President Piece – 9 December 2015


Hello Members,

We are giving Louise a break from writing her monthly report so please see below her report from the AGM. – Ed

President Report – AGM 17th November 2015

Good Evening everyone, and thank-you for the great attendance,

I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months and to share with the member base some of the significant highlights.

Last conference the Board made the decision to create an Executive Officer role, specifically designed to support strategic growth and development. As a result of this initiative, new strategic and business plans have been developed, and it is from this basis that the Board works.

As a direct result of this and the development of strong strategic partnerships, there has been an increase in member growth, particularly in the area of student membership. DTA has also been instrumental in feedback to stakeholders in the development and rollout of course recognition to support grandfathered memberships in consolidating those members’ skills and knowledge into a qualification.

A major initiative this year has the introduction of a theme, “Wellness through Leisure”, which has continued throughout the year. Underpinning DT Week, Conference and timed press releases during the year, this gives a perceived sense of purpose to the work of the Board, to stakeholders and interested parties, and encourages a sense of cohesion and flow for the year.

The Board have also undertaken a review and rewrite of the DTA Course Recognition Documents. These are now ready to promote to training organisations, so their courses can align with DTA standards and students can be assured they meet the requirements of DTA membership in completing the course.

Another major initiative from the Board this year has been International engagement. Relationships with New Zealand and Japan have been encouraged and developed, and this year we saw a significant number of International delegates at Conference. DTA Board members have also travelled to NZ to attend their annual conference and next year a DTA delegation will travel to Japan. This trip will include visits to Japanese aged care facilities and the opportunity to be part of several symposiums as well as being privy to some fantastic tours being organised by Takako Serizowa, President DT Japan. Diversional Therapy Australia is held in very high regard by both the New Zealand and Japanese Diversional Therapy Associations, and both look to DTA and its members to extend their thinking, offer new concepts and trends, and provide support both for the member base and at the strategic level. Numbers are filling up for the Japanese tour, so if you have been thinking about it and would like to be involved, please forward your details to the office.

I said this in my last newsletter report, and would like to repeat it here. Adelaide was dubbed the friendly Conference; filled with engagement, interaction, and networking. I wasn’t sure how the Gold Coast Conference Committee would cap that, but I believe they have. The 2015 conference was a resounding success, and filled with opportunities for learning, growth, development and thinking. Some of the initiatives to come out of the conference are, the development of a Diversional Therapy specific quality of life tool, the formation of Private Practice and Consultant support groups, and perhaps most relevant, a coming together of ideas of exactly what a Diversional Therapist is and does, identifying the space we work in and more importantly encouraging us to own that space! I believe this conference is where DTA came of age; when we aligned our thoughts and philosophies to promote that coming together, enabling us to take control and stand up for our profession. I congratulate the conference organisers, speakers and drivers.

At this point I would like to make special mention of the DTA Board. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. This group experiences the same demands on their time as every DTA member, yet they commit to giving more in the promotion and development of your profession. AGM’s are often tinged with sadness as we see key members step down from positions but also with enthusiasm as new members begin to find their place within the Board.

This AGM is different than any other year as we see the retirement of Renee Rizzo (you may remember her as Renee Dunne) after a mammoth 16 year term, spanning from DT NSW through to DTA. Renee has always stepped up to the plate, and has held executive positions, as well as being the Board’s Union expert contact. I have worked with Renee over the past 5 years and am in awe at her span of knowledge, depth of commitment and her fiery determination. We did acknowledge Renee at conference, as I felt it was important for her peers to thank her for all her hard work over such an extensive period; however I also wanted to honour her tonight as she finalises her formal DTA role. I must say, Renee is not getting away – she has committed to continuing in supporting DTA in marketing and across several other significant areas, but for tonight please join with me, in thanking Renee.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express heartfelt thanks, on behalf of the Board and members, to Margie and Diana. DTA as we know it would not function without the dedication of these two. I know they both work far above expectations, and would like you all to join with me in thanking them.

The next 12 months sees challenges for DTA and, I believe opportunities. As an association, we need to continue to work and grow. Like any business, we need growth and increased income, and development through industry awareness and recognition, to enable the Association to continue to work into the future, or we can sit back and wait to be aligned with another allied health profession. I have confidence in the positioning of DTA and in the ability of the Board, members and support networks to drive us forward – I say – don’t wait and see what the future holds – take the future, don’t just fit in – own the space!  Thankyou 


Louise Absalom

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