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Meet Australia’s influencers of the year

Third Sector spoke with the Influencer of the Year finalists of the upcoming Third Sector Awards

Being an influencer is not easy. To be able to demonstrate the positive impact you’re having of others is worthy of recognition.

At the upcoming Third Sector Awards, put together in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact, we recognise the leaders, contributors and change-makers within Australia’s not-for-profit sector.

The Influence of the Year category attracted people from various areas of the sector and they have all demonstrated successes in their fields.

Third Sector spoke to the three finalists in this category to find out what advice they have for others in the sector.

The finalists all come from a variety of backgrounds; the law, business and the public service. A unifying comment from all of them is that they saw a gap in the sector they work within and wanted to help.

Donna Law is an NDIS advocate for Disability, Ageing, and Community Care Services. Her nominators identify how her advocacy goes above and beyond her job description and how she ensures an individual’s needs are always met.

Dr Matthew Turnour is an academic and lawyer in Queensland. He was recently a member of the panel reviewing the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit (ACNC) legislation, and as a teacher of ethics for philanthropic and non-profit organisations, he has helped develop the ethical perspectives of leaders in the sector for over a decade.

Julie Garland McLellan publishes a free monthly newsletter providing advice to directors and board members of NFP boards. She also runs regular training and facilitation sessions for various senior leaders in the sector.

When speaking to Dr Turnour, he discussed how whilst he’d been involved in volunteering and charity work from a young age, in his work life he’s worked across a broad sector of the law. It was when he came to do his PhD that he saw a gap in the legal framework for charities and wanted to help sort it out.

Donna Law’s journey to working within the NDIS sector was more personal. She saw the lack of opportunities for her son to be able to continue to grow after he finished high school. Her work allows her to help build a support network for individuals that are tailored to the individual.

Our third finalist, Julie Garland McLennan brings extensive boardroom and corporate experience to help volunteer and NFP boards achieve their full potential. The unifying factor of all the finalists is that they all acknowledge that nobody can be effective in their work if they don’t achieve balance in their life.

The main piece of advice that all finalists provided was the importance of turning off. Take a break, keep fit, and don’t work too much as you’ll end up being unable to help anyone.

Donna Law commented that she knows she can’t be everything to everybody all of the time, and that it’s important to be very honest with people about what she can and can’t give.

Or, as finalist Tournour said, by maintaining a balance between his work, health, personal relationships, and spiritual life he is able to contribute to the lives of the people around him with an overflow of life not by emptying the glass.

Click here to book tickets to the awards, or here if you wish to attend the adjoined Third Sector Live.

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