Recognising the achievements of our extraordinary staff

By Indi Fillery

Brand Engagement Officer

One of our favourite times of the year is when we get the opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements of our staff at our Annual Staff Awards Event. This year, the event took the form of an Awards Luncheon held at the State Reception Centre in Kings Park.

On Thursday 27 October 2022, colleagues and esteemed guests of Therapy Focus came together to celebrate another year of achievement. Overlooking the stunning, stretching vista of the Perth City skyline, guests were officially welcomed to country by elder Neville Collard.

Our South West Teams, based in Margaret River and Bunbury, opted to stay close to home this year and enjoyed connecting with the metropolitan event via live stream from the comfort of the local kitchen and brewery The Shelter in Busselton.

Pictured: MC Cassie Silver

Throughout the afternoon, Cassie kept the crowd enthralled as she explained a bit about herself, the order of proceedings and the housekeeping rules. She brought along some wicked games which kept guests on their toes and engaged the entire time.

Pictured: Staff member excitedly clutches a ball

Kicking off the awards portion of the event, Executive Manager Kanishka Kumarage presented the 2022 Support Award. In its second year, the award garnered 35 nominations from all corners of the business and aims to recognise non-clinical employees who provide exceptional support to colleagues, customers, and stakeholders, above and beyond normal expectations.  

Office Coordinator Lisa Wilkins took out the prize with her moving nomination submitted by Positive Behaviour Support Team Leader Nicky Montgomery.

“Lisa is very solutions-focused and has helped the team ensure expectations regarding funding and what our PBS service will look like for customers from the beginning. This has helped therapists boost productivity and meet billable targets. Her work has also helped me to do my job better, allowing me to focus on supporting my team and achieving customer outcomes, rather than looking over a very long waitlist. I could not do my job without her. She has truly demonstrated that we are stronger together and need to work together to meet a common goal”.

Pictured: Support Award Winner, Lisa Wilkins

Next up was the Innovation Award, presented by Board Member Ann Dawson. Now in its fifth year, the Innovation Award recognises a Therapy Focus employee who has driven positive change through innovation, demonstrating outstanding creativity and ingenuity when addressing challenges and improving processes.

Senior Occupational Therapist Sarah Turnley was selected as the winner for her work on developing and delivering the Tele-Transition program. She was nominated by Team Leaders Siobhan Clery and Shannen Stanes.

“Sarah and her colleagues championing the program utilised Curtin University research to develop the new and exciting program, called the Tele-transition program, which helps Therapy Focus customers increase their independence and develop life skills. Group sessions explore key life areas such as employment, finances, and relationships, whilst individual mentoring sessions support participants to explore what is important to them and achieve their goals. This program is unlike anything Therapy Focus has delivered before and has received outstanding feedback from customers, who have consistently developed skills and achieved goals.”

Pictured: Innovation Award Winner, Sarah Turnley

Next up was a scrumptious pause in official proceedings so staff could enjoy their main meal and spend some time socialising with teams they don’t get to see all that often.

Board Member Tony Vis was then called to the stage to announce the Leadership Award. One of our longest-running awards, the Leadership Award was established in 2000 and aims to recognise a Therapy Focus employee who has displayed exceptional leadership skills, demonstrated the ability to guide and inspire others, and contributed to the functioning of the organisation.

From 39 nominations, Team Leader Laura Martin was selected as the winner with her empowering nomination from Team Leader Melissa Athanassiou and Psychologist Maria McCarthy.

“Laura has shown great courage and loyalty to her team and has inspired us all over the course of the last year. She can relate to all who work with her, provide support, and show empathy, whilst also maintaining a great sense of professionalism. This allows Laura to lead without judgement, ensure we feel supported and secure in our workplace, and empowered to be better clinicians and people.”

Pictured: Leadership Award Winner, Laura Martin

Just as Cassie was getting ready to invite our next award presenter on stage there was a sudden tech failure! Everyone looked nervously around the room as house music began to play loudly. Then from the corner of the room came Team Leaders from every area of the business. All donning their much-loved Therapy Focus bucket hats they broke out in song and dance as they executed their well-planned flash mob! Within no time everyone was on their feet and joining in, even those in the South West. It will forever go down in Therapy Focus history.

Pictured: Team Leaders flash mob

Moving on from the shock of the flash mob, Senior Manager Samantha Berglin presented our Service Awards. Each year we celebrate Therapy Focus employees who have reached milestones in their dedicated service to our organisation. At the event, we celebrate those who have reached 5, 10 and 15 years of service in the last 12 months, but there are in fact 99 employees who have been with Therapy Focus for 5 years or more. That’s almost one-third of our staff.

Pictured: 10-Years of Service award recipients

Finally, it was time to announce perhaps our most esteemed award, the People’s Choice. The People’s Choice Award was established by the Customer Reference Group in 2015 as a way of acknowledging Therapy Focus employees who have gone above and beyond to support customers, their families, and carers. The annual award highlights exceptional service delivery and recognises employees who have consistently demonstrated the Therapy Focus Guiding Principles in their work.

Out of 30 nominations, Senior Speech Pathologist Rebecca Kippax was the winner. Joining her in the South West was her nominating customers Remus and Tanya who had the opportunity to share a little about the journey they have been on with Rebecca.

“Rebecca has made an outstanding difference in the life of my ASD daughter as she is always bringing new ideas on how to manage the challenges that my daughter experiences. She is always upbeat and never gives up. Rebecca always has a new tool to bring out of the box. The past year has been extremely difficult for our family as I have lost my husband and my daughter a stepfather. Rebecca has been there to support all the family and to provide strategies to create a more harmonious household. She has also been able to give my daughter guidance in reaching out to have goals and work towards a positive safe future for her” Tanya shared.

Pictured: People’s Choice Award Winner, Rebecca Kippax with customer Remus Bouffler (R) and mother Tanya Dennis (L)

Congratulation to all nominees, finalists, and winners of our 2022 awards.

At the end of the afternoon, staff had the opportunity to continue to connect with each other and soak up the scenery. It was wonderful to all come together again in a way we haven’t been able to for the past few years.