Carlie Mcwilliams

Comments (0) Business Minds, Interviews

Linked Community Services

Carlie, you are Chief Executive Officer of Linked Community Services for the Hastings, Macleay and Port Stephens regions. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to take this role?

Relocating to Port Macquarie for family reasons presented an opportunity to use my transferable skills across an organisation that had a sound platform and appetite for service development and growth. Having led large teams across a diverse range of programmes within the community services sector and a significantly large geographical footprint in the Northern Territory, I believe that I have brought a strong combination of innovation, resilience, restoration and diversification attributes, complementing the dynamic leadership team within Linked Community Services – formally Hastings Macleay Community Transport. 

With service delivery, managerial and executive experience across many facets of community services deliverables, I am extremely familiar with the knowledge, resources and commitment required throughout all stages of delivering meaningful community focused supports. 

Linked Community Services has unmeasurable growth potential, thus inciting my enthusiasm and desire to shape the infant organisation into a sustainable, community-focused and industry leader.  

Linked Community Services is the new brand name for what most people in the Hastings region would know as Hastings Macleay Community Transport. Can you tell us a little bit about why the organisation now has a new name?

Hastings Macleay Community Transport has provided flexible attentive transport options for over 35 years; however, community needs, service delivery methods and funding arrangements have changed, thus presenting a need for business variation for sustainability and preservation. 

Through the identification of industry threats, which have seen many local service providers close and/or seek amalgamation opportunities, I am leading my team through the aforementioned changes, providing a structured, planned and methodical approach to an actual opportunity, rather than attempt to manage foreseeable threats.  

Continuing to provide the community with quality transport services, the new branding has expanded the scope for service offerings, mitigating the pigeonhole effect of a single affiliation with transport services.  

Moving with government and legislative changes, Linked Community Services have already undergone growth through amalgamation, whilst broadening services offerings to include aged care and disability-specific services. 

What have you learnt about leadership in your career?

Over many years within the community services environment, my leadership style has both grown and strengthened, now focusing specifically on Linked Community Services’ strategic direction, workplace culture and service reputation.

Surrounding myself with a diverse, skilled and committed leadership team reduces my need to be everywhere, overseeing everything, at all times. The qualities, knowledge and capabilities that I have engaged within the Linked Community Services leadership team has provided me with the time and confidence to meet the expectations of my role, providing my team with the empowerment and autonomy to do theirs. 

What is the most rewarding part about your role as CEO of Linked Community Services?

Building on the existing frameworks, creating positive change management structures and broadening the scope of service offerings across the communities in which we geographically cover has presented innovative opportunities for business development and sustainability. 

Whilst growth and service diversification results are aesthetically pleasing, knowing that the Linked Community Services team are working responsively to community gaps, providing culturally appropriate services and are demonstrating a thorough commitment to the continuous development of our organisation provides a significant degree of overall job satisfaction.  

Being a leader of a team which values respect for clients, community and culture, with a robust, hands-on commitment from not only staff but volunteers and the board is a reward within itself. 

What can you foresee as some of the challenges that you will need to tackle in the near future within your industry?

There is a degree of unrest across all community service providers, these specific to funding models, service sustainability, potential price deregulation and actionable recommendations from both the Aged Care and Disability Royal Commissions.

Whilst welcomed and clearly understood, all changes, no matter the size, present further financial impacts on an already fragile service delivery environment.  

And finally, if you could invite three business-people to lunch, who would they be, and why would you invite them?

Inspired by innovation, passion and endless opportunity;

Richard Branson – “If somebody offers you an opportunity, but you are unsure you can do it, say yes – then learn to do it later!” 

Mark Bouris – “The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately!”

Indra Nooyi – “I’m brutally honest. I always look at things from their point of view, as well as mine. And, I know when to walk away.”

Thanks for your time, Carlie.

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