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It’s been four years in the making, but today we can officially announce the Ganbina Brisbane office has opened.

The opening of the Brisbane office is an extension of Ganbina’s expansion into Queensland, which began in 2018 thanks to the support of the Morris Family Foundation. This support resulted in elements of the Jobs4U2 model operating at Ignatius Park College in Townsville and Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust in Bundaberg.

In 2019, 100 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 12 students enrolled in the Townsville program obtained their Year 12 certificate. In Bundaberg, we were able to assist Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust to offer scholarships and Accelerated Learning program elements to Bundaberg’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth.

These promising initial results demonstrated that the Jobs4U2 model is applicable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities outside of the Goulburn Valley. Therefore we started looking to set up a more permanent base in Queensland, so we could start delivering our program to more communities.
In 2023 Lisa Marsden, a Gunaikurnai woman who has worked in Ganbina’s Shepparton Head Office for 13 years, announced her and her husband were relocating to the Gold Coast. This was a perfect opportunity for Lisa to remain with Ganbina by transiting to the new Brisbane office as our General Manager of Expansion.

To support Lisa we have hired Kelly Hansen as a Project Manager. Kelly is a Gunggari woman and highly experienced social worker with more than 12 years of community service experience.

Lisa and Kelly are raring to go and establish a program in Brisbane with our expansion partners.

To find out more about Kelly and her passion for helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth unlock their full potential, read our Q&A with Kelly below.

Q: Hi Kelly, welcome to Ganbina! Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? What’s your mob?

I’m a Gunggari woman. Our mobs are located in the south west region of Queensland, alongside the Maranoa River. I’m a social worker and have been working in community services for the last 12 years. I’ve worked in government, not-for-profit and private sectors. I’ve worked in many fields, in child protection, mental health… I’ve recently travelled around Australia working in remote Aboriginal communities. I studied a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I came back to this area to settle, I have a 13-year-old son and a British bulldog.

Q: How did you find out about the role at Ganbina?

It’s a very unique story. I was on LinkedIn, and I was never a fan of putting ‘open to work’ on my profile picture but I had this thought that I need to put myself out there. I wanted to leave crisis, front-line work behind and move more into leadership roles. The goal was to become a project manager and I’m very passionate about youth. My son was my motivation to start making changes to reach my full potential. I’ve always been very passionate about youth, I think that is where the preventative work is compared to crisis response work.

So I put open to work on my profile and Anthony (Anthony Cavanagh, Ganbina CEO) contacted me. It started with a general conversation. He asked whether I was interested in the role and I caught up with Lisa (Lisa Marsden, Ganbina’s General Manager of Expansion) and had a yarn. They decided I would be a suitable person for the role, so I was interviewed and got the role.

Q: How are you settling into your new role?

I feel so settled and grounded already, that this is my long-term job. The people I’ve come across is so refreshing, to know there’s actual integrity in the work, there actually are real outcomes and I think that’s why I’m feeling so settled already. It’s genuine, there are good intentions and the goal is for the kids.

Q: Had you heard of Ganbina before you applied for the role?

I had never heard of Ganbina before Anthony reached out, as soon as he did I did my research. I looked on the website, social media profiles and Anthony sent me some reports. I got more information and it aligned with exactly where I wanted to be. Firstly it’s a safe working environment where people are respected. We’re not putting band-aid fixes on things.

Ganbina takes the time and has a functioning, successful model and sticks by it. It’s been very inspiring and I feel empowered to be given the opportunity. The model that Ganbina has for youth, that’s the exact experience I had along my journey from engagement with Anthony to where I am now. I’ve been given opportunity, been valued and heard. In turn, we’re empowered and motivated to give back because it’s been given to us.

Q: You’re one of the first employees to be working at the new Brisbane office. How does it feel to be a part of Ganbina’s expansion into Queensland?

I feel quite honoured. I feel honoured because I know how much work Shepparton has done to establish and sustain Ganbina. I’m honoured to be valued and relied on enough to be able to bring that here, to bring the brand, the reputation, the model to Queensland. I’m also aware it’s a big responsibility because there’s an expectation of what Ganbina’s done so far. So it’s a real privilege and I have a great colleague in Lisa who has been with Ganbina for many years, so I don’t feel nervous about anything because I know I’m in very good hands.

Knowing also myself and my capabilities is a big factor, and not just your skillset, but your passion. When you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and the organisation is passionate about it, I think it’s going to be a learning journey, and we’re going to come across things that are going to be challenging, but I think because we have such a great team, that I’m very excited that we’re going to be building (in Queensland). I just think it’s so exciting for Queensland to be able to be benefitting from this.

Q: What will your role involve at Ganbina?

I’m a project manager for the expansion. My role is to work alongside Lisa, we’re going to a couple of venture partners at the moment who are about to come on board. My role will involve researching the local area for potential partnerships, building those partnerships and learning the Ganbina way.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your role at Ganbina?

I’ve got so much to look forward to. We get to build the team here and the office for expansion in Queensland. I’ve been learning a lot from Lisa and more about Ganbina. I’m really excited for the community here and our youth to be benefiting from this program. We can make a real difference.

Ganbina’s Brisbane office is located at Shop GF 2, 33 Remora Road Hamilton 4007.
The office number is 07 2103 3131.