50 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year 2019

An Interview with Viv Allanson, Maroba CEO: ‘We Continue to Evolve from a Cottage Industry to a Robust Contemporary Innovative Organisation that has Influenced not Just Locally but Globally’

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“Maroba has been able to grow off the back of our reputation and continued focus on personalized services.”

Old-age is a very difficult phase in one’s life.

On one hand, advances in medical technology have led to increased life expectancy, at the other end of the spectrum, with families largely becoming nuclear and children moving all over the world, many seniors who may not be very active or mobile, face loneliness and caregiving issues.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Maroba.

Maroba is committed to providing a safe, relaxed and welcoming environment for residents, clients, community, staff, volunteers, and students. Its team of dedicated professionals are focused around creating beautiful communities and strive to help residents stay healthy and happy. The company is dedicated to enhancing lifestyles while creating meaningful experiences every day for its residents and clients. Maroba’s vision is to deliver experiences like no other.

While its traditional services such as residential aged care and retirement accommodation remain in focus, Maroba has introduced a new range of wellness and support services that are structured to support the older person. Known as Community Services, these programs are also open to the community and include Tai Chi, Cafe Days, and luncheons. The programs offer a healthy approach to ageing by aiming to improve the participant’s quality of life, and by supporting them to be more independent.

Maroba was incorporated in 1954 and is headquartered in Waratah, NSW Australia.

Viv Allanson, Maroba CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

Maroba was established by a local Baptist church that saw the need to provide care with dignity to the elderly women in that local church. Viv Cork (a local resident) identified the need and dared to dream of the possibilities. Three people including Mr. Cork mortgaged their homes to purchase a 10 room old maternity cottage to start Maroba Rest Home for Elderly Ladies. After receiving a grant of land from the govt, the management committee set about growing the organisation to serve older people in our local community.The building kept growing and then more services were established on the Waratah site to encompass a tri-level care facility. Today, Maroba offers an extensive range of boutique customized services and is about to expand into spectacular Lake Macquarie with a new small scale vertical village for Independent living for the young at heart over 65.

Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Maroba is well established and enjoys a very positive reputation in our region and the wider aged care sector. We receive generational referrals from families who have experienced our services in the past. They keep sharing their stories. The experience our consumers have day in day out shapes our delivery…we rely on live feedback to keep adjusting our interventions and offering to better suit the individuals needs and aspirations for their lives. Being a smaller organisation allows us to be more nimble and thus more responsive to our consumers. It’s all about relationship and transparency. Maroba has been able to grow off the back of our reputation and continued focus on personalized services.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years?

Whilst I was not around in the early years, we have stayed close to that experience through storytelling and are very aware of the financial struggles to get such an organisation going. We continue to evolve from a cottage industry to a robust contemporary innovative organisation that has influenced not just locally but globally. Our commitment to purpose has been a major success factor…you just can’t waiver on that.

Q. If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?

The factors that make us stand out from the competition are our purpose, our values, our culture, our people, and our leader. Keeping on purpose sets the foundation that is unshakeable for us to build upon. It is these five assets that have contributed to our reputation and positioned us so well within the marketplace.

Q. Is it true that striving for both ethics and success in a business is a tough feat?

It may be tough for some but when you know your true north…that makes it much easier. You don’t have to second guess yourself and you can stay true to the purpose and values.

Q. People like when companies are involved in social welfare/CSR activities, what do you say about this?

The Maroba family is a generous family and support many causes to make a social impact within our local community and beyond. Maroba supports the very poorest of the poor in a nursing home in rural South Africa. Fundraising activities are the norm within Maroba and we are corporate sponsors for ‘Got Your Back Sista’ (Supporting Women escaping Domestic Violence) and ‘Divas on the Green’ (Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Breast Cancer).

Q. Where do you see you and your company a couple of years from now?

I see myself continuing to support the team especially those on a leadership journey as it has always been my priority to raise up leaders and release them to fly. Maroba will continue to grow its services and innovate to meet the aspirations of future cohorts of older people and their families in the midst of poor govt funding and increasing compliance and expectations.

Viv Allanson: A Formidable Leader

Viv Allanson started as director of nursing in 1994 and was invited to be Maroba’s first CEO in 2000. Viv is a CEO who never accepts the status quo; in fact, she has just been announced as the Australian ‘Game Changer of the Year’ in her role as CEO of Maroba. She has continued to be on the front foot and is frequently recognised for its innovation within the aged care sector. Viv is a leader who strives to bring others on the journey of growth and change always sharing generously her time and experience to support all who aspire to be a “Difference Maker”. The registered nurse in Viv never lays down and is always advocating for the profession and its advancement as an integral part of the health care team.

“Maroba will continue to grow its services and innovate to meet the aspirations of future cohorts of older people and their families in the midst of poor govt funding and increasing compliance and expectations.”

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