employee surveys are done annually across
the organisation and there are great results. We've been
awarded the federal government's Employer of Choice for
Women Award two years running in 2011 and 2012."
"We've seen ageing through a clouded lens for so long,
as a time of decline. We need to shift our thinking and
recognise the wisdom and contribution that we can make
to society as we age. [...] But we need to take personal
responsibility and make sensible plans for our futures too.
Whether it's having enough superannuation and financial
security, or choosing the right living environments or
ensuring we stay socially engaged, in Gandhi's words, you
have to 'be the change you wish to see in the world'."
"My strength really lies
around leadership and
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 47
Links Archive AAA Jan-Feb 2013 AAA May-Jun 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page