Experience in business makes him the right volunteer

There will always be people who risk being left behind. Douglas Carvalho CPA believes those with the means should do something about it.

In every economy, there will always be people who risk being left behind. But Douglas Carvalho CPA believes those with the means and capacity should take responsibility to stem that tide.

“Having come from a third world country, I’ve always felt privileged to be in Australia,” says Carvalho, who moved from India to Australia when he was young.

“As a migrant, being able to help people here and overseas is something I’ve wanted to do.”

Carvalho progressed through various roles at Westpac across 18 years – his last was as head of finance. He learned about the charities the bank worked with through its Westpac Foundation and pro bono work, and when he took redundancy last November, Carvalho was spurred to delve deeper into the not-for-profit sector.

“Before I left Westpac, I was seconded into an area that supported the broader community. I found based on the [business] skills I’d acquired, they were quite transferable and people valued the input that I provided,” he recalls.

He now works as a financial and project management consultant with the Brain Injury Association of New South Wales and is also a volunteer at Fitted for Work in Sydney, which mentors women who haven’t worked for an extended period and provides them with professional clothing to ease the transition into the workforce

"Being a CPA gives me an opportunity to contribute to people who are socially disadvantaged."
Douglas Carvalho's experience in business made him the right  man to help those needing a stronger foothold in society.

Douglas Carvalho's experience in business made him the right

man to help those needing a stronger foothold in society.

Australian women continue to have a lower labour participation rate than men and are more likely to work part-time than those in any other OECD country.

Carvalho is confident that his experience in finance, change management, project management and operations, as well as recruitment, will serve him well as he guides his first mentee.

“A lady hasn’t had a job since leaving school so she’s looking for support until she finds full-time employment. I can help her with what employers look for, how to prepare an application, how to put together a resume, and also do mock interviews,” he says.

It’s such a rewarding experience, Carvalho has decided his next career move will definitely be outside the corporate arena.

“When people ask me why the not-for-profit sector, it’s more about … being a CPA gives me an opportunity to contribute to people who are socially disadvantaged,” he says.

“You get a little bit lost in a large organisation, but when you’re helping people they feel you are actually providing them a service. From my point of view I see them feeling good about themselves.”

Fitted for Work mentor Angela Donald with Jenny Tapao

Fitted for Work mentor Angela Donald with Jenny Tapao

Shirt tales

Fitted for Work aims to help disadvantaged women find work and achieve financial independence. Since 2005, it has transformed the lives of close to 15,000 women, with 75 per cent of clients securing work within three months.

Providing the right outfits for job interviews is just the first layer of services provided.

“They also offer transfer-to-work programs and the third element is staying employed programs – that’s when they actually find a job, so it’s something that’s sustained for them,” says Douglas Carvalho.

A smart initiative

Brain Injury Association New South Wales supports people affected by acquired brain damage. It seeks to increase visibility of the condition through advocacy, community speaking, education workshops and social activities.

This month, the association has sent four climbers to scale Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Western Europe – to raise funds and build awareness of the great obstacles those with a brain injury, their carers and families must overcome each day.

This article is from the September 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK magazine. 


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