Rynnette Gentle - Centre Manager, headspace Broken Hill

When Rynnette first joined Flourish Australia she was amazed and touched by the way the organisation looks beyond a diagnosis to see the person they are supporting.
Rynnette Gentle

Seeing Kindness in Action has been Life Changing for Rynnette Gentle

When Rynnette first joined Flourish Australia she was amazed and touched by the way the organisation looks beyond a diagnosis to see the person they are supporting. The kindness inherent in the approach was deeply meaningful to Rynnette whose experience of working in other services that tended to focus on treatment of ‘diagnosed illness or disability’, with less focus on the person. It was life changing to become part of a work culture that promotes genuine care for its team members and each individual that seeks their services.

A history of some mental health issues in her own family gave Rynnette an innate understanding of the ripple effect it has on family members and the trauma that can result from the associated loss and grief.   She experienced the same empathy in the Peer Workers around her at Flourish Australia whose compassionate approach gave her fresh perspective and practical insight to better ways of working with the people she supports.

Year after year she finds herself inspired by the continued growth of the organisation; not only in terms of regional expansion but in the leaps and bounds being made through continuous improvement of services to become even more responsive to the needs of the communities served.   She feels a strong sense of achievement, having grown professionally along with the organisation as it has evolved.

“We have come so far in the way we support others,” Rynnette says.

Equally, inspiration is the progress Rynnette has made with her own career path. Once a full-time mother of three, who later felt she had found her calling in the disability sector, Rynnette has never looked back since finding Flourish Australia, 14 years ago.  To continually be offered wonderful opportunities for personal and professional growth has been a highlight for her; starting out as a Senior Mental Health Worker and stepping up to a management position with the support and encouragement of Senior Managers to whom she reported.

Among life lessons Rynnette learned from Peer Workers along the way is that sharing your own lived experience with others can be so empowering – for you and for them.

“Peer Workers were so natural in the way they shared their lived experiences that you felt understood and so supported in your own challenges. You take on the knowledge so much more easily when it’s relatable.”  Rynnette says.

In her current role as Centre Manager for headspace Broken Hill, Rynnette considers the sharing of her own story to be an important part of giving her very best to those she works with in her local community.

The third generation of her family have grown up in Broken Hill; the community is all important to Rynnette.  “I live and breathe my community” she says.  Her passionate commitment extends to a role with the Community Health Network Community Advisory Council.  For Rynnette, it’s another level of having input to ensuring that care strategies and initiatives are people-focused and aligned to improving local health care experiences and expectations. 

Looking to the future, Rynnette sees every individual link in the chain of Flourish Australia’s workforce, becoming their personal best as the organisation grows to become an even bigger positive influence in the lives of so many people.    She believes the kindness that underlies everything Flourish Australia does is the key to its success.  Rynnette knows from first-hand experience, both personally and professionally, the profound difference that simply relating to someone with kindness can make to their self-esteem, their outlook and their prospects.

In addition to her work in mental health, Rynnette is studying Accountancy and Book Keeping to keep her mind active in broader areas of interest.  She feels strongly that women, wherever they live and work, should step out of their comfort zones and give whatever it is that most interests them a go.  Her own career pursuits have taught her that there is no failure, only more to learn and that while you may feel driven to pursue a particular path, life may have other ideas and you never know where it might take you if you can embrace change and opportunity with a willing heart.  

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