New executive director Darren Sonter took over the reins at Jubilee Community Care in February. Below, find an introduction from Darren on his first month in the job and his thoughts about aged care and Jubilee’s bright future.
Hello to all the staff and clients of Jubilee Community Care. I am Darren Sonter, the newly-appointed Executive Director.
Thank you for what has been a very warm and friendly welcome. I really have been made to feel like part of the Jubilee family. Like all new staff I even got to enjoy day one’s traditional morning tea welcome. This has set the scene for a caring, helpful and friendly orientation period. I have especially enjoyed meeting our support workers and volunteers as they have dropped into our office. I was also fortunate to have had our Management Committee president Judy Salecich put together a Jubilee history lesson. I found the overview she and former director Shaun Riley gave provided an excellent base to appreciate Jubilee’s core mission and its growth over time.
At the same time as I am finding my feet as executive director, Shaun has been respectfully handing over. Shaun guided Jubilee for 12 years. He has undertaken his role with diligence and integrity and has steered Jubilee’s growth and evolution while maintaining a stable workforce and delivering outstanding service to our clients. Shaun will stay with Jubilee until June – making recommendations about strategic matters in which the Management Committee has sought input.
As many staff have already discovered I am fairly blinkered by two passions – family and cricket! The Sonter family numbers 8 with my wife Jo-Anne and I proud parents to Chloe (23), Jack (15), Riley (14), Chelsea (12), Benjamin (10) and Emma (6). While Chloe has left home and is married to Peter, I am fortunate that all five children at home play cricket, which provides me with ample opportunity to coach and be involved in the sport in an administrative capacity. My wife Jo is also involved, serving on our children’s cricket club committee. As you might imagine, Jo is amazingly capable, gluing our family together with an energy and enthusiasm that never seems to be exhausted. It is such a privilege to be Dad to my crew and I am sure you will bump into them occasionally at the Jubilee office helping out with one task or another.
Looking forward, it reasonable to suggest Jubilee is entering one of the key periods in its 31-year history as we, along with the rest of the aged care sector, transform as a result of inputs unseen in our country’s history. At Jubilee fundamental decisions in relation to how we manage ongoing growth, while maintaining client and staff satisfaction and demonstrating service excellence at a time of enormous societal and sector change, will determine our legacy to the future leaders and staff of Jubilee.
The impact and opportunities being thrust upon the sector by the baby boomer generation and the Government’s response to the recent Royal Commission is expected to drive changes in funding allocation priorities as well as expectations around demonstrating service quality and value to the customer. All this in a workplace environment where skilled staffing shortages have been flagged as a key issue for many years. These macro changes mean we have a serious agenda ahead of us requiring considered decisions and plans. Many aspects of Jubilee operations will need to be evaluated, new systems and new products considered.
I believe that as this transformation unfolds a far greater challenge will be to retain this sense of Jubilee family I mentioned earlier, along with the trust of our clients in the integrity of our care offerings. I suspect the best map for navigation has already been presented to us in the existing Jubilee values that highlight people as our priority, relationships and teamwork as important, the need to treat people equally with respect and dignity while emphasising the need for transparent communication and social justice. Now and in the future our staff are the key to success for Jubilee and our clients.
Thank you for the warm welcome. The road ahead will certainly be an interesting one and I look forward to the journey with you.