Farewell folks, I’ve had a blast!

The time has come for me to leave my role as the CEO of MSA and I felt it was important to take some time to reflect on all that we’ve achieved together during my stewardship.

As we all know, the federated structure has made it a ‘challenging’ environment at times but through that we have grown stronger and supported people living with MS which is all that matters and has ever mattered to me.

We can’t forget that MSA exists because of the contributions of the MS societies around Australia. We must continue to work together and with MS Research Australia to increase our reach and maximise our knowledge so that we can support the 23,000 people living with MS in the country.

What has MSA achieved over the last few years?

  • We’ve continued to build the advocacy programme, playing an important role as part of the broader health and NGO sector in response to a tough budget for all people and representing those affected with MS, last year.
  • Our digital work has increased MSA’s presence in the social media environment to support people with MS and increase recognition of the MS brand
  • Most importantly, we deliver work that supports people with MS and their networks in a way that continues to allow hope for the changing face of the diagnosis

A history in pictures

From L to R: Ken Baker, CEO at NDS; Carol Birks, CEO at MND Australia; Tricia Melowney from Every Australian Counts; Steven Gianni from AFDO

From L to R: Ken Baker, CEO at NDS; Carol Birks, CEO at MND Australia; Tricia Melowney from Every Australian Counts; Steven Gianni from AFDO

John Study Award Dinner 2013. From L to R: Christina Gillies, Board Director and Carol Langsford

John Study Award Dinner 2013. From L to R: Christina Gillies, Board Director and Carol Langsford

MSIF Board meeting 2014. Myself with Weyman Johnson, President of MSIF Board of Directors

MSIF Board meeting 2014. Myself with Weyman Johnson, President of MSIF Board of Directors

Some Instagram fun on #WorldMSDay

Some Instagram fun on #WorldMSDay

A group shot of our advocates on World MS Day 2015 with Josh Hall from Sailing Sclerosis on the dock at Darling Harbour

A group shot of our advocates on World MS Day 2015 with Josh Hall from Sailing Sclerosis on the dock at Darling Harbour

On board the Oceans of Hope on World MS Day 2015

On board the Oceans of Hope on World MS Day 2015

MSA team planning day 2014

MSA team planning day 2014

Senator Hon Kate Lundy with PH Friends of  MS group. Parliament House, Canberra 29 October  2014 . Images David Foote - AUSPIC/DPS

Senator Hon Kate Lundy with PH Friends of MS group. Parliament House, Canberra 29 October 2014 . Images David Foote – AUSPIC/DPS

From L to R: Guest speaker Sarah Ross-Smith, Lawyer and MS angel with myself at Parliamentary Friends 2013

From L to R: Guest speaker Sarah Ross-Smith, Lawyer and MS angel with myself at Parliamentary Friends 2013

The advocates conference guest panel 2013. From L to R: Ken Baker, CEO at NDS; Carol Birks, CEO at MND Australia; Tricia Melowney from Every Australian Counts; Steven Gianni from AFDO

The advocates conference guest panel 2013. From L to R: Ken Baker, CEO at NDS; Carol Birks, CEO at MND Australia; Tricia Melowney from Every Australian Counts; Steven Gianni from AFDO

From L to R: Guest speaker Sarah Ross-Smith, Lawyer and MS angel based in Canberra with myself

From L to R: Guest speaker Sarah Ross-Smith, Lawyer and MS angel based in Canberra with myself

Senator Hon Kate Lundy with PH Friends of  MS group. Parliament House, Canberra 29 October  2014 . Images David Foote - AUSPIC/DPS

Senator Hon Kate Lundy with PH Friends of MS group. Parliament House, Canberra 29 October 2014 . Images David Foote – AUSPIC/DPS

Team planning day 2014

On board the Oceans of Hope

On board the Oceans of Hope

A group shot of our advocates on World MS Day with Josh Hall from Sailing Sclerosis on the dock at Darling Harbour

A group shot of our advocates on World MS Day with Josh Hall from Sailing Sclerosis on the dock at Darling Harbour

Social media #WorldMSDay

Social media #WorldMSDay

Myself with Weyman Johnson, President of MSIF Board of Directors

Myself with Weyman Johnson, President of MSIF Board of Directors

From L to R: Christina Gillies, Board Director and Carol Langsford

From L to R: Christina Gillies, Board Director and Carol Langsford

Looking ahead

While celebrating past achievements is important, so is looking to the future and planning how we will continue to deliver our strategic plan with even more energy and expertise.

I am pleased to say that it is an exciting time for MSA. The Advocacy network we are building is growing. The continued energy, passion and contribution from our volunteer National Advocates truly is well recognised. The knowledge and awareness of us as the national peak body in the national media is growing as well.

The challenge ahead is to keep learning and getting better at what we do. That’s what the Strategy and Strategic Plan seeks to achieve.

My feelings about leaving are mixed; I’m excited about the new opportunity but I’m sad because being a part of the MSA community has been such a significant part of my life since December 2012 and I will miss it.

I want to thank you all for your support and counsel and send you my very best wishes for good health and happy lives.

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