Marleen Roch has worked at improving the lives of individuals in the Aged and Disability sector since 2003.
Over this period, Marleen has worked in numerous operational roles where her responsive nature has helped improve the lives of people with disabilities across Perth.
Marleen has also led numerous quality improvement audits and service design programs in many communities across WA that have resulted in meaningful outcomes for organisations and individuals.
I recently sat down with Marleen to discuss her role within Kira Community Services.
Q1. Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Yes, so I’m Marleen Roch. I’ve previously worked in improving the lives of those individuals within the aged care and disability sector primarily in the operational side of proceedings. I have also led numerous quality improvement audits and programs across WA. Today I am the Manager -Service Design and Delivery at Kira Community Services.
Q2. You began working towards improving the lives of those individuals within the aged care and disability sector in 2003 why did you chose to begin working in this particular sector?
Because I am passionate about advocacy for people. And by that, I mean Kira’s purpose aligns with my passion. Kira Community Services works to benefit their cause which is to supporting people and families living with disability which extends to the wider community, and Kira staff are so passionate about their work which in turn resinates with me as I connect with their drive and passion for being the organisation we are.
Q3. Why did you want to work for a Non-For-Profit organisation (NFP)?
Because the purpose and drive that is behind the organisation. I have a passion for helping clients of Kira achieve their goals and I get to see firsthand, people becoming more confident in their own abilities. We as an organisation provide constant support and guidance. Every day Kira and I get the chance to do something which and makes a difference in someone’s life.
Q4. How did this lead you to working at Kira?
Because Kira to me makes an impact on someone’s life daily. This drives me in delivering the best outcome Kira Community Services can provide with its current resources. Kira was established by parents of children with disabilities in 1991 and by the time I joined the company, I was already able to see their vision aligning with mine. I get to see our clients come initially, then Kira support staff and coordinators provide the support and guidance and for me, this is a very rewarding process. The outcomes that have been achieved with our clients brings a constant smile to my face and I know, myself and Kira continue to work towards the same outcomes for all of our clients new or existing.
Q5. Given your role as the service and design manager do you have a particular part of your job that you enjoy the most? And what part do you enjoy the least?
I really love seeing the great outcomes for our clients and our support workers which I have already spoken about! I enjoy making changes for the betterment of clients and our organisation. I don’t enjoy dealing with complaints! I hate doing the rosters! I really don’t enjoy that! I personally like advocating for funding for our families and then being able to deliver that funding package (once it has been granted) and seeing the improvement a sum of money has instantly made to the family’s way of living.
Q6. The disability field is always changing, how have you adapted to these changes within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) framework?
For me there are three key areas that have and are an ongoing process to us as a disability organisation in adapting to the NDIS.
The first is Learn.
We as an organisation have had to understand the strategic basis of the NDIS. Kira has seen when we transitioned to the NDIS we had to look at the resources we would be requiring and the assets needing to change and shift and our fixed infrastructure needed to be used a lot more effectively.
The second is Engage
We are engaging with not only the government but with an open market. We need to reach out to other stakeholders if necessary to provide funding for our current and future clients.
Thirdly we need to Adapt.
As an organisation, Kira is constantly looking at how we can best offer our services in an ever-changing funding market. This means our clients have and will continue to come to us seeking new pathways to achieve the outcomes they require. For us, as an organisation we need to provide a service which best suits our clients needs in this ever-changing sector.
Kira continues to profile build itself in making people aware of our services and our organisation.
I am proud to be associated with this challenging way forward for Kira within the disability sector as we transition forward into the future.
Q7. Transferring to the NDIS is challenging for any organisation. What do you feel will be the biggest issues you face in the sector?
The Board and the management team including myself have to be highly proactive in understanding these issues as they change, and ensuring government bodies, especially the NDIS, understand what the issues are for people with a disability.
Q8. Do you find your job rewarding?
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. Every day brings its own reward for me. But the biggest reward is the small wins. And by that, I mean when we get the funding approval for one of our clients that brings a giant smile to my face and it’s then that I can see one section of what Kira does best in working to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. I also work with a hard-working dedicated team of people. Along with our CEO John, it’s a joy to come to work each day.
Q9. How did you become the official Kira photographer and when will we see an exhibition of your work?
I have a background in the arts and so when you came in to interview John I wanted to have the photos included which needed to be of a decent quality. So, I was fortunate enough to purchase a decent camera. It all started from that first time that you sat down with John and began chatting to him. From there I am always there to take any photos for the Kira website or these Q and A sessions with the Kira Staff.
Q10. Finally, if you weren’t working for Kira community services what job would you be doing?
I’d like to have an exhibition of my work “La Patisserie” I already have one set piece ready to go titled “La Deusx Croissants” (The Two Croissants). I can be contacted by any Perth gallery on (08) 9243 0366 thank you.
No, but in all seriousness, I’d be a self-employed consultant helping organisations improve their outcomes with particular regards to writing policy.
My thanks to Marleen for taking time out from her busy schedule and (after a competitive bidding war between myself and Andrew Denton where I was the victor!) I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Marleen and listening to her on going journey with Kira Community Services.
We are always looking for passionate and committed support workers. If you think you have what it takes to join the Kira family, please apply online.
About Nick McAllister: Nick McAllister is a Writer, Author, Autism Advocate, Blogger and Mentor who was diagnosed with Autism in his 40’s. You can read more from Nick over on his blog.
Nick’s book, “Autistic Reflections” is available for download via Kindle and in paperback.