Lived experience in disability leads to career change

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Jasmine smiling at the camera while sitting at her desk.

All it takes is for one event to change the direction of your life. For Jasmine, it was a horrific car crash that almost claimed the lives of her grandparents. 

The accident eight years ago left Jasmine’s grandparents with severe disabilities and Jasmine with a deep understanding of their needs to keep living independently at home. 

A manager at McDonald’s at the time, Jasmine was encouraged by a friend to apply for a local area coordinator position with Intereach in Griffith.  

Intereach local area coordinators support people aged 9-65 who live with disability, as well as their carers and families, to understand, access and navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). They help participants build capacity, access supports and be part of their communities.  

“I have lived experience caring for people with disabilities and that’s what brought me to this role,” Jasmine said. 

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The impact we see on a daily basis that the NDIS has on people’s lives and being a little part of that and helping them to achieve their goals is always inspirational.”

Jasmine - Senior local area coordinator

Jasmine’s Nan became a quadriplegic and her Pop suffered crushed legs and a brain injury in the accident, and they spent nine months together in the ICU. 

“They were retired and very active people and were on their way to travel parts of Western Australia with their motorhome, so their lives were turned upside down,” Jasmine said. 

 “Now, for them to maintain their independence, they have daily support workers and carers who support them in their home. Their home is wheelchair accessible and has been modified with grips etc to suit what they need.  

 “I used to see people with disabilities and didn’t really think much about it because it never impacted me, and it wasn’t until it impacted someone I knew personally that I realised how much that stuff means to their lives. 

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If it wasn’t for the support workers and assistive technology that they are dependent on, my Nan may not even be here today or she may be in a living facility and wouldn’t be in her own home. That’s why I do what I do.”

Since joining Intereach, Jasmine has gone from strength to strength. She has relocated to Shepparton, been recently promoted to a senior local area coordinator role and had her dedication to supporting people with disability recognised by winning the Intereach Leadership Award as part of the organisation’s Summer Thank You Awards. 

Developed by the People and Culture Governance Group, the quarterly awards recognise staff who are upholding the Intereach values of leadership, partnership and social justice and aim to build a strong, connected culture in the workplace. 

Local area coordination Program Manager Melissa said Jasmine had shown extreme resilience, determination, and leadership in her role. 

“During the rollout of the new NDIS software system, Jasmine took on the challenge of learning the system, without the benefit of being an original superuser or a senior local area coordinator at the time, and supported the staff in the Goulburn region to learn this new system, while still supporting a full complement of participants,” Melissa said.  

“Jasmine has shown significant growth and maturity during this time and her capacity to lead her team through change has been enormous. 

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She encompasses the fundamentals of Intereach as a whole and is passionate about working for the outcomes and experiences of our participants. 

A humble Jasmine said she didn’t do what she did for recognition, but it was nice to be appreciated, especially for her leadership qualities. 

“I’m passionate about working my way up into a leadership role in the future. It means a lot that those qualities are being recognised and that I am heading in the right direction,” Jasmine said. 

“I have been a manager before, but I would really like to do that in an industry I am passionate about. In this industry, I love that we can change people’s lives. 

“Intereach is a great organisation with flexible work arrangements, they care about the people and that positive and encouraging environment fosters a really good team culture. 

“I’ve been fortunate to be part of two teams and they are like family to me. I’ve never experienced that before in any other workplace. 

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I not only enjoy going to work because I love what I do but because I love the people I work with. 

Jasmine encourages anyone who had passion for the industry and the motivation to help others to apply for a career at Intereach. 

 “I didn’t think that it was something I could ever do,” she said. 

 “I didn’t think it was a role that I had enough experience in and qualifications to do but Intereach took a chance on me and now I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else.” 

Intereach has a range of exciting careers available throughout Victoria and NSW. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of people with disability, check out our current career opportunities: Careers – Intereach