Regularly, we will feature a member of the HBNC team, giving you a chance to Meet the Neighbours. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the people at the heart of our organisation, who work tirelessly to make the Wide Bay Burnett community a stronger and more resilient one.

This week, we'd like you to meet Nat Keen, Local Learning Network Program Officer.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, please call me Nat. My partner Jeff and I moved from Sydney to Hervey Bay 10 years ago and we love it here.  We have two fur babies Shelby (kelpie x) and Pip (cattle dog) and these working dogs keep us busy. Jeff likes kayaking, wood working and box making, I like the beach, craft, upcycling, researching and writing.  

What is a quick summary of your professional background?

Here goes squashing 40 years of working life into a few lines:

  • NSW Public servant, Land Tax and Office of State Revenue
  • IT corporate ladder climber and glass ceiling hitter, Digital/Compaq
  • Secondments to Dublin and Singapore for customer service projects
  • HR, Operations and Patient Services manager for four multi-disciplinary specialist medical practices
  • Committee member of the Blue Mountains Family Support Service and volunteer at the Springwood Neighbourhood Centre
  • Corrections & Probation and Parole, Attorney General & Courthouse
  • Qualifications: Master of Management, Cert IV in HR, Prince II Project Management, Cert III in Aquaculture and more.

What drew you to work with HBNC?

As a member of QCOSS I had attended several events at HBNC and discovered the fundamental awesomeness of the organisation. Through a few chance meetings with Tanya (e.g. being randomly stuck between flights at Brisbane airport) I realised how much this amazing leader was dedicated to improving the lives of others and wanted to be part of that. I feel blessed to have found and become part of my community service tribe.  

How do you see your role making a difference in the lives of the community’s most vulnerable?

As Project Officer for the Local Learning Network, I relish opportunities to develop events and workshops to reduce social isolation and introduce members of the community to each other and learn new skills.

The LIFT program aims to break the cycle of intergenerational unemployment, help our young people identify their purpose and steps to required to achieve their goals. Our youth unemployment rate is one of the highest in the state and these vulnerable people require support and mentoring to gain the soft skills and confidence to (re)enter the workforce and remain employed.

I am passionate about giving young people those “aha!” moments to change gear, change energy, change focus and step proudly into positive futures.     

What’s one thing you hope to see happen or change for our community?

We are all blessed to be living on beautiful Butchulla country with easy access to scared K’gari. Please take a moment to reflect on the three lores, and think about how you currently show your respect and what else you could be doing:

  • What is good for the land comes first
  • Do not take or touch anything that does not belong to you
  • If you have plenty, you must share