Renee Hesford from our Osborne Park Neighbourhood is a real superstar in everything she does. And her outstanding efforts most certainly don’t go unnoticed by the people surrounding her. That’s why Renee not only got nominated once but twice this month by people who think the Community Engager is simply AWESOME.
Renee has been nominated for
always going over and above to support her colleagues and being a team player, who is always willing to help. She has great knowledge about our system and how to best support our customers. Renee is a valuable employee and we are really lucky to have her as part of the team”.
We seriously couldn’t agree more. Renee is also the heart and soul of our iThink You Are Awesome Campaign and is usually the one nominating and writing all those great stories about fellow Interchangers. Fantastic job Renee and this nomination has been a long time coming!
Even though it seems like Renee was born to work in the disability sector it wasn’t really something she planned on doing. Renee was looking for a job while studying at uni, and a family friend suggested to try support work. Renee wasn’t too sure at first, since the only person living with a disability she knew was her aunt, whom she had feared as a child for pulling her hair and stealing her lollies. Renee says she was to young to understand and after some consideration decided to give support work a go. The 26-year-old has never looked back and says her inexperience was actually helpful in her journey as a support worker.
“Not knowing anything about disability can be a blessing, because you don’t categorise or stereotype. When you know nothing (like I did), you get some very pure, and natural interactions – you don’t see the disability at all.”
Renee has been with Interchange for over 5 years now and moved from a casual support worker for our Myaree and Spearwood neighbourhoods to a variety of acting roles, and finally settled as the Community Engager at the end of last year for Osborne Park and Midland. Renee loves her job and find’s working in the sector and supporting people living with disabilities extremely rewarding.
“No two days are ever the same. As a support worker, I enjoyed being the bridge between the people we support and the community while also being a role model for people on how to interact with, and treat people living with a disability. I enjoyed watching the expressions of people around us in the community – kind of like a lightbulb moment for them.”
Renee also had some of those lightbulb moments herself. She says a defining moment for her was when a person she supported told her
“just because you see me struggle, doesn’t mean I want your help. People feel the need to jump in and assist because it is awkward for them to watch me struggle. But I will ask for your help when I need it.”
This impacted Renee deeply and she now lives by the motto ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and help others if they ask for it.’
Renee feels like Interchange gave her some amazing developmental opportunities and supported her desire to progress professionally and grow within the organisation. She is grateful for the different experiences she made in different roles and says this has impacted her growth and the way she supports our customers immensely.
“The journey has been amazing. It really helps when I meet potential customers, as I know what we do as support workers in the field, and how that can help utilise peoples’ funding to achieve their goals.”
Renee also appreciates Interchange’s person centred approach of putting people we support in the centre of everything we do.
“The person we support wants to go to a rock concert? We’ll make it happen! Nothing feels out of reach.”
Nothing feels out of reach for you either Renee! Your journey here at Interchange is incredible and we can’t compliment you enough on your passion and determination to make a difference in the lives of the people we support – We Think You Are AWESOME!
We are however glad that you also enjoy life outside of work by chilling out at home, enjoying fantasy and horror related things (who knew?) like movies, books and video-games and spending time with your partner, family, friends and pets. Good on you, Renee!
If you know someone who is AWESOME and deserves a nomination please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org