Employee Testimonial: Chris

How did I start?

In 2007, I’d just spent six months overseas re-evaluating where I wanted to be going professionally. I’d been working as a freelancer for a while, but had recently completed a Masters of Counselling. I decided my plan would be to work part-time in an organisation like RAQ to consolidate those skills, then strike out as a freelancer again, but I’ve been here for twelve years and am now the manager of Diversity and Inclusion, so it didn’t quite work out that way.

Why RAQ?

The flexibility and the amount of collegial support was something I’d never really experienced. It was the first time I’d been in a workplace where I felt there was that collaboration towards professional growth and teamwork. I’d been freelancing for a long time before then, and those were new elements that I really enjoyed – not just being a lone wolf, but building things stronger together. Working within that safe, supportive framework helped me to dive deeper into the work I wanted to do.

Also, we are an organisation that is so inclusive of such a broad range of people that, even without stepping out to other agencies and a larger network, you get to connect with so many different individuals with amazing stories and journeys. And I think from that, I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person, where I fit and how I want to be in the world. I’m eternally grateful for getting to be a part of conversations that have made me a lot more aware of my privilege and position in society.

What have I learned?

  • Speak up: After I had been working with the organisation for a few months, I started to put forward suggestions towards other areas of work that I thought RAQ could develop. Rather than just shutting me down, successive managers encouraged me to look into and then develop that work. I think there was real trust afforded to me and risks taken, and I think it took courage for the organisation to do that.
  • Try new things: Where you come into the organisation isn’t necessarily where you will always be. It is a really diverse organisation with all kinds of programs. Whatever your skills and interests are, if you have the energy and the determination, you will find something that will really light you up and take you to exciting places.
  • Remember your values: ‘Healthy and respectful relationships’ is the value that’s always been core to what we do. And it’s not just about what we do with our clients, it’s about how we model that within the organisation. I would generally say that what I’ve observed here is people engaging in healthy, respectful, safe relationships with one another. I think that’s not always evident in every organisation.