In its proud 45-year history, Wellways has been guided by various Board Members, some carers and family members, some subject matter experts. Each has contributed to our vision of an inclusive community where everyone can imagine and achieve their hopes and potential with their very own skillset and experience.

This week, the Board said ‘Thank you’ to the ones who came before them, expressing gratitude for years of passionate stewardship and strategic planning, making Wellways the successful organisation it is today.

Wellways Chair, Michael Gorton addressing sitting and past Board members

After Wellways Board Chair Michael Gorton welcomed the distinguished guests, he quickly pointed out that Wellways wouldn’t be where it is today, with its close to 2000 employees, if it weren’t for the critical decisions made long before him. In his speech, Mr Gorton reflected on the challenges in recent years, such as manoeuvring a people-centred organisation through the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, he acknowledged that each tenure comes with challenges and that there has never been a ‘smooth sailing period’ in mental health.

Wellways CEO, Laura Collister, provided an update on the organisation’s main projects, growth, and future opportunities and how these will be reflected in the upcoming strategic plan. However, she quickly highlighted that none of the recent achievements and strong partnerships would have been possible without the solid foundations she had inherited from the leaders in the room.

Having started as a General Manager in 2004, Ms Collister also reflected on her journey with Wellways and on some of her shared experiences with current and former Board Members. 

“Reconnecting with our previous leaders is always a wonderful opportunity. These are not only moments of reminiscence but also a chance to get some first-hand feedback from people with an incredible wealth of experience who have a direct connection and history with Wellways”, said Ms Collister after the event. Some spoke of a reunion that not only created a get-together of former colleagues but also of a successful event that led to conversations about the current state of the mental health sector in Australia and an exchange of ideas and possible opportunities.

CEO, Laura Collister with past Wellways Director, Darrel Drieberg

The idea for the event came from former Board Member and Treasurer Peter Robertson, who also addressed the audience, and who reflected on his first year on the Board many years ago: “I was staggered by how little I knew about mental illness. I was ignorant. It scared me. It made me realise how privileged a life I had until that time”.

Past Board member and Treasurer, Peter Robinson

While current Board Members appreciated meeting potential mentors, former Board Members enjoyed discovering how their work has made a difference and learning about the fruits of their labour. Numbers were exchanged, new friendships made, and old ones rekindled.