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Not for Profit People 2020

Cire’s vision to enhance capabilities is demonstrated both inside and outside our service, extending to our employee group as well as to the community. We invest in the development of our employees so they can provide high quality support to our clients and truly make a difference!

On the 24th and 25th of February, the senior members of our People and Quality team (Melanie, Katiana and Napoleon) attended the Ethical Jobs Not for Profit People Conference. The conference was run at the Melbourne Convention Centre with a sustainable and ethical approach, hosting a diverse range of speakers for the team to learn from.

Focused primarily on the Human Resources area of the not for profit – or profit for purpose – space, there were also a number of CEO’s in attendance, demonstrating the important of people and culture. Workshops and talks centred around Health and Wellbeing, Leadership, People and Organisational Strategy, Strengthening HR and Recruitment.

The team heard from some amazing speakers, such as Cassandra Hutton from St Vincent de Paul Society, who spoke on creating powerful moments to engage and mobilise people. Katiana engaged with Kristen Ramsey from Caxton Legal Centre and HR Law, and Amna Karra-Hassan blew Melanie’s mind in a powerful and dynamic session that bucked all the trends.

Keynote speaker Craig Davis from Sendle had the team thinking about the future and how harnessing human potential will be so vital. Sarah Lance from St John Ambulance Australia (NSW) engaged Melanie and Napoleon on their change journey and transformation…Which, as we all know, never ends!

Kon Karapanigiotidis from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ended the conference with a passionate and personal speech on his journey, the centre and how he has grown his team.

A range of providers manned their stands and offered exciting products and solutions. We had some great conversations and a meeting has already been set up through a timely connection!

Not just talking the talk, the conference was ethical in its entirety. All of the food at the event was vegetarian and lanyards were sourced from The Welcome House, who support young women trafficked into the sex industry in Cebu. Conference bags were from Boomerang Bags, who focus on reducing plastic bags by up-cycling second hand material into new bags.

Since returning to the office, the team has already put some changes into action – small to start but with some big plans ahead:

  • Utilising a Boardroom space for a staff break out area (when not being used of course!)
  • Practicing 5 minute guided meditations on a Monday morning
  • Keeping each other accountable in our healthy living goals

We appreciate the opportunity to attend the conference and we’re excited to continue implementing positive changes!

Thank you to our Senior Manager of People and Culture, Mel Fisher, for penning this blog for us to enjoy.

The First Impressions Clothing Exchange Grand Opening!

The First Impressions Clothing Exchange is a bright and colourful second-hand store adding joy and laughter to the Mooroolbark Terrace Shopping Centre. A dazzling array of clothing racks, laden with hidden treasures, welcome those who stumble across the First Impressions shop-front.

On Valentine’s Day, visitors to their grand opening event included Mayor Cr Richard Higgins, who stopped by to cut the ribbon and meet the team!

Operating as a small business run by women experiencing long-term unemployment, First Impressions builds on the skills of its volunteer staff to enhance their employability in addition to providing opportunities to connect with their peers and with the community. Run as part of Cire Training’s Small Business course, experienced trainers oversee the day-to-day operations of the store. At the same time, the dedicated training space helps women to build real-life experience, develop skills and gain the confidence needed to enter the workforce successfully.

For customers, the clothing exchange offers a selection of quality, affordable women’s clothing covering every occasion from casual wear to formal events! First Impressions also provide a hire service, with reasonably priced items available for those who need a short-term wardrobe for job interviews or new jobs.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Higgins noted that “the crowd here today validates the importance of this service to local women”. With attendees from multiple local organisations, including Anchor Housing Support and Employment Plus, as well as customers, shop owners, volunteers and supporters, the community truly showed their support for this wonderful initiative. Mayor Higgins also mentioned- with a note of relief! – that his wife was combing her wardrobe to make a donation of her own.

The event hosted numerous speakers, including Donna Fairweather of the Yarra Ranges Council, a newly appointed ambassador for the store and Gus Seremetis, CEO of Cire Services, the main sponsor of the First Impressions Clothing Exchange program. Gus was so moved by the testimonials of the women involved that she generously extended Cire’s financial support, providing a further three months of funding.

One of those testimonials came from Karon, a program participant, who shared her moving story with the audience. When asked how many job applications she’d submitted prior to her time with First Impressions, she responded: “there were too many to count”. After years of being ignored and rejected, her involvement with the program, along with the support she received from Employment Plus, rebuilt her self-confidence.

This enabled Karon to move into paid employment successfully. However, she still heads down to the First Impressions Clothing Exchange several days per week, to visit with her newfound friends, browse the racks and to help with the store’s operations.

“It was a huge feat, and it was all hands on deck,” the store’s team leader, Renee Cooke of Cire Services, said about getting the shop up and running, “But it’s been so much fun too. This shop has made such a difference already in the lives of those who have created it, and we can’t wait to see what it’s future holds!”

For more updates on First Impressions, feel free to follow their Facebook page and Instagram account.