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Introducing Connect42 with Emma Sells

Connect42 (formerly Chatter Matters) is a purpose driven not-for-profit organisation that works with people to build their communication skills so they can live whole lives in connection with others.

Like many of the businesses I work with, part of my service to the Tasmanian community is to look for opportunities where I can contribute and use my skills to benefit other organisations.  For the past 3 and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of being the Treasurer to Connect42 (formerly Chatter Matters). Founded in 2006 by speech pathologist and 2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Rosie Martin, the not for profit quickly gained traction, becoming a registered charity in 2007.
 
It is critically important for small for-purpose organisations that scale up to have a skills based board and understand the additional requirements of operating as a charity, which I was able to provide, along with mentoring another board member who was undertaking her accountancy qualifications. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of demand for accountants for board roles, so why was Connect42 the organisation I chose?
 
Tasmania has had a critical literacy issue for many decades, one that has shown little signs of improvement despite numerous policy attempts to move the numbers downwards. Connect42 has in its sights the ambitious but achievable target of 100% literacy for all Tasmanians. Rosie, through her clinical skills, has demonstrated that this is achievable within a decade with the right amount of funding directed to speech pathology, education and broader wrap around care for vulnerable Tasmanians to be able to grow and thrive.
 
I work with a diverse range of businesses in Tasmania, and everyday my clients are impacted by the business costs of a society with low literacy: difficulties recruiting and training, problems with retention, the safety and business risk. These are costs which the Tasmanian business sector is shouldering, alongside the more general link to lower productivity that has whole-of-state impacts.
 
What is less evident is the public health crisis in Tasmania tied to lower literacy. The research and programs we undertake at Connect42 are not just changing literacy levels. They are targeting critical mental health outcomes, social isolation, homelessness, domestic violence, a disproportionate over-representation in all parts of the criminal justice system, all of which can be alleviated with helping people to better read, understand language, connect and communicate – which is the measure of 100% literacy. It’s a stretch goal, but it is a vital one to improve the quality of life and a full engagement for so many Tasmanians. And as an accountant I do love a round number.

If you would like to learn more about my work with Connect42, the Just Us initiative or how you can become a volunteer/supporter for the organisation, give me a call on 03 6223 4456 or email esells@halysandsells.com.au

Emma Sells

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Source: Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited

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Halys & Sells
29 Salamanca Place
Hobart 7000
Tasmania, Australia

Phone: 03 6223 4456

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