Another financial year has passed – marking the 17th year since I set up Gaia Resources back in 2004, and it was a financial year unlike anything that I’ve ever seen before, thanks to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus.
When the pandemic arrived, I personally promised our team that no one would be losing their jobs to COVID-19. And if I just look at that, I think we’ve had a massive win on that front. We didn’t have to make any tough decisions on implementing redundancies, although a few people have moved on from the company towards the end of the financial year. So as a result, we’re currently working through recruitment plans; you’ll already have seen a job ad out on SEEK for a Support Coordinator role in Brisbane – and there’s more to come!
Bizarrely (and completely unexpectedly), the pandemic has also revealed a highlight for me – how well our team continued to deliver amazing results throughout the whole period – definitely some form of a silver lining in an otherwise very grey year. It started when we ran trials of working from home, which went very smoothly, and we’ve continued to deliver successfully since then – although with us all working from home, it’s been really hard to maintain the “team” feeling we used to have when we were all in one office.
To try to combat this isolation and fragmentation, there were also a whole bunch of really great things we did together, despite not being able to see each other all the time. This is a testament to the many wonderful people I get to work with who organised and set up events like International Women’s Day, Harmony Week events, and yes, another metrogaine event – this time we ran one at Christmas. It is a testament to our entire team that we all held it together during the year that was the last financial year, and still managed to both deliver what our clients needed, and what we needed as a team from each other, too. Some of our blogs from the last year try to let others know what we learned as well, including help for trainers and parents – we’ll keep trying to share what we learned as well.
With our team all aligned as much as we could, we delivered on a large number of projects, many of which are listed in our online portfolio. There’s a number of these that are highlights from the last year, so a specific shout out to three of my favourite initiatives (although this is like trying to pick your favourite child – quite difficult!);
- Queensland State Archives (QSA) – we implemented a new Archival Management System for QSA which was a major accomplishment for us – we delivered the biggest project we’ve done to date at Gaia Resources, and thanks to our partners of Hudson Molonglo and Recordkeeping Innovation, we did it on time and budget,
- Fishscale – we worked with our partners at Griffith University to implement a new innovative proof of concept project, thanks to Commonwealth Government funding, that utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify fish species from video footage, and this is just the sort of innovative technology project we love doing,
- Northern Australian Fire Index – both the new mobile app and the QGIS plugin were great projects that make a big difference for the northern rangelands of Australia; providing information straight into the hands of people that work on the land – something very close to my own heart – especially when it includes open source software!
Some business highlights that I’ve also been personally very keen on were also achieved, including becoming Carbon Neutral (after a lot of research about the process) and passing another of our ISO Quality System audits – this last one with zero non-compliances!
We also worked really hard to make sure that we were set up for the recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a whole raft of changes to our processes, tooling and the like. Leading into this year, we’re focusing on the approaches that will deliver the best outcomes for the company in that area, including:
- Working closely with ADAPT by Design, who are helping us to transform Gaia Resources into a more resilient business,
- Retooling the company across a range of different areas, including our knowledgebase, ticketing systems and support systems,
- Undertaking a holistic review of our quality management system – all processes and procedures are being reviewed to capture the learnings from using them for over a year, using the “Opportunity for Improvement” model that ISO brings, and
- A brand new marketing plan that I’ve developed in conjunction with our new Marketing Coordinator, Rachel (with loads of things to come from that).
As a result of all the hard work from the last financial year, we’re in a good position to start working the next financial year, and to build on our success.
So, as we head into a new financial year, we’re taking a breath before we start on what looks to be a year filled with a range of new projects and opportunities, with a bunch of great ideas from the team to implement, and a solid plan for those changes to happen. So now, we just need a global pandemic to play ball and things should all be good – easy, right?
In any case, I’m hoping for our colleagues and clients that the next financial year brings about some really positive experiences – and let’s keep looking for those silver linings that these trying times can bring.