Following an extensive recruitment process, Sue Cattermole has taken the helm after serving as the Group CEO at St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria.
She said she was drawn to the position because she has a strong alignment to the mission of the organisation.
“It was a really deliberate application for me to make because it’s a long standing and established organisation that is really well-known in the community for its amazing work with veterans. People who have served their country deserve the support they require and to transition back to civilian life or to build a life post their service,” Sue said.
RSL Victoria said throughout the recruitment process, Sue demonstrated a deep understanding of the complex issues facing the veteran community
"“I have worked with veterans as part of providing services to the broad community and I’ve had insights around that. I recognise the unique needs of veterans and their families whose whole lives have been impacted by the time that they served."
“Much like the RSL, there is a clear and compelling mission supported by an extraordinarily strong volunteer component to the work at Vinnies. So, the volunteer engagement is familiar, but the business model is also quite similar. It also has a successful commercial arm underpinning the welfare support services, two arms that need to work together to deliver the mission of the organisation and it has similar challenges in bringing the younger membership forward, connecting with the younger generations.”
Proud of her professional achievements to date, Sue said she will continue to draw on her networks to foster the best outcome for veterans and their families.
“Having worked in the frontline services of health, homelessness, family violence, drug and alcohol, and housing, I will continue to build on the relationships with government and other support services (ESOs and state government funded community services), which will be critical if we are to meet the growing needs of veterans and families out in the community.”
With a demonstrated record of growing and transforming organisations, Sue has a clear aspiration for RSL Victoria.
"One of our biggest challenges is how we welcome in the younger generations; how do we engage with them because they are our future. That’s a really important group of people. We have to connect and communicate and work together to build the RSL of the future."
Sue said she is also focused on the new Strategic Plan due out next year.
“I would really like to see a strong engagement with Sub-Branches in the development of that Strategic Plan, a real conversation about the future of the RSL services and governance, and a commitment to put veterans and families at the heart of what we do.”
As the veteran community faces a critical opportunity to address the impact of Defence and veteran suicide in Australia, Sue wants to make sure RSL Victoria listens
and helps inform in the wake of the Royal Commission.
On a more uplifting note, Sue said despite entering such a well-established organisation with many dedicated and loyal staff, she’s felt welcomed.
She said she looks forward to working with and building relationships with her new team at RSL Victoria, the wider Sub-Branch network, members and volunteers.
"“Organisations like the RSL need to exist in partnership, whether it be with government, ex-service organisations or the community, and with veterans."
On a personal level, Sue likes to keep her own family history alive. Her father, who came from a tiny village in the north of England, served with the British Army in 1945 and was posted to a munitions camp in Austria.
“He had never left his village before that. He is in his 90s now and he still relays his stories. It’s clear what an impact that had on him and he still talks about things that happened in those years.
As RSL Victoria heads into the annual Poppy Appeal, Sue looks forward to being part of such an integral time for the organisation and veteran community.
“It’s a well-run machine. I am looking forward to the ceremonies, the recognition, the remembering. It’s really wonderful to be part of. It’s something unique to the RSL and brings the whole organisation and community together for a common purpose.”