omni- [ˈɒmni] PREFIX - all, of all things
care [kɛː] NOUN - the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.
VERB - feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.
(care for) look after and provide for the needs of.
Why would an executive with 30 years’ experience in the metropolitan corporate world of technology decide to take the reins at a regional care provider?
As CEO of Omnicare, my role involves leading over 150 staff across a footprint spanning the New South Wales Mid-North Coast region in Australia. I’d been on The Board (all voluntary posts) of this aged, disability and dementia service provider for less than a year, when I stepped in to replace my predecessor.
On paper (or screen) this might get a few heads scratching – dividing my time between my Sydney home and the comparatively small tourist town of Port Macquarie. However, I’m on a mission to help pave the way for Omnicare to become a flagship of the care sector across the nation, and beyond.
Omnicare Alliance does things differently. That’s why I got involved in the first place.
As I’ve alluded to, Omnicare is about ‘looking after all’ – that means holistic support, not just for clients that use our services at home or in our day centres, but for their primary carers (typically partners, adult children or siblings). One of the exciting advantages of being involved in a people-first community-based organisation is that there’s more scope for flexibility and adaptability.
Take, for example, the recent NSW bushfire situation that has devastated many homes in the region. Road closures and dense smoke created significant disruptions to Omnicare’s regular operations. However, from senior management, through to team leaders, frontline staff and even volunteers, we were able to respond quickly and appropriately to ever-changing conditions.
Three for the team
What I’d like to share are three philosophical themes that underpin my leadership.
Care – one of the reasons I joined The Board was my experience of my father’s final 15 years. That’s how I became acquainted with the aged care sector and the tough conversations and decisions that precede the passing of a loved one. The Royal Commission into aged care is set to shake up the sector. Omnicare is already one step ahead – employing Montessori principles to support clients who are aged or living with disability or dementia; their carers; and staff. “Let’s understand who you are and what you can do” epitomises the Omnicare way in the form of The WISER Approach to our support.
Change – there is so much stigma in the sphere of aged care: ageing, death and dementia are areas many people find taboo, regardless of their prevalence. The term ‘elderly’ has come to be associated with frailty and dependence, rather than the more positive connotations of seniority and wisdom. Omnicare challenges stigma, promoting dignity, independence and quality of life. We strive to make a positive impact on the sector.
Connection – the term ‘not-for-profit’ might conjure up thoughts of altruism and empathy, but the flip side is it might suggest the bottom line doesn’t matter. Think of Omnicare as a ‘profit-for-purpose’ organisation. Compassion and close ties to the communities we serve are front and centre of everything we do, but sustainability is achieved through professionalism and a commercial outlook. Ensuring clients feel they contribute meaningfully and engage socially is at the heart of Omnicare’s quality of service.
That's Omnicare. Here's to doing things a little differently to make a difference.