Rachael Dillon - Team Leader, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs

Head shot of Rachael Dillion, QLD team leader Tell us how you got here?

I was seven years old when I realised I wanted to be a teacher and never wavered from the idea growing up. After finishing university, I taught as a mainstream classroom teacher for 16 years, 12 of which were in the same school. A natural love of diverse learners drew me into various roles supporting students with learning difficulties. I’d always enjoyed mentoring new teachers; my strength and passion for this led me into developing and running workshops both within the Education Department as well as privately.

I feel honoured to have a team leader role with Positive Partnership. It’s given me the opportunity to step outside of the school grounds for the first time in my life. I love being able to extend myself and my skills beyond the classroom and school staffroom. The opportunity to work with the families of the children I’ve been supporting for many years in a different way is incredibly rewarding.

What personal values and attributes do you bring to the role?

I’m enthusiastic, caring, highly organised and very thorough in my planning and preparation, which I think is essential to the role of team leader. A belief in a strength based approach and strong communication skills has enabled me to foster dynamic, confident facilitation teams. Having fun is vital! I’d like to think a little bit of laughter and mischief comes along to every workshop with me. If my team and I are enjoying ourselves, so are the participants!

What do you hope to achieve in this role?

Success for me in this role is simply hearing the words ‘thank you’ from one parent or teacher at a workshop and, in particular, when parents express their gratitude to the team for facilitating a stronger support network in their community. We always feel a sense of achievement when hearing the words; ‘Thank you, I dont feel so alone anymore, as the journey with autism should be a shared, communicated and well supported one.
Empowering school staff to extend their knowledge and skills in utilising our tools and resources to build their capacity to support parents and families within diverse communities across Australia is my vision of success.

What inspires you to make a difference?

The families, teaching staff and community members I’m fortunate enough to meet in workshops, and despite the fact I don’t get to work with them very often anymore, the children. They are the reason I get out of bed every day with a smile on my face and why I love what I do.

I am especially inspired by what some parents and schools can achieve together following workshops. The support that participants give to each other is incredibly inspiring. Their ambition, passion and willingness to engage in robust and often emotional discussions at their tables while supporting each other astounds me!

Ensuring I have a sense of ‘connectedness’ to people and the ability to offer them some support and encouragement is what inspires me professionally more than anything else.