Welcome to our Transformational Success Story where I personally interview one of our very successful clients, Christine Stow. Christine is a wonderful mother, carer and passionate advocate for children with disabilities and their carers.
You have had an amazing journey so far, can you please tell us about yourself, Christine. I began advocating for parents, carers and people with disabilities when I found something wrong with my daughter Imyjen. I worked as regional coordinator for a disability service and stood in the state election on disability issues in 2006. Before I had my children, Auraria and Imyjen, I worked in Laboratories including Forensic Science moving into Medical and Biopharmaceutical sales. I completed a Masters of Business Administration as a single parent. In 2014 I was elected to Local Council which is a great honour. Standing in the State Election made me realise that we need people at the "big table", - where the decisions are being made, to represent the people and issues right up front. Everyone knows why I am there; it means that disabilities are always being brought into the equation when decisions are being made.
I am passionate about what I do. I do all I can for both my daughters. It is SO very important to support siblings as well. If we don’t, we are in danger of making them a statistic in that they are more than likely to end up with mental health issues than the general population. I like to go to the gym regularly and Ranger (our Jack Russell) always loves a walk. We go to AFL matches often as this is a passion I share with Auraria and my dad. It is important that we be as “normal” a family as we can.
You have had significant successes over the past two years Christine, please you tell us about your transformation. From thinking how am I going to survive to being elected to Council and launching a book… Before I worked with Vesna, I wondered how I was going to get by. But the changes to mindset allowed me to think that: I CAN do that – why not? I just want to be like other families, I don’t want to be defined by disability- Imyjen’s disability. With Vesna’s help, I worked out what I needed to do: and do it! Attending workshops and getting out were things I did not think possible before… with a change in mindset, they became possible. And my book…. That is something I never would have achieved without Vesna.
What were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome to get to where you are now? Making what I want a priority- putting aside “other things”. I started writing my book and working with Vesna quite a while ago. I was elected to Council along the way. Getting elected was unexpected because it was a count back 2 years later. I had moved on. After being elected, I had to work out how things fitted, what is important and how I was going to complete my book as well as being a COUNCILLOR, as well as care for Imyjen. Vesna helped re focus my time and energy. She helped change my mind set from ….. I can’t do that.. To I might be able to do that … to HEY, why can’t I do that? Let’s figure out a way I CAN do what I want to do and just Do IT!
To what extent has working with Qt helped you to pursue your passion for empowering carers? Vesna helped me get focused on what I needed to do and what would move me forward. She helped me clear the fog. Now I am working on a book for other carers to do what I did and feel empowered to change the disability conversation for themselves.
You recently launched your wonderful book, please tell us about it. My book is about my journey with my daughter and how I changed where I was at from carer to Councillor. It is a road map to what I did to make a difference in my life. I aim to change the conversation we are having about caring and disability. With the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) rolling in, we need to say what we want from this now and make it happen for us.
What has been the biggest change for you? Has the change been a lasting one? I am working on being valued for who I am and what I have to offer. Recently I attended a workshop on ABCD – Asset Based Community Development. This fits perfectly with what I believe in that I knew that I had something to offer. ABCD is about the value that each of us bring. I think we all want to be valued.
The Biggest change was getting “Not Just Imyjen’s Mother” to LAUNCH. Most lasting change for me - the way I value myself and my time. Also I get to influence the conversation about caring and disability. The feeling you get when you get to launch was Amazing! I can’t put that into words. And the feedback I have had from people has been Amazing!
What tips would you give to others who are thinking about following their dreams, goals and passion? Get a mentor and get out of the rut. Changing your mindset from: “it’s too hard to it CAN be done”- is the key. Figure out what you want, then what needs to be done to get there. It helps to have someone to help you figure that out and support you.
The people you spend your time with helps as well. I was spending my time with people who were not happy with where they were at. I sought out people who were doing things I wanted to do and made it my priority to spend my time with them. After spending time with people in politics, I was elected to Council! Its true- it’s really true! I made it my business to find a way to hang out with people in business too. It makes sense. They say you are the average of the 5 other people you hang out with so have a look around and see who you can hang out with that might have that influence.
How would you sum up your transformation? From wondering how I was going to get through the day to being elected to Council and speaking as a Community Leader where people are seeking out my opinion - it does not get much more of a significant change than that. I didn’t think I could do this – BE Councillor and write a book but now I AM and looking for my next challenge to take on!
Christine is happy to talk to you about her transformation so please contact Dr. Vesna on (03) 9653-9288 for her details. Dr. Vesna is also now a proud owner of her own autographed copy of Christine's inspirational book.
Christine is also generously offering the first 5 people to contact her for a FREE 1 hour one on one by phone with her to empower them as a carer. To find out what it is they need to get started, to work out what it is they need if they are a carer who wants to change where they are at. This is our time to do something differently with NDIS rolling in. It is our time to work out what we need to do to make the most of what we have.