In the lift with… Rebecca Lorains

April 16, 2020

In the lift this week, we meet VHA Board Director Rebecca Lorains. Rebecca is also CEO of Primary Care Connect and has over 20 years’ experience in the health and community services sectors.

As a member of the VHA board tell us a little bit about your background.

I am a country girl born who grew up on a family dairy farm in Zeerust just outside Shepparton (my parents are still on the farm). I had a beautiful childhood with my grandparents, parents and sisters with lots of fun and mischief. I always wanted to be a butcher (random I know), unfortunately no one was willing to take on a female butcher’s apprentice. I love netball and have played and coached all my life. I played at a state and regional level and developed many friends over this time. I still coach today for Rumbalara Netball Club but intend to hang up my boots next year to be a tragic netball mum! The highlight of my life are my beautiful children. My first Oscar was born sleeping and he would be 11 this year, Sienna is 10 and Willow is 9, my children teach me so much everyday and it is an absolute pleasure to be called their mum.

My career started in Child Protection at the very young age of 20. This work whilst challenging was extremely rewarding in giving voice to the voiceless. I then had a series of jobs related to youth and families, AOD and the forensic population again working with some of our most vulnerable and marginalised members of the community. I have worked at Primary Care Connect for 18 years now commencing as the Youth Outreach worker. I commenced my journey into management nine years ago as an executive and the past five as the CEO.

Can you tell us about your education?

I attended the small primary school of Zeerust that had 27 students in total. The school was one paddock away from my house. It was easy to lead the teachers astray and we spent an enormous time outside and yabbying in the dam next door. I then attended a high school with 900 students, which was a definite shock to my system given my small primary school. I quickly learnt in high school that in order to create change you had to be willing to put your hand up, step up and not just whinge about the things you didn’t like. I therefore became student forum president and school captain and as a result the girls now wear shorts and there are new bike sheds. I was accepted to university and went to experience uni life. After starting one course which I didn’t enjoy, I was accepted into an Associate Diploma in Welfare at Latrobe University and quickly realised that this course was what I was meant to do, it resinated with me deeply. During my working life I have undertaken a bunch of other certificates in sector specific topics, management and completed the AICD course. I currently sit on the VHA Board and am also the President of VAADA. These have been a great experience which I really enjoy. Last year I began my MBA with Latrobe Uni which at times makes me question my sanity.

What are you most proud of in your career ?

I am so proud of many things in my working life; the clients, families and communities that I have worked with are all exceptional and I never stop being humbled that I am able to do the work that I do everyday in whatever capacity to assist people to be the best version of themselves they can be. Whether that is assisting a client in reception who is having one of the worst days of their lives or sitting in an important meeting discussing our systems and programs and how we can improve them. I think I am most proud is becoming the CEO of PCC and leading the organisation into a new and exciting phase, providing stability and increasing our service capacity to the community. I was told numerous times within my career that I would never be a CEO and if anyone knows me never say never to me!

What’s something you would like to talk about in the lift?

I could talk to anyone about anything and this question really got me thinking! At present we find ourselves in such unusual and strange circumstances and I think I would talk about what I am grateful for and ask what you are grateful for. This time has allowed parts of my busy life (outside of work) to stop and I am grateful for my family and the connection we share and continue to foster through this time. I am grateful for my friends and the shared laughter we have; I am grateful for the privilege of having a home, a job and a supportive network of people in my life. I am grateful that I can witness the best of humanity when we come together and put ourselves second for the good of our community and witnessing the amazing work done by so many different part of a our community to ensure that we all get through this together. I am also excited about a different future where we are more grateful for the things we have and more willing to extend our fortune to others.