MSWA CEO honoured with Order of Australia

12 June 2017

MSWA CEO honoured with Order of Australia, Marcus Stafford is the combination of a driven businessman and a compassionate CEO. Fifteen years ago, when he became the head of MSWA, the organisation had a tenuous and narrow funding base. Since then, Marcus, his board, management and staff have transformed it into one of the most successful not-for-profit organisations in Western Australia.

When Mr Stafford took over the helm of MSWA, its revenues stood at $5 million a year and employed 170 staff. Today it generates $52 million, employs 700 staff and last year delivered more than 630,000 hours of services to people with MS and other conditions. On top of that, the organisation will this year invest $2.5 million into research to find the cause and cure for MS; more than twice the other states’ combined total.

In recognition of his significant services to people with a disability, and to community health, through support for those affected by multiple sclerosis, Mr Stafford has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division.

“As someone who grew up in north-east London, I never thought I’d travel half-way around the world and then get recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list. It’s a great honour to receive such a prestigious award. Having said that, it is a team effort and I’d like to thank the board of directors, management, staff and of course the people with neurological conditions who we are here to serve,” said Mr Stafford.

Rather than ‘not-for profit’, Marcus Stafford prefers to call MSWA a ‘profit for purpose’ business and with his background in banking, management consulting, strategic planning and human resources, he believes the sector requires the same skills for running a business as its corporate cousins.

Over recent years MSWA has not only increased its service delivery but also its footprint, with outreach groups in Albany, Beechboro, Rockingham, Bunbury and Wilson, two respite centres and three high support accommodation facilities that keep young people out of aged care centres. MSWA also has plans for more centres in Perth’s western and northern suburbs.

MSWA President George Pampacos said Marcus was a deserving recipient of the Queen’s award.

“Due to his amazing work Marcus has improved the lives of people living with MS and other neurological conditions not only in WA but nationwide. He has always had a long-term vision about where he wanted MSWA to be and most importantly how it could be achieved. He is a natural leader who has been able to rally and inspire the team at MSWA to achieve incredible things. There’s no doubt the organisation is as successful as it is because of his guidance,” said Mr Pampacos.

As a result of its continued growth, MSWA has been able to extend its services to people with other neurological conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease and Acquired Brain Injury.

Jayne Sullivan, the manager of MSWA’s Hamilton Hill high support accommodation facility said Marcus’s management style, compassion and drive filtered throughout the organisation.

“Most of us base the way we work on what we see. The culture of MSWA is from what we see at the top. Caring, compassionate and hard working. We just want to do what’s best for our Members to make their lives better and that comes from Marcus,” said Jayne.

“I’ve been at MSWA for 20 years and the organisation has come along in leaps and bounds since Marcus became CEO. In terms of the services being offered and funding for research, it just gets bigger and better every year.”