17 year anniversary – a time of reflection

DSCF6091Over the past couple of weeks I have been getting a number of congratulations on LinkedIn acknowledging my work anniversary of leading the HMA team. It is amazing to think that 17 years ago I left the security of a salaried position in the Social Work Department at Canterbury University to pursue my passion of enhancing practice skills, programme development and practice writing. With one child at school and one in kindergarten, this was as much about backing my own self and skill, as well as having a supportive partner and people around me.

How the time has flown. The congratulations I have been receiving prompted me to reflect upon that last 17 years, what has been achieved, adversities overcome, and exciting challenges that still lie ahead.  I can safely say it has been an exciting ride.

So what have we achieved in the last 17 years? We can proudly say that we have contributed extensively to intervention and programme design across both New Zealand and Australia. We now have our programmes or derivatives of, running in most states in Australia and across New Zealand. We continue with cutting-edge ideas, incorporating new theoretical approaches into practice. As you can imagine this is both challenging and exciting.  We have also contributed thousands of hours enhancing practice with frontline staff in an extensive range of organisations who daily undertake confront increasingly complex issues. One of my great pleasures is to have people in the field write about what they do. While it is a labour of love, we have produced a number of practice related books around family violence and offender intervention in particular.

Success for a niche organisation such as HMA is all about team; having the right people with the right skills to support our mission of ‘Working with passion and integrity to bring out the best in people’. We have maintained our practice standards to a high level and expect the best of our people on whatever project they are engaged in.

Our model of having a small dedicated internal team with the support of various contractors on special projects has worked well. This means that we can bring the best people together for particular pieces of work so that whoever we are working for can be confident they are getting the best we have to offer.

As many of you who have been following our story will be aware, some dreams haven’t come off. Our move to set up a high quality training space with state-of-the-art ability to broadcast training and seminars came to a grinding halt on February  22nd 2011. I am of course referring to the Christchurch earthquake that devastated our city. Life after that was pretty challenging for a couple of years. I seriously considered moving countries and picking up a senior role within a large correctional system.

With the support of many people who freely gave both emotional and practical assistance through this time we decided to continue on in Christchurch and rebuild HMA in the same way that our city of Christchurch needed to be rebuilt. On reflection this was the right thing to do. One of the values that we have at HMA is that we are in for the long haul. We don’t give up easily and we know the value of our contribution to bettering people’s lives.

Change is the only constant in life, this being so for us at HMA. Being relatively small we can adjust quickly to changing conditions. The world of technology for example has brought us huge opportunities to change the way we do our business. From being high quality in-room trainers, we are more likely to provide blended learning solutions comprising online knowledge-based modules. We now run our own dedicated Totara Learning Management System which is supporting a large range of practitioners from multiple organisations. With front ending much of the knowledge this effectively means that any in-room experience can focus on skill rehearsal and linking theory to practice.

So what of the future? I am as excited today as I was 17 years ago about what is possible. While our ways of delivering new knowledge and skill may have changed, some things remain the same. Helping people to be the best they can through developing self-regulation skills around behaviour, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, reactions and perceptions, is what we are all about. These skills are at the heart of the ability to participate in community, to assist reducing behaviours that hurt others, and allow people have the best chance of a good life.

It will be interesting in a further 17 years’ time to reflect again on our journey of change and in what ways HMA continues to support the well-being of others.

Published on Monday, March 9th, 2015, under What Ken thinks

8 Responses to “17 year anniversary – a time of reflection”

  1. Arthur Wells says:

    Huge congratulations, Ken. It was a great joy for me to have a small role in your magnificent team-building and creative work.

  2. Jane McCall says:

    Congratulations Ken and team. It’s been a privilege to both be trained by you and run training with you over the years. Jane McCall

    • Ken McMaster says:

      Jane you are one of people who has taken our ideas and spread them further. More than that you have integrity to keep true to what we know is best practice in the L&D space.

  3. Peggy Noble says:

    Congratulations Ken and team. Thank you for excellent training sessions in South Australia.

  4. Brinley McIntosh says:

    Congratulations Ken!! I can easily say that being part of HMA was a defining time for me in terms of highlighting the path I would like my career to follow. I look forward to reconnecting with you and your field of practise when I return to NZ. Congratulations again!

    • Ken McMaster says:

      Thanks Brinley, our commitment to support interns derives from the fact that both Suzanne and myself were the first from our families to venture to university. We know the value of supporting learning and the contribution this can make to a skilled workforce.

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