If the last two and a few years have taught us anything, it’s that we’re so much stronger than we think. We are more resilient than we ever thought, and we can manage (and sometimes thrive) during times of change. At Mother Duck, we are about to enter a period of change, and I am sure that we will come out of it more aware of our strengths and more supported to face the challenges that come our way.
Our amazing and talented Miss Karen walked us through the pandemic and all that came with it for our small businesses. Miss Karen has been the CEO of Mother Duck for 12 years and we wouldn’t be the amazing organization we are today without Miss Karen’s passion for early childhood and her dedication to Mother Duck. At the end of last year, Miss Karen went on extended leave and recently stepped down as CEO. Although it is difficult to consider Mother Duck without Miss Karen, she will always support the centers as a member of the Mother Duck Board of Directors. Having Ms. Karen’s knowledge, expertise and institutional memory on the board will be an immeasurable asset and will no doubt help the organization evolve into bigger and better things in the future. .
But… That left HUGE shoes to fill, and I very tentatively took on those shoes as the new CEO of Mother Duck Childcare. So I would like to introduce myself.
My name is Cathy Conallin and I have been part of the Mother Duck family for 22 years. For the past 6 years I have been the franchisee of our Mother Duck Bellbowrie center, not only running a business in the local community, but becoming part of the community. Prior to moving to Bellbowrie, I worked at several of our Southside centers, starting as a 20-year-old assistant educator at Mother Duck Manly and progressing to education manager when our Mother Duck Wynnum center opened there. 8 years. I am a fully qualified early childhood teacher with a genuine passion for quality early childhood education and care.
I have also spent time working in Quality Assurance, traveling to child care centers across Australia and for 2 years as an Early Years Officer in the Office of Early Years. Even though I spent a few years away from Mother Duck, it wasn’t a hard decision when it came time to get back into the Mother Duck family.
I’m a mom of 3 beautiful kids, so I understand the hectic pace of working and raising a family. Fortunately, my children are a little older now, but I don’t know if they need me less now that they are at school! In our free time, my family loves to get out and explore our little piece of paradise – biking, hiking and camping are our happy places. We are also governed by sporting seasons – cricket, football, basketball – there is never a quiet weekend in our household!!
It’s a juggling act, and I still remember that morning rush where you had to drop everyone off at Mother Duck before starting the day’s work – that is, after you’d already done a full day working just to hang out!!! I think one of the favorite parts of my job as a franchisee is building friendships with the families at my center – I love being a support for our families and a cheerleader when the days (or nights ) are difficult. I remember those days and how just having someone by my side was enough to pull me through.
Now my new role as CEO is to be a support and cheerleader for all of our teams across the Mother Duck organization. I’ve been in this role temporarily since late 2021, and during that time I’ve been spending my days at our centers, learning how I can support the teams – what’s working and what plans we have for the future. Now that I’ve taken the job on a permanent basis, we can start working on any ideas we have to move Mother Duck forward. So you may see changes to our website, you may hear about new initiatives in our centers and you may hear from me more often, but Mother Duck will remain the same Mother Duck you all have come to know. during your stay with us. .
It is a privilege and an honor to take on the position of CEO and I look forward to meeting many of you as I travel to the centres.