Corporate Lorcan thrives of doing good

Communities@Work CEO Lorcan Murphy… “We use an analogy that the organisation is good but we want it to get to great.” Photo Danielle Nohra

AFTER nearly 30 years in senior management, CEO of Communities@Work Lorcan Murphy, 47, is doing all the things he loves, but instead of making shareholders wealthy he’s doing something positive for the community.

“Following years of shareholders and bottom lines, it’s nice to do something that has a better outcome,” he says.

Dublin-born Lorcan, who has been in Canberra for about five years, stepped into the role almost two years ago and has used his background to focus on running the social enterprise as a business.

“I’m just the custodian of the organisation for a set period of time, who’s there to keep it fit and healthy and make sure it’s sustainable,” he says.

“We use an analogy that the organisation is good but we want it to get to great.”

Communities@Work turns over $37 million a year, employs about 700 Canberrans and generates a surplus to “do-good” in areas such as food, clothing, education and accommodation.

Even though some community services are provided on a fee-for-service basis or funded through government contracts, the charitable programs at Communities@Work rely on strong corporate, philanthropic and community support.

And, all the stuff it does in the charitable space is contingent on its childcare services, which began in the ‘70s by a group of mums who took turns minding each other’s children.

Now, Lorcan says, not only does Communities@Work offer quality childcare services, but also the benefit of positively contributing to the community.

Similarly to the Communites@Work business model, Lorcan doesn’t believe in just doing what’s in his job description, but rather everything he is capable of doing, in every situation.

“I distinctly remember an incident in the schoolyard where a pupil deliberately broke the braces of another pupil,” he says.

“Braces were very expensive, and I was aware of the negative impact this act had on the pupil with the braces.  

“This incident triggered a desire in me to be able to exert influence where I am able to assist others when they are vulnerable or in need of some help.”

And, from a young age Lorcan knew the area he would assist others would be in the business world.  

“I was pretty confident from an early age that I would find myself in the world of business and commerce as a career,” he says.

“My parents ran a family business while I was growing up and this was something I was very interested in.  

“As a youngster, I always had ideas. My parents liked to remind me of my interesting entrepreneurial tendencies and schemes. I started a fully-fledged business when I was 18 procuring and selling computers.”

Lorcan describes Communities@Work as a relationship business that means many things to different people, such as childcare for a parent or a place to get quality clothes.

“It’s a fantastic organisation and it’s been in existence for 40 years,” Lorcan says.

“And we’re always looking for good people and are never short on jobs for the right people.”

Information about Communities@Work via commsatwork.org

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