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Erin Marshall is a go-getter! An advocate for change, board director and generous giver, Erin has always been one to never let the challenges of life hold her back. Quite the opposite actually.

Over the past +10 years, Erin has been on a long learning journey starting with her decision to become a Justice of Peace in 2013. She followed this up by participating in leadership programs including the Emerging Leadership in Governance program.

Erin’s key message is to “always have hope” and to always help people when you have the capacity to do so.

Meet Erin in her own words….

I’m Erin and I completed ELGP in 2022. By completing the program, I gained two Board Roles and am currently on the Avivo Board and the Board of Disability Assembly WA.

But I should back up a little here and tell you a bit about myself.

I was born nine weeks prematurely, which caused me to be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegia, which affects my legs. This meant that some pathways in life were cut off to me and compromises had to be made to achieve my goals.

I attended a mainstream school and once I graduated, I attended Business College and then TAFE, obtaining a Diploma in Community Welfare Work. I then went to ECU and graduated with a degree in Criminology and Justice.

After working for the State Government for 18 years, I had to take a voluntary redundancy in 2020 due to my health.

Thankfully, I am in receipt of both the Disability Support Pension and the NDIS which are an immense help.

I heard a great quote the other day and it epitomises why I try and help people as much as I do – particularly disabled people. The quote is: “If you have the capacity, you have the responsibility” and I do have a capacity, that some others like me don’t, therefore, I choose to help. It’s that simple.

Tell us how being involved in one of our leadership programs has helped you? What changed or shifted in you as a result?

When I applied for the ELGP program I was looking for a new purpose in my life. I really wanted to do more within my community and thought it would be a great way to meet new people, learn new things and increase my confidence.

I had no idea what Board Governance was or that such a thing as a Board Resume even existed, but I soon learnt!

The course made me realise that the skills I had to offer were worth sharing and I obtained my first Board Role not long after the course finished, which I hadn’t seen coming at all. (My original plan after completing the course was to take some time and decide where to apply).

After the course finished, I felt like I was ready to take on my Board Role and it was just such a positive and nurturing environment. I loved it and I’m still in touch with most of my program buddies today.

What was the first step you took to build your leadership or create change?

I decided to apply to become a Justice of the Peace in 2013. A friend who was also a JP suggested it and I really liked the idea. After a long application process and training, I was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in October 2014.

I really enjoy being a JP and currently volunteer at three Signing Centres around the Perth Metro Area.

This really spurred me on to further my leadership journey and in 2015 I applied for the Leadership WA run LeadAbility program. Completing ELGP, gave me the confidence to then apply for their Rising Program, which I completed this December.

Tell us about a moment where you were really brave and why. What do you learn?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, there have been a lot of instances in my life when I have had to be really brave. These have included:
– When I was diagnosed with a spinal tumour at age 14
– When I needed to get a pacemaker implanted at age 18
– When I got bullied so badly at work, that I had a nervous breakdown; or
– When my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At the time, these things were really difficult – thankfully, they turned out ok – but they all taught me the same thing, which is: to always have hope.

What’s next for you?

I will continue with both my Board Roles at Avivo and Disability Assembly WA. I am also hoping to get back into paid work this year health permitting. Plus, Avivo have put me forward for a course run through Social Impact Leadership Australia called “Governance For Social Impact” which started in March.

6 powerful secrets to find your highest purpose in life

The world needs more purpose-driven people. But where do you start? This inspiring guide will give you powerful insights to find and refine your own purpose in life.

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