Every so often in life we get presented unique opportunities to be a part of something bigger than anything we could ever achieve on our own. When I say ‘be a part of’ I don’t mean in like “I attended Taylor Swift’s first concert in Australia” type thing…
It’s been over a year since I stepped down as CEO of batyr and handed over the reigns to Sam Refshauge. Like all big changes, the process was both incredibly rewarding and one of steep learning for the both of us. When I stepped back I was able to witness just how incredibly talented the whole team are and how driven everybody around them, from funders and batyr speakers, to teachers and parents, were continuing to have a positive impact in delivering preventative mental health programs for young people.
The biggest joy has come from the engagement that batyr continues to maintain across the ages but in particular with young people. Nothing speaks more to the success of batyr over the past 5 years then the fact that we now have trained nearly 200 young people through our Being Herd program. It’s these young people that are core in changing the stigma surrounding mental health and it’s these individuals, and their stories of resilience, recovery and hope, that are equipping young people to reach out for support when they need it.
batyr has now reached over 37,000 young people through structured programs and the team, under Sam’s stewardship have developed an incredible 5 year plan to take that up to half a million and to train over 2,000 young people to share their story. It’s this type of ambition that ignites the spark within everyone involved at batyr, from the volunteers putting in the man-hours at schools and universities, all the way to the Board members. It’s a unified goal of reducing stigma and increasing help seeking for all young Australians that’s pushing batyr to new heights and for those close to the action we know that this is just the beginning…
So with the team fully operational under Sam I began to question what value can I bring to this ambitious vision. After nearly three years with Matt Nacard at the helm of the ship as Chairman of batyr a unique opportunity arose that was too good to pass up. With Matt recently moving his family to Hong Kong, it became evident that the role needed to be based in Australia and so after many conversations I now have the honour of being Chairman of batyr. Filling Matt’s shoes, particularly in table tennis and Blue Tie Ball antics, will no doubt be difficult but with the strength of the team both in management and on the Board, and with Matt continuing on as Non Executive Director, I know that this new position is one that will be well supported and I hope to bring the same passion and conviction to the role as I did when I set up batyr back in 2011.
The Chair role is as unique in opportunity as it is in responsibility. I take on this role knowing that to equip this growing team with the resources and tools to achieve our ambitious goals over the next five years will require me to step up with them. The great thing is that I will not be doing that alone. All Board members are right there with me and I now get the opportunity to share in the joys of the incredible impact batyr is having in the communities with young people. So whilst this may be no Taylor Swift concert… It is worth noting that between the batyr Blue Tie Ball and the Tamworth white elephant winter ball we have SOLD OUT on 5 of 5 occasions!! With the last 1800 tickets being sold in under two minutes… #JustSaying #TayTay it’s probably time to play at our Ball.