Sunday 28 May 2017

Interview with Leanne Clarke, Orbost Health

Please tell us about your background.

I have worked in a range of careers from administration, dental nursing to state government positions in health and aged care. I enjoy change and challenge - and being an FC certainly ticks those boxes.

I work in the small rural town of Orbost and have done for the past 6 years; my family moving to the area for a sea change.


What motivated you to pursue financial counselling?

My mother-in-law (Lorraine Clarke) was a Financial Counsellor and this brought the industry to my attention. I was seeking a new career direction. I commenced study with Ballarat University in 2003.

In 2005, I was employed by CAFS- Ballarat. I was drawn by the diversity of the work with the changing environment and challenges the clients bring. Having now working in the field for over 10 years this has certainly proved to be true.


What is unique about working as a financial counsellor in a town of 2,500 people?

I have the privilege of working in a rural hospital setting with a great network of people. Referral pathways are dynamic with hospital staff having a solid understanding of each role that everyone plays.

Our community is continually changing with people flowing in and out. We are seeing many low income families move into the area for cheap housing. With this comes the problem of lack of employment and opportunity.

There has been a history of people on DSP buying cheap old houses but struggling to meet the demand of the upkeep, rates, insurance and mortgage repayment. Thinking outside the box is the joy I have to create options for clients to create a sustainable plan for people desperate to keep their homes. Mental Health is also on the rise for our community. We have a wonderful team to draw support and expertise and that again reflects on the great networks we have.


What has been your proudest achievement to date?

I feel that a career in financial counselling provides many opportunities for proud achievements.

Without targeting one moment I would highlight the proud feeling of sharing information and options that provides the client with a sense of hope and direction. You can physical see change in your client’s demeanour as they leave the office walking taller with optimistism. This makes me proud to be a Financial Counsellor.


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

I see mental health as a big challenge for the industry in case practice.


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

The colleagues I have worked with in the past and present are my best resources. Information sharing and peer support is invaluable.


And now the easy questions:

What TV show are you currently watching?/ Favourite TV show?

Anh’s Brush with Fame. Anh’s compassion, intelligence and skill make this show brilliant.



What is your favourite app?

Smiling Minds app. The mindfulness app is for all ages. It helps me take a few minutes to just be, and calm the mind with such hectic lives we all lead.