Core values at heart

Elizabeth's story

From her small farming town roots, to her career as a dressmaker, Elizabeth has worn many fashionable hats in her lifetime. After a bold career change, Elizabeth graduated from university and jumped straight into work with Lives Lived Well. Her compassion and dogged determination make her an excellent advocate for her clients. After nearly a decade with us, Elizabeth reflects on the journey so far and her hopes for the future.

I have a strong sense of social justice – particularly for people in society who others might look down upon. My core belief is that every person, just by their nature of being human, has incredible intrinsic value

From farm to fashion

When asked about her childhood, Elizabeth Cox laughs.

“That was a long time ago now!”

Elizabeth grew up on a farm near Goondiwindi and undertook long-distance education with the School of the Air for her first two years of schooling. The challenges of not being immersed in an environment with other children were overcome by her academic strengths; she loved her school years.

In the 1970s, Elizabeth dreamed of being a Fashion Designer. She didn’t have the skills or the prerequisites to pursue this career immediately, but she refused to give up on her dream. She took on a retail job to pay her way through a course and studied after hours. Elizabeth worked as a self-employed dressmaker for many years, until a life change forced her to rethink her career path.

Intrinsic value

Divorce affects people in many different ways. When Elizabeth’s marriage ended, the period that followed inspired her to reinvent herself, and to renew her involvement with her faith. Ultimately, it meant re-engaging with the core values that her upbringing had fostered.

“I have a strong sense of social justice – particularly for people in society who others might look down upon. My core belief is that every person, just by their nature of being human, has incredible intrinsic value.”

Reflecting on what mattered most spurred Elizabeth to go back to university. In her mid-50s she embarked on a new career as a counsellor. After graduating, she landed a job at Lives Lived Well, and has worked here ever since.

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It’s hard to describe an average day for Elizabeth. She can see between four and six clients, depending on how busy it is. “And it’s usually busy,” she says with a smile.

“I love the clients. They’re a bit of a motley crew at times,” she shares with a fond chuckle. “But they’re lovely. It’s a privilege to work with them.”

When asked what inspires her to work in this field, she pauses to reflect.

“I think it was a culmination of experiences. There were some people very dear to me who struggled with alcohol, so I have some first-hand knowledge of what that life can be like. I know how difficult it can be to access and accept help. I could see that intrinsic value in those people in my own life. And I wanted to help them. Now, I can apply that same idea to my clients. It all comes back to that core belief.”

Elizabeth is clearly a realist, and she makes no bones about the challenges of the role:

“It’s not easy work. It will test your character and your perseverance. It will also test your beliefs about yourself. But despite everything, it is ultimately so rewarding.”

A new chapter

Looking to the future, Elizabeth says she hopes to retire in the next few years, to spend more time with her family… and to do some wandering.

“I want to spend time with my grandkids, of course. But my husband and I also want to travel around Australia. We’ll be grey nomads – although I’m not quite grey enough yet! I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my creative self. I might learn some new crafts, paint water colours, go to more music venues and definitely read more books!”

After so many years of faithfully serving the community with Lives Lived Well, Elizabeth will leave behind a powerful legacy, and very big shoes to fill.

Are you humble, human and full of hope?
Head to our careers page to view opportunities at Lives Lived Well.