Ian Carter starts this Living with Purpose interview by saying that he is a simple person, whose life has had an interesting journey. He started as a Teacher, became a Youth Officer, and a Director of Community Economic Development, before spending over 20 years as CEO of Anglicare WA. Ian talks about how his Anglican faith has been a key factor in taking on this role, and also staying committed to it over the long term. He also reflects on how his commitment to social justice has deepened over the years, and how having passed 60 he has given himself the liberty to shout at the TV and radio when people make unjust statements.
This interview occurred when Ian was CEO of Anglicare WA and he expected to retire in the following year or so. He reflects on how to do this well, and how he might reflect his purpose once he leaves Anglicare WA.
During his time at Anglicare WA, Ian has been involved in many leadership roles including being Deputy President of the ACOSS, President of WACOSS and President of Family Services Australia; and was also Chairman of the State Taskforce on Poverty, and Chairman of the Ministerial Housing Advisory Committee, Chairman of the National Foyer Foundation, and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Anglicare Australia.
During the interview Ian talks about:
Peter Kenyon – Bank of Ideas – website
Donal Dorr – Integral Spirituality – Book Depository
Transcript of Podcast Episode
Francis Lynch: Ian Carter is the CEO of Anglicare WA, the role he’s held for the last 20 years. During this time, he’s also been involved in many other organisations and held roles such as the President of the WA Council of Social Service, Deputy President of the Australian Council of Social Service and has been involved in countless other things, such as chairing the WA State Task Force on Poverty. Ian’s been consistently involved in community campaigns to address poverty, homelessness, domestic violence and other issues, and has also championed the importance of leadership in the community sector in Australia. I’ve known Ian for over 20 years and it was great to catch up and record this conversation with him. So welcome, Ian. Thanks for being part of this. Living With Purpose podcast
Ian Carter: pleasure.
Francis Lynch: Can you tell me or tell the listeners really, I’ve I’ve already done a sort of formal introduction earlier. Can you tell the listeners who you are and what what it is that you do?
Ian Carter: I’m a really. Simple person, I think. My wife and I often have that discussion about being a simple person and and my my life I suppose has been an interesting journey. Our journey shapers. I started as. A school teacher in terms of a working career. But very quickly. Realised that I was never going to be someone who was just going to be standing up the front of the classroom and doing stuff. And for me, I. I became a district youth officer at Rockingham High School, which was my first placement and then I became chairman of the local Community agency, working with unemployed young people so. And then I I got a huge grant with a mate as a teacher, and we built the first television studio in a high school. Down at Rockingham High School and. Which was an. Amazing place. The guy called Wayne Richards. Amazing experience. He was the driver. I was the writer of applications. He was the media person and I was supporter, enabler kind of person. And then I became a youth education officer at Lockridge High School. And when I say like a Lockridge high school people go, oh, that’s the best school. And there was the Beasley inquiry into education. I remember going along and saying, having been at Rockingham High School with 1400 kids and Lockridge High School with 560 kids, the key message was. Size matters. It was my key message and like people were after deep educational and other bits and pieces, we had a principal who was committed to the community and had a school that was running between 5 – 600 kids. And we start, I was part of the student services team that included a social worker, a guidance officer, a school nurse and. And we eventually have our own building and we used to say you couldn’t fart at at Lockridge High school without one of us knowing about it.
Francis Lynch: So when you say size as it was smaller.
Ian Carter Smaller is better.
Francis Lynch: Is better, it’s. Which really goes counter to what’s actually ended up happening, yeah.
Ian Carter: That’s right. We’ve gone the other way and I. Just think and. And everyone talks these days about all the need to understand family and what’s going on and parenting and Connections and holistic approaches. You. You can’t do it with 1500 kids in a school where it’s a factory. I mean. I ran the Lockridge community club and women and men, but mainly women came in and started doing manual arts courses in the school and photography things and they loved it. So as a sense of reciprocity and connection between the schools, so all of those were key learning points for me in my journey. Then I continued to be on a range of community organisations. Community Enterprise Development Agency Community Issues Centre in Fremantle and other things, and in 1983 the election of. The Bourke govt. And with those organisations have pushed hard, with both parties about Ian Carter: responding to their the spiralling unemployment rate. 7.5%- 8% unemployment rate. And the Bourke government picked it up, and a new unit was created called the Community Employment Initiatives Unit in the state government. And I got appointed into that after applying for one of the. Jobs. So my journey then left education and moved across into the public service and was in an innovative team led by a guy called Peter Kenyon.
Francis Lynch: Uh, yeah. So Peter Kenyon is still around
Ian Carter his still around, runs a an organisation. Called Bank of ideas.
Francis Lynch That’s right
Ian Carter: We knew each other through. A range of things. We actually went to the same church down Anglican church, down Beaconsfield, the old Saint Paul’s beacons field, which was a key driver for social justice issues in the Anglican church and did things. Ian Carter: And we both ended up in this unit. It was an amazing place to work the the straight public servants were. But not used to having people like us. In the public. Service doing things that we were doing, but so all that journey sequential and iterative and all built on each other. And then one day I looked up and I’ve been through a range of different roles, always heading up, community development, kind of roles in, in state government agencies and ended up as the director of Community Economic Development and the Department of Commerce and Trade. At strategic planning sessions, external facilitators would come in and tended to know a. Lot of them. And when they ask. Like you get those wonderful questions where you get stickers and you stick on. The board and. Then you do. Clusters. There was always a cluster about people and community and. I remember a. Guy called Professor John would facilitated one of them, and I knew him well. And about the second time he goes so Ian this cluster over here that I put is that your all yours? Yeah, that’s me. Everyone else was about industry development, total quality management, manufacturing, economic thing. And I was talking about benefits to people growing community, all those kind. Of things. But that was my role.
Francis Lynch: And so where does that sort of You went from there and then ended up here at Anglicare?
Ian Carter: Yeah. Yeah, like. I was on the Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission. It’s still, it’s still down at Saint Paul’s Beaconsfield. And one day, the Social Responsibility Commission meeting someone said to me. So you’re applying for the CEO job at Anglicare and I didn’t even know it was being advertised. So you cut a Long story short, I applied for it initially, wasn’t considered on the shortlist because I was a public servant., the head hunting company made a decision that a public servant couldn’t do the job. Thank heaven. One of the members of the panel was on the Social Responsibility Commission and said why isn’t Shortlisted? Ian Carter So I made a short list and then eventually got the job. Archbishop Peter Carney was chair of the. Board and it was really interesting. I’ve been I’ve become part of, you know, I’ve been on the executive of a. Couple of government agencies. Here I was sitting there in the milieu of a public service, and then suddenly I joined Anglicare, and I remember going for the interview and the portent of things to come. I remember going back to my secretary in Commerce and trade and saying that was an interesting interview. You know, blah blah blah. So I’m interested to see how that. Plays out used. to public service processes which would have taken months. And I was back in. My office for 15 minutes and my secretary. Said the archbishops on the phone. And was Peter kindly offering you the job? And then the board meeting was on that night, he. Said could you come to the board?
Francis Lynch: Not even Contracted yet.
Ian Carter: No, it wasn’t contracted. All that stuff had to be sorted out, but I’ve done an interview late morning and at 6 or at night I was sitting at the Anglicare board. In West Perth.
Francis Lynch: Hadn’t even been home yet.
Ian Carter Yeah, that’s right. It was just. And it was a portent of a very changed life.
Francis Lynch So what? What do you think have been some of the factors or influences that have actually taken you through that journey, So you’ve had this this journey through from being a teacher and then being in community economic development and then coming to Anglicare and yeah. And obviously there’s there’s the 20 years or so you’ve been here, but yeah, and what’s actually. Been at play as you’ve gone through that journey.?
Ian Carter: Just a couple of years. Before I applied for the job at Anglicare, clearly my faith. I, you know, I’m the son. Of a Methodist minister. Who then became deputy headmaster at Wellesley and was deputy headmaster for 21 years at Wellesley College. And I went to Wesley College for high school and I think that was a was a important thing for me in my life. You know, there was clearly a faith. My father to some extent. But then people like Clive Haymer, who was the headmaster.key thing for him was the thing. Called the F.O.R others fund. That’s what they called it. The F.O.R others funds.
Francis Lynch: So F.O.R
Ian Carter F.O.R Yeah
Francis Lynch: Yeah
Ian Carter: So you gotta think about other people, and we’re gonna fundraise for others. And I remember getting involved in that and going and doing. And rising teams that were probably because I reflect back now early senses of well that that’s me. And interestingly enough, I’ve got three brothers. Because I’m I’m the only one who’s maintained my faith. My other three brothers have drifted well away from faith and church. But for me, it’s been a passion. So my Anglican faith, my faith is a key driver in my life. So I changed from, you know, uniting to Anglican. My first wife was going, got called to the priesthood. You know, we subsequently separated, but her journey was a strong influence on me becoming Anglican. And then I’ve been on virtually every Anglican body known to man since then, so Perth
diocese and trustee for 20 years to ISIS and Council for longer, Anglican social responsibilities commissioned for long periods, archbishops election Committee General Synod committee. You know, all those kind of things.
Francis Lynch: Yeah, some songs, all sorts of things.
Ian Carter: Lots of thing So I threw myself in in some sense as to those kind of things. And so when they when someone said why don’t you apply for the Anglicare job? It was like this is my job kind of thing. It was like this was the end of the Journey and I actually said in the last question in the interview. The of the head-hunter he he said. You know what? Your vision and I had a vision typed up for the vision. For anger counter hands it to him and talked. So then he said so, you know, strengths and weaknesses me on my last question obviously and I had typed up sheet with my strengths and then he said you don’t have one for weaknesses. And I said I don’t have. Any this is my job and I did feel called. To it, I felt called that this was my job.
Francis Lynch: So it was really vocational more than just get pay packet
Ian Carter Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting that you mentioned vocation. Anglicare Australia conference Dorothy Scott spoke at recent. Really, always been very impressed with her, but she did a very general one. She ran a workshop on child protection and all those kind of things, but she ran a very general one about. Essentially, why we do what we do and the challenges and what we’re going on? And she quoted Frederick Buckner. In it about vocation, and I almost cried because she said. And I gotta be careful. Saying this is vocation where the hearts desire meets the world need or Is it where The hearts pain meets the world’s need. Can it be both?
Francis Lynch: So what do you think of that?
Ian Carter: Well, for me the second one. I I get emotional trying to say it. You know, I I do have pain at injustice. I yell at the radio and the TV. When people say things or I see stuff. Injustice is just such an anathema to me. Such a opposite to the way I wanna be, and I can’t believe it when it happens. And so for me, it’s been at the very core of who I have been for a long, long time.
Francis Lynch: And and do you think that that is something that so that sense of there’s a right to be wronged and is that something that says powerful for you now as it was earlier?
Ian Carter: Probably more powerful, I think. I think the very nature of. Who I am is embedded in that sense of the struggle for justice, the struggle to write things I mean. Ian Carter: Sometimes I watch a TV programme cause I know it’s gonna be about the goodies and the baddies and. The goodies are gonna win. Because I feel good at the end of it. Maybe after a really Shitty day, you know, and you’ll watch something and you know you order and all they’ve done that and whatever it might be inane or whatever, it’ll settle me so I can go to bed. Yeah. So and and I do. I do get emotional about the work and that I do and and. And being part of it, another part of my journey probably has been. You know, I I remarried and inherited three daughters and. And I now have 15 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Francis Lynch: Yeah, I remember you telling me thats a lot
Ian Carter It’s a lot, and my wife left Sydney without going into she. She left Sydney and another marriage some years beforehand. To escape some pretty horrific stuff going on in family and in stuff that was going on in and. Around her girls. So there’s still remnants of that left and that still plays out in their lives. And whole lot of the work that. Anglicare does happens sometimes in and around my family, and I know that when I’m talking about stuff on radio, in a strategy session with the board. I can talk from a range of perspectives, and I can talk about it from a theoretical perspective, from a political perspective, and in my very heart there’s a strong sense of the personal. And I I understand the journey and the pain and the pain in your heart and the meeting, people’s needs and the journeys that people go on. do you think that makes a difference to you In being able to do the job that you are as as CEO of this organisation? I think it. Does and I have reflected on that, probably in the last five or six years and you know, I’ve have just finished 20 years as CEO here. I’m as passionate about it now as I was in on April 18th, 1995 when I started, Ian Carter: and I think the journeys with staff I often say to staff here with almost 500 staff and some amazing people in here. The passion of some of the people who were here re energises and re passions me on a regular basis, but also that deep felt heart and pain about stuff that goes on with other clients or my family. I understand the the kind of realities of what we’re doing. I mean, we were talking the other day. We’re increasingly trying to get our clients to be connected with our journey. Like a lot of agencies, but and because of this statewide, because we give us such a huge range of services. But in the family of domestic violence area, we actually had a a client come in. We’ve written a case study up and was that was used at board level, had huge impact on the board, our capacity to draw this woman and her children out of the North West community down into Perth supported into a home and amazing things happen. The really interesting stuff. And it and it does go deep into why an agency like this does and what we should be about, she said at one stage in an internal discussion she had with some of our senior leaders when we were reflecting with her and she was really nervous and she had little cards written up and I said. We’re just gonna pull some chairs around and have a cup of coffee. And we’re. Just gonna have a yarn with you. So she just started talking about things and she said. The biggest thing that happened was when one of our workers up north, who’d been involved in a case management meeting with child protection and the police came back and in the meeting with her, said. In within three days, you need to leave this community and you need to go down to Perth and she said I had to trust her. I had to trust her with my life and my children’s lives.
Francis Lynch: And obviously the trust was there
Ian Carter: The trust was there to do that. And it’s such a path we reminded of we I gave a certificate to one of our for our longest serving foster carer. The other day, you know, 15 years of fostering 123 kids. And I said watch, I said watch your secret. And apart from patients, he said, building trust And so it’s those kind of things. I think understanding where you come from and where those kind of things fit within your worldview and your operation and try to play that out in the way that we operate.
Francis Lynch: So that passion that when you were talking about, you know that that you feel the pain or you’ve you’ve got that experience and you can actually use that positively, obviously not everyone can do that. So sometimes the pain can become overwhelming and yeah, and debilitating. Yeah. Do you think there’s any reason why that doesn’t happen For you or maybe? It does. I don’t know .
Ian Carter: Oh yeah. I think I have support structures, I certainly. Have an amazing wife, Karen is is amazing. So you know, I I’ve often acknowledged her significant role in my journey, but I also think other people around me, you know, I’ve, I’ve had some great exec teams. One of the most significant appointments I made about eight years. Ago was a. Chaplain Parish partnerships coordinator. He’s been key for a lot of people in the agency, has been for me as well at times, sitting down and shooting the breeze with him, having a cry, talking about stuff. They’re they’re important sort of parts of journeys. And I do use Sometimes external. You know, councillors or support stuff when you’re really, really going tough and you said go out and we have an EAP programme and you go out and you use it. And I think that’s what we all need to do in terms of the kind of journey that you’re on, because this this is hard yacker you know that this is hard, yacker and trying to. Trying to lead an organisation where we’re not about shareholder return, we’re not about return on investment capital return. We’re unequivocally about delivering better outcomes for the clients that we work with and we work with you know 32,000 clients a year we. We can’t just be ticking the boxes and delivering the contract. That’s that’s not what we’re here for. If that’s what we’re here for and us, we’ll pack up. We’re about making real changes. In those lives.
Francis Lynch: So given, I mean, there’s all of that and and you know there’s been 20 years now of you being in this this work here at Anglicare. How how do you actually reflect back in What do you think about as being, in a sense a purpose or a direction? Do you are you? Do you have? A form of words or a way of thinking about. Your personal sort of connection to?
Ian Carter: I’ve I’ve I’ve I’ve written as part of some. Of our work. An Anglican, an Anglicare CEO recently in the thing said the most important work for her was to explain why we. Do what we do. And so I I heard that and I thought, Gee, it’s about time. So me and one of my staff have recently written why we do what we do and it’s in last draught. And so that was a really interesting exercise for me. You know, it’s now a document which goes over. 21 pages if and it talks about everything from civil society to the old Micah, 68, what do what does God ask of you? Only this did you act justly, love kindly and walk humbly with your God. The Donald door integral spirituality kind of stuff. The Matthew fox. The spirituality named compassion. Yeah. It draws all those in, but it also draws in good to great in the social sectors, you know and other sort of frames of reference.And Eva Coxes and other Robert Putnams reflections on a civil society. So for me, why we do what we do is ingrained around all of those journeys that we are faith inspired organisation. I certainly do use and it’s in in the document that we’ve written. You know, the old Good Samaritan story. You know it’s an oldie, but a goodie, you know, like.
Francis Lynch: And it has. A I think it’s the type of story where, you know, repeated reflections on it probably brings you know, nuances and and different sort of perspectives over time. So.
Ian Carter: We we’ve we’ve drafted that and we’ve reflected around that. And for me, one of the. Really interesting things about that. Is Ian Carter: yes, we’re a faith inspired organisation, but our job is not to baptise and nurture but New Believers, you know, in the Anglican March of Marks of Mission, there’s five marks of mission. Mark three is reaching out and loving service. And Mark four is about advocating for social justice. So we’re about 3 and 4. Parishes, churches, cathedrals and others, and probably Anglican schools are around some of. Those other things. And for me, the Good Samaritan story says it in saying that the Samaritan went across the road with no agenda and no matter who that person was. So it didn’t matter whether it was man, woman, Jew, Gentile, they went across the road and they gave help and assistance and a sense of empowerment because they then took them on to the end and said, here’s some denari. I’ll come back and pay pay more. If you need to provide some more service and allow this person to get on with. Their lives so. This sense of going over for no agenda, whoever that the person is and empowering them to me, is the ultimate statement of us reaching out in loving service. That’s what we’re. There for and. We have to be unequivocally open to all. And and I. I get very twitchy when we there’s any impression that we are talking about being anything else. Other than to open to all.
Francis Lynch: And and you know clearly it’s not about as many of the church or faith-based organisations in Australia are. It’s not about all of the people in the organisation. Being from that faith or about the people who are being served, being from that faith scene.
Ian Carter: Exactly. And it’s, I mean, and proudly we talk about, you know, our values and various bits and pieces of our strategy are drawn from our history and connection to the Anglican Church and the journeys around. The Mikas and the Samaritans and the blah blah blah, but day today service delivery opened or no agenda. That’s what we’re here for and we Ian Carter: use the and I think it you could you could come up with. All kinds of. Biblical stuff out of it. But you know, we we certainly like the framework of surviving coping buildings. That’s we’re about moving people from surviving and coping through the building and thriving. You know, it’s a, it’s a nice framework.
Francis Lynch: Yeah. And so over 20 year journey. Obviously we’re not obviously perhaps, but I wonder about whether there’s in a sense almost having to recommit at different times. To the to the journey and to the to the vision and the. Yep, I’m I’m wondering for you if if you if I can ask you to reflect almost that, you know what might drive you and and be purposeful for you now whether that’s changed over that 20 year period or whether? It’s it’s developed.
Ian Carter: I think it’s what we developed a bit. But I think that there’s a there’s a very strong core that’s remained pretty unchanged. I mean, I do say when I go and get asked to do leadership talks at different stages, I always say to people, I don’t care whether you’re. A A a truck. Driver, you know, a fireman, an engineer or a social worker. You actually need to have a frame of reference about who you are and what’s in there, and to you, and you need to reflect it. It might just be my family is preeminent in my life. I believe in blah blah blah and blah blah blah in terms of the way I do my work and you know, I I believe professional development and engineering is important and I’m gonna do it twice a year. That’s great. For me it goes right back to the issue around the faith journey, the professional journey and understanding. Of the real world. Of politics and all that kind of stuff. So. I have to. Continually challenge myself and refresh myself and do that. But really, as I’ve done it. Even and then I’ll get bits and. Pieces and the. You know the
Ian Carter: Dorothy Scott thing on vacation I hadn’t seen before, so like it it you know you when you see something, you know you people talk about an aha moment.
Francis Lynch: yeah
Ian Carter: It’s like, Ian Carter brilliant.
Francis Lynch: I get that
Ian Carter: That’s a that’s a bit more finessing of my understanding of that.I’m going to bring that into my treasure trove and hold that close for a while and it’ll play out in me. It I remember I went one day when I was looking at renewing my contract. So you know I have a rolling. Contract Archbishop Roger Herft did only relatively. Recently been there and. I was having. A catch up with him. And he’s on our. Board. But I was having a catch up. With him as you do. And and I was telling him about, you know, a contract coming up. And so he asked me a couple. Of questions about passion and faith and other bits and pieces, Ian Carter: and then said I now want you to go away and be troubled by God. And I was
Francis Lynch: And where you
Ian Carter I was I was and look, some sometimes when I’ve re signed my contract. It has been an emotional experience and it has been, you know, tears at times, you know, deeply emotional consideration. You know Anglicare has been in place now for just under 40 years. So I’ve been at CEO for more than half. Of it. There’s only been five other heads of Anglicare . So in some senses, this is like raising a child, which at some stage I’ll be letting go free, but I keep having to challenge myself about whether I’m continuing to add value.
Francis Lynch: And I and I think one of. The things too that I mean. Because I’ve worked. For five years back in the 90s was that. It was very small when I arrived. It was only about 45 people and then it was probably whatever it was, 80 or 90 when you arrived. Maybe less
Ian Carter: It was less when I arrived and Anglicare turned over $2.65 million. Yeah, it now turns over just under 40. So 2.65 million was not a very large agency. Yeah, because I thought it. Was pretty big.
Francis Lynch: Well, it sort of was. But but I. Think it’s It’s just, you know that 20 year Journey has just seen a huge shift in change. There might be continuity in in some of the meaning and the purpose and and whatever but the. Actual what it is now is that is is. Different.
Ian Carter: Completely, completely different.
Francis Lynch: Yeah, yeah.
Ian Carter: I think that’s been some of the challenge. I also think the diversity of the Agency, yeah, we are arguably the largest, most diverse committee service agency given that we operate from 60 locations across the state and have 68 different service types.
Ian Carter: It includes engagement with volunteers. Donor supporters across a range of different service types. We run op shops. You know we do corporate partnership. We do advocacy. We we we used the phrase at one stage from the street corners to the corridors of Parliament. That’s what’s kept me there. I mean, if, if, if Anglicare was delivering 5 to 10 services in the same locations 20 years ago, I think I would have left a long time ago. There has been, as you say, huge change and challenge. But that inspires me. I like change. I like challenge. I like taking up the opportunity. I mean, I was in a meeting yesterday. About the regional reform agendas going on. In WA. I mean, I was inspired. You know, there were two ministers there who basically said. Everything’s up. Nothing’s been taken off the table. We have to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people in this community and there was a director general who’s taking it up, who spoke even more passionately about let’s make this happen and let’s do it well. I was reenergised again, you know, OK, what’s role our?
Francis Lynch: Yeah What can we do Ian Carter We’ve got 35 staff in the. Emily. OK. Yeah. What? How can we play a role in that? Let’s not be a hindrance to this process. Let’s be an add value to this process. You told me when we met a few weeks ago that you had signed a new contract and that it may be your last and and so in three or four or five years you may not be here. You may like. Who knows what but. If you look at. You know, maybe 5, but maybe 10 There’s probably a. Good, decent chance you won’t be. Here
Ian Carter: Ohh I won’t be
Francis Lynch: you won’t be I’ve just turned 60 so. Francis Lynch Yeah, well, you never know. you work longer these days.
Ian Carter: Archbishops retire at 70 maybe you never know.
Francis Lynch: Given that there’s, there’s still this obvious passion and and you know, engagement and being enthused about what you’re doing now, If you did. Look forward 10 years. Do you see your perspective of your own? Journey and your own purpose actually being continuous and consistent, even though things may change.
Ian Carter: Yeah, I I certainly it it would be significantly different I think in 10 years time. I don’t think I’ll still be here. Yeah, I suppose. My challenge to myself is is to, you know, I wanna continue to make. A difference I wanna. Continue to be focused on issues around social justice. I’ll probably you know, I could. Well, be doing something. I could be a consultant. I could be a part time person. I actually think one of the things in a whole range of professions. Is to have the old buggers still around. Francis Lynch Agitating from the sidelines
Ian Carter: Yeah, exactly.
Francis Lynch: or in the middle
Ian Carter: See what I think I mean I. When I leave Anglicare, I need to get well away from it. Yeah, I I think when you leave. You need to get. Out of the way, you know you don’t wanna influence.Or impact on when you see CEO? So when I. Leave. I’ll get that well out of. The way but if another community service organisation said. Look, Livingston creating a part-time role challenging us around our purpose, our journey, our vision, our very core values. Would you be interested in doing that? I’d love it. You know, I’d just sit there and go look, I wanna say to the executive, you know, my I’ve been out and about the teams and I’m getting the feeling that the kind of message that we’re talking putting out now is about it’s all about corporate. It’s not about justice or whatever. And that would be. A really interesting role I think. You know for. A CEO with the right frame of reference, they could. No. Wow, what an add value. That was rather than let’s not get defensive about this because that’s what people thought. Well, well, we are trying. To be corporate, but we. Are still no no. No, no, let’s let’s have the conversation. Let’s really be I love those kind of conversations. Play in the grey.
Francis Lynch: I think it’s an interesting one. Because there was a. At that ruler, when I was there, there was a. Person who almost paid. Played like a senior special projects role. Yeah. And he had. Worked as a CEO in the sector, and so it was actually really helpful for him. For me to have him there because he was doing some of what you were saying. So even though he was doing specific projects, he would come to me every now and then. Say, do you realise that this is the way people are interpreting this or whatever and it was actually very helpful because he he could see it from where I was sitting. So as well as just being part of the.The troops, in a sense. So yeah. I think that’s that’s an interesting perspective.
Ian Carter: I agree. I’ll aspire. I’ll aspire to it, or I’ll whatever I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I sometimes go home after a hard day and say to my wife.
Ian Carter: Let’s sell the house, move to bailing up. Hide from the world that lasts about 5 minutes.
Francis Lynch: Till you see something that you rail against the tv.
Ian Carter: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I and I have decided, you know, I’ve, I’ve now having turned 60. I’ve now given my myself permission to yell at the TV and the radio as a as some politician says some yet again some other outrageous statement. And you know, it’s. Ill informed ill formed, not appropriate Ian Carter: and I’ll just go. You can’t say that. Well, that’s my job. Even if it’s just to me.
Francis Lynch: So what? What do you? Personally have as as parts of your life, or you’ve sort of mentioned this a. Little bit before, but what gives? You the energy to actually. Do what you’re doing. And and keeps you coming back and. Being part of. Part of this work.
Ian Carter: And I do think that there is this. I think I’m I think I. Am know in in the sector to be someone who can challenge stuff where what you see is what you get. And then I’ll say something to someone directly, and no one’s gonna find out about it through five people. Or I’ll. I think I’m pretty clear. And and and I think I’m seeing this colegial and. Blah blah blah. But at the very core is this strong? Passion, emotion drawn out of my journey of faith around social justice. It it has only got stronger for you and. And I it will. Be there Ian Carter: until I take my. Last breath, I think.
Francis Lynch: And do you think that I mean in a sense, if I use the analogy of a well, you know to keep drawing from the well, it may go dry, but how do you get water? Into the well, what gives you? The you know the refreshment or the? The you know their people or things or practices that you have that actually restore the world for you.
Ian Carter: I think probably a range of things. It’s like the stuff I was talking about earlier on in terms of saying to people that you need to continually challenge yourself and I think you can do that in lots of different ways. You can read, you can go to conferences and listen to people you know, like my Dorothy Scott stuff. Yeah. You know, I’ve picked up. I’ve picked up some crumbs and actually probably more than crumbs. I’ve picked up some big chunks out of that that are now refocusing and energising them.
Francis Lynch: And yet that was really possibly 10 or 20 seconds out of our conference.
Ian Carter: Yeah. Or was was actually the whole soum of the the whole presentation was pretty outstanding. But yeah, it it was some bits that really hit hard and they feel like they sort of go straight to your heart. I’m sitting there and I’m going. Thats Brilliant. So I’ll chase. Through book now. Now and do a bit more and do do a. Bit of reading. Going to church, I I’m not at every Sunday going to church person. My face is important to me, but I go to a church and sometimes. You know, I I go to Saint Michaels in Mount Pleasant. I go to Saint. David’s in Applecross. Sometimes I’m in the mood and I’ll go to a completely different one. I’ll go back to Saint Paul’s at Beaconsfield, which I did not too long ago. And I like it that for the most part that, like in the Anglican Church, I’m I’m well known. But for most part people leave me alone. I don’t wanna turn up on Sunday morning and people say see vendor kids here. He might wanna give us some talks or something. I just wanna sit back and
Francis Lynch: Just be part. Of the congregation
Ian Carter: Just be part of the congregation, sit in the back, couple of pews. Be emotional. Pray, listen, reflect, leave. So those kind of things are important. And look I. Think the conversations with clients and all those kind of things. The conversations with staff I mean. Again, as I mentioned earlier on, I can sit in the meeting with some passionate staff talking about what they’re doing and how it’s going. And I’ll come out of it going. You know, OK. Some of the batteries are recharged again just cause. You sit there going. That’s amazing.
Francis Lynch: One of my observations, I suppose, is that there are people in the community in that we come across on a day by day basis, or it might be in the organisation we’re working in or in our families. But this sense of loss of purpose. So there are people who really struggle. To to connect and be able to understand maybe where they’re going or what they’re doing and. And what they. They really see as their their goal. Or purpose in. Life do you? How would you, how do you help people who perhaps are struggling a little with that Do you do you have Ideas of what Actually works or?
Ian Carter: Look not strongly, but I suppose. I often say the people that you need to. Find out who you are. Yeah, you know, and I think. Then what you do with that? Becomes important. I sometimes see people doing things, you know? Sometimes you see things where people are sort of missing the mark and you go. I actually think it’s cause I don’t. Actually understand themselves. And you think that they’d be? So much better effects you understood who they are. Certainly in the in my teams here and and and and as you asked that question, it’s made me think about another thing you know you can do these LSI MBTI, you know, team, we’ve done a lot of that. So you know, I I know who I am, you know, I know the kind of things that I like and are important to me. I know things that I’ll shy away from. I know you know, I’m an ENFP in the Myers Briggs stuff, you know, right on the borderline extrovert introvert, focused on feelings, intuition and all that. That’s me. I like getting feedback. I like getting people going well done and that was good. You know that those recharge my batteries and things like that and other people need to know what drives them, you know? Yeah. And I know that like my executive. For most of my time here, and certainly at the moment, I’ve got an executive who compliment me really well. You know, I’ve got people who really love detail. You know, I remember going out to one one person who’s on my executive a couple of years ago, and we’re at the stage in our governance journey. It was about 10 years ago, I think about halfwaythrough my time here and we wanted to do a really detailed delegations manual kind of thing and we got some draughts and some other people, so I’ll. Into this woman’s office and said. I’m sorry, but I really want to create hours so I’ve got some draughts here. And this person said, Oh yeah, I’m so excited. you know.
Francis Lynch: You’ve got to find the right person to feed. That type of chance.
Ian Carter: yeah. And I’m thinking well I would have. Hated someone to walk into me going. Can you do a? Detailed delegations menu for Anglicare WA, but. You know, that’s you don’t have people around you who are yes people. You have people who compliment you and then who will challenge you will take the journey up that keeps you going, yeah.
Francis Lynch: OK. So do you. Do you have any? Suggestions around books or blogs or podcasts? Or, you know, people that you think. Might be ideas for other people to hear about. You know, where do you get some inspiration from? I suppose is one of those.
Ian Carter: I’ll read from it from lots of different places. I mean the old Donald or integral spirituality Colin stuff in 1990, I found it in the cathedral bookshop when it was closing down in 1991. OK. That strongly influenced me. Someone gave me a spirituality named compassion by Matthew Fox. Love it. You know the concept of dancing Sarah Circle versus climbing Jacob’s Ladder. Inspirational. Beautiful. And and economics. As if the earth really mattered. Another section in that book. I got drawn into a guy called Manfred Max Neef. He won the alternative Nobel Prize for Economics
Francis Lynch: OK, I haven’t heard about it.
Ian Carter: and a member of the Council of the Club of Rome, Fellow of the Shoemaker Society and and he’s done. He he’s the probably the best book to write. Read is a book called Human Scale Development that he wrote, but he talks about. About a different way of viewing the world, not by gross domestic product, but by viewing development, focused around people and those kind of things. So I think you’ve gotta really, diversely, I think you’ve gotta read a whole range of people. You’ve got, you do have to go to to things and make the choice to look, to go to a conference or a thing, which is gonna challenge. You take the
opportunities to be challenged and pushed and do those kind of things. You know, like around the leadership stuff, Crustiness and Posner, the stuff that they’ve done the Collins good to great and the social sectors that that little monograph which you can read in bed at night and it’s all over. Fantastic. The flywheel and the social sector the Hedgehog concept around understanding what drives a thing. Again, inspirational understanding of the kind of sector, but yet you’re I think you also gotta think about it all around. Of course, the bit that I’m shocking at. Towards the end of this interview I introduces I’m not good at work. Life balance is really. So I work. Way too many hours and I and I’m way less fit than I should be, and that that’s an issue that I and and sometimes my life just. Is dominated by Anglicare and related organisations and other things that I’m on, so my family occasionally see me. So, that’s it remains a challenge and. There was the. The other important one to read on that, which I occasionally introduced into speeches that I do. And I always say to people I’m reading this to remind myself about it. It’s the curly pyjama letters by Michael living where he talks about what is worth doing and what is worth having. You know, it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.
Francis Lynch: But at the same time, yeah.
Ian Carter: And going right through about, you know, the poison of the way our world runs.
Francis Lynch: But at the same.Time I mean. You. I’ve heard you speak just personally over many years and and. You always talk about family and and community. And and your local. Community as much as anything, so it’s obviously important to you.
Ian Carter: It’s it is important to me. It’s not like I I completely ignore it, but I think if I actually sat down and you know, you can do those and pie chart kind of things.
Francis Lynch: Time allegation. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ian Carter: You know how much time on this and how much and all those kind of things, the difference between my aspiration and my reality in that area. Sometimes it’s probably not quite right. And look at that. I I do feel called to this job. And so for me. There is. There is a sense. So yeah, sometimes 16 hour days and being away a lot and all the rest of it is just the reality of who I am.
Francis Lynch: And that will be a challenge when you leave.
Ian Carter: It will be, yeah, it will be. And you know, I’m very well aware of people who finish their job and then die of a heart attack or a stroke or something. Or rather, I sometimes sit there and think that now Ian. You gotta get this right mate cause.
Francis Lynch: Make the transitions to something?
Ian Carter: I’ve got. I’ve got a transition out and I’ve got a transition to different things. So they’re they’re the remaining challenges and my reading ahead of me is going to be about those. Kind of things.
Francis Lynch: Oh Yeah. Im sure you will set that as a project.
Ian Carter: I hope.
Francis Lynch: So as we draw to a close, is there anything that? That you particularly wanted to to mention, you know, maybe something that’s come up that I haven’t asked the right question perhaps and and maybe you wanted to touch on.
Ian Carter: I suppose it’s the immediate thing. That sprung to mind as. Soon as you ask that. Is another reading that you can there is a guy called Leo Buscaglia, who wrote a whole range of books around love, and he actually, I think it was Berkeley University where some years ago he he actually did a a an entire lecture series, you know, loved 1 0 love. love 2 O. In terms of stuff and and he and he talked about the. Importance of love. And I think that’s something that we, you know, we can talk about trust and relationships and empowerment and courage and all those things that we tend to use when we talk about what we’re doing. But at the end of the day. This concept of love. It is so pivotal to us as. The human race. You know, it is what sets us apart. And I think. To understand the nature of love and and again, you can become spiritual, biblical or whatever about it. Or you can become very personal about it. You know, I talked about the importance of my wife, Karen to my life in the last 20, something over years, you know, and the love and trust that exists between the two of us. There’s been unequivocally one of Ian Carter: the things on which has allowed me to do. What I do, But Also, that more that more generic sense of that word love. In terms of the way you do the work, your passion for your. Work and all the rest. Of it, this word love comes up. I think it’s a powerful and beautiful word and we need to find a space.
Francis Lynch: For it and and I think too one of the just as I’m hearing you say that I mean. That love is so many things. It’s not just romantic love or fraternal love or whatever. You know, there’s just all these different sort of perspectives and and permutations of it, and. And it is sometimes I think. A word which. Is seen to be taboo within the workplace. For example, you know that it’s a problem if there’s an expression of love, when in fact what we know is is within our organisations. That’s actually a driving force for many people is that you know. Their love of. Their fellow human being or their love of you know, being in the culture or the particular people who are in their work team or you know, and and a a real strong force.
Ian Carter: I suppose it also relates to, you know, another word at another. The end of the spectrum around it is loneliness and and the the sense that for many people. Far too many people in our community, loneliness in this, is actually a big part of their lives that that they they don’t have a life of relationships and love and trust and reciprocity. They actually have a life of. On the end of a computer in front of a TV far too much time spent by themselves, and I think some of the issues around technology and the way our community is evolving is something that we need to look at. And I do worry about next generations trying desperately not to sound like an old fart. Talking about all this kind. Of stuff, but I worry. All of those issues and and I look at my grandkids and my great grandkids and just, you know, you can walk into a room and you know four or five grandkids all sitting there on their iPhones and, you know, texting and Facebooking and whatever twittering other people you. Just sit there. Just going. Hi girls How you Going. Oh, hi? And you just go Is this were up to?
Francis Lynch: We sometimes I’m laughing because my kids sometimes and they’re both, you know, late 20s. Sorry, late teens, early 20s and and now sometimes have a go at at my partner and I because we’re both on our iPads.
Ian Carter: Yes, yes. And that that has. Been said at Karen and I must admit
Francis Lynch: Thank You so much for the time that you’ve spent reflecting and and talking about some of the things that make you who you are and and give you some sense of purpose and direction and and. About why you do what you do, I can’t imagine that you know whether it’s, you know, three years or five years or 10 years that you’re still here. I can’t imagine that there’s just gonna be a life, then, of, you know
Ian Carter: sitting fishing for the rest of his life. No, and Karen’s been quite clear about that. It will be none of that. I’ll drive her to to distraction. So certainly there will be something that will fill the void . And and I look forward to seeing that and I’m sure that you’ll be around and doing lots of purposeful sort of passionate activities and you know probably whether that’s at a very local level or whether that’s being involved in organisations or, you know, getting on the the political. band waggon of getting into, you know, reminding people what they should be doing. Look, I look forward to seeing those as you as you grow old, either gracefully or disgracefully, I don’t know.