Meet our People – Simon Jordan

Find out more about our staff, their roles, and what their day to day looks like!

What was your path into evaluation and ARTD?

I come from a clinical background in acute care psychiatric admissions. After this, I worked at Family and Community Services for 12 years, and headed up the Aboriginal Services Area for some time – and maintained my clinical practice lens throughout my time working in Child Protection. It was in that role, while managing the evaluation of the Intensive Family Based Services (IFBS) model that I first came into contact with ARTD and the world of evaluation. Working with ARTD on this project and a few others gave me the opportunity to see you could trust evaluators with issues affecting Aboriginal communities – and that evaluation can be done in a culturally safe way, with reciprocity.

After taking a redundancy, I took some time out to explore different career options, including HR recruitment and doggy day care!

My first job at ARTD – to run a short consultation workshop – came as a result of the relationship we’d built on the IFBS evaluation. In the 10 years since then, the work in the Aboriginal Partnerships and Projects Portfolio has grown, to the point where we are now managing around 30 projects currently. I still bring my clinical practice lens to my work, through the trauma-informed approach we take.

Can you sum up your role as a Director in one sentence?

There are two sides to the role – firstly, working with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and government departments to support Aboriginal people to lead their own programs and services and be well positioned for government funding and self-determination. The second is working to bring the Aboriginal lens including self-determination and way of doing evaluations to large Australia-wide program reviews and evaluations.

What was the best opportunity/ your proudest work moment since starting at ARTD?

Developing the Practice Framework with the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation was a hugely proud moment.

I’m also enormously proud of the Aboriginal-led co-design work we’ve been able to do through the Aboriginal Evidence Building Partnerships with Abcare, Tirkandi-Innaburra, Winanga-Li, Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation and Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation. Through those projects we were able to support these organisations to build the evidence that has led to more program development and more funding for those programs. And importantly, through this process, we’ve showed that Aboriginal-led co-design works, and provided the evidence that when communities determine how they want to do things, successful programs are the result! I’m also very proud of the awards we have won for this work.

What is your favourite thing about working at ARTD?

The people! And their real commitment to achieving social outcomes. It’s embedded in the culture of the organisation. It’s what makes me turn up to work every day.

What does a ‘day in the life’ look like for you?

With all the projects I’m heading up currently, there are a lot of meetings, time spent working with teams to get the project and cultural environment right, doing client and stakeholder engagement, and mentoring our staff.

We do a lot of planning together as a team for delivery of our workshops and projects because in my Portfolio we’re doing everything through an Aboriginal-led co-design approach, so we need a very considered approach to planning and delivering the work. I can also often be found running co-design workshops, strategy workshops, and training (for example we recently trained 20 Wayside Chapel staff in the use of the Personal Wellbeing Index).

What’s something your clients may not know about you?

I sing in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir. We’re currently planning for a concert called Tiny Love Stories, that contains newly commissioned work. The Choir worked with two British composers, who collected a love story from every choir member to inform a 9-part movement that we’ll perform. So I’m involved in co-design even during my down time!

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