5 Years of Service
Chantell Wyszenko, Campbelltown, 13-04-2015
Trevor Jenkins, Bowral, 20-04-2015
Eva Pidgeon, Bowral, 02-06-2015
Kate Dale, Bowral, 22-06-2015
Joy Schofield, Bowral, 20-07-2015
Rachel Dockerill, Bowral, 20-07-2015
10 Years of Service
None this year
15 Years of Service
Dawn Nixon , Bowral, 30.05.2005
Dawn Nixon – Team Leader, Bowral Operations – 15.3
Dawn first started with Argyle Housing in 2005 as a Rent Review Officer. In 2017 she became our Senior Rent Review Officer and then in the same year took the role as Team Leader of Rent review. It is fair to say that there is no one more knowledgeable of government guidelines in relation to what our tenants pay in relation to Argyle Housing. The team have the task to review all our tenancies twice a year to ensure our tenants are being charged correctly, which can lead to some challenging conversations. In addition, Dawn with the team, manage all NRAS compliance and affordable rent assessments. All three tasks contribute to the ongoing support of our strategic objectives of sustainability and customer experience.
Most recently Dawn became Team Leader of our Bowral operations team and with her Argyle Housing experience, has a true understanding of the challenges the tenants and our tenancy officers in Bowral face on a daily basis, which benefits us all.
Chantell Wyszenko – Tenancy Officer – 5.5 years
Chantell Wyszenko has worked for Argyle Housing for 5.5years. She commenced on 13 April 2015 in the role of Tenancy Officer. Chantell is a valued part of the Campbelltown Team who has worked tirelessly in a very challenging portfolio where trust and mentoring has played a key role to her success with her tenants. She has built up a network of supports over the years working hard to get the best for her tenants. Recently Chantell has taken on a new role as a Tenancy Manager, housing Rough Sleepers for the Together Home Package.
The success she has achieved in the short time she has been working on the new program has amazed everyone and demonstrated how diligent and passionate she is.
Trevor Jenkins – Senior Asset officer – 5.4 years
Trevor Jenkins commenced with Argyle Housing in April 2015 as the Procurement Officer and a year later became the Senior Assets Officer. During his time with Argyle Housing, Trevor has assisted with many substantial initiatives and changes including the implementation of the Castleton information system, developing Asset Management and Modelling tools that help Argyle Housing predict what our maintenance needs are into the future, and our Garden Units Project.
On a day-to-day basis, Trevor is responsible for not only the delivery of maintenance services to all of our properties and tenants but is also the person responsible for solving many complex problems ranging from major fires to structural failures. Trevor is great at finding the most appropriate solution for our tenants and is thorough when investigating issues.
Eva Pidgeon – Rent Review and Compliance Officer – 5.3 years
Eva commenced employment with Argyle Housing on 2 June 2015 as an Assistant Compliance Officer. In September 2016, she became a member of the Rent Review Team while keeping her role as Compliance Officer. Her role is to conduct rent assessments for all of our Affordable properties as well as manage the compliance aspect of her work. Eva is also a Health & Safety Representative in the Bowral Office, assisting the staff to stay safe within the working environment.
She is diligent in her duties and always ensures that processes are followed. She is a quiet achiever.
Kate Dale – Senior Accountant – 5.2 years
Kate joined Argyle Housing as an assistant accountant in 2015 and most recently since February last year has worked as our Finance Manager supporting a team of six.
Her current role entails the reporting and compliance for the financial elements on behalf of Argyle Housing and it’s a testament to her leadership and teamwork that we are in a position to accurately prepare the monthly managerial reports within eight working days, are compliant to all statutory obligations, and that for the last two financial years we have received unqualified audit results in our annual reports from KPMG. In the process, she is always looking for opportunities to improve how we can support the organisation.
In addition to leading the finance team Kate has recently started part-time study for her MBA at UNSW in Social Impact in Socialisation which complements Argyle Housing’s strategic objectives. Kate’s commitment to achieving positive social outcomes is evident in her work and achievements.
Joy Schofield – Finance Officer – 5.2 years
Joy commenced her employment with Argyle Housing on 20 July 2015 in the role of Accounts Clerk now known as a Finance Officer, in our Bowral office. During her five years of employment with Argyle Housing, Joy has been a constant and reliable member of the finance team. Her attention to detail and ‘çan do’ attitude makes her a highly valued member of the team and to the organisation as a whole.
Just as importantly, Joy’s sharp wit and dry sense of humour provides for much laughter and ‘joy’ in challenging times.
Rachel Dockerill – Allocations Officer – 5 Years
Rachel commenced her employment with Argyle Housing on the 20th July 2015 as a Pathways Officer at the Tahmoor Outreach centre located the Tahmoor Community Centre. In this role, she assessed client’s eligibility for Social Housing and processed their applications. She worked closely with their support services and provided much needed information around Social Housing.
In January 2017, the Outreach was closed and Rachel was moved into the newly set up Access & Allocations Team, in Bowral Head Office to continue her role. In late 2017 the team was given the responsibility of assessing all applications and allocations across Argyle and Rachel moved into the Allocations Officer position.
In this role, Rachel speaks with clients on a daily basis, with many and varied complex issues around their housing needs. She is often called upon to assist clients, by providing information, for them to make better informed decisions around their applications and housing needs.
She has attended many Expos over her 5 years of service, always representing Argyle in a favourable light. She has proven her ability to interact with both clients and supports workers at these events speaking to local communities about Social Housing and in particular Argyle Housing. She always shows respect to clients, support workers and fellow staff from both Argyle and Dept. of Community & Justice – Housing Service.
She continues to be is a valued member of the Access & Allocations Team.
Argyle Housing – a Learning Organisation
Argyle Housing recognises that ongoing professional development and training are essential in ensuring staff have the knowledge and skill to deliver quality customer service, that they feel confident and safe in their roles, and that they are supported to progress in their careers with Argyle Housing.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has created some unique challenges during the first half of 2020. Training organisations have had to adapt and many are now delivering training online. This has been a great bonus for Argyle Housing as we have been able to offer training to regional staff without expecting them to travel and leave their families.
2115.4 hours of training were completed at a cost of $33,325.00
All staff completed mandatory training delivered in-house and including:
- Critical Incident Training
- Bullying and Harassment Training
- Privacy Training
- NDIS Orientation Module
Role Specific Training included:
- NCAT training – for the first time online
- ACAT training
- Safe Home Visiting
- First Aid Training
- Fire Warden Training
- HSR Training
Discretionary training was organised on request to enhance employee skills and specialised workshops were organised and delivered to support the Argyle Housing Integrated Management System.
Argyle Housing will continue to prioritise training for its employees and looks forward to introducing a new online, internal training platform in late 2020 that will make training more accessible for all staff.
Staff Wellbeing Program
To recuperate staff member’s mind, body and soul after giving back to their community, our Staff Wellbeing Program recognises that what they put into their role at Argyle Housing can mean that staff may need some additional support, including a generous allowance to be spent on Wellbeing initiatives of their choosing.
The benefits of this program are that it enables Argyle Housing staff to place a greater emphasis on their personal wellbeing whilst at work and during their personal time. The allowance is currently $300 per person per calendar year which employees can spend at their discretion. Argyle Housing will also reimburse the cost if you choose to have the yearly vaccination for the influenza virus.
Scott Dunstan has applied and received the Wellbeing Allowance for the last two years.
In the first year, I purchased a fitness tracking device for my wrist to count my steps and to keep me motivated. This was a great way in ensuring that If I had been working too long at the computer, the device reminded me that I needed to stand up. This gave me a much-needed break for the screen, giving my eyes a rest and the opportunity to grab a cuppa for morning tea.
Whilst the device has been fantastic, I still needed to ensure that I kept up to date with my fitness regime. So, in the second year at Argyle Housing, the allowance went towards my gym and pool membership at the Moss Vale fitness centre. This is a great place in the morning where I can do some weight training, a cardio program and take a swim to cool down at the end, before getting ready for work.
This routine has proven successful for me and my journey towards an overall improvement in my wellbeing.
Maintenance Administration Officer
Rachel is one of our Maintenance Administration Officers and has worked with Argyle Housing for close to two years. Whilst Rachel is based in Bowral and started by supporting our Bowral office maintenance services, she now coordinates and supports the delivery of our maintenance services in Young, Yass and Queanbeyan and parts of the ACT.
With Rachel’s easygoing and vibrant personality, she has developed great support from the Argyle Housing Maintenance Officers; Andrew (Young and Yass) and Grant (Queanbeyan and Act). Relationship building is so important in this field of work as we rely heavily on our maintenance officers to provide excellent customer service on the ground – especially when they are called out for emergency repairs.
Having Rachel at the forefront of calls, talking to people needing urgent repairs, has ensured that stressed and concerned tenants are placed at ease. She assures them that their repair is important to Argyle Housing.
Rachel is always focused on providing a high level of service to all tenants and will not stop until all issues are under control. Rachel always owns any problems that come her way and accommodating the individual needs of each tenant is her key priority.
“Rachel never ignores a problem and always takes 100% ownership until it is solved. Her passion to make sure our tenants are looked after never waivers. If you find yourself talking to Rachel on the phone, make sure you say hi, I promise she will do everything she can to make sure you are looked after”
Justin Nyholm, Rachel’s Manager
Rachel reflects the true nature of resilience as she has learnt to thrive in sometimes stressful situations whilst others may crumble under pressure.
Operations Manager (Housing Services)
Cherie Tizzoni is the Operations Manager (Housing Services) for Argyle Housing. This is a new position created in 2020 and reporting to the Housing Services Manager. Cherie is responsible for the day to day management of our operations team across all locations, driving performance, meeting KPI’s and ensuring that the teams are supported to deliver the best possible service to our tenants.
Cherie has worked for Argyle Housing for the past 1.5 years, initially as the ACT Team Leader and then as the Compliance Manager. This has given her the opportunity to develop an excellent understanding of all the operations contracts and programs as well as the hands on experience of managing one of Argyle Housings’ most diverse portfolios.
Cherie brings a unique understanding of both operations and service delivery within Argyle Housing, and Compliance with contractual obligations. Cherie has been able to build strong rapport and professional relationships with external and internal stakeholders during her two roles serving Argyle Housing. Cherie has a background in social work, child protection, and over 10 years’ management experience which has proven to be crucial in managing our teams and building relationships with our tenants to achieve positive outcomes.
Cherie has been instrumental in working with the operations team in developing their knowledge of the key performance outcomes of each contract, improving performance across all sites and also in role modelling and mentoring staff in achieving better outcomes for our tenants. Cherie is passionate about social justice and ensuring that staff and tenants are supported to achieve their best. Given Cherie’s experience in housing management, business management and the supportive role of a social worker, Cherie has the skills needed to role model Argyle Housing’s values, supporting our tenants and teams.
The Operations manager role will assist in managing the largest employee numbers within Argyle Housing over a large geographical footprint. Cherie is committed to being flexible with travel and is able to offer personal support to teams and tenants at all our locations. Cherie has been the compliance manager and the operations manager recently and her time management skills ensure she prioritises completing tasks. Cherie is committed and loyal to the work we do for our people and is working with the operations team to achieve a cultural and procedural change within the organisation that will foster positive outcomes.
Even though I come from India, I spent most of my professional life in Malaysia with a stint in the UK to further my studies. After spending nearly two decades in Malaysia, I decided to move to Australia for professional and personal reasons. Having lived in such a densely populated countries, it felt a little strange in the beginning when I moved to Australia because there is hardly any people in such a big country. I first landed in the South Coast, were I lived for couple of years before moving to Bowral. When I first visited Bowral (before joining Argyle Housing), my first impression was, this town has got lot of class.
I come from a multi-functional background. During my 20 years of work experience, I have held various positions, ranging from purely technical to techno-management roles. Along the way, I have coached executives, run marketing campaigns and have been involved in organising events for some of the most powerful people on the planet. However, my forte is software development and systems engineering.
When I was contemplating applying for a position at Argyle Housing, I first checked the management team’s profile and felt that this is the kind of people I would like to be working with. Everything was very professional and well organised from the day one.
As with everything, there is always scope for improvement. To that effect, I’ve restructured the support group and implemented a new ticketing system to track the support requests that come to firstname.lastname@example.org. This now provides some good insights to Wendy and Andrew on the types of issues that arise. In addition to that, we’ve made some major upgrades to the Housing and Finance systems. I’m currently working on deploying a tenancy management app which I see will be a huge benefit to our tenancy and maintenance officers. I am also working on deploying the Know Your Payee solution which minimises the risk of paying the wrong people by the organisation.
One of the most defining moments in my life came when I received an award from my university in UK, beating worldwide competition for it.
I like travelling, reading and watching about history, science, technology, politics and business. I play cricket and badminton. Most importantly I like exploring new things and building stuff, technology never stops fascinating me. That explains why I got into software development. I am not very adventurous when it comes to food and I am a big fan of good coffee. Another interesting fact about me is, I like chocolate but not anything that is flavoured chocolate. Last but not least, I’m married with two beautiful kids.
Senior Access & Allocations Officer
Bernadette is the Senior Access & Allocations Officer for Argyle Housing, and she has been working for for the company since February 2007. Bernadette started off as the Bowral Office Receptionist and during her time, has seen many changes to her new role and to Argyle Housing.
She is an integral part of the team, which assess all new applications for Social Housing and allocates clients, off the Social Housing register to vacant Argyle Housing properties throughout the organisation; from Campbelltown to Queanbeyan and out to Griffith.
From her beginnings in reception, Bernadette showed her strengths in working with our tenants and new applicants and demonstrated her passion for assisting tenants to achieve and maintain their housing needs and goals. As well as assisting applicants with applying for Community Housing. This passion for her work led to her accepting a role as the then named Pathways Advisor role in 2012. In 2015 Bernadette successfully moved into a senior role within the Pathways team which later in 2017, became known as the Access and Allocations Team.
Bernadette has many strengths but her passion is to find a home for every homeless person in Australia, in particular homeless men and women escaping domestic violence. She is a fierce and compassionate advocate for those who are homeless and in 2015, Bernadette was formally recognised for this commitment by the Community Housing Industry by being awarded the “Inspirational Team Member” Award at the Professional Excellence in Housing Awards held by the Australasian Housing Institute. She has continued to develop her role within the Access & Allocations team, by representing Argyle Housing at many support service meetings and functions.
She has always taken an active leading role in the organising of such events as the Combined Support Services Expo, held in Bowral each year, the Homeless Hub event in Campbelltown and continues to organise events such as expos in Berrima Gaol – assisting inmates with Social Housing information and application details and the International Women’s Day Event in Picton- assisting women in the Wollondilly area experiencing housing stress.
This past year has been a challenge, with COVID-19 putting a halt to events and face to face meetings. She has however stayed involved and often sits in case conferences advocating for those less fortunate and struggling, be it with Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Homelessness or Financial Hardship. She continues to champion both tenant and applicants’ rights for safe and secure housing.
She is both a valuable and much respected member of the Access & Allocations team. Her wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm is being passed on to not only her team members but those working with tenants in our Tenancy teams, often advising the tenancy officers with decisions that impact their tenant’s wellbeing.
Chris Benton Award
Jaime Lobb, 2019 recipient
“I remember very clearly the day that I received the Chris Benton Award.”
“I remember looking at the other nominees and feeling so proud to be considered in the same caliber as these amazing people, who have contributed so much to the organisation, and thinking how all of them were so worthy of receiving the award. To say I was shocked when my name was called, is an understatement. I am so grateful to work for an organisation whose values align with my own, and that this has been recognised in such an amazing way.
Since receiving the award, I have taken on a new role as Team Leader for the Queanbeyan, Young and Yass offices. It seems apt that the value highlighted in this year’s Annual Report is RESILIENCE, due to the year that has been. Staff and Tenants alike have had to have bucket loads with the challenges that have arisen in 2020. It is not just having this as a value that has pulled us all through. It is the support that we have had, that we know will be there, that has shone through this year for me. Within Argyle, we have had many changes, from working from home, changes in office hours to changes in the way we inspect our properties. We have had to be creative in how we work and communicate. We have had to be resilient. 2020 has at times been just plain hard, but it has highlighted the strength and determination that we all have, that maybe we didn’t know that we had all along.”
Jaime commenced her employment with Argyle Housing on 22 April 2014 as an Administration Support Officer at our Young Office. During her five years of employment with Argyle Housing, Jaime has had many opportunities to act in higher duty roles and across multiple areas of the organisation. From her beginnings as an Administration Support Officer, Jaime showed her strengths in working with our tenants and has been recognised for her versatility through her experience within the Access and Allocations team, the Operations team as a Tenancy Officer, and has even acted in the role of Team Leader in 2016 and again in 2017. In 2018, Jaime was a member of the Strategic Plan review group and is currently in the process of reviewing and updating the Operations Procedure Manual. Jaime consistently models Argyle Housing’s values, has an excellent work ethic and strives for excellence in everything that she does.
|< 19 Years||0|
|20 – 29 Years||3|
|30 – 39 Years||18|
|40 – 49 Years||18|
|50 – 59 Years||15|
|60 – 69 Years||10|
|> 70 Years||1|
|1946-1964 – Baby Boomers||18|
|1965-1980 – Gen X (the Busters)||35|
|1981-1994 – Gen Y (the Millennials)||25|
|1995-2009 – Gen Z (the Digital Generation)||2|
|2010-2025 – Gen Alpha||0|
|Tenure (1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020)|
|0 – 1 Years||28|
|2 – 5 Years||22|
|6 – 9 Years||9|
|10 – 14 Years||5|
|> 15 Years||1|
The ROAR awards were introduced into Argyle Housing in mid 2020 and the word ROAR was based on the organisation’s values, R standing for Resilience, O standing for Opportunity, A standing for Accountability and R standing for Respect. The first ROAR award was based on Resilience and the staff had to nominate employees based on Resilience which was described as the following:
- Treating problems as a learning process.
- Avoiding making a drama out of a crisis.
- Celebrating successes.
- Developing realistic life goals for guidance and a sense of purpose.
- Taking positive action.
- Nurturing a positive view of yourself.
- Keeping a realistic perspective and
- Practicing optimism.
10 staff were nominated for the Resilience award and a morning tea was held on Tuesday 27 October to announce the winner:
- Jaylene McSherry
- Scott McCullagh
- Kate Dale
- Scott Dunstan
- Jaime Lobb
- Madhu Kavilikatta
- Judy Boyd
- Luisa Smart
- Renetta Miller
The successful staff member was:
Luisa has demonstrated outstanding support for both the Griffith, Albury and Wagga Wagga Offices, assisting with phones, HSP and various other tasks for all three locations.
Luisa always knows the TO calendars and assists with planning their days and scheduling appointments
Luisa is always one step ahead of what is required and knows where everything is up to and all details of tenancies to ensure that she can assist tenants with all enquiries that she is faced with.
Luisa has been a valuable asset to all offices and is always more than happy to lend a hand where needed.
Luisa had a great relationship with all of the Griffith Real Estates and is able to assist with most enquires and follows up with TO when required.
Luisa organises Team Meetings and ensures that everyone has all of the information they require prior to the meeting
Luisa has be a great team player, especially when we have been short staffed or when supporting new staff members.
The Argyle Housing staff are distributed over 10 different regional offices and throughout the year, we endeavour to bring everyone together through mutual celebrations of major Australian events. Our communication is made much easier through large television screens in all offices that are linked to video conferencing facilities so that each office is being streamed and we can feel as one staff. Pre COVID-19 restrictions, this was a fun way of getting everyone together, but this has been a vital link in remaining connected through the pandemic.
Whether it’s a coming together for the race that stops the nation, an ANZAC Day memorial with the last post streaming through all offices and a staff ANZAC Biscuit cooking competition or to our highly successful Christmas Giving tree campaign, our staff have made the most of every opportunity to come together as a team.
ANZAC day is a day for all Australians, regardless of religion, racial background or even place of birth. It is a day to commemorate the bravery and self-sacrifice of past and present generations. It is a day to acknowledge the selflessness of all those who have been prepared to lay down their lives for Australia so that it can be a place of freedom for all. On ANZAC Day we thanked and recognised those who served in the first and second world wars, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and more recently, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda and the Persian Gulf, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan.
ANZAC day is not a day for honouring war, for war is not something to be honoured. War is something that is used as a last resort when diplomacy has failed, and it is used by a nation to safeguard its sovereignty. We do however, on ANZAC Day, honour the people of Australia who have undertaken warfare to protect that sovereignty, no matter how distasteful it may have been to them personally and in spite of the risk of losing their lives.
As a staff, we came together as a whole for an afternoon tea to remember and honour those that had fallen. Wendy read the Ode and we stood in silence as the last post rang out through all of the Argyle Housing offices.
One tradition of the ANZAC memory is that of the ANZAC biscuit and we held a competition to see who could bake the best ANZAC biscuit. The judging criteria covered the crispness, chewiness, texture, colour and presentation.
Cathy Lowden from Assets and Allocations was the overall winner on the day with her wonderful presentation and crispness of the Anzac biscuit.
Christmas Giving Tree
A small gesture goes a long way…
Throughout all of the Argyle Housing offices, we have an online staff suggestion box. These suggestions go to the leadership committee for review and implementation.
Last year, our staff member Belinda, suggested that instead of giving presents to each other for Christmas, we create a giving tree and buy presents for under privileged children and their families. The suggestion was immediately approved and Christmas trees with tags indicating a boy or girl with an age range were installed in each office.
Our regional office staff then linked in with their local service providers to ensure that the Christmas presents were going to go to those in need.
We had an overwhelming response from all of our staff members and the community.
The Christmas Spirit was alive and well at Argyle Housing with the knowledge that the gifts were putting a smile on a child’s face, as well as providing some form of relief to their parents.
I just wanted to say thank you to you and your team for the wonderful donations for our families. We appreciate the time and effort that went into organising this very kind donation.
We hope you and your team have a wonderful break.
Carmel, Sam, Melinda and Erin
Barnardos, Moss Vale
3 – 9 August 2020
Donation to Soul Warmer Café and Co-Op Food Pantry
Over the last few years, the staff at Argyle Housing have held BBQs to raise awareness or take part in the winter sleepout but this year COVID-19 put a hold on all homeless events and activities around Australia. Due to the difficult times we face due to COVID-19, we are taking a different approach and decided to host a Homelessness Awareness Drive with staff donating non-perishable grocery items and wearing casual clothes to work. The staff were extremely generous and donated a large variety of everyday staples, hygiene products and some treats. We had a range of tinned soups, beans, pasta, sauces, biscuits, longlife milk, juices, tissues, toilet paper, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products.
The food collected by the Bowral team was donated to the Soul Warmers Café and Co-op Food Pantry in Mittagong. Every week these providers hand out free hot and cold refreshment as well as cakes and sandwiches to those in need in the local community. Local support services attending the morning teas have found that this is the best way to engage with homeless people and community members needing assistance. The Soul Warmers Food Pantry, assemble hampers and distribute to the homeless and families who are in need of food. This organisation relies on donations from the community for these hampers.
Argyle Housing team member, Simone Phillips presented the grocery items to Lynda McEwan who was shocked to see so much food. She commented that Argyle Housing staff are so generous and told how it would boost very low hamper supplies due to COVID-19. She summed up her appreciation with the words: “Wow, this is going to help so many people”.
Simone has also been attending the Soul Warmers Café for close to two years to have a cuppa and chat with community members. A few attendees have said that they look forward to Thursday mornings as it is the only time they venture out of the house to seek the company of others. We are always happy to contribute our fundraising items to such an amazing and worthy charity.