One of my favourite sayings is ‘when one door closes another one opens. But we’re often looking so longingly at the door that has closed that we don’t actually see the new door that’s opened’. I believe you need to explore every opportunity that comes your way because you never know where it’s going to lead. Being the inaugural CEO of Therapy Focus was fantastic. It was daunting because it was my first CEO role and I was responsible for the success of a new organisation, but as a lifelong learner I embraced the opportunity and it was a role that I absolutely loved and enjoyed.

I always knew that I wanted to be in some sort of helping profession. My family lived in a small town in Tasmania where my Dad ran a newsagency on the main street. I have very fond memories of sitting out the front of the shop selling raffle tickets to generate money for what was called the Retarded Children’s Association in those days. The biggest employer in our town was a large psychiatric institution that housed the criminally insane but also people who were classed as ‘retarded’ in those days. So because of where we lived, people with disabilities were always part of my life.

My mum was a tireless volunteer and a really giving person. She was very connected to the community and I suppose I inherited her special gift of wanting to make a difference. I have this strong desire to serve and help people achieve their potential, but I’ve learnt later in life that it’s also about helping organisations achieve their potential. Even though I’ve worked in the private sector and the government, not-for-profit is where I feel most comfortable. I love the work I do. It’s the difference that we make in people’s lives and then the broader social impact that is made in the community.

Not everyone is born with the same opportunities. I believe that there’s a fine line we all walk in life and at any point in time you could be on either side of that line. You could have an accident that results in a disability; you could be in situation where you lose your job and eventually become homeless; you may use drugs and alcohol to cope with everyday life. You never know if or when you might find yourself on the other side of that line, so you should never judge. Accept where people are at because you don’t know their story, their background, or what’s happened to them in life.

Angie Paskevicius
Inaugural CEO of Therapy Focus

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