Forum paves way for even better Ballarat

This year’s Leaders Forum health and wellbeing day was packed full of information from influential leaders happy to share their leadership skills. Ballarat Health Services’ Keren Day and Carolyn Robertson – both Leaders Forum alumni – and Fiona Brew and Leanne Shea – current participants – shared how they’ve embraced change and contributed to some massive changes within their organisation.

They have helped shape the new culture within Ballarat Health Services and try to live by the motto that “when things don’t go to plan, learn”.

Ms Day said undertaking last year’s Leaders Forum program helped her identify her strengths, “to own who I am”. 

It was interesting to note that Ballarat Health Services employs about 4500 people, which is 10 per cent of Ballarat’s total workforce.

Participants were also joined by Ballarat Health Services chief executive Dale Fraser, who strongly believes “what you say is as important as what you do”. 

Mr Fraser said the health service was a people service and looking after your employees’ welfare is really important.

“What are you doing to be the best healthiest version of you?,” he asked participants. “Be the leader who leaves a legacy behind”.

Mr Fraser also stressed that personal development was as important as professional development, but was too often overlooked.

While at the hospital, participants toured the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC). 

What an amazing place – on one hand, very sad but, on the other hand, so very amazing. Seeing the leaps and bounds that technology has come in the radiation field was astounding.

The chemotherapy room was an eye-opener too, with nurses and doctors being able to overlook every patient with a sweeping glance.

The fact that BRICC was set up with input from cancer patients was one of the reasons it was so well thought out.

BRICC’s wellness centre relies on community fundraising, so if you see a fundraiser being held for this very worthy cause, please support it. The centre provides a safe place for both the patient and the patient’s family – a place to catch their breath.

In the afternoon, participants headed to Ballarat Community Health’s new Lucas facility. Katherine Gillespie from Central Highlands Primary Care Partnership spoke of how to lead and encourage collaboration in a competitive environment.

She also discussed the process of deciding on a key priority for the region. 

“We don’t deliver health services – we influence and help implement change,” Ms Gillespie said.

Participants were then given a rundown on Ballarat Community Health and its expertly designed, award-winning facility.

Community participation in the health service is extremely important to both improvement and governance. The community is intrinsic to good co-design in the sector. Ballarat needs community input to help shape change. 

As the Ballarat region has areas of social disadvantage, we need to work at preventing health issues.

The underlying theme of the day was “real people” –  the human story, and how it impacts the community. Indeed, everything you do eventually affects another person.

Helen Swadling was a participant in this year’s Leaders Forum – Leadership Ballarat & Western Region’s experiential learning program for emerging leaders.