Nova Employment: Disability Employment Service | Intellectual | Deaf | Physical | Mental Illness Focus On Ability  

Martin Wren's Staff Profile

CEO - Head Office
At the end of 1987 I began working for Peter Barlow. Until his retirement Peter was the TAFE's Western Sydney Region consultant for students with an intellectual disability.

I couldn't have more respect for Peter, he's a man with endless patience, heaps of skill and a genuine interest in people. Peter introduced me to a group of people who had similar interests. Heather Gwilliam, Sue Taylor, Allen Cullen, Christine Bennett and Ken Ford stand out amongst a group in which I was very much the baby. Without their support, and the help of many other dedicated individuals NOVA would never have become the organisation it is today.

In 1990 we received a small grant ($120,000) and it was my privilege to be chosen to lead the paid staff. I was joined by Michelle Fisher and Janel Collins. Wise leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. In Michelle and Janel I was fortunate enough to have two people that are just that, yet generous enough not to remind me too often.

Twenty one years later NOVA has grown to a large organisation with 27 offices. Our revenue now exceeds $17m and that means we get to do more of the thing we love most - helping young men and women with a disability get the career they want.

Apparently some personal stuff is perceived as valuable, so here goes:

I presently live on the edge of the Blue Mountains National Park (Leura). My four children have all grown up and left home - a fact that has left me ecstatic!. My oldest boy married above himself, both my daughters are in happy relationships and my youngest son is a first rate carpenter.

What's still to achieve?

I believe that we (folk that work to support disadvantaged groups) are in constant state of tension - if we are not pressing forward then we are drifting backwards - maybe a little like rowing a boat in a river? Successive governments have attempted to make improvement and alteration to the way in which services are provided and my job is to steer NOVA's boat in the conditions these changes produce.

I have a set of fixed beliefs (DSM IV stuff!) in relation to my work that include an absolute conviction in the right of each person to work, an appreciation of the value of every persons contribution and, perhaps above all other things, a conviction that a duty exists to empower every person in our society to achieve their full potential.

In this effort I see participation in the workforce as both vital and life defining.

How much gas's left in the tank?

Enough - there's no quitting right now.

What's interesting me?

Issues in relation to service provision for people experiencing episodic mental illness, protecting the most disadvantaged and promoting the potential of open employment to service users (because the alternative offered by sheltered workshops is so damaging and limiting). During the next couple of years I would also like to raise NOVA's ability to support people with autistic spectrum disorders.

I am always happy to talk (old gasbag), so give me a call if I can be of assistance..

Nova Head Office Contact Details:

Level 1
50 Chapel St
St Marys NSW 2760

Ph: 0288865800
Fax: 0298332499
Email: click here
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