A former Toyota Australia employee until the 2017 closure of their Sydney operations, Stacey was GetSetUp’s first Australian customer and is now leading the launch in Australia as the Guide Community Manager.
Stacey is passionate about helping people transition whether in an organisation or a life stage and has been particularly focused on ageing transitions since 2018. Stacey led the organisational change activities within the Lexus division; to help move their operations to Melbourne. Though staff were offered to relocate with their jobs, with a family including two boys finishing high school and older parents, a move to Melbourne wasn’t an option. However, Toyota generously offered to pay for schooling for anyone with a compelling case to study for future employment. Hence her business-case to study Ageing at Melbourne University was approved which she started in 2018.
“I wanted to do something that matters to me, and at age 50 changing course was a bit of a scary step but that is what all of life’s transitions involve, change!”
However, her passion for the topic started long before when she was working at ING Funds management.
“At the time, I was on maternity leave from ING when my manager called up and asked, ‘Do you want to come back and do a research project on the ageing population?’"
The research focused on financial products that could be appropriate for an ageing population, particularly as people are living so much longer.
“The topic in 2005 didn’t resonate with me yet personally as a working mother with very young children but in terms of the shift in society I was fascinated.”
While she set it aside at the time to care for her two young children and for other job opportunities, when Toyota offered her a chance to study, she considered something like accounting, but was convinced by her outplacement manager to follow her passion and study ageing. She hasn’t regretted it a bit. After leaving Toyota she is now busier than ever and sees so much opportunity to help those around her both personally and professionally.
“Now in my 50s the drive to continue to study and work in this area is even stronger. It’s extremely pertinent to my everyday life and to anyone supporting older family and clients.”
Stacey started with a Graduate Certificate of Ageing taking fascinating topics such as Ageing in the Workplace, Ageing Health and Human Services and Technology and Ageing. This course opened up to a broader community of professionals and students, a lot of global research and initiatives. It did not pigeonhole ageing as a health issue belonging only to the health faculty.
“It’s really interesting because it applies to all of us.”
While Stacey’s study support from Toyota ended in 2018, she wasn’t satisfied with just her graduate certificate so took more classes including Economics of Ageing, and Body of Ageing and has since switched to obtain her masters with 4 subjects to go. Stacey has now moved into a consulting role helping older people to transition and plan for ageing, which ties directly with her husband’s work in financial services. There is a very good case today to plan for additional decades rather than just years after retirement. ‘We now have many retired clients who still have their own parents to support with care and living arrangements’ The duo have been working closely together to field an overwhelming response to their services focused on ageing well.
Since Stacey is part of the sandwich generation with their kids living at home probably for several years to come since, “Sydney is CRAZY expensive,” she is also mindful of an increasing role in supporting her own parents as they age. Thus, planning for transitions is not just important, but essential.
That’s why she’s helping to get her husband’s business ready for her to step back so she can focus on her new role as Community Guide Manager at GetSetUp. In this role Stacey will be onboarding new Guides and managing them as they teach other older adults on the GetSetUp platform. To do that she has been studying the success cases already launched in the US and India.
“I see myself as the person coordinating the operations in the background. I’ve already invited a few people I know to view the platform or apply as Guides. They are amazing people from all walks of life that are passionate about how the broad community looks at ageing and how we teach as well as learn from our elders.”
Due to her research, Stacey gets a lot of emails on ageing, which is how she first heard about GetSetUp in one such email back in April.
“I didn’t know I was the first client from Australia, until Neil brought it up in a staff meeting. I remember seeing an article in the ‘Ageist’ publication which I loved, before Mother’s Day, where the founder talked about getting his mother classes to overcome her fear and frustration of getting online and that really resonated with me.”
Stacey’s mother is 76 and her father is 84.
“They are such capable people but there is a real fear around technology. They verbalise that they are too old to learn new things, but I don’t believe it. They use their smartphones and operate 3 remote controls and when the European soccer league is on my father figures it out! What is important is what they believe they can do. When I heard that GetSetUp not only has a platform for older people but with classes taught by older people it felt revolutionary!”
While there are a myriad of services available for older people there is still a huge gap between who needs them and who has access to them. The digital divide is one very real factor.
“The great part about GetSetUp is that their older guides come up with the ideas of what to teach, they develop the user content, and they also foster the user experience by delivering to their own peers.”
After seeing the article in Ageist, Stacey sent an email to email@example.com explaining that she loved the idea, but the times didn’t work that well for Australia and inquired when there would be some times that fit more within Australian time zones. She was a bit surprised to immediately get an email back from the Co-Founder Neil.
“I had imagined this huge GetSetUp building with a call center. This global start-up scene however where a small number of people work from all over the world in their areas of expertise is a bit foreign to me. After all, my experience has been in large companies within large physical headquarters so it was really great to hear from him so quickly!”
At the time there weren’t a lot of classes yet in Australia, but Stacey was the first person that Neil called to help with the launch of GetSetUp in Australia/New Zealand.
“I’m very excited about the mission of GetSetup. When I listened to the All Hands Meeting, even as a recording from 2 AM my time I was inspired!”
Stacey has always loved working with older people and was particularly close to her grandparents, who always made her feel that with hard work and perseverance nothing is insurmountable. She wants to help provide that sense of empowerment to others as they age.
“Growing old can be a daunting change especially when some capabilities diminish over time, and how this unfolds is unknown. My role in helping my husband’s financial services clients is to look at all aspects of changes that are likely to happen, and not just financially. We ask many questions, not for the answers immediately but to plant the seeds and start the conversations. Where do you want to live particularly in the frail years? Do you know about potential care and lifestyle options? Do your children know your wishes and agree amongst themselves to honour them? In the end these conversations lead to taking small positive steps and having the plans put in place should the family need them. This can have a huge impact on peace of mind to the individual and their families so they can get on with the business of living and ultimately ageing well.”
Stacey sees GetSetUp, as one more way to help people think about, plan and enjoy their life as they age with a community of their peers who are growing, learning, and ageing with them.
“I love the wisdom I get from older people and meet some amazing people day to day. My husband has two clients who are 95 and still manage their own stock portfolios and very well I might add. But many of even the most astute people also don’t know about community, government and private services and resources they can benefit from or how to access them. I love being able to connect them to the services that they need at the point in time that they need it. And if we revisit where they are at each year particularly around life events even better. It is in connecting people, teaching people, and helping them access services for older adults where GetSetUp has enormous potential.”
As everything is going digital, making sure that people have access to ageing resources online is essential and Stacey has so many ideas that she can hardly sleep some nights! She’s got great ideas at 2 AM and a passion to make them happen when she wakes up a few hours later. The GetSetUp community is excited to have Stacey as one of the newest members of our team and are looking forward to launching more and more classes in Australia to get to our goal of hosting classes around the clock!
If you would like to work with the Australian team please contact Stacey for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
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