Mara says “Not Goodbye – But Ciao!”

This is Not Goodbye Robinvale District Health Services, But CIAO!


It has been just short of 4 years, that I have been CEO of Robinvale District Health Services, and hasn’t this time flown by quickly (literally).

I first came to Robinvale in 2012, remembering looking around RDHS and thinking how impressive the buildings and gardens were. However the day that I  had driven into Robinvale was quite a warm day.  Needing to use the bathroom, we found the Robinvale pub and went in and settled for a Coke zero to steady the nerves before interview. The combination of the pub, Caix square and the health service sealed the deal and answered questions “could we live here?”!

Starting at any new job can raise some objectives, I remember a conversation that Peter Campisi – RDHS Board Chairman and I had after the interview where he confided that he was concerned about the impact of the new then “Medicare Locals” on our service and funding. I said “don’t worry I will sort it!” RDHS did sort it and we successfully retained both our allied health services staff and the funding! We continue today, under a new administrator, Primary Health Networks, with the same relationship. My other personal objectives were

  1. to continue the success of this great health service, and
  2. Establish better “relationships” with the community and I think I can proudly tick off those

While living in the area i found many positive aspects about the towns.

  • The community and the individuals and groups that make up its unique multi-cultural character…
  • Being a Board Director of the Euston Resort Club, a fantastic “oasis” for the area which Mara and Graham will have to come back to when travelling…
  • The beautiful stretch of the Murray River that Robinvale lives by…
  • The services provided by both the local business owners and the government organisations (including Robinvale College, Mallee Family Care, MVAC and of course the wonderful Robinvale District Health Services.
  • The Clontarf Academy and “my” boys… I am so proud of you all and the great work you achieve individually and within your special team… Leon, I will also miss you and your extraordinary leadership of the youth of Robinvale…
  • The amazing work done by Glenn Stewart, Advancing Country Towns, where Robinvale and surrounding areas have been put on the map of Victoria in a big way!
  • The volunteer “spirit” of the town where a lot of people work very hard for the betterment of this community and should receive the highest accolades for it…

But with positive there must (most likely) be disappointments one of the greatest has been the weather! I knew that it would be hot and dry however summers here have proven to be one of the biggest challenges!!! The choice of hopefully a cooler climate in the next adventure was part of the incentive to move.

When moving on many things will be missed. I will miss my work team at RDHS and all of the staff. We have all grown together to form quite an effective team in leading this fantastic health service. RDHS continues to thrive in an economic environment that would challenge the best operators you could find.

I will miss Peter Campisi and the Board of Management of RDHS who gave me an opportunity to continue to grow RDHS from an already successful base. They placed a lot of faith in me and I hope they are happy with what I am leaving them with.

I will miss my family that I leave behind Sarah, my beloved daughter and Chelsea, my little princess! However I will be returning for the big wedding in October and hope to catch up with a couple of people then….

I will miss the Euston Club and shopping local, as I believe that we need to support the local business community to keep our town alive…

I will miss not living across the road from the health service…so convenient for the morning starts!

Where to now?

I am now embarking on a new adventure in Alexandra, Victoria in the  big hills near Lake Eildon…hopefully cooler. They also have a fairly new health service that requires some direction and team building, something I like to do. Identifying and then utilizing the talent that is already there and harnessing it into a team that can do anything!

Thank you Robinvale and districts for allowing me to live and work in your wonderful town. Graham and I have enjoyed our time here and all of the people we have come to know. We both wish you all the very best in the future and support your local health service, it is unique and the services you receive and have access to, is really “second to none”!

Not goodbye….. but ciao!

Mara Richards

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