A passion for social justice and helping the homeless 

Michael Perusco has no regrets about quitting the corporate world to focus on the vulnerable, marginalised and the homeless, but admits his experience as a chartered accountant was an asset during his years time at Melbourne’s Sacred Heart Mission and will be useful in his new role as CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, reports The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney on C-Mail.

The 41-year-old who arrived from Melbourne last week to take up his new post at Vinnies’ offices in Lewisham, is full of enthusiasm about this latest challenge.

“What I really like about Vinnies is the way it operates at a grass roots level. By being so connected to local communities, Vinnies has a good understanding of what their needs are and how to make a difference,” he says.

He says he will spend the next few weeks “getting to know the organisation and listening and learning.” But once he knows the ropes he says he intends to work closely with Vinnies’ state council to find ways to maximise the potential of the organisation to ensure the best outcomes for people experiencing disadvantage.

Growing up in Queensland, Michael says his passion for social justice and for helping the homeless was inspired by his parents, particularly his mother. “My family have always had a strong sense of social justice.

Dad worked six days a week as a builder and didn’t have much time for anything else. But Mum was an active member of the parish conference at Woolridge in Brisbane. She always gave a hand to anyone who needed help and was a regular volunteer at the local Vinnies’ store.”

Employed by international firm, Arthur Andersen, the young Queenslander initially seemed set for a career as a numbers man. Based in the company’s Melbourne offices he says gained invaluable experience and was “surrounded by smart motivated people.

A few years later, offered a finance position with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, he says he saw an opportunity to combine his passion for social justice with his accountancy skills.

FULL STORY A passion for social justice and helping the homeless (C-Mail)

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