Career stories

Sarita: From Home Site Supervisor to other leadership roles

Sarita started working with Endeavour as a HSS in 2020 and after gaining a good understanding of Endeavour policies and procedures and strengthening skills in people leadership, started searching for career growth opportunities.

I was successful in securing a Team Leader position in head office. Although it was a very different role, I found that I was able to leverage my people leadership skills in the new role. I checked in early on with my team about their expectations of me and then regularly made sure I was delivering on those things. I learned on the job and tapped into the knowledge of my team – they were the technical gurus and had so much expertise they could share. Also, my one-up manager was supportive in helping to work through the unprecedented challenges we were facing due to COVID.

Sarita missed front-line leadership and being close to the customer so when the opportunity came up for a Site Manager role in an L&L she applied and was successful. She found once again that her people leadership skills gave her a strong foundation in the new role.

I didn’t have to learn new skills to be able to move into the manager role but I did need to focus on demonstrating empathy and supporting my team.  I really enjoy coaching and supporting employees to make things better for the customer. I’ve also focused on leveraging some of the great, existing programs Endeavour has for customers and improving their consistency. We now have a sensory garden, great art and craft program, cooking group and Thrive music group. I had the program designer visit our site to skill up our team up in these programs.

Sarita’s advice to others wanting to advance up to leadership roles is to:

“build your people skills, always listen to your team, seek to understand the purpose of your role and other people’s roles and then deliver.”

– Sarita

Tips for building people management skills:

  • Develop your emotional intelligence competencies of self- awareness, awareness of others, and self-regulation
  • Become an active listener
  • Offer appreciation, empathy and recognition to your team
  • Practice providing positive and constructive feedback that facilitates growth by focusing on improvement


Jessica: From Support Worker to Employment Coach

Jessica made a sideways move from a role as a Support Worker to an Employment Coach to support her career growth and development. 

Jessica initially started with Endeavour as a Support Worker and after gaining experience in that role, she applied for a Home Site Supervisor position.

Jessica said her application for a Home Site Supervisor position wasn’t successful but there was an alternative option.

The manager suggested I move to an Employment Coach role as an opportunity to learn something new and different. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity for growth in the role and I’m interested in moving into a leadership role at some point, so I’m taking the opportunity to learn all I can.

Jessica said she had the opportunity to backfill a manager role and it’s been great to gain experience. She has also found the role offers more suitable hours, stability and flexibility which is important to her as a parent.

Jessica found the transition to an Employment Coach role easy because of her previous experience supporting some of the employees in the community support worker role. Having knowledge of the organisation’s processes was also a big help. The main new skill to learn was the “paperwork” aspect. 

I practiced doing the paperwork and took it to the Site Manager for feedback. I have a good manager who is very supportive and always makes time for my questions.

Balancing the formal training provided with learning how to complete the paperwork and the need to be on the floor made for a busy time.” 

Jessica enjoys her new role and finds that the small wins get her through a busy day. 

Sometimes you have a day when nothing seems to be going right and then you have a small win, Jessica mentioned.

For example, one employee had high anxiety and one day I had spent two hours bringing him back from a panic attack using a ‘calming folder’ of resources. The next time this happened he took the folder and was able to calm himself in about five minutes.

Jessica’s advice is don’t be afraid to put yourself forward if you see a position.

“Once you’re in a new role, speak up and put your ideas forward.”

– Jessica

Tips for Career growth:

  • Identify the skills and experience you need to advance your career
  • Actively seek opportunities or experiences that further your career growth
  • Make a career move sideways to develop your skills and acquire new experiences – this strengthens your employability (value to Endeavour and other employers) and better positions you for promotion


Rowena: from Support Worker to Operations Manager

(Community and Work)

Rowena has been open to working across different services and roles whilst being based in a regional area.

Endeavour Foundation is a big organisation and it constantly changes. I have worked across home, community and work portfolios throughout my career here

I enjoy the diversity and the challenges of contributing to the different services and regardless of which service you work for, everybody is here for the same cause.

The biggest shift Rowena noticed when transitioning into senior leadership was having to let go of control.

I had to rely on and trust my managers, ensuring they knew the decisions they could make and where the escalation points were.

Rowena says that if you treat your people well and build good relationships, you’ll have less performance issues and a good foundation to provide feedback to your team.

She learned the fundamentals of people leadership in a service management role, where she honed skills in providing feedback and mentoring others. She often acted in leadership roles one level above and this paved the way for a permanent appointment.

Rowena noted that she benefited from completing a leadership development program and having a buddy.

“Ask your leader for a buddy when you transition into a new role, it’s very helpful. People are happy to share their skills and knowledge, especially when it’s a formalised relationship.”

Advice from Rowena to others wanting to advance to leadership is to:

“start demonstrating leadership skills by mentoring others and suggesting solutions for problems – don’t wait to have a leadership title.”

- Rowena

Tips for advancing to senior leadership:

  • Work across different portfolios and “connector roles” to build varied skills and experiences
  • Be a great people leader of individual contributors to become a great ‘leader of leaders’
  • Know when to step in and manage more closely vs step back and let others handle the task/situation
  • Learn the art of coaching your people rather than “telling”


Petrina: from Site Manager to Operations Manager


Petrina moved from a Site Manager (Community) role to an Operations Manager within Home, and she enjoys that no two days are the same and learning is “never ending”.

“I’m like an octopus that plays tennis with one tennis racket!”

“If you’re coming to work, it’s got to be fun. Lots of days bring joy and happiness that we have done something great for people.”

Petrina found that in transitioning to a senior leadership role the biggest learning curve related to the different portfolios within Endeavour Foundation. She explained that each area is different, and she had to build an understanding of the nuances and needs of each portfolio. In particular, she has had to understand the needs of the people in her team and how best to respond to them.

The most important thing of all is our people – we are a people business, and it’s about looking after our team, our customers and our stakeholders.

“In my new role I have been focusing on ways to build collaboration and connection with my geographically dispersed team and aiming to make it more enjoyable for people to come to work.”

– Petrina

Petrina noted the importance of building a foundational skillset in operational management, like time management, organisational skills, and administration skills, to ensure you have time to focus on the important things.

Developing good relationships with “go to” people in head office and with peers has helped Petrina transition into the role of an Operations Manager.

“I’ve had great support from leaders and peers.”

Tips for advancing to leadership:

  • Let your leader know you are interested in advancing up and volunteer to act up in their position
  • Determine which new experiences you need to acquire and include on-the-job development activities within your development plan (e.g., operational planning)
  • Build relationships and networks across the organisation


Claire: from Support Worker to Disability Practice Specialist

Claire moved from the role of Support Worker to Disability Practice Specialist in 2020 and she says she “really, really loves it”. She enjoys the variety, making connections and building relationships with people all over the state; helping people find solutions to challenges they are facing.

The biggest change Claire noticed was the shift from supporting an individual customer to be the best they can be, to supporting employees and leaders to be the best they can be in their role.

Claire was already demonstrating strong communication and relationship management skills when she started in the role. This was important for building trust and being helpful to the people she needed to support. The main area she wanted to develop in was NDIS standards and Endeavour policies.

“I was able to take a brief from the leader or employee about a scenario, carry out research and synthesise what was important, and then get back to the employee or leader with the three main points they needed to know to solve the problem.”

Claire’s development in the role was supported by having a buddy who was an experienced Disability Practice Specialist. They went on site visits together where they completed health checks and advised on improvements. Claire noted that this experience helped to deepen her expertise in “what good looks like”.

Claire’s advice to people considering this kind of career move is to:

“believe in yourself – we all have the ability to do new things!”

- Claire


Karen: from Support Worker to Leadership to Corporate and Specialty roles

After having had a variety of leadership roles Karen found that specialist roles, where she had responsibility for influencing the quality of products and services across the organisation, gave her greater career satisfaction.

“I’m excited to work alongside others who are seeking opportunities to influence and create change across the organisation. Sharing ideas and providing people with resources that enable them to support others to be the best they choose to be, is what I aspire to do. I want to be able to lift the consistency of quality service provision across the organisation.”

Karen has had a varied career at Endeavour Foundation, from a Support Worker to leadership roles and then to corporate and specialist roles. Karen’s learning journey continues by her completing industry related courses, keeping abreast of research and speaking up when changes are needed. This pathway has provided her with opportunities to transition to various roles.

“I enjoy learning and building on my skills, education, and knowledge to ensure I can support people in the best way.”

– Karen

Karen has always liked data (statistics and facts) and was invited to be seconded to the compliance team and then to work as a trainer because of these strengths.

Karen’s advice to people is to collect experiences along the way – nothing goes to waste.

“My career has naturally progressed, and I now call upon the learning and experience gained from every role I have had.”

“Take every development opportunity that you can – both formal education and on-the- job opportunities. Learning never stops for anyone.”


Aaron: career move from Support Worker to head office roles

Aaron enjoys a challenge and is now working in his second role in head office.

It had to be something interesting and exciting, a piece of work where I’m excited about the challenges and that is meaningful to me. I’ve just moved into a head office start-up role that is trying to solve workforce challenges. I liked the idea of being able to attract people to ‘support work’ and having a role to play with helping young people kickstart their career.

Aaron started with Endeavour as part of the L&L team and had the ambition to seek out different kinds of career opportunities. He sought out mentors to ask their advice.

My mentor said you could stay with Endeavour as you’ve got a reputation here already, if you leave you’ll have to build that up again. We talked through some different development options and came up with a secondment into head office at our support centre in Brisbane.

In this start-up role Aaron helped employed people with an intellectual disability develop the skills they need to achieve their career and personal goals.

In 2022 Aaron became aware of a new role in the People & Culture team.

By being in the head-office, building and working with multiple stakeholders including People & Culture, I became aware of the role. It’s very different and I have lots to learn. I’m getting support from my line manager and people in the team.

Aaron’s advice to people is:

“take whatever development opportunities you can and try hard to do a good job when you get there. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable and experience stretch. When you go into a new role be interested and observant. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned is by experimenting, asking other people and learning from them.”


Tips for seeking and taking on a new challenge:

  • Seek out mentors and ask for advice about finding a new challenge
  • Actively seek to build transferable skills and knowledge such as relationship management skills
  • Be willing to experience “stretch” to learn new skills
  • Be willing to learn by asking questions and learning from others


Grant: From Support Worker to various roles around the organisation.

Grant started his career as a Support Worker. Along his career journey he worked as a Customer Safeguarding Officer / Lead, Behaviour Practitioner, Home Site Supervisor, Services Coordinator, Services Manager and in the Marketing team.

The consistent thread through his career choices is a drive to improve the lives of others.

I was that little kid that stood between a bully and the person they were picking on. Whenever I see someone in a vulnerable position I want to ensure they get justice and fairness.

Every role at Endeavour makes a difference. Whether you are directly supporting a person or supporting the front line to be effective in their roles or designing the service.

Grant applied for the position in the service design team knowing there was knowledge he would have to learn to successfully drive change in the role.

He said it was a massive learning curve as it’s so different to anything he’s done before. “I tapped into the relationships and networks I built at Endeavour to support my learning.”

You build good relationships when you’ve been at an organisation for a while; they are so important for succeeding.

Grant’s advice to others is to get a mentor to understand how to move forward in your career and as you gain experience mentor others. Have confidence in yourself and the experience you have.

“As a Support Worker you gain so many experiences that will help you in other roles.”

- Grant

Grant’s contribution at Endeavour Foundation culminated in an integral role in creating opportunities for people with disability to be engaged in open employment. He has now happily moved into a role at another organisation with wealth of experience gained at Endeavour Foundation. A great example of Endeavour Foundation supporting careers.

Tips for a varied career:

  • View every interaction with others as an opportunity to build strong relationships
  • Look for ways to help others to build a network
  • Ask your network for advice and support when you want to make a career change
  • When you start in a new role, learn through others by tapping into their knowledge