Ten years on…

By Madeleine Donkin, 27 February 2018 , Comments

When Kerry Stubbs accepted the role as Chief Executive Officer for Northcott, she thought she’d be in it for two or three years before moving to a new challenge.

Ten years on, she still finds herself being challenged by the role, “… or, very simply, I wouldn’t still be here!” she said.

Kerry always had a keen interest in human rights and social justice issues, so when someone recommended she apply for the CEO role at Northcott, it definitely peaked her interest.

“When I came for an interview at the Parramatta Head Office, there were a lot of young people with disability there having a great time. I liked the fact that our customers were right there in the building with us. That really appealed to me.”

Once appointed to the role, the Board’s main priority for Kerry was to grow the business. Ten years ago, Northcott operated on approximately a $20 million turnover per annum and employed around 300 staff members. In 2018, our forecasted turnover will be a whopping $160 million and we employ more than 2400 members of staff!

“I guess you can consider that growth!” Kerry beamed. 

Kerry remembers thinking her main challenges were to improve the organisation’s culture and spirit, increase diversity and work to increase managers’ knowledge and use of systems and processes, in particular with regards to Human Resources and Finance.

“Frustratingly, today, we still need to improve our systems and processes, but I certainly know the calibre, professionalism and expertise of our managers has come a long way in ten years. I’ve enjoyed seeing many members of staff grow from role to role, seeing a greater number of women in senior positions, or see staff leave Northcott, then return. Witnessing all of those things has been satisfying for me,” she said.

When asked what Kerry thought has been her biggest achievement in ten years, she mentioned a few.

“I’m really proud of how we now recognise diversity; be it through our inclusive workplace strategy to commit to employ people with disability or through the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or stretch RAP,” she said.

“I also believe Northcott is now considered a significant ‘player’ in the disability industry. I think this is demonstrated by the number of services we acquired from the Department of Families and Communities last year. I’m not sure we were considered a major ‘player’ ten years ago.”

Kerry also included the creation of Northcott Innovation as one of her highlights.

“Northcott Innovation has been a huge achievement for Northcott. It has introduced a completely different way of thinking about the work we do and the challenges we tackle. We actively look for and embrace innovative ways of doing things now, whereas ten years ago, we feared change.”

So where does she see Northcott ten years from now?

“I think Northcott will continue to grow and prosper, and is likely to become a national organisation,” she said.

“I’d also like to think we might be better at using technology for our customers’ benefit.”

Finally, Kerry adds: “Ten years has truly flown. I’ve loved every minute and am so proud of Northcott, our staff and the work we do. We have a great reputation as a professional, friendly organisation that is committed to customer satisfaction. I’m not saying we get everything right, every time, but our values always hold true. That means something. We are here to make a difference… and we do.”

Kerry Stubbs celebrates her ten year work anniversary with Northcott on 27 February 2018. Congratulations Kerry and thank you.


Kerry Stubbs is a former CEO of Northcott (till end of August 2020).


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