Respected Leader Joins Ordinary Courage

Ordinary Courage founder Mark Dobson today announced the appointment of Jim Smith AFSM as General Manager.

Jim, a practicing solicitor, previously held the roles of  Deputy Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW and Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service.

While Jim brings a wealth of leadership experience to Ordinary Courage, Mark says his genuine passion for helping people with mental ill-health, along with his proven ability to change the culture of stigma, will take Ordinary Courage into the future.

“Ordinary Courage develops evidence-based programs for leaders who share Jim’s vision to create mentally healthy workplaces,” Mark says. “Jim fits our ‘for leaders, by leaders‘ approach perfectly and I feel both delighted and privileged that he has chosen to bring his vast experience and knowledge to Ordinary Courage.”

Jim sees the Ordinary Courage role as a rare opportunity to effect meaning change.

“Ordinary Courage fills an important gap in workplace health and safety,” Jim says.  “Mental health programs are on the increase, but I can’t think of any that are specifically tailored for leaders.  Leadership is the key because mental health issues usually stem from people not being engaged. As a leader, if we’re not engaging with our people, how do we know if they’re going well or not going well?  It has to come from the top – from leaders at executive, management and supervisory levels. I firmly believe that empowering leaders, with the programs and easy-to-use tools that Ordinary Courage has developed, will change cultures and – most importantly – lives.”

At Fire & Rescue NSW, Jim led an unprecedented cultural change that reduced the incidence of mental ill-health among firefighters, which in turn resulted in higher retention rates and a significant drop in workers compensation claims and training costs.

“It takes a special person to change a culture, particularly one that’s traditionally been built on the perception of the bullet-proof, tough firefighter,” Mark says.  “Firefighters perform courageous acts every day, but the thing that scares them is having a conversation about their feelings.  Thanks to Jim, his teams and his initiatives, that’s all changed now.  The fire service, its individuals and their families are moving forward on a new path and Jim and I share a vision that all Australian workplaces will climb the tiers on our mental health maturity model and become mentally healthy.”