The world needs more people like Erin Heysed, the owner and founder of Support Squad. Working tirelessly to support those with disabilities and mental illness takes a certain kind of soul, and Erin is perfect for the job. The fact she’s also great fun to chat to over a glass of bubbles is an added bonus! Check out her story…
I am Erin Heysed, owner and founder of Support Squad, proud mum of a cheeky bulldog puppy named Mim, and self-proclaimed champagne extraordinaire.
One of my greatest fears is public speaking! When I finished a Bachelor of Management, I decided to study law, not only because I loved the topic, but also with the hope that it would help me become comfortable being in the spotlight. After 10 years of studying part time, I gained my law degree only to find that I still didn’t like or feel comfortable with public speaking. However, while I was studying I found my real passion as I started working as a Support Worker with males who had disabilities, complex needs and links with the criminal justice system. I loved it, and very quickly learnt how rewarding it was working in a role where you assisted people to achieve their goals.
That was fifteen years ago. Now I can proudly say I have assisted countless organisations to become NDIS providers, who in turn provide much needed support to those with disabilities and mental illness.
What’s your daily mantra / what’s a saying that you repeat to yourself to pick yourself up?
Sounds like a cliché, but ‘work hard, play hard’ is something I live by. I never really understood the real value of time before now. As the Director of a newly established organisation, I never have enough hours in the day and have had to learn to be highly organised. I am always on the go, but, when I do relax I make the most of it, and it’s all about self care: holidays, catching up with my friends and family, pottering round the house, playing with my gorgeous puppy —and just generally doing what I love. It inspires me and keeps me motivated.
“No one has it together 100% of the time!”
I had one of those days where nothing seemed to go right, and I was feeling pretty defeated. I called one of my clients, who is also a close friend and mentor, who gave me the best pep talk. She told me not to put so much pressure on myself and that everyone has days like this — it’s just not often that people talk about it or reach out. Take a deep breath, laugh it off and start all over again tomorrow. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
What did you want to do when you grew up?
I remember liking the idea of being a mechanic when I was little and a bit of a tomboy – I think I liked the overalls more than the idea of working on cars.
We love to celebrate the little wins – what was one of your most celebrated moments in your business?
I began consulting on weekends whilst managing a disability organisation full time. One day, a client I would assist every now and then, approached me and asked me to consult for her permanently one day a week. I was thrilled, and began preparing to go to my boss and ask to reduce my hours back to four days a week. Then word spread and one by one my other consulting clients were calling offering me permanent consulting work. A little under a week later instead of asking my boss for a day off a week, I explained what had happened and asked him how he would feel if I was only available one day a week! He’s great, so was very happy for me.
I feel very lucky that my business has grown naturally, and are forever grateful to that one client who made it all happen!
What’s your favourite place in SA?
I love Hahndorf, it’s just something about the little main street that gets me – it’s just gorgeous. Oh, and the amazing food and wine is always a major bonus too!
Who is the person you look up to the most?
That’s an easy one — my mum. She has been a sole carer for my sister who has a disability for the last twenty years. She is the most selfless, supportive and caring person I have ever met, and I can confidently say that I would not be who I am today without her.