Being the Change: How Jemima Parker is Giving a Voice to Those Who Need to be Heard

As our Senior Manager – Community Care, Jemima supports our frontline staff to deliver essential Disability and Aged Care services, ensuring our clients receive the kindness, respect, and choice they deserve.

Creating a culture of respect

Giving people a voice is a theme close to Jemima Parker’s heart. She has seen first-hand the struggles people face when they have little control over their lives. So, she decided to be part of the solution. Today, Jemma strives to give a voice to the elderly and those living with a disability – and to let them know they matter.

Since joining us in March 2021, Jemima has made a big impact within Catholic Care. As our Senior Manager – Community Care, she supports her team to deliver critical disability and aged care services. She also oversees our Customer Care team. It’s challenging work, yet this caring leader shows up every day with a smile and the desire to help our clients make progress – one step, one day, and one challenge at a time.

“It all comes down to respect,” Jemima says. “Everyone deserves respect, kindness, and the opportunity to succeed and get good outcomes in life.”

A quest for lasting change

Jemima is a tireless advocate for people living with a disability. It’s a passion that began with her own family, who lacked access to quality services for many years.

“I have a nephew who has severe autism,” Jemima says. “He’s in his 30s now, so I’ve witnessed the disability sector evolve over that time. In the past, people with a disability had no control over their lives; they didn’t have a say. It wasn’t just my nephew who suffered; I have cousins with autism as well. My whole family has struggled with service providers who didn’t care enough. That really drove my passion for making things right.”

A long-time champion of society’s vulnerable people, Jemima began her career in aged care as an assistant in nursing. She loved working with the elderly and was saddened by the way they were treated.

“In our society, older people are often seen as a burden. People need to realise that the elderly have value and they count. Working in aged care made me realise I wanted to do work that had more influence.”

Jemima decided to change direction. She completed a social work degree and entered the family support services space, working as an intensive family preservation case worker. It was a demanding yet fulfilling role where she supported parents at risk of losing their children by teaching them essential parenting skills. Jemima gained a deep insight into the barriers struggling families face. But it was a brave single mother with an intellectual disability who made the greatest impact on her.

“To this day, she is the most inspiring person I have ever met,” Jemima says. “This woman was a mum, just like the rest of us. But she had gaps in her parenting knowledge, and she didn’t have enough family support. Although she had an intellectual disability, she really wanted to learn. She was so strong and resilient. She overcame so much and was able to keep her daughter. It was so rewarding to walk with her on her parenting journey.”

This experience motivated Jemima to enter the disability services sector. Determined to make a difference in people’s lives, Jemima took on various leadership roles. Although she had her own personal experience of disability services, she gained a deeper perspective as a complaints handling officer with the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Yet, Jemima preferred a more hands-on role. So, in early 2021, she joined us at CatholicCare – and she hasn’t looked back.

“I love that I can combine my passion for aged care and disability services in this role,” Jemima says. “The fact that CatholicCare is a faith-based organisation is also important to me. Gratitude, perseverance, and kindness are valued by everyone here. It’s wonderful to work with colleagues who are striving towards the same outcome of a better future for our clients.”

A supportive team leader

Jemima is also driven to see her team members succeed. She’s continually humbled by the incredible work her team does on the frontline of Catholic Care’s support.

“You really see the difference our support workers make,” Jemima says. “They have a direct impact on the client that is so rewarding to see. As a leader, you’re only as good as your team, and I have a brilliant team.”

Jemima values the flexibility of her role. As a carer for her daughter, who has mild autism, she can fit her work around her family responsibilities. In turn, Jemima is adaptable, too, which she says is key for anyone to succeed in aged care and disability services.

“You need to be resilient and roll with the punches. CatholicCare and the disability and aged care sectors are constantly evolving, so we need to have a positive, can-do attitude.”

As for the future, Jemima plans to continue doing what she does best: advocating for those who deserve to be heard. And for us at CatholicCare, we are incredibly proud of the fantastic work Jemima does to guide our clients towards a better future.

“I want to fill the gaps. I want to keep reaching people in the community who need our services. Quality outcomes, helping people to be happy – that’s what motivates me.”

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