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Cate Williams with clapper board for documentary series about SMASHING stereotypes in aged care employment

Cate has a disability and she’s using it as an asset, SMASHING! employment stereotypes

At Feros Care, we are committed to smashing stereotypes around people with disability and employment.  We believe in an inclusive workplace that values each individual’s unique contributions.  

As part of our documentary series SMASHING we are shining a light on Cate Williams, one of our Customer Acquisition and Retention Experts, who has turned her disability challenges into her strengths, enriching not only her own life but also those of her clients. 

At 65 years young, Cate is smashing both disability and ageism myths in her episode. 

vision impaired middle aged lady clapping


Resilience through challenges

Cate’s life changed dramatically at 18 after a motorbike accident that led to years of undiagnosed PTSD. “Back then PTSD wasn’t a thing. I eventually became completely agoraphobic and was shut in my home for five years,” Cate recalls, highlighting the isolation she felt during those challenging times. 

In her thirties, Cate faced another unexpected hurdle with a diagnosis of a degenerative vision disease, a challenge that she initially met with despair, turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism. These were dark days. 

Despite these hardships, Cate’s resilience led her to rediscover her potential through education. Her academic journey took her from TAFE to university, where she met Jennie, a PhD student focusing on Falls Prevention in the Elderly.  

“Jennie asked if I wanted to help as part of my placement, and I jumped at the chance,” says Cate, reflecting on the pivotal moment that steered her towards her future in aged care. 

This connection with Jennie also brought up conversations around employment, and she suggested Cate look at a vacant position at Feros Care. Being a uni student, Cate needed a job, so she applied and was successful, becoming the Volunteer Coordinator at Feros Village Wommin Bay, where her innate ability to connect with people shone brightly. 


Madder Hatters party at aged care home



Here Cate was able to express her passion for people, transforming the lives of many residents. And the flow on effect was evident by the number of volunteers she recruited and trained. 

“Her gentle and warm way inspired many people to become a volunteer at the village, and they went on to brighten the lives of the residents,” says Tracey Waters, Residential Activities Officer. 




Cate’s natural talents steered her into her next role on the Positive Living team at the village. In this position, her primary goal was to empower residents to live their best lives and reengage in activities they once thought were beyond their reach. She introduced audio books to residents who could no longer read, and special accessibility equipment to those who could no longer bend down to garden. And they loved her for it. 


aged care resident gardening at Wommin Bay Village


“She liked to sit and have a chat, do a bit of knitting, she’s a lovely lady and very caring,” says Sheila one of the residents at the village. 

Although Cate’s reduced sight limited some activities, Feros Care recognised her potential and enabled her to concentrate on these areas where she excelled. 

“Working at Wommin Bay with the residents was the joy of my life,” says Cate. 


old man hitting piñata at Wommin Bay Village with volunteer carer


However, her road took another unexpected turn when she was in an accident that left her injured. Sadly, this meant Cate had to step away from the village and her favourite people.  

One door closes…

Cate was determined to stay with Feros Care and promptly applied for a new position within the organisation. During her interview, Cate was open and honest, expressing some concerns about her visual impairment. The response was immediate and supportive: “Oh, what can we do? What technology would you like? Where’s the best place in here for lighting?” Cate knew the Feros philosophy, but even she couldn’t believe the support.  

Emma Micklewright, Organisational Culture & Engagement Lead, says, “It was about seeing what she needed to make her workflow more efficient, easier and less stressful for her to overcome any obstacles.” 

“It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re providing an inclusive and diverse workforce representative of Australia as a whole.” 

Harnessing unique abilities

Cate’s vision difference obviously has its challenges, but it has also brought an unexpected gift—enhanced auditory sensitivity, allowing her to “hear things in people’s voices” and connect with them on a deeper level. Considering Cate’s role is predominantly over the phone, this unique ability has made her an invaluable asset to her current team, particularly in recognising the unspoken challenges her clients face. 

This unique ability is something Cate’s partner finds really special about her.  Greg is Cate’s biggest cheerleader and he’s always blown away by her power to listen and connect. He’s just as supportive at home too. Not only does he read to Cate, drive her to her destinations, and help her navigate the menu when dining out, he also ensures that everything at home is meticulously organised to simplify her daily life. 

The future???

Cate is uncertain about what the future holds, especially concerning her vision, so she has proactively learned to use her white cane well before she needs it. 

“Knowing that I am going to lose my central vision is not pleasant,” Cate admits. 

Yet, Cate’s passion for her job and the knowledge that she makes a significant difference in the lives of those she interacts with are what motivate her each day.  

“It’s what gets me out of bed each morning,” she shares. 

There’s a common perception that once you reach 65, it’s time to retire. However, Cate knows her skills remain highly relevant and valuable both to the Feros and its clients. 

“Once you hit your sixties, you know, you’re put out to pasture,” she remarks. But Cate feels differently, “I’m enjoying getting older. Every year I get happier and life means more,” she reflects with optimism. 


volunteer aged care worker wearing tshirt Get Bold Not old


“Her age and disability don’t define her at all. It’s her warmth and her total diligence,” says Vanessa Cotton, Cate’s Team Coach.   

Cate’s SMASHING episode is one that will really warm your heart and we think most people will relate to it in some way.  One thing we know for sure is you don’t want to miss it.  

Want your abilities celebrated just like Cate?

If you are inspired by Cate’s journey and want to be part of an organisation that truly values your abilities and fosters an inclusive environment, we encourage you to reach out.  


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