Liza Kirby: A journey from childcare, through illness and beyond

Liza is sitting on a park bench in a garden

A few years ago, a comment popped up in our Facebook reviews about a Forrest Personnel staff member. Participant Chris Wales wrote: “I would like to thank Liza Kirby (Bunbury) for her outstanding professional service. Nothing is ever too hard for her to deal with…we know that she has our very best interests at heart.”

We were curious about this comment, and wanted to discover more about Liza. We invited her for a photo shoot and chat.

The business of childcare

It turns out that Liza hails from the UK where she owned a childcare business. It all started when she was volunteering at her son’s preschool and wanted to get more involved. Following the completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree, she obtained the equivalent of a Cert III, paired up with a business partner and set about researching how to start a business.

Being an entrepreneur sounds like a grand idea. What about identifying demand for the product, we wondered. Liza responded that: “We were committed to creating an inclusive childcare experience that focused not only on the child but on other elements including the family.” To us, this represents a wholistic approach that is reflective of Liza’s ethos.

A new continent

Liza and her family immigrated to Australia in 2011. She started working – again in childcare – after being here for a mere ten days. There is nothing quite like being in demand, is there?

A set back

She encountered a bump in the road several years later when illness took hold. Liza was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which brought her work to a standstill. After a period of rest and rehabilitation, together with the correct medication, she felt ready for the job market once again.

Liza is holding her arms around a giant revolving granite ball in the park at the City of Bunbury main administration building

Liza playing around in the garden at the City of Bunbury main administration building. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images

Enter Forrest Personnel

Liza made her way to Forrest Personnel (how fortunate are we), and came on board as a participant. Several months later, she was successful in her bid to become an Employment Consultant. Over a number of years, she has helped many, many people with injury, illness and disability into sustainable employment. As our Facebook reviewer wrote, she has done this with both professionalism and heart.

A new path

Liza’s stretching herself once again and has taken on a new assignment at Forrest Personnel – she’s been seconded to the position of Learning and Development Coordinator. We asked what attracted her to this role and she pointed out that: “I’m reconnecting with my passion for researching, and applying my commitment to developing learning materials that are broadly accessible.”

Enlargement vs happiness

In a recent article posted to The Guardian website entitled: Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life, he shares his life-changing advice. One of his secrets is: “When stumped by a life choice, choose ‘enlargement’ over happiness.”

What’s inspiring about Liza’s recent role change is that she hasn’t had to choose. Being Learning and Development Coordinator sounds both enlarging and happiness-inducing! We wish Liza all success in her new role.

Feature photo: Liza in the garden at the City of Bunbury administration building. Photo by Rob Cox | oxy images

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with injury, health condition or disability to find and keep jobs.

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