#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Robert De Pasquale
This episode of Seriously Social, Simone talks to Robert De Pasquale, the director of Be Able Australia.
You can connect with Robert here:
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Hosted by Simone Douglas
Videography by Marie Carbone and Shivam Wadhawan.
Audio by Chris Irving
Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence
This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.
Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. Today, Simone chats with Robert De Pasquale.
Simone Douglas 0:10
So on today’s episode of seriously social the podcast, I am joined by the lovely Robert from Be Able Australia. Robert, thanks for coming along today.
Robert De Pasquale 0:19
Thank you for having me. My pleasure. And can you
Simone Douglas 0:21
just for my audience who doesn’t know you perhaps as well as I do, give us the Cliff’s Notes version about, you know, how you got into the line of work that you have, and why it matters?
Robert De Pasquale 0:33
Sure, um, I became a Support Coordinator. Because I’ve have a disability, and I’ve got lived experience. And I’ve been through the maze of the NDIS, I’ve seen the good providers, and I’ve seen, you know, some not so good providers, and I’ve had to navigate and actually try and educate myself about the NDIS, about what’s in my plan, and so forth. Because no one would tell me where no one has ever told me what was in my plan.
Simone Douglas 1:16
It’s a bit odd, isn’t it? Like, I speak to they really struggling to get to the bottom of all of that?
Robert De Pasquale 1:23
That’s right. And, you know, with the participants that I have, now, I tried to explain to them exactly every section of the plan and what they’re able to get, and they’ve never been told before. And once you tell them, then it opens up a whole new avenue of activities, you know, product services that they are able to have, through the NDIS.
Simone Douglas 1:53
And I think too, there are a lot more things available than perhaps, you know, someone who isn’t involved in the NDIS would understand. So it’s not just, you know, therapy support services, or something, there’s a host of different things, what is the whole purpose of the NDIS, you know, at its core, from an ethical change the world kind of perspective,
Robert De Pasquale 2:17
the number one value is choice and control and giving the participant the choice and also the control of the services that they receive the services that they request, and to enhance their life and give them a Better Life, A Better Life Experience.
Simone Douglas 2:44
I think choice and control is a really important aspect. I would have thought even though I don’t have firsthand lived experience, but for any human being being in control of their own environment, and how they’re able to live their life would have to be at the top of the tree. Yeah.
Robert De Pasquale 2:59
It would it is it should. Well, it should be. But more often than not, it’s not.
Simone Douglas 3:06
So if you’re looking at someone to work with around, you know, like helping manage, manage your plan. What are some of the questions you should be asking you, your plan manages all providers to get the best match for yourself.
Robert De Pasquale 3:25
It’s, it should be up to the actual Support Coordinator or the actual plan manager to give that information. Because really, as a participant, we’re not before I even started, be able to Australia, say two years ago, I had no idea what to ask. I had no idea what services were available to me. And so I speak to a lot of people and they don’t know what to us. So it’s yeah, it it’s up to us, as service providers to educate the participant to know what they’re eligible for. Yeah. Because each and every person is different. Scenario, different situation. There is no two people, for example, there’s no two people with spinal bifida who have the same needs.
Simone Douglas 4:25
Okay, yeah. So, in the scheme of things, when I’m talking to business owners, you know, one of the conversations that I have is that we have to change the narrative around what inclusivity really is and what accessibility is. Where do you what do you think are the important things that business owners should be considering if they if they want to create an inclusive workplace that’s open to people with disabilities that have the skill sets that they need? They just have, you know, other issues. found outside of that.
Robert De Pasquale 5:03
Just basically, be open minded. Talk to the person, as a person, not as a person with a disability. Yeah. Because whether you whether you have a disability or you don’t have a disability, you still have needs. Yeah, there are some needs that a person with a disability with disability has that someone that doesn’t have a disability might have that a lot more. You know, it’s, it’s about communicating and, and, and just being open and honest in the conversation.
Simone Douglas 5:43
Yeah. Do you think the landscape has changed in recent history around those kinds of things? Or are we still looking at a lot of people that are a bit closed minded and missing out on accessing, you know, unique human beings with unique skills that could benefit their business, but it doesn’t occur to them to look there.
Robert De Pasquale 6:06
There are definitely, it is changing, and it is getting better. But there’s still a lot of improvement within any scope of business. What business owners really need to understand is a person with a disability, and still has a lot to offer. And also, they are proven to be a lot more loyal, and they stick around for a lot longer.
Simone Douglas 6:38
Well, and I think, you know, for me, a person is a person first. And I wish that more people could have that perspective. So we all of us have, like you said, All of us have our own unique sets of challenges, or, you know, idiosyncrasies. And a person who happens to have a disability just has a different set of challenges. That’s my perspective, anyway. Yeah. So what has been your favorite part of having your own business? What’s the thing that you enjoy most about it,
Robert De Pasquale 7:16
Giving back to people? You know, I’ve gone through the hard times with the NDIS. And I know what it’s like. And I know how frustrating it is for participants. So giving back to them, and educating them, is the best thing that I can do from a day to day basis.
Simone Douglas 7:39
Absolutely what what’s been the most difficult thing during the pandemic in the last year and a half, or wherever we’re up to now.
Robert De Pasquale 7:47
Meeting with really, with participants who have high needs or chronic diseases, chronic illness, like auto immune deficiency or disorders. So it’s really hard to meet with Empress face to face. But I’ve educated them with Zoom, that we can easily log on Zoom and have a virtual meeting. They find that just as good
Simone Douglas 8:21
As being able to mitigate some of the isolation because I think, you know, when you generally you would normally have your providers and other people coming out to see you. And obviously if there’s, you know, an immediate medical need, that’s still gonna continue during a lockdown or something. But, you know, I even know, as you know, for myself when I’m in lockdown that that felt sense of isolation and not being connected to the people that are part of my community, has technology been able to offset some of that for people in the disability sector?
Robert De Pasquale 8:56
For sure, isolation is, is a big thing, and it’s a big it’s a big issue. Not only with people with disability, but with anybody living alone. So if we can communicate as much as possible, via zoom via FaceTime, phone calls, text messages, all those little things help, you know, just breaking the the day to day, not a journey of being alone.
Simone Douglas 9:27
Yeah, absolutely. What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Robert De Pasquale 9:34
This piece of advice I’ve ever been given
Simone Douglas 9:36
I’ll give you some thinking time. I’ll share mine. So yeah, so I got told a long time ago to do the things that are easy to do and easy not to do. So there’s this book called The Slight Edge, and I forget who wrote it, but yeah, they talk about successful people. We’ll always do the things that are easy to do and easy not to do. So you don’t get an immediate win from going to the gym today. But if you keep going, then you know, in six months time you look back, you’re like, Oh, my God, look at what I’ve achieved. And in business, I think it’s the same. So I always do the things that I dislike doing, that I know are getting in the way of my success first thing in the morning, so that then I can get on with enjoying being in business.
Robert De Pasquale 10:25
Yeah, mine would be. Never think that you know, everything. Yeah. Because the minute you stop learning, you stop growing. So everybody should just keep an open mind and keep growing and learning. Because with the NDIS, it’s things are changing from a weekly basis, sometimes daily basis. So there’s always new things to learn. There’s always disabilities that I come across that I’ve never heard of. Yeah. And so I like to educate myself on that person’s disability, so I have a bit more of an insight on them. So just continue learning because this minute is trying to stop learning, you stop growing,
Simone Douglas 11:16
you say I have a really simple rule, because I like to have coffee with lots of people, and I, you know, go out and get out and about a lot. But so often, I’ll get people who contact me that want to have coffee. And I said to my team, if there’s ever a day that I say having a cup of coffee with that person is a waste of time, you’re allowed to slap me, because there’s no such thing. So every human being in and of themselves matters. And I’m always going to learn something. So I would believe like, I totally agree with you. And you know what?, it’s always the person that you least expect, that teaches you the thing that you needed to know, I find. Absolutely. So who has helped you the most, since you started your business, like surprised you by somehow,
Robert De Pasquale 12:04
my parents have always been supportive of everything I do. That’s been, he’s been in business all his life. So he gives me you know, little hints here and there. And, you know, try not to burn out. Because within this industry, and as a support coordinator, it’s so easy to get consumed in your work, and not have enough time for yourself. So self love and, you know, taking time for a mental health day, every now and then. Yeah. Just to recharge the battery.
Simone Douglas 12:47
And I think that’s a really common theme with my guests, like across every podcast is that we all take that time out. So you know, take a mental health day, I call it a blanket fort day. But you know, everyone I talked to that is successful in business, they understand that they need to do that for themselves. So yeah,
Robert De Pasquale 13:09
it’s very important.
Simone Douglas 13:11
What would be your number one tip to fellow business owners that don’t you know, at that two to three year mark to avoid burnout, what are some of the things that they can do?
Robert De Pasquale 13:25
Make sure that you, you regularly, exercise, go to the gym, if you can, if not on a daily basis, at least three times a day, three times a week, sorry, not three times a day, three times a week. And just when you’re on the phone, and you know, it’s gonna be a long conversation, instead of sitting down in your office, get up, go for a walk around the block. That’s why you’re talking. Yeah, that’s a bit of exercise a bit of fresh air, and a bit of change of scenery. Because if being on the phone for a long time can be consuming but at least you’re doing something physical which is which is good. Sorry. I often if I’m on the phone, I put my pubs in there towards the end, sorry, and just push myself around the block and have a chat.
Simone Douglas 14:20
I think that’s really good advice. Because the amount of times I just sit at my desk and can be on the phone for an hour. And yeah, I could have snuck in, you know, a 30 minute walk at the same time. So I think I’m gonna take that advice. On that note, Robert, thanks very much for joining me today. I’ve really enjoyed the chat for anyone that’s listening to the podcast. You’ll find all of Roberts links to his website and contact details in the show notes. So if you know somebody that is involved in the NDIS and could use some help and support, feel free to reach out to Robert I’m sure he’d be happy to chat to you, Robert, thanks again.
Robert De Pasquale 14:59
Thanks for having me
Simone Douglas 15:28
Robert De Pasquale 15:38
Thanks. Thanks for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.
Simone Douglas 15:49
Chris Irving 15:53
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