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IN THE CITY
What do you do?
I was appointed executive director of the
YWCA of Canberra in July of 2013, following
three years as the director of operations.
The YWCA of Canberra is a values-led,
non-profit, community-based organisation
working and advocating for social justice
within a feminist framework. Our vision
is "women achieving their potential". The
YWCA of Canberra has been providing
community services and representing
women's issues in the Canberra
community since its establishment in
1929. We currently work with thousands of
Canberrans, across 20 physical locations, in
the areas of children's services, community
development, housing, youth services,
personal and professional training, and
We employ approximately 350 staff in full-
time, part-time and casual roles, and have a
turnover of approximately $12 million each
year. In 2012, we were formally recognised
as an employer of choice for women at
the Equal Opportunity for Women in the
Workplace Agency's annual awards.
I have previously worked in not-for-profit
and for-profit organisations, in areas
including human resources, quality and
risk, training and education, and business
How did you get involved in your current
In late 2009, a close friend invited me to
the 80th birthday celebration and annual
general meeting for the YWCA of Canberra.
I was so impressed by the amazing women
I heard speak, including our patron, the
Governor General, as well as past and
present members. After hearing what
the Y's goals were and how they strive to
enable women to achieve their potential, I
immediately became a member. Six months
later the director of operations position was
advertised and I applied.
What would you say is the best part of
The best part of my job is seeing the
impact our programs have in the Canberra
community, and the interaction with the
staff at the front line delivering programs.
We use a social impact evaluation
framework across all of our programs that
measures the impact of what we do and
how we are making a difference. It was
exciting to include this information, for the
first time, in our 2012/2013 annual report.
I am also passionate about our women's
and girls' leadership programs. Because
we are part of a local, national and global
organisation we create a leadership pipeline
for young women to change the world.
What is your favourite thing about
working in the Canberra CBD?
There is so many great things about
working in the CBD it is hard to name a
favourite. I love all the great small eateries
and cafes that seem to be opening in great
little places in the CBD and the high-quality
food available. As a working mum I love the
convenience of being able to grab presents
for all the kids' parties, school supplies,
etc, plus quick visits to my favourite shop.
Having lived in the Canberra area all of
my life I also love that the city is still small
enough that I always meet people I know
going to and from the office, and being a
part of the community.
How do you like to spend your lunch
breaks (if you can ever get away)?
When I do have lunch breaks I like to try out
new places to eat. Once hay fever season is
over, I do enjoy walking over the footbridge
to Commonwealth Park -- you forget how
close we are to the park and lake when
stuck in your office.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spending time with my family is really
important to me. During school terms there
is always some sporting commitment for
the children, and we always go to all of the
local community festivals or activities. In
school holidays we, more often than not,
are travelling somewhere. Since having
children, travel is even more enjoyable
to my husband and I. Many people are
amazed at how we have managed to travel
so much with our children ever since they
If you were showing a visitor around the
city for the day, where would you take
I normally have friends who also have
children so I would start outside around
Garema Place and the other pedestrian
areas in the city. My children love all of the
public artwork around the city, and while
it may not be meant for climbing on they
certainly love playing around these areas.
I would eat at one of the outdoor cafes -- my
children love iPho at the moment. I would
then do what I call the loop walk from
Civic to Commonwealth Park and the lake
over both the footbridges. I would go to a
movie or see what was on at the theatre.
We just went to the Empire show (without
the children!) so I would end the day with
something like this or dinner in one of the
restaurants at the Melbourne Building.
FRANCES CRIMMINS, YWCA OF CANBERRA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Frances Crimmins chats to AMELIA DALE
about working at one of Canberra's leading
"The best part of my job
is seeing the impact our
programs have in the
PEOPLE & PLACES
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