About 5 years ago I was invited by batyr founder Sebastian Robertson to attend the first ever Being Herd ‘speaker training’ program. I said yes. And now looking back on the experience it was without a doubt one of the most defining moments of my life.
Fast forward 5 years, 3 of which I have been lucky enough to lead the batyr team as CEO, and we are now looking forward to the new year and working towards our 2022 strategy.
As we go into the festive season it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the year that’s gone by and start planning for the next. The team at batyr have been working hard over the last few months to develop our new strategic plan, which sets us up to achieve big things over the next 5 years, and we’re all really stoked to be sharing it with you in 2018.
Along with this new strategy come some exciting changes. As of January 2018 the batyr team will consist of 34 permanent staff, 20 casuals, 85 active speakers & 288 volunteers across 5 states and territories!
Let that sink in for a moment… It wasn’t that long ago that batyr was one man, who had the courage to get out there and share his personal experiences with mental ill health, to encourage other young people to reach out for help when they need it. Now our team of dedicated young people are delivering over 400 programs a year, across nearly 200 High Schools & 5 Universities!
The growth of batyr has been exponential but the impact we are having is what really matters. Our post program feedback shows that on average 82% of students are highly engaged in our program and that 75% of students are more likely to seek help after seeing a batyr program, that’s 3 times the national help seeking average. And on top of that, students are telling us the positive impact our programs are having. Here is just one of the comments we received after running a program last week:
“Today I learnt that coming to terms with your emotional and mental health is very good for you, and has a positive impact on your life. The speakers today really proved to me that you can be strong through hard times.”
Yr 10 student, St Hilda’s Brisbane
It is with this pride in the team, confidence in the strategy and the support of the Board that I have made the decision to transition out of the CEO role and hand the opportunity over to somebody new, to lead batyr into this next chapter.
It’s obviously a very hard decision for me to make, but at the same time feels like it couldn’t come at a better time. I will continue to stay closely connected with batyr (as a Non-Executive Board Director) and the mental health sector (as a Board Director of Mental Health Australia) as I move my life, alongside my beautiful wife Maddy, up to the far North Coast of NSW.
I won’t be leaving until late February and so there is still plenty of time for goodbyes, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of the people who have supported me through this incredible journey. The batyr Board, the batyr team, our funding & pro-bono partners, the universities, schools & young people who are all passionately committed to seeing an Australia where young people engage in positive conversations about mental health & are empowered to seek help when they need it. Thank you.
I have one request for you all however… We are now on the hunt for the next batyr CEO so if you think that may be you, or somebody that you know please get in contact with Grace Atkinson from Hattonneale who is helping is to find the perfect fit.
02 9258 2600