CRUcial Conversations

Stories of grassroots change and leadership

Introducing CRUcial Conversations

with Matt Stone and Margaret Rodgers

Two clay figures talking with the words above crucial conversations the first episode of this series Matt Stone [bio], CRU board member discusses the upcoming series with CEO of Community Resource Unit, Margaret Rodgers [bio]. They have both worked with people with disability and their families for many years and their enthusiasm for the history and the messages in the series is evident in this introductory discussion.

Matt and Margaret reflect on the messages in these very personal stories and what people can expect from this new resource on Change and Leadership.  They explain why CRU has made the podcasts in this way and the recent establishment of the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative.

For Matt, as a Board member and Margaret as CEO they are keen to ensure that the resources CRU produces are relevant and useful to as many people as possible.

This series can be found through iTunes, Spotify and wherever good podcasts are found.  We have more information on how to access podcasts on this post.

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1. Josey McMahon

Josey with her sister CathyJosey McMahon and her twin sister Cathy grew up in a large family in rural Queensland until Cathy moved to live in a large institution where she remained for 47 years.

This is the story of how Josey reconnected with Cathy and helped Cathy reconnect with the wider world once again. At its heart this story is about personal change, reconnection and the power of family.

2. Margaret and Jeremy Ward

Margaret and Jeremy WardMargaret and Jeremy Ward have been active members of the disability community in Queensland since the 1980’s. They have invested in collective family advocacy efforts and in developing their own leadership skills and the skills of others. They were also instrumental in the creation of organisations such as QPPD, CRU, QAI and Pave the Way.

In this story they share the personal struggle for their daughter Mena to attend the local school alongside her peers. They describe the importance of clarifying their vision; learning about new ways of doing things and getting the right people around the table to help make it happen.

3. Anne Cross

Anne CrossAnne Cross is the founding director of the Community Resource Unit and the recently retired CEO of Uniting Care Queensland, one of the largest service providers of disability and aged care in Queensland.  Throughout her career she received a number of accolades, including Telstra Business Woman of the year for 2014.

Her career coincided with various developments that have come to define our understanding of professional services and their place in people’s lives. Throughout all this change, Anne has made a point of listening to and learning from the people she has worked with. Anne’s story is an example of how skilled and committed professionals can partner with people with disability and their families to create change.

4. Leanne Burke

Leanne and Maria BurkeIn a career spanning over three decades, Leanne Burke has worked in a range of settings to support people with disability. Guided by the example of her first teacher, her big sister Maria, Leanne is committed to creating the best life for the people she works with.

Leanne’s leadership has been in quietly and consistently demonstrating what is possible for people and what good quality looks like over time has been a great contribution to the sector. In sharing what she’s learnt Leanne challenges many common assumptions of how to serve people well and what leadership looks like.

We wish to dedicate this podcast to the memory of Maria Burke, 1959–2018.

5. Kevin Cocks

Kevin CocksKevin Cocks is very clear that his passion for standing up for people has stemmed from the values learnt in his childhood in western Queensland.

Since acquiring his disability in his early 20’s, Kevin has engaged in disability advocacy, co-founded an innovative service; won a class action to change the Australian Building Code and served as Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination commissioner for seven years.

In this episode we hear Kevin reflect on his earlier life and some of the ways he was active in cutting new paths for himself and on behalf of all people with disability.

Kevin reflects on the place and experience of people with disability in our communities and what we all lose when we exclude vulnerable people. Kevin has taken a lead but has not done this alone and is clear that the most effective leaders are connected to others.

Reflections on CRUcial Conversations with Karin Swift and Lesley Chenoweth in conversation with Nance Haxton

Karin, Hugh, Nance and Lesley in the recording studioSometimes hearing others talk about what they heard and what made sense to them can also help us to see things in a new way.  With that in mind we invited two good friends of CRU, Lesley Chenoweth and Karin Swift, to converse with journalist, Nance Haxton about the series.

Lesley Chenoweth AO is an academic, activist and adjunct Professor at Griffith University.  Lesley committed her career to advancing the rights of people with disability and ensuring their voices are heard.  This included time working at CRU in the 1980s and later serving as President of the Management Committee.

Karin Swift currently works as a policy officer for Queenslander’s with Disability Network (QDN).  She was the president of Women With Disability Australia (WWDA) and was a non-government representative to the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations in 2012.

Nance Haxton won two Walkley Awards for her work as an ABC Journalist. She has a family member with disability and she and her family have connected with CRU over many years.

We hope their reflections on the themes that emerged and the ideas and memories that sparked for them will enhance your own reflections.

Anne Cross Leadership Initiative

These podcasts were funded by the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative.

This initiative was established in 2017 to honour the contribution of Anne Cross to Uniting Care Queensland during her years as the Chief Executive officer.

This partnership between Uniting Care and CRU aims to contribute to the development of strong, principled leadership amongst people with disability and families throughout Queensland in order to contribute to better lives for people with disability.