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Westpac and NBCF form Lean partnership

27 July 2016

NBCF breast cancer data

Westpac’s long association with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has taken many forms. There have been fundraising events by staff, which the Group matches through its staff contribution/donation program. Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly led a number of pink ribbon events to mark Breast Cancer awareness and with Women’s Markets championed the NBCF’s Register4 Project.

Register4 is an NBCF initiative which was launched in October 2010. Register4 supports researchers to spend less time and money on recruiting participants for their projects. They can then spend more time delivering greater health benefits from cancer research.

In more recent times Westpac has been involved with NBCF to deliver a long term sustainable cultural change in its business. This has involved working with the NBCF CEO and providing professional training and coaching to the Leadership Team to communicate, align and engage the team around their vision and strategy to meet NBCF’s ambitious target of “zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030”. In addition, Westpac has provided every NBCF employee with tools and techniques to improve their internal processes to increase effectiveness around fundraising for research into a cure. Westpac has also supported and funded four NBCF employees to a professional certification with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

Deanne Chini, a certified facilitator and coach at Westpac, explains: “Having a holistic management system is a long-term approach to truly engage your people around your vision and strategy as well as systematically seeking to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.”

NBCF CEO Dr. Sarah Hosking agrees: “With Westpac’s ongoing support and coaching we’ve delivered significant improvements in many of our operational processes to increase efficiency and decrease waste. In addition, the work with the leadership team has been invaluable in helping us shape our organisation with a framework that will allow us to align and grow into the future.”

All of which is very important if NBCF is to reach its goals.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 to be 13,567. Collecting and analysing data takes many years and these figures are our most up to date. Of that percentage the numbers of women under the age of 40 diagnosed with breast cancer have remained between 11 and 13 per 100,000 women, for the past 27 years. In 2016, 800 women under 40 years of age will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia.

High profile cases in the media can make it appear that the disease is on the rise in younger women but while the number may be smaller - of women under-40 diagnosed with breast cancer - the issues for this cohort and the community are far reaching.

In order to raise both awareness of the NBCF and funding for breast cancer research, NBCF run a whole programme of fundraising events and activities. In the run up to October (National Breast Cancer Awareness month), Pink Ribbon Breakfasts are held around the country to raise much need funds. Hosting a Pink Ribbon Breakfast helps NBCF raise money to help fund life changing breast cancer research.

For young women, communicating a diagnosis of breast cancer to family, friends, colleagues and work; returning to work after treatment and the financial impact of breast cancer, are just some of the issues they face.

Following on from employment, career and finances, there are the personal, emotional, physical and psychological issues. Young women may worry about fertility, body image, their relationships now and in the future, and are at higher risk of experiencing depression, for example. At a time in their lives when most of us would be deciding what movie to see or where to go for dinner and drinks after work on a Friday these young women are dealing with questions of their own mortality. It’s where NBCF, through the Pink Ribbon Breakfast, is making a difference.