In this episode of Executive with a Cause, host Tammy Ven Dange chats with Camilla Rowland of Palliative Care Australia.

The value of storytelling is acknowledged when communicating to potential donors, but how about policymakers and cost justifications? And what should you do as a new executive in an organisation? This episode is full of great advice from Camilla’s long executive and board career in the community and health sector including the value of qualitative data, different management styles, the risk of relying on single funding sources, as well as working with boards.

As an example, when joining a new organisation, Camilla advocates’ taking stock’ of the current state through productive staff talks and avoiding ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ from rapid change implementation. This realisation partly came through her MBA, which made Camilla appreciate slowing down her energetic management style to bring the team along before introducing changes. In addition, she now recognises the value of different management styles and how they can challenge each other to create innovative outcomes rather than settling for the status quo.

Finally, Camilla dissects the risks of relying on a single source of government income and the ethical issues that can surround ‘fee for service’ structures, both commonplace in the healthcare sector. We also learn how opportunities may arise for providers that can innovate and provide a unique service differing from government-funded services.

Thank you for listening to the Executive with a Cause podcast. Don’t forget to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

IT in Plain English

Business continuity is a top priority for most organisations, and it’s important not to ignore physical vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. In this episode, Tammy explains what a UPS is, an Uninterruptible Power Supply that will provide backup in the event of an outage, and whether to consider implementing or upgrading to protect your system.

Sign-up here to subscribe to the “IT in Plain English” newsletter. You can submit your question to Tammy Ven Dange by messaging her on LinkedIn, and maybe she’ll answer it on the show.

Topics from this episode:

  • 00 | Introduction
  • 05 | Making changes as a new leader
  • 06 | Beginning in the health-sector
  • 08 | Tips for someone starting in social work
  • 35 | Finding good people
  • 00 | Identifying the right fit in recruitment
  • 45 | Burnout and PTSD in community services
  • 05 | Accessing help in a smaller organisation
  • 50 | Resources introduced
  • 05 | Addressing single-source funding models
  • 40 | Predicting trends in philanthropy
  • 00 | Dealing with the increasing need
  • 00 | Palliative care in crisis
  • 30 | Advice for the industry
  • 00 | Working with boards
  • 40 | Removing the taboo
  • 04 | Learning more
  • 10 | IT in Plain English

Quotes from Camilla in this episode:

“Although we are Not for Profit, we are still a business. But we are a mission-driven business in terms of wanting to help the most vulnerable parts of our community”

“The other skill set that is interesting is culture. Thinking about how when we take the mission of an organisation, how do we actually embed that into the mission of the staff team. So they’re not just coming to work a 9 to 5”

“When you have a really great board, with a mixed skills base. What you find is that the strategic plan that comes out of that is really well-shaped and sharpened to the mission of the organisation”

“You achieve that cultural change through a number of ways. Boards usually recruit CEOs, and the top of their list is a good cultural fit with the mission of the organisation”

“With that sort of platform and philosophy within my family, being advocates for social justice issues, plus my social work at university where I was surrounded by lecturers and people who made me realise it wasn’t just about addressing mental health. Or addressing drinking. But you need to address those issues concurrently if you want to have a just society, and the way to do that is through a social development approach”

“In addition to having a mentor, I think it’s really important to stay abreast of business and leadership. I will read magazines from the Institute of Company Directors. I will read McKinsey reports. All that information is really important. And you’ll filter it, but it’s so important to stay abreast of what’s going on as everything is changing so quickly”

“Surround yourself as much as possible with great managers and a great management team. Because they are, in effect, part of that leadership group. Sound ideas with them, take onboard their advice. Really think of yourself as part of a management or leadership movement”

“It’s actually the attitude and innovation that they will bring. And testing that out in the recruitment processes is really important. What I’ve learnt is, that not everyone needs to be outgoing like me. Sometimes you need a quiet achiever. It’s good to be challenged, what you don’t want is someone who is passive and goes along without contributing their own ideas. A good manager will have a good level of innovation and thinking forward, as well as delivering the now”

“We should be advocating for managers and CEOs to also receive clinical supervision. Because that process is where people identify they’re on the border of PTSD or burnout, or they are becoming overly tired. We so run the risk of not looking after people if they don’t have something akin to clinical supervision, which is an incredibly different process to staff supervision”

“Clinical supervision allows you to reflect on your practice, and how you’ve delivered that practice, and what you’ve learnt from that and what you’d do differently”

“You need to be able to deal with that, and not just park it to the side. And clinical supervision does that”

“Single source funding is highly risky. So either you recognise that. And the board acknowledges it’s highly risky in terms of their planning. Or they look in terms of their groups of clients, what is it they could attract funding from? It’s good to stream it into those different areas of philanthropy. Whether it’s grants or donations or sponsors, what does that look like, and what does it mean for our organisation? Get some external expertise to advise you on how to apply that to your organisation. The second stream is government grants…often there are opportunities to look more broadly at other government departments for aligned funding for other projects or programs. And the third is around the fee for service…The ethics are, what is it that governments should be responsible for, and what should individuals be responsible for themselves. And I think this is a question of contention for leaders at the moment”

“The other trend is the needs are going to go up. The void between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is only going to increase. So where are you going to focus your attention? If you can’t look after the whole client group, where do you focus your attention and advocacy for that need?”

“We actually found an increase in donations during COVID because it was so dear to the community. The community in Canberra had really embraced this service and understood it was so important for young adults with disabilities to be engaged in this service. And it was because we had highlighted the stories of this service and how important it was. But the government funding during COVID really decreased as it was a fee-for-service because it was part of the NDIS, and what we needed to make sure was that we kept it going”

Links & Resources


Thanks to our Producer, Nick Whatman, and the entire team at Lonsdale St. Studio. Thanks also to our Digital Content Creator, Laura Kleinrahm.

Tammy Ven Dange is a former charity CEO, Not for Profit Board Member and IT Executive. Today she helps NFPs with strategic IT decisions, especially around investments.

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