Faces of Baptcare #32: Meet Michelle Atkins, Communications Advisor and one of our We Care Award Winners

The We Care Awards are designed to identify and reinforce behaviours that are consistent with our WE CARE values and assist in achieving our strategic goals.

The Awards are peer nominated, with the eventual winners selected by our Baptcare Reward & Recognition Panel. Winners are selected for their demonstrated professional excellence, deep commitment to our organisational values and outstanding contributions to Baptcare.

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Teeming with bubbly positivity, it’s easy to see why Michelle is such an asset to our Baptcare family.

As a Communications Advisor within our busy Mission and Corporate Development group, bouncing from COVID communications, to supporting new starters in the team, and all the while keeping an ear to the ground for some of the remarkable stories about Baptcare clients, staff and volunteers is enough to exhaust the most seasoned professional.

But it’s all catnip to Michelle – or should we say ‘dognip’? (More on that later!).

Writing was not her first choice

Michelle’s talent for writing - along with her seemingly boundless energy - is legendary amongst her teammates. Interestingly, though, a career in writing was not Michelle’s first choice. She graduated with a double degree in Arts/Law (Honours) from the University of Melbourne and joined the ranks of a prestigious city law firm.

“My legal career was a bit accidental,” explains Michelle. “I had ‘primary school teaching’ and ‘journalism’ as my first choices for university courses but was encouraged to put in law at the last minute by the teacher because I liked words and debating.

“I found the world of law a bit dry so I started my freelance writing career on the side, doing lifestyle articles, book reviewing (I still do this!) and eventually writing and publishing about ten books in the children and young adult categories when I changed careers into publishing. But I still haven’t achieved my dream of writing a bestselling piece of fiction.”

Behind Michelle’s winning We Care Awards nomination

Each We Care Award relates to one of Baptcare values: Wellbeing, Ethics, Co-creating, Accountability, Respect and Effectiveness. Baptcare’s Co-creating value speaks to our desire to build personalised and innovative solutions with clients and allied partners.

An essential part of co-creating for the benefit of our clients is that often overlooked skill – listening. It’s here that Michelle truly excels, carefully peeling back the detailed layers of each story and skilfully rendering that information into compelling copy.

Her nomination speaks beautifully to that essence:

“In her role as a Communications Advisor, Michelle works with all areas of the organisation. She is highly skilled at listening to people and working with them to bring out their stories. Michelle's super-power is that she value-adds to every interaction, identifying the key elements of every story and presenting them in the best way to celebrate all that is good about Baptcare, our mission and vision. This is co-creation that is effective, respectful and inspiring.”

How did she feel to know she had taken out a prestigious We Care Award in Co-creating?

“I was so excited to win the We Care Award, particularly for Co-creation because I’m happiest when I’m collaborating with people (except for my teenage daughter’s endless shopping lists…). I had no idea that I was nominated and got a genuine surprise. I’m not usually someone who wins things. Here’s a bit of a violin story…but when I was ten years old, I went to a musical concert and bought a raffle ticket where the prize was an organ. Anyway, the tickets were based on seat numbers and, at the last minute, I changed seats… and, yes, you guessed it, I moved from the winning seat!”

Why Michelle loves working at Baptcare

Put simply, it seems the people are the glue that keeps Michelle bound to Baptcare.

“I have never met so many inspirational and big-hearted people in one workplace. A special callout to my Comms team members here too – I adore and respect them all and feel so lucky to work (and laugh) with them daily. (And yes, they are hovering over my screen as I type this…).

“I also love the core/mission of Baptcare. Having worked in some soulless corporate environments, I find great purpose in the breadth and depth of the work Baptcare do - work that at the end of the day, makes a difference to people’s lives (and not just to a cold spreadsheet).”

And … about that ‘dognip’ …

One thing you cannot help but learn about Michelle upon meeting her, is that she loves her dogs. Actually, that’s too narrow – she loves her dogs, but also adores shopping for dog accessories, dog themed items and recommending great doggy related deals from the world of online shopping. Ask her about a great little doggie patterned notebook at Kmart for a few dollars – her mates at work all have one now!

When pressed to explain where her love for all things canine comes from, Michelle is quick to respond: “I am a bit dog-obsessed (my family call me ‘the crazy dog woman’) but this is only a recent thing!” she laughs.

“I used to be petrified of dogs after a German Shepherd jumped on my sister when we were little. But then about ten years ago, I moved to Singapore with my family for three years and we were asked to rehome a dog, Scruffy, who had been left behind by his Australian family. After Scruffy, we welcomed two ‘oodles’ into our family, Billi (the toy cavoodle) and Pinji (a lockdown puppy schnoodle) and I love the mayhem of a house with dogs! I love the natural happiness of dogs, and particularly how affectionate and funny they are, every single day.”

Bravo Michelle! We’re so glad to have you in our ‘pack’!

Congratulations on your award from everyone at Baptcare.