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“Trust your instincts when finding who you want to work with” – Claudia Cerroni on landing her role with Community Resources

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of articles 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 Claudia Cerroni who found her role as HR Manager for Community Resources on EthicalJobs.com.au.

Community Resources is a national not-for-profit organisation that specialises in social enterprise. They exist to create jobs that care for people and planet.  They run three environmental repair social enterprises – Green Connect, Soft Landing and Resource Recovery Australia – as well as a range of community services including Homebase Youth and Aboriginal Services, Great Lakes and Manning Youth Homelessness Services, WasteAid Australia and a fourth social enterprise called Helping Hands.

Starting out with work

I was the slowest kitchen hand at a local café when I was in high school. My career in hospitality only lasted a couple of shifts!

Then I studied Commerce and Arts degrees at the University of Wollongong, majoring in HR and Sociology respectively. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at the time, but took an interest in people, what gives them purpose, and my own experience being a first generation Australian born to migrant parents.

I think a natural curiosity led me to a career in HR but I find so much relevance in both degrees to how I practice HR. What happens at work is very much influenced by each individual and their values, influences, cultural norms and experiences, and I think the rigour of learning about HR in a business sense was complemented by the complexity of individuals in a societal frame.

After Uni, I managed to get a graduate HR role, and got a lot of exposure and experience through a HR generalist pathway for government-owned, transitional and private-sector industries. I’ve been lucky to have been supported by some really great leaders and mentors, who I’ve learned a lot from. Most recently I worked as a HR Business Partner before joining Community Resources.

Working at Community Resources

Community Resources creates jobs that care for people and planet, and honours traditional custodians of the land. We do this through five social enterprises focused on environmental and social repair, as well as a range of Community Services. Of our team of more than 500, over 75% come to us having experienced barriers to employment. 

I’m the first HR Manager for Community Resources. As we’ve existed for 32 years, my role takes the best people practices to scale, review and implement our employee lifecycle framework. We provide resources, coaching, advice and tools dedicated to enabling positive people practices.

Lately, our weeks have been spent supporting the business to respond to COVID-19, including anything from wellbeing, employee relations, and management of JobKeeper – and that’s on top of our usual day-to-day work. I’m so proud of how dedicated our teams have been in getting through these unprecedented times.

A highlight has been being part of a team that has, so far, safely worked through the pandemic across five states and territories, and navigating JobKeeper. I don’t think I’d have been able to choose a more collaborative and supportive bunch of people to work with through this. Our people took a hard time, came together, rolled up their sleeves and worked to help one another. While the rewarding part is being able to directly help keep jobs for our people at this time, it’s also something I hope we never have to do again once it’s over.

Working for a better world

I first came across EthicalJobs.com.au through a simple Google search! I had recently completed a Diploma in Positive Psychology through the Langley Group and had an ‘a-ha moment’ with myself. With a better understanding of my personal values and a purpose-led approach, I wanted my next job to contribute to more equitable outcomes for communities. So, I did a web search of something like ‘jobs with purpose’ and then happened to find EthicalJobs.com.au.

I was attracted to this role and Community Resources because it met the brief of what I was searching for – challenge, a new industry to learn in, and although we have a national footprint, also being able to work in the Illawarra and with flexibility.

I value the role of all sectors (and now get to directly see the how sectors collaborate together for shared outcomes) and am grateful for having experience outside of NFP. At this point in my career, I’m happy in the balance of applying my experience in a purpose-led role and having enough to support my family.

I’d encourage everyone to think differently about what career success looks like. There is so much talent in a competitive market and those expectations should still hold in our sector without compromise. The edge is in how your personal values align to your next organisation. Trust your instincts when finding who you want to work with and pace yourself – the hard work is worth it.


Image: (from left) Michael Cebon from EthicalJobs.com.au, Kylie Flament, Claudia Cerroni, Mark Chicken, Bronwyn Williams from Community Resources at the Not-For-Profit People Conference.

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