Thursday 24 Jan 2019

Interview with Jenny Paikopoulous, Uniting Kildonan

Please tell us about your background?

My background is in disabilities where I worked as a Developmental Disabilities Service Officer. Before, in between, and after as a sandwich prep assistant for 3 days until I discovered I was being underpaid, confronted them received some feeble excuse and left. Next came working in an office for AAMI insurance for a short stint. I then worked as a gardener at Melbourne University and QLD. I also worked in a nursery and fruit picking. Gave Bunnings a go, and now financial counselling.


What motivated you to pursue Financial Counselling?

I had a child, and as a single parent, I needed 9-5 stability which shift work didn’t provide.

I returned to study and completed the Diploma in Community Services. Financial Counselling was offered as an elective at which time I realized this was the direction I wanted to head and 8 years later I’m still learning.


What are the unique aspects of your role or the area you work in?

Working with a dedicated team of financial counsellors; each providing a unique outlook and approach in addressing clients' varied circumstances.


What has been your proudest achievement to date?

Oh gosh! There are many proud achievements but the ones that stand out the most are buying my own home as a single parent, at the same time completing study and of course my son.

People I can support to realise they can achieve.


What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the financial counselling sector?

Funding, funding, funding. It seems we’re a slave to government whim, where our worth is governed by what side of bed they got out of on the day of fiscal spending decisions.


What has been the most valuable resource or advice you’ve received?

The advice provided by the wonderful financial counselling team I work with, full of great wisdom and knowledge. Without them I would constantly doubt myself.

Valuable advice received: the situation they present with has been occurring for some time so won’t be fixed overnight. And: we can present them with options and advice, but it’s up to them to make the decision which direction they wish to go in. Even though it’s not the one you believe they should make - it’s their choice.


And now the easy questions...

What are you reading at the moment? 

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini 


What is your favourite TV show?

Dr Who