LASA’s leader announced

The CEO of Australia’s new ‘inclusive’ aged care peak provider association has been announced and it is a familiar name and face in aged care.

Above: Gerard Mansour

By Keryn Curtis

The CEO of Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV), Gerard Mansour, has been appointed the inaugural CEO of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the new aged care industry association recently formed by ACCV, Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) and Aged Care Queensland (ACQ).  [see story here] 

The announcement yesterday will see Mr Mansour finish in his current role at the end of June and take up the new position, based in Canberra, on 2 July.

ACAA President Bryan Dorman described the appointment as a coup for the new organisation, saying Mr Mansour would bring his “considerable expertise and extensive contact networks to serve Leading Age Services Australia and its members.” 

Mr Dorman said that there had been a large field of ‘very talented candidates’ for the position. Even in that field, he said, “Gerard was a stand-out for his knowledge of the age services landscape and his demonstrated ability to advocate on behalf of service providers, their staff, their clients and the industry as a whole.”

Mr Mansour said he was looking forward to his new role with Leading Age Services Australia and the move to Canberra.

“We’re looking for a new office and we will start putting a team together,” said Mr Mansour.  “What will happen in a very short period of time is that LASA will make its mark and some very exciting things will happen.  We want to create a new spirit for this new entity and grow a bigger and better organisation out of the combined organisations.” 

“The national office will be dominated by two key roles: policy and communications. I have a strong belief that being the voice of the organisation involves having a very strong communications element.”

Mr Mansour said that there were dual priorities for the first phase of activity for LASA.

“Phase one we will be building LASA’s response to the reform agenda. We want to see some refinement of details and we will be driving an implementation plan on the simple principle of a viable industry.  And the other priority is building our state-based service arms – so every one of the LASA state offices will be establishing service models across all the different areas; residential care, community care, housing, retirement villages…”  

At the same time, Mr Mansour said, he wanted to quickly begin sharing his time around the different states.

Strength in diversity and passion

In relation to Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) state offices, Mr Mansour said he looked forward to working with all types of providers in every state and territory to secure a viable future for providers, staff and clients and that 

ACSA would, “get an opportunity to consider the LASA offering.”  

“That’s the first step. LASA was created to bring the industry together with a truly national voice on the issues confronting the age services sector and the solutions it needs.”

“We know that governments look at the industry as a whole, and don’t differentiate between private and not-for-profit providers when making funding and policy decisions.  It’s simply not viable for the industry to persist with these outdated divisions,” he said.

“There ought to be a policy objective that we have as much consistency as possible in the way government treats the industry,” he said. “One of the things a lot of people forget is that there is just as much diversity within the different groups in the sector as there is between them. To suggest that one organisation is the same as another is mad.  What gives the industry its strength is its diversity.”

Mr Mansour said he would like ACSA to rethink where it is going and reconsider its position.  “There are seats at the table we have left purposely so ACSA has that opportunity,” he said. 

“When people have a vision, you create a structure to suit: form follows purpose.  Once you have agreed what you want to do, you create a structure.

“We will start a dialogue. I think that people with passion and vision and commitment can make things happen so I’m going to give it a go.  Ultimately it will come down to how well LASA can achieve its goal,” he said.

Reflections and futures

ACCV President, Valerie Lyons, said Mr Mansour was an ideal choice to lead the new organisation, as he already had a demonstrated track record of bringing together private and not-for-profit providers into an effective industry-wide organisation.

“Gerard was instrumental in establishing ACCV as a service provider and lobby group for all age services providers in Victoria, and I am very confident he will be able to replicate that success at a national level in his new role,” Ms Lyons said.

ACQ President Marcus Riley welcomed Mr Mansour’s appointment, saying Leading Age Services Australia needed an experienced and capable CEO to lead it through the expansion and change of its early years.

“The entire age services industry is at a crucial point in its existence. We must have a strong and capable advocate to advise government and to guide the planning process for future decades. I have no doubt that Gerard is just that person,” Mr Riley said.

Reflecting on the new role in the light of his previous career, Gerard Mansour describes himself as an ‘association professional’.  While originally training as a youth worker and working for several years on the frontline in community services, he spent ten years as a union official with the SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association), Australia’s largest union, and was later CEO of Kindergarten Parents Victoria.   

“I have a history in associations as well as time in the trade union movement. That’s my tool box. I have a passion and understanding of aged care now and our job is to be the best industry association we can be for our members. 

Mr Mansour said he had been humbled by the volume and warmth of messages of support from people from right across every area of the sector.

“I am truly humbled and grateful for the many messages of congratulations and support I have received in the last couple of days.  I have long been an advocate for a single peak body spanning all sectors of our industry, and I am deeply honoured to have the job of bringing Leading Age Services Australia to life.”

Tags: gerard-mansour, lasa, lasa-ceo, new-ceo, new-peak-body, single-voice,

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