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“Make the change now – do it!” Chrissie Collins on how she landed her dream job at a leading women’s health NFP

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of blog posts that go behind the scenes to meet some of the people and organisations finding each other through EthicalJobs.com.au.

Today’s story is from Chrissie Collins who found her job in executive support at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health on EthicalJobs.com.au.

Founded in 1992, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving knowledge of women’s health throughout the various stages of women’s lives. It employs people in areas ranging from research and education to marketing and project management.

Hi Chrissie, thanks so much for chatting to us and congratulations on finding your job on EthicalJobs.com.au! First of all, can you tell us about your first ever paid job?

Going back many years, I was a secretary for Radio New Zealand for the Nightline Show, and then I became the producer. I can never listen to radio the same way ever again, having now worked behind the scenes. Radio is an awesome industry and it was a great welcome into a fun and colourful workplace.

Tell us a bit about your education – what did you study after high school?

After school I studied whilst working, completing tertiary qualifications in writing and editing, communications and business.

These courses gave me exposure and support in developing one of my key strengths in relation to engagement and communications. I am not bound to my industry as my skills are transferable, however engagement is a natural skill for me – particularly if I believe in an organisation’s product or service.

Can you tell us a little about your career before you started at Jean Hailes?

After working in radio, I worked in NZ for [government agency] New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, looking after their visiting media program and written/design publications. I then moved over to Melbourne with them and became a business development officer, doing research into the Australian market for NZ products and services.

I then moved into education, working at two prominent girls’ schools, where I worked as an alumnae manager for over six years.

Wow what a diverse career! What prompted you to shift into working for a NFP?

I was not quite aligned with the values of private schools, so I looked at my personal values and work ethic and chose to look at NFP opportunities and move away from private schools.

For over five years I had volunteered extensively for a homeless women’s refuge in Reservoir, as well as for an Indigenous school in Richmond. Both were brilliant introductions to the world or caring and being proactive, so I then decided only to work in paid philanthropic work.

After working in the women’s refuge and for two girls-only schools, I knew women’s health was where I would be most aligned (and hopefully most knowledgeable!).

So what you do in your role at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health?

I provide high-level administrative support to the senior leadership team. I also work with our Executive Director in raising our philanthropic profile and stewardship.

Can you tell us a bit about what Jean Hailes for Women’s Health does? And what first attracted you to the organisation when you saw the ad on EthicalJobs.com.au?

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) is dedicated to improving women’s health by addressing the needs of women, their health professionals and policy-makers. The organisation reflects the enduring legacy that Dr Jean Hailes AM made to women’s health.

JH takes a whole-of-life approach, recognising that women have different health needs at different stages. We are also broad-spectrum, addressing common health conditions known to have major long-term health implications for women.

We do this through administering clinical care, conducting research and providing education, with the aim of equipping women with information, knowledge and care to assist them to actively manage their own health and wellbeing.

I can proudly now add that Jean Hailes for Women’s Health won the Social Change Maker category for Victoria at the recent Telstra Business Awards in Melbourne!

As for what attracted me to Jean Hailes, I recognised the name instantly as I had had a job interview there around 15 years ago but got pipped at the post!

However, I have followed JH since then. Rather than be largely driven by the job title being advertised (Education Executive Support), I was more driven by the organisation and the match with my own values and ethics.

Many people who work for community organisations could earn a more lucrative salary in the public or private sector. What has motivated you to work in the not-for-profit sector?

After my experience in the corporate and private education sectors, I just knew I had to be true to myself and beliefs.

I also love and appreciated the ‘work flexi’ attitude of the Jean Hailes team culture, particularly with the support of my manager – that is worth much more than money.

And just finally, what advice would you give to the many ethical jobseekers who dream of landing a job like yours?

Do it! The philanthropic world is full of amazingly talented, educated, intelligent, caring people – so make the change now to be part of the positive culture of NFPs.

And working at an NFP, every time it shows tangible impacts to our immediate and wider community, you just know the true purpose in life is to help!

Thanks so much, Chrissie!

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