We are proud to announce that Sylvana Mahmic, CEO of Plumtree was awarded the 2019 Trevor Parmenter Achievement ~ CDS Excellence Award in recognition of her contribution to Education.
The Award recognises the contributions to research, education and teaching, advocacy, community contribution or clinical practice.
Nicole Buffoni, Peer Worker wrote a personal testimony which supported the nomination:
In 2015 I walked into Plumtree and attended a workshop. I was a mum of a two year old who had just received an autism diagnosis.
I was lost and overwhelmed by this new world of disability. Things changed from that moment when I was greeted warmly by a diminutive woman wearing a headscarf. She was the CEO, Sylvana Mahmic. Here I learned very quickly, was a woman of integrity, passion, humour, determination and a strong social conscience. Here was a mother who I knew I had so much to learn from. Her tenacity was palpable.
Since that day I have been fortunate enough to have her as a colleague, friend and mentor. Sylvana takes family centred practise and parent education to a new level. She teaches us that we have the capacity and abilities to create wonderful lives for our children. That it is not professionals who will make the greatest difference. It is us, the parents. While perhaps many in her field would hold tight to the authority and safety that comes with professionals being at the centre, Sylvana has opened her doors and employed parents as Peer Workers. This shake up of the status quo would for most be a daunting task….but Sylvana is not “most”.
Through her conviction, skill and leadership she has created a platform from which parents beginning their journey learn how to use their agency and skill to create inclusive lives for their children. Along with Dr Annick Janson, she has led the creation of an 8-week program, Now and Next, that shifts parents away from the deficit based medical model to one of a strengths based vision.
In 2018, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute condacted a research on the Now and Next program.
Sylvana rebuts the story of tragedy, grief and martyrdom that permeates the mainstream and seeks to write a new story of hope, empowerment, respect and love. Through the foundations she has laid has sprung a new generation of families who will embrace family centred practice and who will understand and encourage the importance of agency and Citizenship for their children.