Dialog Box

Getting to know our Board – Sarah McAdie

Sarah McAdie joined the CatholicCare Victoria Board in 2020 and has a wealth of experience in public relations, starting out in a junior communications role to being the media advisor to the Federal Minister for Health in her 20’s.

Sarah also worked on government projects in London and is currently the Director of Public Affairs at Bendigo Health.  

Sarah is a great addition to the CatholicCare Victoria Board as an expert in reputation and communications and we have taken the opportunity to speak with her on her thoughts and goals for CatholicCare Victoria.

Photo: Sarah McAdie.

What drew you to this role at CatholicCare Victoria?

I am saddened that in a wealthy nation such as ours there is such discrepancy between the haves and have nots, and I want to be part of taking positive action to look after those in our community. There is so much potential to partner with people in our community in a caring way to give them hope. 

I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to help us achieve this as an organisation and I felt excited by the potential for CatholicCare Victoria to grow and increase the services it can offer.

What were your first impressions of CatholicCare Victoria? Is there a particular aspect of our work - or a program area - that you are drawn to?

My first impression was the passion of the team; no one goes into these professions for money, they are a calling. The dedication of the staff shows through in everything they do, and it is infectious.

I am impressed by the array of services and the commitment to look after the people in our community who seem to have sometimes been forgotten; an example of this is the Prison Chaplaincy program which is underfunded but so valuable.

What was the path you took to get to where you are today? 

I started out in a junior communications role in public health and I loved every minute and learnt so much. That was before social media so we really relied on the media to get our message out and the Annual Report was a key marketing document. Things have changed since then!

Following that I had the amazing experience in my 20’s of working as a Media Adviser to the Federal Minister for Health and stayed on her team when she moved into the Family and Community Services portfolio. We travelled constantly and I was exposed to the national media and learnt so much about Australia and how diverse it really is. It also opened my eyes to how entrenched disadvantage can be. This struck me most when visiting remote Aboriginal communities and speaking with the elders about all the matters that worried them and needed addressing. We have so far to go in this area.

Then it was time to see the world, so my husband and I moved to London. I secured a job working on the regeneration of the Thames Gateway doing ministerial events and communications. That Government project was about revitalising a geographical area of considerable disadvantage and it forged the foundation of the London Olympic bid. I also had a stint in the NHS and then came home to have a family.

On my return I tried the private sector on for size with a stint at Don KRC, which had just announced a merger, so I gained integration experience followed by a Capital Project with the construction of a new facility in Castlemaine. I was struck by how much regional communities care about each other and the place they live in, so I was thrilled to be offered my current role as Director of Public Affairs at Bendigo Health.  

I have been at Bendigo Health for nine years and my role has evolved to include the Fundraising team and more recently the Governance and Strategy team.

What do you feel is the greatest strength/opportunity of CatholicCare Victoria right now?

I think the integration of three similar but different organisations has given us greater scope for growth and the chance to offer even more services to those who need them. I think the future is very bright and we are fortunate to have staff who understand the metro and the regional and rural contexts. The housing projects are very exciting.

What goals would you like to see CatholicCare Victoria achieve? 

I want CatholicCare Victoria to be the go-to organisation for Governments when they need knowledge and advice. I would like to see us influencing policy and attracting Government funding that allows growth and innovative practice.

I want people in need to know how to find us and to be empowered by the service we offer.

What do you feel is your greatest strength that can help CatholicCare Victoria achieve success?

As well as being a reputation and communications expert I have fundraising experience which can help us to attract new funding and engage with the community on a different level. I understand governance and strategy and look forward to helping the Board articulate and achieve a strategic vision for CatholicCare Victoria.

What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?

I am a Mum of four school-aged children, three boys and a girl so there is limited time for hobbies. I love getting out in my garden and I am very proud of my roses this year, I am a keen cook - I figure everyone needs feeding so I might as well enjoy doing it - and I love reading and doing Pilates.

Caroline Carter | Admin Team Leader & Emergency Relief Coordinator

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15 November 2021
Category: News