Empowering communities to reduce inequalities isn’t an easy job; it involves our board, funders, volunteers and project partner, Human and Hope Association, working together. We are especially grateful for our volunteers who combine their passions and skills to advocate and raise funds for our work. This week, we are shining the spotlight on our board Treasurer, Paige Thompson.
Tell us about your professional background?
While I started my professional career in chartered accounting, I always knew I wanted to work in the not-for-profit sector. I worked in chartered accounting while completing my undergraduate degree in Commerce at the University of Newcastle. As soon as I finished my degree I thought it would be the perfect time to finally start working in the sector. I landed a parental leave cover contract at a not-for-profit legal service as the Finance Officer which was a fantastic first experience. Since then I’ve expanded out from just finance to operations and am currently working at Women’s Community Shelters as the Corporate Services Manager. I am also close to finishing a Master of Business Administration at UTS which has assisted with the expansion of my role. I hope to remain in the sector for the rest of my career.
What drew you to volunteer for HHA Inc?
When I was younger I had some pretty traditional ideas about volunteering that I now see as paternalistic and colonial in nature. I was drawn to volunteer for HHA Inc. primarily because of the organisation’s emphasis on providing fundraising and other support to a locally-run Cambodian organisation.
Why is local empowerment so important?
Treating others with respect and dignity is key when assisting people with changing their circumstances. Local people are experts in their community needs and external environment, so in my opinion, the only way sustainable change can be achieved is through locally-driven initiatives.
What motivates you to stay involved?
Hearing stories of progress and success from HHA keeps me going, as well as the drive and compassion of my HHA Inc. Board colleagues.
What do you do as part of your role?
My focus is on ensuring the financial sustainability of HHA Inc., however I’m also involved more broadly in financial reporting, audit, policy and contract development, and fundraising.
What contribution or achievement are you most proud of?
I’m proud of setting HHA Inc.’s first formal accounting system this year and producing easily accessible financial reports for our stakeholders to engage with. Outside of HHA Inc., I’m most proud of myself for juggling ongoing work, university and Board commitments – it’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement?
My partner supports me in the ongoing juggle of responsibilities listed above.
What is your dream for HHA Inc?
My dream for HHA Inc. is for us to expand our reach and develop a support network with other values-driven organisations so that more people know about and help fund the incredible work HHA do in Cambodia.
What is the motto you live by?
I don’t have one motto that I live by but I do like the poem by pastor Martin Niemoller which reflects on the Holocaust and the danger of not standing up for others in their time of need. I think this is relevant to Cambodia’s history and highlights the importance of solidarity with and loyalty to your fellow person.