Stories of Hardship and Hope

In March 2020, the GROW Gippsland Inclusive Employment Team in conjunction with the Multicultural Stakeholder Engagement program at Latrobe Community Health Service convened a Cultural Diversity in Employment Forum to run during Harmony Week.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak the Forum was cancelled. Some of the speakers lined up for this event have kindly offered to provide their stories in video form to enable us to share these with you all.

The first in this series is the story of Josephine Chen.


Story telling is a powerful way to open our minds and hearts and to influence behavioural change. By truly listening to another’s perspective it helps us to empathise and appreciate the challenges they may be facing, and fuels us to identify ways to help overcome some of the barriers imposed.

We hope you enjoy Josephine’s story and look forward to bringing you more in this series.


Please check the Employer Toolkit for additional guidance material on employing inclusively.

The Story of Josephine Chen

Hello Everyone,

I’m Josephine. It’s lovely to meet you and it’s an honor to talk with you today.

I’ve been in Australia for two years. Australia is a country rich in many resources. Blue skies, green grass, vast pastures, herds of cattle roaming and sheep grazing in the meadows. Australia has the friendliest people.

I have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in China. The subjects I learnt included: Principles of Management, Organization Theory, Behaviour Science, Marketing Management, Advertising Banking, Economics, etc.

When in China, I used to work at the Department of Public Utility as a Vice Director of Administration. There were over five hundred employees in this department.

The sub-organizations this department managed included: Water Company, Electric Plant, Electric Power Bureau, Gas Company, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Street Lamp, Urban road, etc. There were about thirty-five employees in my section. Each team had three to five people who were in charge of different sub-organizations.

My key duties and responsibilities were Financial and Cost Control, Supervision and Management. I conducted training on national public utility policies to the related companies and other related regular works.

I am a very confident, outgoing person. I have the ability to do my job well. And yes, I will still do it well.

Everything changed after I came to Australia. New place, new people, new rules. I had to restart my life again. Even now, I can’t get a job like I had before. I’m currently working at a fish and chip shop in Morwell, which is different to what I have done in the past, but this can still lead me to my goals.

I am very independent in my living. I am positive that I can achieve my dreams and I’ll keep on moving forward.

Winners never quit, quitters never win. Yeah, I know I can do it!

Thanks to you all for taking the time to hear my story.


What can you do?

Josephine is a member of the GROW People program, a combined program of GROW Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley Authority. If you are interested in providing Josephine with a work exposure or employment opportunity more suited to her skillset, please contact either of the representatives below:

Tanya Heaney-Voogt
Workforce Strategy Consultant
GROW Gippsland

Tony Flynn
Worker Transition
Latrobe Valley Authority