Sharon Tuffin – Chief Executive Officer

What do you do at Karralika?

I have the absolute honour and privilege to be the CEO of this great organisation. My day to day work is really varied from big picture strategy through to on the ground operation but ultimately it boils down to two things: ensuring that everything we do aligns with our vision, purpose and values – the reason we exist; and that our team has what they need to provide the best possible environment and opportunity for our clients and their families to achieve their personal recovery goals.

What do you like about working at Karralika?

Every day I get to see and hear stories from staff and clients who are making changes for themselves or supporting others to do the same.

We are an eclectic mix of people with different backgrounds, lived and life experiences, personal interests and quirkiness – but one thing drives us all and that is bringing our best each and every day to support others who are struggling with the impacts of alcohol and other drug use – whether our role is managing and maintaining business systems, corporate services and finances, or in working in a clinical capacity with our clients and families. Every person in this organisation plays a vital role in providing a quality service that meets the needs of the communities in which we all live and work.

What is your background?

Academically, my postgraduate qualifications are in population health and my working career has all been in the health space across Commonwealth Government, government relations and public affairs in private consulting, and for the last 10 years working in the for-purpose sector. Each of these experiences has given me a working knowledge of how public, private, and not for profit/community sectors can and must work together to create the sort of world we all want to live and work in – a world and community that is inclusive, free from violence, stigma and discrimination, where we value diversity, and we support and protect those that are vulnerable.

My particular field of expertise outside of population health, is in governance and management. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and hold other community sector Board positions. My personal focus is to continue to learn, try new things that could improve performance or outcomes, and support others on their journey.

What are the values that drive you?

Of all the things I value, integrity and authenticity has always ranked above them all. My favourite saying is that I will ‘say what I am going to do, and then do what I have said’. This is about integrity, being authentic and real, being honest, accountable, and trusted.

Beneath that, is kindness and understanding. Recognising that we are all human, have strengths, vulnerabilities, interests, and areas for growth – being kind to myself and to others. We can all be our harshest critic sometimes and we should also be our most avid cheerleader!

What is something in the Alcohol and other Drugs Sector must deal with that you want to fix?

Those of us working in the field know that it takes an enormous amount of courage for people to ask for help to minimise harm associated with alcohol and other drug use – and we know that this is often stems from the chronic stigma and discrimination that people experience in their lives.

My goal is to see people get access to the services and supports they need, when they make that call for help. Karralika Programs and the sector as a whole work hard to make this happen, but unfortunately the service system is often at full capacity and needs additional resources.

The sector also works hard to share information and stories to address the stigma and discrimination surrounding drug and alcohol use and treatment programs, as this stigma can prevent people from seeking help and living their best lives.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Love the outdoors whether that is walking through the bush or having my feet in the sand and swimming in the ocean.

Favourite quote:

“You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails”

Do you need help?

Every journey begins with the first step. We have fully trained staff ready to speak to you about your dependence or about someone you may care for.