Title: Karenza Louis-Smith – CEO, TaskForce.
What you do/who you help:
Since 1973 TaskForce has provided specialist support for people in serious need in Victoria. The people who access our services have experienced significant disadvantage or a crisis in their lives and as a result are prevented from reaching their potential. Many have fallen through society’s cracks and all too often have been placed in the too hard basket. They are people who have a long term range of complex issues or a single issue with a high degree of severity. Our core services focus on addressing social issues of addiction, unemployment, mental health and high risk taking behaviours supporting our clients to transition back into “mainstream” services and supports. We assist young people, adults and families.
What inspired you to get involved in your organisation?
The vision at TaskForce really struck a chord with me – in particular how building social and economic participation can help to break the cycle for people in our communities. I think what really attracted me to Taskforce was the idea that you could really make a difference through an approach that looked at the underlying cases to the problem, rather than adding a “band aid solution”. The mission and vision is about making a lasting change in our community and giving people a sense of hop and control over their future.
As the CEO I have been delegated by the Board the responsibility for managing the day to day operations of the agency. It’s a job that I find exciting, challenging and full of possibilities!
Your greatest challenges:
Our biggest challenge right now focuses on generating additional sources of income to achieve our goal of creating a series of hubs across the Southern region of Melbourne. We want to develop our services in such a way that people can have the full benefit of our expertise at every TaskForce location.
How have you utilized goodcompany (please provide examples of one or more recent wish outcomes)?
Good company has been amazing. We have worked with good company over many years and have had some amazing wishes fulfilled. The most recent wish saw TaskForce connect with 3 young executives at Bain. Dana, Shuyin and Geoff worked with our Board and executive over a weekend retreat to develop our strategic goals for the coming 5 years. The group continued to work with staff and key stakeholders for increased buy in, and our strategic plan was developed. Shuyin is continuing to work with TaskForce as we look at our resources and structure o implement the plan.
Tips for Community Groups and skilled volunteers working together:
We have found getting the right match to be really important. It is our practice to sit down over a coffee with the good company skilled volunteer and to discuss our shared aims and objectives. Being clear upfront about what is required, our shared commitment and outcomes we are going to achieve has increased our success. It’s important that both parties really benefit from the experience and that at the end we both feel that we have achieved something together. Finally, but really importantly being able to thank-each other is important in completing the wish.
Would you recommend goodcompany to other not-for-profit organizations?
Absolutely without a doubt.