Improving quality of life is what it’s all about

Multiple Sclerosis WA CEO Marcus Stafford has led the way when it comes to turning a charity into a profit-making venture.

His efforts in turning the fortunes of the cash-strapped charity around with were acknowledged when he was made a member of the Order of Australia for his service to people with a disability and community health last year.

He’ll reveal some of his journey and leadership tips at the next CCI Lighthouse Leadership on June 7.

Despite being at the helm of MSWA for 16 years after a string of leadership roles in banking, he has no plans to leave MSWA with much more to achieve.

He spoke exclusively to The Guide about those plans.

What resonates about people with MS?

The ability to make the world a better place by supporting people who never wanted to be a member of this club. I’m really sorry for people who made bad decisions in their life that led to significant issues for them today, but my focus was always about helping people who had made no decision in their lives that made them become members of this club.

The thing about MS and the overwhelming majority of neurological conditions is it doesn’t matter if you’re blue collar, white collar or where you live, this thing will get you if it decides to get you. Ultimately would like to find a cure for all neurological conditions.

What are your hopes for MSWA?

I love the market place. Competition brings out the best and allows customers to derive the best experience. The NDIS is not without its challenges at the moment, as it moves through the transition from block funding to individualised funding.

But I think it will sort the wheat from the chaff. Organisations that truly understand the concept of customer value proposition are the ones that are going to do well here. I am determined that MSWA should be the leader in the customer value proposition; our customers are the most valuable of all because they need services for their quality of life, or research to find a cure, or accommodation and respite.

What does the future hold for you?

For me over the next three years it is in MS and the broader field of neurological conditions, be it acquired brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s, the list goes on. There are a whole swag of people who are not enjoying a quality of life because they are not accessing the services they need, so my intention over the next year is to build our capability to being customer experience. Building our network and growing in locations; we will have three new locations in WA in the next 12 months, that will continue over the next few years.

Would you acquire other charities?

I’ve been involved in mergers and acquisition and there are not many that work well because it distracts the larger organisation and loses the culture and identity of the smaller one for no one’s gain. I’m not against conversations around that but it needs sensible white space for it to work.

Yes, I am having conversations around it but the dominant conversations are with the customers, with the people with the condition who are choosing to shop from our store rather than the others is the dominant focus. I’m talking to one organisation at the moment, but not being distracted.


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