Cathy Miller is Chief Executive Officer of Minda Incorporated, South Australia’s oldest provider of services for the intellectually disabled.
Tell us about your career and how it led to Minda.
I joined Minda Incorporated as Chief Executive Officer in May this year.
This followed a career in healthcare spanning almost 30 years.
Prior to joining Minda I held CEO positions at Wakefield Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital, North Eastern Community Hospital and Central Districts Private Hospital, to name a few.
Most recently I was CEO of Southern Adelaide Health Service, including Flinders Medical Centre.
The opportunity to provide the best possible life for people living with intellectual disabilities attracted me to my current role.
I also enjoy working with Minda as an organisation that is governed by a challenging but supportive Board.
Can you outline the services that Minda provides?
Minda is South Australia’s oldest provider of services for the intellectually disabled, providing assistance to more than 1500 people each year.
This includes more than 300 adults who reside on our Brighton campus and another 200 clients who are in community-based housing.
Minda is a certified aged care provider, providing accommodation for intellectually disabled aged care recipients.
Other clients are supported through services including respite care, day options programs, aged care, employment opportunities and sport, leisure and arts activities.
We operate a range of businesses which provide supported employment for people with intellectual disability.
Minda is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and issues nationally accredited qualifications in disability work and first aid training.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
Winning the Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year Award in 2003 has been the major personal highlight of my career.
It was a wonderful experience that gave me an introduction to different organisations across a range of industries.
I was invited to give almost 100 talks over 12 months, addressing schools, community groups and business associations.
The sense of achievement and exposure to the world outside of health was extremely rewarding.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?
This is the only role I have ever held where my career satisfaction has been matched by the emotional reward of working with people with intellectual disabilities.
The ability to make a difference in the lives of individuals who are supported by Minda is extremely rewarding.
I also enjoy the teamwork at Minda. Our Board, staff, carers and family members of the people we support are all very close. There is a real sense that we are working together for a common cause.
Can you tell us about Minda’s redevelopment plans?
Minda is embarking on a major redevelopment of our 28-hectare Brighton campus.
The redevelopment aims to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
Many of our existing facilities were built more than 50 years ago and are outdated for the provision of high quality care.
The redevelopment will enable us to provide new purpose-built accommodation and support facilities of the highest standard. It incorporates individual housing, support facilities, administrative buildings, a stormwater detention basin and environmental sustainability hub.
It also takes into account the need to include commercial opportunities, such as retirement living for the broader community, to help offset the redevelopment costs.
Minda’s Brighton campus has been the jewel in our crown for more than 100 years. The redevelopment we are planning will ensure this can continue.
A Master Plan was approved by the Minda Association in late June. We are now preparing a more detailed plan for the site.
What is Minda’s major reform project?
We are currently steering major reform at Minda that will better integrate intellectually disabled South Australians into their local communities.
Our major reform project is focused on person-centred planning. For people with disabilities, this means they will have greater choice in where they live, who they live with, who supports them and how they are supported.
Research shows that better outcomes can be achieved when people with intellectual disabilities are integrated with their community.
This involves new ways of thinking about how support services are delivered in order to create more inclusive communities.
This is an exciting process for Minda and will ensure that we continue to facilitate the best possible life for South Australians with intellectual disabilities.
How can SA’s business community support Minda and South Australians with intellectual disabilities?
As a not-for-profit service provider, a major focus for Minda is to seek ways to self-fund our operations so that we are not solely reliant on Government funding.
Minda is privileged to have the support of a number of South Australian businesses who assist us in different ways. As examples, legal firm Kelly & Co is Gold Sponsor of our annual quiz night fundraiser and recently won the 2010 Premier’s Business Award for Volunteering for their involvement in this major event.
Cornes Toyota and Peter Kittle Toyota donate football tickets to individuals supported by Minda and provide them with transportation to games. In addition to sponsorships and volunteering, SA businesses can access goods and services from our commercial operations, which provide supported employment opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities.
These include a furniture manufacturer and commercial nursery as well as services in packaging, laundry, cleaning and catering services.
We supply plants to Bunnings, furniture to Harvey Norman and cleaning services to Telstra, just to name a few.
I encourage all businesses to consider Minda and include us whenever they are tendering for these types of services.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I spend most of my spare time with my two sons. I am team manager for one son’s football club and scorer for my other son’s baseball club. I also play netball with the Hot Shots.