February 2017

8 APAC / February 2017 , 1702AP25 A Servant Leader Viv Allanson is CEO of Maroba. She tells us more about how the industry has evolved over the years and what she believes it takes tomake a successful leader. Maroba was established in 1954 in an old maternity cottage in Mayfield offering 10 rooms for elderly widows and spinsters. In 1960 a parcel of land was granted in Waratah where Maroba has grown from its initial 10 beds to 155 aged care beds and 23 retirement villas providing accommodation and care for seniors from all walks of life. Maroba continues to be operated by the Islington Baptist Church, proudly maintaining its independence as a truly local service.7 Viv Allanson is CEO of Maroba, she tells us more about the business and its ongoing strategy. “Maroba is funded primarily by the Commonwealth Government along with a contribution by each resident in the form of a daily care fee and, if they have the means to contribute to their accommodation costs they will pay the published price by way of a Residential accommodation deposit or a Daily Accommodation payment,” she explains. “The key to our future in a very competitive market is to continue to grow our brand and grow our services and accommodation offerings. Planning for expansion into community care and development of 51 apartments for retirement living within our Waratah campus will compliment and strengthen current service offerings.” Technology is key in the aged care sector, and Viv and her team work hard to ensure it is used effectively. “Maroba is well known in the sector as an early adopter so is always looking for innovative cost effective systems that will enhance resident outcomes and employee job satisfaction. “When an innovation comes to our attention or we seek out a particular technology, we would establish a project team to research the offering and report back. If deemed suitable to our environment and the business case stacks up for the board then we press go and proceed with purchase and implementation. “In some cases this sector has been very slow to adopt technology leaving some organisations behind in this now very competitive market place. As aged care leaders we must consider and sure up the future which lies both in our people and in technological advancement … the two must be front of mind for organisations to progress and grow.” Viv was promoted from the Executive Director of Nursing position to the position of CEO of Maroba in 2000. Whilst beginning her career in the Public Health sector she has not looked back since she made the move to Aged care in 1992. Her qualifications are numerous including a Master of Health Management. Bringing her nursing experience to the role has enabled her to maintain her focus on the clinical and care issues whilst progressing Maroba’s business performance. The focus now is to diversify the range of accommodation and services provided by Maroba to ensure it continues to be a relevant and dynamic organisation. Viv was elected to the Aged and Community Services Association of NSW & ACT board of directors in 2007. Now an award-winning CEO, Viv shares with us the key attributes that she believes she possesses to ensure her continued success, and what motivates her to keep on climbing. “Connectedness is a driver for me as I see the world as one big connected family each playing a part in the others success and life outcomes,” she enthuses. “My personal approach is to always sew into the whole so that we all look good at whatever it is we do. I lend myself to individuals, organisations and to causes as I can’t ignore the call of humanity and am fully persuaded that I can make a difference one person at a time and one day at a time. “Courage in the face of opposition and emergency situations has served me well and ignited the strength of the people around me who may otherwise be paralysed with fear or lack of self confidence in those situations. “I wear my heart on my sleeve so no one has to second guess me, my team have come to rely on that transparency and honesty… speaking the truth in love does win others over . “Having the attitude and demeanour of a servant leader has led to success after success…and I don’t just mean personal or organisational success…once again the success of our team and for those in our care shines through.” “My Maroba family are my motivators along with some amazing people in all sorts of business and leadership roles who challenge me and inspire me to never give up. I have a strong faith in my Creator who keeps me grounded and settled even in the midst of the storms. It is this same faith that causes me to Love the unlovable and gets me up each day believing I CAN make a difference.” Being a CEO within the Asia- Pacific region has not come without its challenges, and Viv talks about how she has risen through the ranks despite sometimes facing adversity. “Over my 42 years working in the Health and Aged Care sectors the only constant is CHANGE which for the most part ranges from mild to extremely challenging. From leading the evacuation and emergency efforts and subsequent dismantling of the Area Health Service as acting Director of Nursing at Royal Newcastle Hospital in the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake to dealing with failures in care, the deaths of highly valued staff members and working alongside and supporting the poorest of the poor in third world nations … I have learnt to overcome. Flexibility is a key feature of who I have become, but flexibility without deep compassion for humanity can lead one into the quicksand. For me, this is about putting the people first … yes, even before the organisation, for by so doing the organisation is always advanced and in a better position to deal with the next challenge.