COTA Victoria’s bubbly CEO Executive Assistant Jill Bodnar retired last month after notching up more than 23 years of work, supporting the peak body’s past four chief executive officers.
Jill said she was proud to have been part of an organisation that had undergone enormous growth and increasing relevance in representing the needs and interests of the diverse range of older people in the Victorian community.
When Jill first started as office manager with COTA they were based in East Melbourne with only 10 staff members who shared a few computers and all worked wherever they were needed to provide information and education about ageing people.
Today the diverse organisation delivers a range of programs and services with the support of 31 staff members and 115 volunteers.
“We would get involved wherever we were needed, from supporting the programs to painting the office walls. Working with people who are so passionate about what they do was such a change from my former workplaces, it was an inspiration and I just learnt so much,” Jill said.
“It was wonderful to see people access programs like Challenging Ageing and see participants grow in confidence, challenge ageism and go on to become leaders.”
Jill said she would miss the collegiality of her peers but was looking forward to more time with her husband Stefan, two daughters and their families, including five grandchildren, as well as yoga, gardening and reading.
“I haven’t made any firm plans yet. I will need to find some new interests and take up new opportunities, maybe even volunteering as a city ambassador dressed in red. I’m looking forward to having the space to do something else, after I spend the first week in my pyjamas,” she said.
Jill was officially farewelled by COTA Vic CEO Ronda Held and colleagues at a staff function hosted at the ACMI Café.