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Farewell to COTA Victoria CEO Sue Hendy

Sue Hendy will be leaving COTA Victoria on March 16 after almost 20 years to take up a position with the YMCA. For her colleagues at the state, national and international level it will be a sad day. Her contribution has been enormous.

Sue has worked in the area of ageing for nearly 40 years so has an extraordinary understanding of the issues facing older people. Her journey began as a ward assistant in a large geriatric centre (as it was called back then) where she washed floors and people and was responsible for medication and much more. Sue worked her way through large hospitals, residential care, local and state governments to arrive at COTA as an Education Officer in 1997  and to go on to be the longest serving CEO in COTA Victoria’s 65 year history.

“I was fortunate to meet many amazing older people who have shared their lives, happiness and sorrows.  They taught me all I needed to know to be an advocate and also the importance of protecting the human rights of older people which over the years has been my main passion,” Sue reflected.

Sue Hendy’s major contribution has been her advocacy for the rights of older people at a time when ageism is becoming more widespread. More than anyone else, she has been the key spokesperson for those older people who society has marginalised, discriminated against or forgotten. “There is still widespread discrimination against older women in employment, income security and housing and we must tackle this,” Sue says.

Her sense of social justice has compelled her to work urgently to combat ageism which Sue believes has become endemic in our society despite the ageing of the population.

“This issue of how we plan for an ageing society and enable people to participate fully, must be a top priority for our politicians, policy makers and civil society organisations – in fact all of us,” Sue said.

“I believe strongly in the great work COTA does, whether it is in advocacy to government, information to older people or raising community awareness about ageism and ageing,” Sue Hendy said.

On the International level her work has been tireless and she has been the chair of the Global Alliance on the Rights of Older people in Australia and attended the UN working group advocating for a charter on the rights of older people. Sue organised the 10th Global Conference of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in Melbourne in May 2010 and joined the IFA Board after the conference. In 2013, Sue was elected Vice President of the IFA.

Sue’s tireless advocacy on behalf of older Australians will be missed by the entire COTA family and the many community organisations who work with COTA.

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14 Responses to Farewell to COTA Victoria CEO Sue Hendy

  1. Elaine Murphy says:

    Congratulations on a job so well done. Your passion, conviction, flair, determination, sense of fun and professionalism over these 4 decades has enhanced the status of ageism and ageing. Your international recognition has been a personal and professional achievement for Australia.

  2. bmorton says:

    Thanks for the response Elaine

  3. David Baker says:

    Absolutely devastating news for COTA VIC and an enormous bonus for YMCA. Sue has been an innovator and entrepreneur, visionary and diplomat for he constituents and i and everyone at DPS wishes her and her partner all the absolute best for the future…..keep cycling Sue.

  4. Carlos Kramer (formerly of Golden Days Radio) says:

    What an innings, Sue!
    You are entitled to be proud and gladdened at the vitally important contribution you have made to COTA VICTORIA. Your tireless advocacy for the betterment of senior members of the community has born ripe fruit and you have laid a marvellous foundation on which gratifying further enhancement can be achieved.
    Best wishes in your new role.

  5. Gwen (Gilbert) Anderson says:

    Sue, thank you so much for all your work on our behalf. All the best in your new position,

  6. bmorton says:

    Thanks for the response David

  7. bmorton says:

    Thanks for the response Carlos

  8. bmorton says:

    Thanks for the response Gwen

  9. Christine Kent says:

    You were COTA Sue.
    I guess it was time for a change.
    I would imagine you have set-up COTA, in way, that can be taken forward by another. I look forward to hearing about your leadership with YMCA.
    Some of us oldies would welcome some fine tuning to the programs currently being offered. ie modified team sports for 60s plus.Yoga could be introduced into the Bass Coast program too. Love and Light to you Sue. Christine

  10. Christine Hopton says:

    Please pass on my congratulations to Sue. I went to school with her where she was one of my best friends. So proud to see what she has achieved and I am sure she will be an amazing asset to the YMCA – they are certainly lucky to get her.

  11. bmorton says:

    Thanks for your comment

  12. bmorton says:

    Thanks for you comment and feedback

  13. Guy Walter says:

    What a fantastic advocate Sue Hendy for COTA
    her contribution has been outstanding including her support and influence across the Aged Care Sector on an a national and global arena which will be surely missed

  14. bmorton says:

    Thanks for the comment.