Star employee profile: Maria Karlis

As the St Basil’s Consumer Choice Employee of the Year: Community Services runner-up award recipient, Maria Karlis says that community care workers can be pivotal to an older person’s independent living goals.

Being able to continue living comfortably and independently in one’s own home for as long as possible is a goal for many people as they age. However, as people get older or their needs increase, this goal may become possible only with proper care and support, such as that provided by Maria Karlis, who is part of the Home and Community Care team at St Basil’s NSW/ACT. Having worked at St Basil’s for nearly a decade, Maria has recently been awarded runner up in St Basil’s Consumer Choice Employee of the Year Award: Community Services.

The honour is part of an inaugural Awards Program that celebrates excellence in St Basil’s staff, spanning three categories (St Basil’s Employees, St Basil’s Values and Inspiration & Innovation), with 11 different awards. For Maria, who is a Care Manager, it was rewarding to have her efforts in her role officially recognised. “It felt good to know that my hard work and the hard work of my colleagues is being seen, and it was a great way to end the year, feeling proud for the effort I’ve put into my work.”

Reflecting on what she most enjoys about her role, Maria lists a work culture that feels like “a family”, as well as interacting with consumers, enjoying the wisdoms they share, and knowing that she’s making a difference in the lives of vulnerable people. As Maria observes, community care workers can play a pivotal role in a person’s quality of life and their ability to live independently.

“Every consumer has very different needs, and for some of our consumers, we are the only people they talk to or that visit them during the week, while for others we are the reason they can still live in their own home, by providing support and guidance to their families to be able to cope with the demanding job of caring for an elderly person,” she says.

St Basil’s home and community care support can include everything from personal care to domestic assistance, transport and accessing the community, meal preparation, social support in the home and in the community, as well as monitoring consumer progress and changes. The aim overall is to empower people to live their best possible life and support them to live independently at home, by helping them with everyday activities, tailored to their individual care needs and goals.

With this broad span of responsibilities, it’s no surprise that Maria says she finds her work deeply fulfilling. “I’ve been working at St Basil’s for almost 10 years, and it has been a great and rewarding journey for me, in which I’ve grown as an employee and a person,” she says.

To learn more or to express your interest in a role with St Basil’s supporting ageing Australians in the community, visit our Careers Page now

– Words by Bonnie Bayley