Community services leader receives industry excellence award
Published:11 February 2020
2020 Alumnus of the Year – Industry Excellence award winner Tanya O’Shea
CQUniversity has awarded Tanya O’Shea the 2020 Alumnus of the Year – Industry Excellence award in recognition of her significant leadership in community services.
Deputy Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations, Anthea said as the current Chief Executive of IMPACT Community Services and a sought-after board and committee member, O’Shea has made substantial contributions to her community and industry.
“Tanya is being for her important role in employment, disability, mental health, social innovation and training services through exceptional leadership and management,” said.
Under O’Shea’s leadership, Bundaberg-based IMPACT Community Services has successfully managed significant events that threatened the organisation including major contract losses, cuts in funding and a resulting reduction in staff.
She successfully took part in a significant renewal plan over 10 years which enabled IMPACT to survive and thrive in tough conditions.
O’Shea said that relocating IMPACT staff and operations to enable services to continue within 24 hours of being inundated by 1.1- floodwaters in the 2013 Bundaberg flood was something she was particularly proud of.
“People came first during this event – it was a great story of resilience and courage. Staff who had been affected by the flood were putting our clients first and turning up for work instead of cleaning up their own homes,” she said.
“We have amazing humans working for IMPACT – people who park their own problems at the door every day to support others to reach and their full potential. This is what inspires me to get out of bed every day and makes me incredibly proud of the work that we do.”
In 2013, the Bundaberg floods resulted in a loss of almost one million dollars, however, under O’Shea’s leadership, the emerged strongly from the natural disaster and continued a strong expansion and diversification over the next five years.
Her exceptional leadership has been through IMPACT being awarded significant new long-term contracts, as well as the receiving awards for excellence in innovative practice, sector leadership and quality outcomes.
O’Shea also ranks her social enterprise work as a highlight of her career.
“We tested and tried five different social enterprises with the aim of creating a model that provides employment opportunities for people with a disability and mental illness.
“We accelerated one of these ventures, building a $2.8 million commercial laundry that now creates employment in an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and aims to employ 25-plus people in the next five years.”
O’Shea’s extensive leadership experience means she is a sought-after board and committee member and guest speaker.
She is also currently Director of Surf Lifesaving Queensland, the Board Chair of Shalom College and sits on multiple community committees.
“Over the last two decades, I have been fortunate to work within an organisation that has allowed me to truly make a difference to the social outcomes of my community.
“Having spent the last eight years as CEO, it humbles me to see the progress we have made and continue to make in our regional area.
“I am a firm believer in regional areas, and regional leaders are a power to be reckoned with. We are incredibly invested and willing to continue our consistent practice of being a leader.
“I choose to live, work and raise a family in our community; therefore, I believe that I need to give back and make a personal contribution.
"This extends to representing my community at a state level as Director of Surf Lifesaving Queensland, regional level as a Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett Committee member and local level as Chair of the Shalom College Board."
O’Shea is a two-time graduate of , having completed a Bachelor of Psychology in 2011 and a Master of Business Administration in 2016.