Thursday 26 Oct 2017

Interview with Susan Orchard, Connect Health Bentleigh

Susan Orchard, who joined the sector in 2015, would already be familiar to many financial counsellors who attended any of the various professional development sessions that Susan has presented throughout the year. She is an expert on managed superannuation, which is a growing area of concern in problem gambling. Her expertise has also led to her involvement in the Gambling Issues Working Group, which Susan has supported in her role as Secretary. It is because of these qualities and her determination to make a difference that Susan was presented with the Rising Star award at the 2017 FCRC conference. The award recognises new FCRC members (within the first three years of membership) who have demonstrated excellence in service delivery. We interviewed Susan this month to find out a little bit more about her.


Please tell us about your background.

I have previously worked as a chartered account specialising in superannuation and audit.


What motivated you to pursue financial counselling?

A desire to get involved in the community sector using my existing skills and knowledge. (Susan explains that her first stumbling block was overcoming resistance from FCs towards her background as an accountant - we're pleased that she persevered.) 


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

Working with people affected by gambling involves people from all walks of life: small business owners, refugees, unemployed and professional. This leads to a complex and diverse client base.


What has been your proudest achievement to date?

Assisting clients with the aid of the therapeutic counsellor to better manage money to secure housing and pay arrears on bills.


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

Increasing living costs combined with wage stagnation and the low rate of Newstart. In the year ahead, increases in debt interest rates will also see an increasing demand on overstretched resources.


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

"Listen" – the problem most pressing in the client's mind may not be the most harmful one.


And now for the easy questions:

What is your favourite book?

The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen


What TV show are you currently watching?

Designated Survivor on Netflix