Chamber Charity: Momenta

We are proud to say that we have several members who have been part of the Chamber community for many years. Our members come from all walks of life, and that includes not-for-profits and charities.

Momenta has been a member of the Chamber for just over 11 years, and we really appreciate their ongoing support and regular attendance at our events. They are a not-for-profit business with over 45 years’ experience supporting people with lived experience of disability. We asked Kerry Webb, Social Impact and Communications Lead a few questions to find out a bit more about them and why they became a member of the Tauranga Business Chamber.

How long have you been a member of the Tauranga Business Chamber?

11 years, 2 months

Why did you join the Tauranga Business Chamber?

To connect and network with other Tauranga businesses.

What’s your favourite part/some of the benefits of being a member of the Tauranga Business Chamber?

Ability to connect with the wider Tauranga business community. Learn more about other organisations and enjoy Chamber events.

What is your business/organisation? What do you do?

Momenta is a not-for-profit business with over 45 years’ experience supporting people with lived experience of disability access a world of opportunities. Day to day, we connect disabled people with life-enhancing, innovative coaching and connecting programmes. We employ a principles-based approach, working with clients and the community to pursue meaningful goals and challenge the systemic and societal barriers that have limited people with disabilities.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

Supporting individuals to go after a life they love, while having the opportunity to be a thought leader influencing the community sector.

What inspires you to work in this industry?

Our team feel deeply that all people who have a lived experience of disability have the right to an ordinary life, to be able to work, study, and live as a part of their community.

How do you/does your organisation define success?

Momenta’s vision is a community where all people have the opportunity to choose and go after a life they love. Success for us is being a part of an individual’s journey towards achieving a life they love. Using our knowledge and experience in the sector we aim to break down barriers and shift attitudes limiting people with disabilities.

What is one thing you want people to know about your business/organisation?

As a social sector organisation Momenta is unique as we take a charitable service, social change, and business approach to what we do. For our clients to have the best opportunity to secure the life they want to live, Momenta must be highly collaborative in our approach. We also believe one of our key roles is promoting and advocating the benefits of increasing diversity with disability in our local business community.

Chamber Charity Momenta

What challenges has your organisation faced, and how did you overcome them?

The most significant change in Momenta’s 46-year history came in 2015, when Avalon (as it was then known) changed our outdated service model and moved from a segregated and congregated day respite model, isolated in Te Puna, into a client-centered, community focussed service provider in town. The change and prudent financial management created sustainability after a decade of deficits, creating an opportunity to do more in answering the call of people with a lived experience of disability who had increasingly been asking to have more autonomy and control over their lives. The complete overhaul of our service led to a name change and re-brand in 2020. We have continued to analyse and refine our service and this year launched a specialised coaching and connecting model which we believe will have the biggest impact in supporting those we work with to pursue and obtain a meaningful life of their choosing.

Looking back, what have been the biggest learnings?

Although Momenta is a not-for-profit organisation, we are still a business and need to ensure that we have robust operational and financial systems in place to enable us to deliver more effectively on our core work. When embarking on significant transformational change, it was imperative that we put these systems in place and continue to build this platform to allow for growth.

Having strong governance, leadership, and a culture that supports and develops all the team’s strengths and abilities have been key to us continuing to move forward successfully.

If you could impart one piece of advice to our business community, what would it be?

People with lived experience of disability are a largely untapped talent pool of job seekers, many just waiting on an opportunity. Your business will benefit from having a diverse workforce, including those with a disability. The COVID pandemic has shown just how adaptable workplaces can be. Think about how your business adapted in response to the pandemic. Have these changes made a difference to the working environment, and could these changes open up opportunities to employees who you may have previously thought would not work out due to physical workplace, hours, or role requirements? Could this open up opportunities for future employees from a diverse background, with different lived experiences that could really benefit your business?

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