Each member of our team is passionate about the role we play in making a positive impact in the community. Learn more about the people behind the passion and what makes them proud to be part of the work we do.
I live on the Mornington Peninsula, but I was actually born in Adelaide. I have 3 grown up kids and 3 sausage dogs. I worked in signage for about 14 years before I started in this industry. And before that, I did graphic reproduction.
About 10 years ago, I ran a marathon. I started running when I stopped smoking and I decided I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 40. I ran a marathon about 2 weeks before my
40th birthday. I’m quite stubborn, so if I decide that I’m going to do something then I’m going to do it.
What is your role at the Information Access Group?
I am a team leader and major accounts manager, so my role is kind of 2 parts. I do a lot of project management and the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) is my biggest client.
Another major part of my role is being a team leader. We have quite a young team and I really enjoy watching them grow and develop. This is such a niche industry and I remember clearly when I first came into this job it was like starting an apprenticeship all over again. Now that I’m comfortable in the space, I really enjoy being able to use my experience to help these guys – but also learning from them as well. The younger generation have so much to teach us. It’s also a great opportunity to be able to work with young intelligent people who think so differently to me, who are also open and compassionate.
Can you tell us about a client project you’ve worked on that you are proud of?
One of the jobs that sticks in my mind, and always will, is the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022–2032 that we did Easy Read for.
Domestic violence was still being talked about and the tragic story of Hannah Clarke was really fresh in people’s minds. I took the time to read through the old National Plan and then the new National Plan documents and it struck me how important this work is. It also struck me that one of the demographics with the highest risk is women with disability and for them to not be able to access this information is awful.
We worked really hard with DSS to get this right – we spent hours in meetings to work out the best way to move forward. There was so much information and we didn’t want any of that information cut out. But it was too much information to have in one document, so we advocated to have a suite of 3 documents. It was a big work in progress but nice to be on the same page with our team and with DSS to make sure that it was right.
What do you find most rewarding about the work you do at the Information Access Group?
I had a situation recently where the team was talking about how to develop an icon to represent autism. One of our designers showed us 4 or 5 icons he’d worked on and we had a great group discussion about it. Then Steve had the idea to ring Jess – Jess is our niece and she has autism. We rang Jess, put her on FaceTime, showed her the icons and asked her ‘which one do you think represents autism?’. She picked the one that had a smile on it and said, ‘I like this one because it makes people realise that autism is not bad’. That sort of thing just warms my heart, to know that you're able to connect with people in that way.
So that's one side and the other side is like I just I love working with the team. I love that mentoring role and relationship building. It’s my favourite thing to do. I love to meet people and work them out. I love that I’m in a job that gives me that opportunity as well. I’m very lucky.
What does a day in the life of Kellie look like?
On weekends, we normally get up and take the 3 sausage dogs for a walk. They’re very naughty so we need to take them where there aren’t many people or dogs. The oldest one has to go in a pusher because his back legs aren’t working properly. We’re quite the sight.
Then maybe we would have a coffee. We love catching up with friends. But we also love being at home. We've been in our house for a long time and we've done a lot of work to it and we love it. We spend lots of time with family, with the kids and all their dogs … we're very much dog people.
We love to watch a bit of sport. My favourite basketball player at the moment is an amazing basketballer called Chloe Bibby. She’s playing with the Opals and she plays with our seniors at Frankston. I watch the work she does with our girls and she’s such an amazing leader. I have so many favourites in basketball but at this moment, Chloe Bibby has my attention.
What do you hope to do with your studies?
I am studying a Bachelor of Business with a major in management. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to university when I was young – circumstance didn’t allow it. In a previous job I hated the culture, the management and the way they treated people. I thought, rather than hating it and complaining, why don’t I learn how to do it and see what changes I can make. I enrolled and immediately started learning things that could help change that culture. I love that everything I learn – my business and leadership skills – I can implement here at the Information Access Group. I love learning and I want to be a better manager – that’s what I want to get out of it.
What’s it like working with your husband?
This is the third job where we’ve worked in the same place and we always joke that I'm always the one that leads and then he somehow follows. We actually met when we were working together in our 20s. We’ve always worked side by side – we’ve never had one of us in charge of the other.
It’s taken a long time to set the boundaries, but we actually enjoy it. Steve has such a high work ethic. I really respect the way he works and the way he thinks. I feel like we’re very, very lucky. It’s taken a lot of work but it’s worth it.
Why are you passionate about volunteering?
I have the kind of personality where when I get involved in something I can’t help myself.
My volunteering first started when our son was 6 and he started playing basketball. The club was folding and I thought ‘if no one stands up and takes over this club, these kids are going to have nowhere to play and that’s not fair’. I was a netballer and I’d never been around basketball. I put years and years into it and built the club up and learnt along the way. The thing I loved most was the relationships I built – with parents, referees and administrators. But I also just loved the kids.
This one little girl in particular, every time she got the ball she would just run. I remember the day she got her first goal, after playing for 4 years. I had just started chemo and was really sick and her mum called me to tell me. And I just cried. She said everyone was up on their seats clapping and I loved that I’d built up that culture.
We did some volunteering last year for a homeless shelter over the winter period and it was just amazing. It was really hard work and confronting, but not always sad. On her last night, I asked one lady if I could give her a hug. She cried and said, ‘no one’s ever asked me for a hug before’. That’s what I love about volunteering – why wouldn’t you be involved in the community and help people and make a difference in their lives?
I remember talking to my middle daughter a year or 2 ago. She’s very compassionate and out of the blue she said to me ‘you taught me how to be inclusive before being inclusive was even a thing’. That’s one of my favourite compliments ever.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that you are an incredibly positive person. How do you remain positive in the face of adversity?
I just make a choice to see everything as an experience. It has to be a choice though. You have to make a choice that that’s the direction you’re going to take.
I know that coming into work you’ve got the opportunity to connect with people – and there are people going through things that no one else knows about. So, I see that as a gift. Life is just so much better when you’re happy. Sometimes you have to work at being positive, but for me it’s a choice.