Austin Paterson - Beyond Words

How did you come to be involved with Beyond Words?

I was invited by our chairman, Richard Hill, to be a part of the current Board that was formed in 2020. Richard explained that it was his aim to reinvigorate Beyond Words after the previous Board had decided to wind up the organisation.

What other roles do you have with Beyond Words?

While I’m not a biographer at this stage, I am working with the Board’s Fundraising Committee, which aims to generate sufficient income to put Beyond Words on a sound financial footing now and into the future as we continue to grow. It’s been very satisfying assisting to bring in the current financial sponsors of Beyond Words.

What is your background?

In my professional life, I have had the good fortune to enjoy being CEO of Aged Care Community & Residential Services in Melbourne & the Bellarine, as well as the R.E. Ross Trust, a Victorian philanthropic Trust.

I have also previously been a Board member of a not-for-profit affordable housing retirement village in Geelong as well asa regionalphilanthropic organisation and a regional planning body.

It has been helpful in my support of Beyond Words to have had the experience of both my parents previously being residents in aged care facilities when they were unable to remain at home.

What motivates you to contribute to BW?

I love the idea of contributing ‘behind the scenes’ to such a wonderful organisation that assists the elderly people we work with to capture and document their life stories. The opportunity to share their life stories with their families must be very satisfying and possibly even quite cathartic. The potential benefits in future generations’ understanding of the life and times spoken about by the elderly person may also be helpful in our appreciation of social history.

I hope that as a Board Member, I can assist in ensuring Beyond Words has the capacity, including the necessary income and infrastructure, to provide opportunities across Melbourne and Victoria for the elderly in our community to have their life stories documented.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am actively involved with others in supporting and advocating for refugees in Australia and more particularly in our local community.

Walking and cycling are a bit of a passion and it’s great to be out in nature on the Bellarine where we live – I was very fortunate to have been able to walk the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain last year. We also try to get away in the caravan up north for a few months while each year, especially over winter!

We now have eight wonderful grandchildren who are all at various ages and stages and we love spending time with them.