Elleni Bereded-Samuel, Executive Manager of Diversity and Capability Development at Australian Unity, says the way we connect with people is critical to our wellbeing.
From an Ethiopian background, Elleni believes the relationship between individual wellbeing, family and community is particularly pronounced in her culture: “We can’t separate family from the individual. The individual is controlled and guided by the community. That’s how we grow up.”
Elleni says she was welcomed when she arrived in Australia, but she still felt lonely.
Her own family was growing, but she was missing a sense of community—so she built a community around her.
“We joined the local Baptist Church and felt part of that community. They were lovely people and we still are in touch with them after 25 years.”
Elleni has continued on her quest to build community in her work with Australians including people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
In 2019, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of her outstanding service to the community.