Executive Director, Marie-Louise Corkhill is synonymous with Karinya House.  As our first employee, Marie-Louise was selected by the Karinya Committee, as the then Coordinator of Karinya House, to open and establish the service in Canberra some 24+ years ago.   And on 29 September 1997, Karinya House did open her doors to women, and has since been a Home in many, many ways, for over 24 years and for over 2,500 women in our community, and their families.

On 15 November, Marie-Louise advised the Karinya Committee of her intention to retire at the end of March 2022. What does one say about the tenure of this inspiring woman?  At Karinya much has been said already and we are sure there is more to come.  No doubt we will continue to hear from many of you also.

Committee President Sarah Kelly,  shared the news with staff, volunteers and Members of the Association via email saying in part:

“I am sure you will join with me in recognising the gift of Marie-Louise’s role in the story that is Karinya House over the past 24+ years. Whilst Marie-Louise is always very quick to credit the Karinya Team, and we do acknowledge the commitment and part every team member plays in the Karinya story, as the Committee, we also recognise the length, breadth and depth of Marie-Louise’s pivotal role in the organisation from even before the first day of opening our doors.

For myself, I cannot imagine setting up everything we know Karinya House to be from scratch. To see what Karinya House has become over these years is simply incredible. May I take this moment to acknowledge Marie-Louise, and every person, who has played a part in the Karinya story to date bringing commitment, dedication and time.

Acknowledging Marie-Louise’s role within all that is Karinya is one that gives me much joy and cause for warm reflection. I, with my Committee colleagues, admire greatly all that Marie-Louise has achieved since agreeing to take on the role of Coordinator in 1997. Her commitment to Karinya, and more importantly to the women and the people of Karinya House, has been evident every day since then. The public acknowledgement of Marie-Louise’s commitment to women in being awarded the ACT Woman of the Year in 2017, is something I recall so fondly and is testament to an extraordinary career.

The organisation today bases itself on an ‘Ethic of Care’. This is so incredibly significant to our character, developed from Marie-Louise’s leadership of the organisation since its establishment. It is one we are proud to acknowledge in our presentation of ‘who’ Karinya is. This fundamental characteristic and many others used to describe Karinya House, reflect Marie-Louise’s leadership, as well as the influence of each person who has been part of the Karinya Team. Above all things, Marie-Louise values people the most. The women, always the women, and particularly, the focus on each woman. I am sure there are many across our organisation who would echo my sentiments that Marie-Louise’s care of each one of us as individuals, and through many of the significant moments of our lives and individual journeys, also comes into focus at this time.”  Extract – Sarah Kelly, Committee President – Email to Staff, Volunteers and Members of the Association.

Marie-Louise, who has since emailed many of our corporate and community partners, major stakeholders and service partners, shared in part the following, which we now share with you, our Friends.

“As Executive Director, I also write to you to advise that the Committee has accepted the notice of my retirement at the end of March 2022.  You will appreciate, given the significance of this stage in the Karinya House journey, we have given much time and consideration in recent years to succession planning, ensuring operational as well as financial sustainability.

During the coming months, the recruitment of the new CEO for Karinya House will proceed.  As you would know, with all things Karinya, there is a detailed plan in place.  I look forward to introducing you to the new CEO in due course, perhaps at the 2022 Gala Dinner!

The purpose of Karinya House, which you support through your partnership, remains confirmed and assured.  I have been inspired in my work with the Karinya Team, and in particular our Committee and Executive, who have worked with me to develop a transition and succession plan which will lead Karinya House into the future, preserving at all times our ethic of Care.  This ethic of care is dear to my heart and remains paramount to the service of Karinya House.

You will know the importance of the work of Karinya House within our Canberra community.  The value of every Karinya Partner and Friend is without measure. Since the day I began at Karinya House, the support of the Canberra community, and to Karinya Friends and Partners beyond Canberra, has never ceased to amaze and inspire me.  I am privileged to have worked with you in this partnership and I wanted the opportunity to personally acknowledge your great care for and support of Karinya.

The services of Karinya House remains something I will continue to support as a Friend of Karinya into my own future.  I know first-hand, how important the support of the community is to the ongoing services of Karinya House and to women in our community.   I do hope you will continue to stand alongside me and together we will continue to partner with Karinya House, as the organisation comes under new leadership in 2022.” Extract – Marie-Louise Corkhill, Executive Director – Email to Government, Corporate and Community Funding Partners

We know you, our Karinya Village, will join with us in celebrating Marie-Louise’s commitment to women in our community through Karinya House.  Join with us in wishing Marie-Louise all the very best beyond Karinya.  We have no doubt Marie-Louise will continue to be a good Friend of Karinya and we thank her for her services for women for so many years.

We, like Marie-Louise, hope you will continue to stand alongside women with Karinya House now and into the future.

We hope you enjoy this video from years past  (2017, with thanks to Missing Bits Productions).

An update with regard to leadership at Karinya beyond Marie-Louise can be found here.