CQ man leads national company
RHYS Kennedy always wanted to play a role in rehabilitation.
During his formative years as an occupational therapist with Choice Passion Life (CPL), he revelled in the small steps; individuals reaching their goals.
It was while he studied a Master of Business Administration at CQUniversity’s Rockhampton campus, Mr Kennedy realised he could have a greater impact if he moved up the rungs.
Now, the Emerald-raised, former Rockhampton man has been appointed chief executive officer of the national company he has served for 12 years.
“When I first started in occupational therapy, I was more focused on the individual goals, and seeing progress in what they’re doing,” Mr Kennedy said.
“I thought I would have more of an impact if I were managing therapists.
Mr Kennedy worked for CPL in Rockhampton for seven years, primarily with children, before he became the allied health manager for the Rockhampton and Wide Bay districts.
Eventually, his career led him to Brisbane where he started his own therapy organisation, before his most recent appointment.
“Now (as CEO) I am afforded a real privilege, the opportunity to visit 47 locations... meeting some really amazing people who work for us, they’re passionate about what they do,” he said.
During his childhood and schooling in Emerald, Mr Kennedy said health was always his passion.
“I chose occupational therapy because I like the rehabilitative side of health sciences, helping people to unlock their potential,” he said.
“During university I did work with people with cerebral palsy – during that placement I realised the impact and difference people could make with good support.”
Mr Kennedy is a self-confessed “change-addict”, and said there is always more work to be done towards a more inclusive, accessible and understanding society.
“I like to set myself a vision of what we think our world could be like in the future, that’s what excites me the most; how do we innovate, build a better society accepting of all people... speaking with the community helps us understand better,” he said.
Mr Kennedy said one in five Queenslanders have a disability, and encouraged people “be aware, seek understanding” and look at what we can do to make buildings, facilities, businesses and the community more accessible and inclusive.
He said the National Disability Insurance Scheme, coming in 2018, is the next big step in the right direction.
“The NDIS means there will be more people funded in Queensland, more people who have access to services and support... it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
Mr Kennedy said there were 2500 people with disabilities in Rockhampton currently receiving funding; a number expected to grow to 4900 when the NDIS is introduced - a growth of about 96%.
Mr Kennedy said initially the workforce would grow to about 650 to 800 employees.
Once the NDIS is fully rolled out 1500 to 1800 jobs will be created in the region.
CPL supports 8000 people across their 47 locations in Queensland and northern New SouthWales to live their on own, be active, go to school or university, get a job and improve their health.
They currently assist about 250 clients and employ 100 people in Rockhampton.
REACHING GOALS: Former Rockhampton man Rhys Kennedy has just been appointed the Choice Passion Life CEO after starting his career as an occupational therapist.