The 2018 RA Tas Staff Conference explored the theme of inspiration; what it means to ‘be inspired’, where inspiration is found and its significance in both our personal and professional lives.
It’s commonly thought that inspiration strikes in a random flash – seen as a feeling that occurs almost by accident. However, when the conference committee searched for a definition, inspiration was portrayed as a ‘process’ rather than an accidental phenomenon.
Over two days, staff heard from several speakers covering topics such as mental health, inner strength and courage – their personal stories and knowledge providing insight into inspiration and how this elusive ‘process’ may unfold.
For those who want to feel inspired, conference speaker Rabia Siddique, an Australian criminal and human rights lawyer, suggests that inspiration is something we can learn; that we can create an inspired state when we need to. Rabia touched on the causes and effects of conflict and barriers women face in the legal system. Rabia’s own personal story highlighted how we can progress these issues forward – ultimately changing how society thinks, feels and behaves towards women.
Nadine Champion, a world-class martial artist, argues that we find inspiration within ourselves. Nadine spoke of her experience fighting on the world stage and the courage and inner strength it takes to compete at this level. However, it was her story of perseverance outside the ring, that left us with the most to think about.
Staff also heard from Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania, who highlighted the need to foster a society free of discrimination, prejudice, and bias – drawing on her own experience as Director of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute.
Trisha Squires, one of The Reach Foundation’s original young leaders and facilitators – now CEO of AFL Tasmania – inspired staff with her story of overcoming great loss. Trisha’s journey to personal and professional success after losing her husband Troy illustrated that inspiration can be a slow and ongoing process; something to be continually worked at.
John Clark, Mental Health Outreach Worker with RAW Tasmania, shared with staff his passion for mental health advocacy. John’s personal struggle with mental illness and his journey to recovery, was an inspiring story – demonstrating that often we find our purpose through our pain. John left staff with the information, tools and strategies to help transform our conversations about mental health at home, in the workplace and in our communities.
At RA Tas, we don’t have to look too far to find inspiration in the workplace. Stories from our clients – Judy Balmforth and Allison and Drummond Williamson – provided a glimpse into the daily triumphs and change our clients achieve; and the dedication of their practitioners.
The popular segment Staff Ted Talks once again proved a highlight. Ted talkers Barry Jones, Rose Medwin, Gillian Joiner, Mitch McPherson, Julia Gandy, Wendy Meadowcroft, Marlene Horne and Pooja Vithalani inspired us; with tales of waste free-living, love and faith and finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places.
Through thought-provoking discussions, stories of strength, and self-reflection we edged a little closer to defining the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of inspiration; demonstrating that wherever we find it, it’s application in our everyday lives can be powerful.
Being an undefeated champion fighter means you learn a lot about how to win. Victory is rarely an accident. – Nadine Champion