16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 March 2023

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Merinda Robertson

Release Support Manager

“I believe in a better world that will be shaped and built by dreamers. I’m not someone who is scared of change.”

In a world where extending an olive branch to those caught up in the prison system sits uncomfortably in the minds of many, it takes an amazing optimist like Merinda to remind us all that behind the poor choices is a human being. That what someone is showing you is not the whole person. That your actions are what you do, not who you are. And that a person can be viewed as bad and good – and it’s possible to hold both positions at the same time. As Manager of Reintegration and Rehabilitation Services in the South West, Merinda guides a team of support workers and case workers to make sure those who have experienced incarceration are guided respectfully along their journey into the community, whatever that looks like for them. Merinda is first to admit it’s an extremely tough job at the best of times. Yet it’s possible to see past the negatives when you allow yourself to believe in a better world. From an early age growing up in the Netherlands, Merinda was encouraged by her family to involve herself in deep conversations, to listen to other people’s views and absorb them into her own. These lessons guide her professionally today, where she encourages her team to withhold judgement and adopt ‘multi-perspective thinking’ to extract the positive, wherever it may hide. Challenge the behaviour, believe in the person.

In Accordwest, Merinda has found an organisation full of amazing, forward-thinking, passionate, problem-solving go-getters that feed her belief in the power of people. She embraces diversity, viewing it as a way of expanding the mindset for personal and professional growth. There is a contagious energy in exchanging ideas and welcoming a challenge that you see and feel in the positive and collaborative atmosphere her team creates for one another every day. Merinda goes to great lengths to make sure each individual feels respected, valued and supported professionally to reach their true potential. She understands that when you enjoy what you do, you feel comfortable coming together as a team and working through any points of disagreement. In Merinda’s world, barriers are a part of the journey, not a distraction. A world where you feel inspired to accept flaws and celebrate strengths. A world we should all aspire to live in.