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Disrupting aged care for good

Business and Enterprise

Posted on May 24, 2019

5 min read

Natasha Chadwick, Telstra’s Business Woman of the Year 2019, wants to change the way the world looks at aged care.

As we age, the need for respectful and individualised care becomes paramount. But as aged care became industrialised, the needs of the individual were potentially overlooked in the pursuit of large-scale care. That’s why we founded NewDirection Care at Bellmere.

At NewDirection Care, my team and I are on a mission to flip the script on aged care for the better, and forever. Our work at Bellmere has been positive, and now we’re eager to expand our model of care internationally.

It takes a village

NewDirection Care’s philosophy is simple: rather than filling a large building with many residents to provide care, a small residential township is built to deliver care that focuses on the individual in a community setting. 17 domestic-style homes are created, which can house seven residents each. The community at NewDirection Care at Bellmere, Queensland is the first of what we call a “microtown™”.

Developed especially for the elderly and those living with younger onset dementia and complex care needs, the microtown™ community model gives back freedom to residents and is just like any small suburban town.

It has 17 homes, plenty of outdoor space, BBQ areas, a retail precinct with shops, a café, cinema, wellness centre, barbers, beauty salon and much more. Residents are encouraged to pursue hobbies and passions in the community and socialise with other residents.

Traditional aged care facilities are built around a regimented structure. Meal times, activity hours and sleeping periods are often mandated for residents in large scale care facilities. We saw an opportunity to flip this model around: instead of regimented schedules, NewDirection Care supports the autonomy of its residents.

Residents decide when they get up in the morning, when they go to bed in the evening, when they eat and when they socialise so as not to oppose personal autonomy. Use of outdoor spaces is encouraged, and freedom of movement for residents is paramount to NewDirection Care’s success as an individualised care community.

Residents are supported in their homes by personal carers called House Companions™ who provide relationship-based support and personalised care for each individual’s needs. Pets are also welcomed into the community and embraced as great companions.

Focus on the individual

The NewDirection Care model recognises that each resident is an individual with wants and needs that go beyond a simple diagnosis. The microtown™ model is built around respecting the individual and allowing them to flourish, rather than segmenting and segregating them inside a rigid, diagnosis-based structure. Residents are encouraged to lead an independent life and contribute to their community, which in turn supports them.

This focus on the individual is key to success. I believe that prioritising the needs of the individual in all of our business interactions increases the inclusivity of our business overall.

Some of my greatest mentors also prioritise the importance of the individual and I’ve had some amazing mentors in my journey. My business partner Arthur Brotherhood always championed me as a woman. Even though we were equal partners, people would come to him with questions and for answers. Instead of answering, he would always refer them back to me and honour the fact that we were partners.

From the microtown™ to the world

The theme for this year’s Telstra Business Women’s Awards program was literally about ‘undoing business’ – taking traditional mindsets and turning them upside down. Each of us has to look at our own industries, to not settle for the status quo, and instead step out of the shadows and spearhead the world that we want to see, so that present and future generations benefit from what we have to offer.

I believe that’s exactly what I’ve done with NewDirection Care. We’ve taken a traditional sector, a whole industry, and demonstrated that you can actually turn it upside down to change the way we provide aged care to people living in our communities. It can be much better than what it currently is.

I’ve got a very clear vision and goal of what we want to achieve, and we’ve always had that. Certainly, having to articulate what we want to achieve through the Telstra Business Women’s Awards process has made it even clearer. I now have the validation that we’re on the right track, and the extra encouragement to take NewDirection Care to the next level.

My role now as founder and CEO of NewDirection Care is to grow it into a national and international aged care brand. Through partnerships and licensing that ensure that NewDirection Care MicroTowns are built across Australia and around the world, allowing ageing people and those living with dementia, brain diseases or injuries both here at home and around the world to live a much better life.

I have proven with our new model of care that everyone can have a life of freedoms, not restrictions, no matter what their diagnosis. At NewDirection Care, we offer a life of equality, of respect, compassion and empathy, with every individual continuing to be a part of our communities, not shut away.

It’s so much more than a business for me – you can probably tell it’s my passion, and it’s my mission. I’m absolutely thrilled that winning this award will now shine a spotlight on my mission at NewDirection Care for radical change across the aged care industry, not only in Australia but around the world.

Introducing the 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year

Business and Enterprise

Posted on May 17, 2019

4 min read

The 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year is Natasha Chadwick, CEO of Queensland aged care facility, NewDirection Care at Bellmere. She was awarded the honour at a gala event in Sydney overnight.

I had the absolute honour of being on the judging panel and hosting the 2019 Telstra Business Awards last night, and what an incredible evening it was! Everyone was buzzing with excitement and in awe of our amazing finalists from around the country who are the best in business. 

Telstra Business Women of the Year winners are known for challenging the status quo and achieving success in business by forging their own path, and Natasha Chadwick is no different. Her tireless efforts to improve access to quality aged care for older Australians cannot be understated.

The rise in cases of dementia is a global crisis and one that touches many of us, whether in our own family or with someone we know. And Natasha has been pioneering a new approach for residents over the past seven years by creating a first-of-its-kind microtown™ residential community that brings together residents with a range of care needs and similar values and lifestyle preferences to live together.

Natasha developed her radical new take on aged care because she believed there was an opportunity to improve the traditional way of delivering care. Developed especially for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, she pioneered the microtown™ community model that gives back freedom to residents.

This model allows residents to have control over their lives while residing in an environment that is both familiar and safe. Residents in the community are treated as individuals, and are not bound to a set schedule of meals and care. The focus of microtown is all about establishing a sense of community. 

Upon reflecting on our winner and this year’s theme of celebrating women who are ‘undoing business’, I feel whole-heartedly that this is exactly what Natasha has done. She has been challenging traditional mindsets and turning them upside down, approached a whole industry with a view to improve it and demonstrated that you can actually change the way we provide aged care for the better.

Natasha joins a renowned group of Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni, who for years have been sharing wisdom and advice with winners to help them take their businesses or not-for-profit organisations to the next level.

TBWA 2019 - Emerging Leader Award - Genevieve Clay-Smith
TBWA 2019 – Emerging Leader Award – Genevieve Clay-Smith
TBWA 2019 - For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award - Dushyanthi Thangiah
TBWA 2019 – For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award – Dushyanthi Thangiah
TBWA 2019 - Public Sector and Academia Award - Debbie Platz
TBWA 2019 – Public Sector and Academia Award – Debbie Platz

Now in its 24th year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards shine a light on women who have challenged the status quo, done things their own way, and achieved success in business. The program empowers Australia’s most successful women from small, medium and large businesses, for-purpose organisations and social enterprises, academia and the public sector.

TBWA 2019 - Small Business Award Winner - Jodie Silvester
TBWA 2019 – Small Business Award Winner – Jodie Silvester

The national winners were awarded following a rigorous judging process, which involved in-depth interviews with a panel of high-profile judges, including Melanie Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia & New Zealand, Stevan Premutico, Founder of Dimmi, and Tracey Spicer, journalist, author and founder of Outspoken Women.

TBWA 2019 - Noni Vassos and Mikayla Lynch
TBWA 2019 – Noni Vassos and Mikayla Lynch

The full list of the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards national winners are:

  • Small Business Award: Jodie Silvester, Managing Director and Founder, KAS Accounting Solutions (WA)
  • Public Sector and Academia Award: Debbie Platz, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Federal Police (QLD)
  • For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award: Dushyanthi Thangiah, Chief Executive Officer, Yumba-Meta Housing Association (QLD)
  • Emerging Leader Award: Genevieve Clay-Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bus Stop Films (NSW)
  • Business Woman of the Year Award and Medium & Large Business Award: Natasha Chadwick, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, NewDirection Care at Bellmere (QLD)

We congratulate Natasha on her win, as well as all the category winners and the nominees in this year’s national awards – all of whom are doing their utmost to make Australia and the world a better place.

Championing women doing things differently at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards

Telstra Business Women's Awards Business and Enterprise

Posted on February 26, 2019

3 min read

Today we announce the state finalists for the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. As a woman in business myself, and proud ambassador of this year’s program, I share the excitement of all the women who have been recognised for doing things differently.

Now in their 24th year, the Awards empower Australia’s most successful women from small, medium and large businesses, for-purpose organisations and social enterprises, academia and the public sector.

This year we had an incredible number of nominees and a competitive calibre of talentedh women. Our judges were inspired by women from around the country who are smashing through stereotypes to transform the status quo, championing inclusion, innovation, and leadership.

Holley Somerville Knott - Tell Someone Who Cares - Telstra Business Women's Awards

One finalist is a young woman from New South Wales with big ambitions. At 15 years old, Holley Somerville Knott is the CEO of Tell Someone Who Cares (TSWC) and is taking on the fight against large corporates by providing an alternative to products containing palm oil. With a deep passion for sustainability, Holley provides customers with the opportunity to create change with their everyday purchases.

Sue Keay - CSIRO’s Data61 - Telstra Business Women's Awards

Another finalist is pursuing a cause that I’m personally very passionate about. Sue Keay is recognised as one of Queensland’s most influential people and a ‘Superstar of STEM’ by Science and Technology Australia, and leads cyber-physical research at CSIRO’s Data61. She is inspired to raise the profile of female voices in technology and increase the number of female researchers.

Renee Wingfield - Company and Creative Director, Fliptease - Telstra Business Women's Awards
Photograph by: Johannes Reinhart

And from Western Australia is a businesswoman who really knows what it’s like to jump through hoops. Renee Wingfield is Company and Creative Director of performing arts company, Fliptease. Aerial performances, water installations and circus spectacles are all part of Renee’s day-to-day, not to mention the skills she needs to run her business.

For a full list of 2019 finalists, please visit the Telstra Business Awards website.

Being named a state finalist is an important moment of recognition. It shows women they are on the right track and their hard work is having an impact. By shining a light on women’s successes, and their individual stories, Telstra can help them thrive.

Previous winners often tell us the program provides a rare opportunity to take stock and improve their business or organisation. I encourage the finalists to make the most of the network they have joined to share experiences and seek advice to take their business or organisation to the next level.

My three tips for women in business

State category winners and overall State winners of the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards will be announced around the country in March and April. State and Territory winners will be invited to Sydney for the National Awards judging on Wednesday 15 May, and a national dinner celebration on Thursday 16 May.

Put your business to the test: nominations now open for the 2019 Telstra Business Awards

Telstra Business Awards Business and Enterprise

Posted on January 24, 2019

2 min read

Now in its 27th year, the Telstra Business Awards brings together the very best of Australian small and medium business – helping them put their businesses to the test, celebrating their achievements, and propelling them to even greater heights.

While 2018 was a record-breaking year for nominations overall, businesses nominating themselves dropped by nearly 20 per cent. This tells us that Australia has many incredible small and medium businesses worthy of attention and commendation, but some may need a bit of encouragement to seek the recognition they deserve.

We know a successful business owner is a special breed. A successful business owner is hungry. They’re creative. They’re bold. But at times, they’re also unsure. Having no one to answer to can be liberating, but it can also foster as much self-doubt as it can confidence.

The Telstra Business Awards program is designed to help business owners analyse and improve their operations so they can thrive in the future. As part of nominating, every entrant will receive a Personalised In-depth Business Report with professional insights, advice and guidance to help guide future growth for their small or medium business, not-for-profit organisation or social enterprise.

Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia, an online retailer and 2018 Telstra Australian People’s Choice Award winner, knows from experience that it’s worth taking the time to stop and put your business to the test. He has entered the awards seven times and says the entry process, which helps you articulate what your business does, how you do it and why you are unique, has taught him something every time he’s entered.

We want business owners to believe in themselves as much as we do, because we know that confidence and the will to keep innovating is as important to ongoing growth as anything else. Throughout the 2019 Telstra Business Awards, we aim to put the very best of Australia’s businesses in the spotlight, sharing their stories to inspire others as well as celebrating success.

Nominations for the 2019 Telstra Business Awards are open now until 5pm AEDT, 7 March 2019.

Nominate your business or someone else’s by heading to the website today.

How Nexba Beverages turned iced tea into a war on obesity

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on September 26, 2018

3 min read

Nexba Beverages has just been recognised as the inaugural winner of the 2018 Telstra Alumni Achievement Award, and its vision to be a major player in the fight against sugar shows why.

When founders Drew Bilbe and Troy Douglas launched Nexba Beverages in 2010, sugar wasn’t the enemy. The obesity epidemic had been well established as a growing issue globally, but sugar had not been exposed as the clear-cut culprit.

What started as a “better for you”, natural soft drink brand then, is today driven by a much larger purpose: to transform lives by being a major player in the fight against sugar.

“In Australia, 1 out of 3 children are obese,” said Mr Bilbe. “We see growth with purpose as tackling obesity and diabetes and staying true to that vision and mission.”

“When we began, consumers weren’t necessarily buying the better-for-you, healthier products,” said Mr Douglas. “I think largely due to the research that was available and also just the physical products that were available in stores.”

But since they’ve been in business, they’ve seen a massive rise in products seen as healthier options. The same year that Nexba would win the 2015 Telstra Australian Micro Business Award, they would also ink a deal with Coles Supermarkets and sugar would be labelled ‘the new tobacco’ as a health concern.

A year later, the World Health Organisation would urge countries to impose a tax on sugary drinks and fizzy drink companies would begin losing ground as their sales dropped.

In other words, winning their initial Telstra Business Award couldn’t have happened at a better time. “We went from a self-funded start-up to what we now term ‘a scale up’,” said Mr Douglas.

“We have got amazing investors. We closed our first Series A capital raise at $4.5 million with some really powerful Australian business people as part of that, so winning the Telstra Award in 2015 obviously supported us in giving us that credibility both internally and externally with how we market ourselves and moved forward.”

While the business began their journey with ice tea, it has expanded its scope much wider.

“Our biggest achievement is being the first company to tackle obesity and diabetes globally by reinventing soft-drinks,” said Mr Bilbe. “All of our products are naturally sugar free, as opposed to being artificially sweet.”

Three years on, Nexba has been recognised at the Telstra Business Awards for a second time, taking out the inaugural 2018 Telstra Alumni Achievement Award – which rewards previous winners that have taken their achievements to the next level since their win. The accolade coincides with the business ready to take the next step into the international market and incredible growth.

Leadership in the industry has seen them experience 150% year-on-year growth and undertake multiple collaborations with retailers including Coles, Woolworths and Aldi in Australia. And now Nexba is on the brink of launching another collaboration with an as yet undisclosed major UK supermarket retailer.

“Domestically, we will continue to launch new ranges of ready-to-drink products including probiotic water as well as build on our naturally sugar-free tonic water range,” said Mr Bilbe. “Globally, we will cement our strong position in the UK and also focus on other markets such as the US.”

The 2018 Telstra Business Awards season may be over now, but you can submit your nominations for 2019 – even if it’s for your own business.