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Ryman's COVID-19 leadership wins national award

Written by Margot Taylor
on December 10, 2021

Ryman Healthcare's Victorian Operations Quality Manager Joanne Wang has been recognised for her leadership of the retirement living and aged care provider’s award-winning COVID-19 response.Capture

Today, Joanne was named Australia’s ‘Next Gen Young Leader’ at the Leading Age Services Excellence in Age Services Awards.

The award acknowledges Joanne’s tireless dedication to the protection of older Australians during the pandemic.


Ryman's COVID-19 Incident Management Team (IMT), of which Joanne was a member, also featured at the industry awards as a finalist in the 'Team of the Year' category.

Joanne has worked for Ryman for more than five years and said she was honoured to win.

“I’m incredibly humbled to receive this honour because it is an absolute privilege to lead a team of staff and residents who have all gone above and beyond to maintain our villages as safe havens from COVID-19,” she said.

Joanne plays a leading role in Ryman’s IMT, which was formed in January 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19 overseas.

With staff at villages across Victoria furloughed because of the virus, Joanne and other IMT members were conscious they couldn’t be certain who would lead Ryman’s emergency response if there was an outbreak.

DN vax (Large)-1
Joanne Wang (far right) with staff at Nellie Melba Retirement Village during one of the village's COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

A ‘Go-Kit’, which included a detailed hour-by-hour outbreak response plan, was formed by Joanne and the team so all Ryman staff – or, if they were stood down, external staff – could enact the plan.

Other measures championed by Joanne included inviting staff who were at high risk of catching the virus because they lived with other healthcare workers to move into their village. More than 40 Ryman staff took up that invitation for more than three months, shutting themselves away from their friends and family to help protect their residents.

Joanne also played a pivotal role in helping Ryman to gain accreditation so the company could become the first aged care provider in Victoria to introduce rapid antigen testing of visitors and contractors to its facilities.

Ryman Australia CEO Cameron Holland said Joanne was a leader whose work was industry-leading.

"Joanne perfectly embodies the values that drive what we do as a company: she's humble and hard-working, always thinking outside the box and, above all, the residents she's responsible for are always are the heart of everything she does," Cameron said. 

"There's no one more deserving of this recognition than her, we're just so proud of her."

Joanne said being a successful leader encompassed many different skills.

“Apart from being a good communicator, collaborator, motivator and role model, most importantly, a leader should also be able to recognise success, be empathetic and value the work their team members do,” she said.

“Going to bed each night knowing I have an amazing team who make others’ lives better is an amazing feeling.”

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