Spiro Stavis: St Basil’s man with a vision

Spiro Stavis has recently been appointed as Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of St. Basil’s NSW & ACT.

Part of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, St Basil’s NSW & ACT is a registered Australian charity established specifically for the provision of best quality aged care services within a culturally appropriate environment designed to enhance the dignity, independence and quality of life of all people in its care.

Spiro has been with St. Basil’s NSW & ACT since 2016 as the Head of Property and Procurement and over the years has developed a deep knowledge of the aged care industry.

Spiro has a vision for St. Basil’s NSW & ACT in which consumers see their lives improve upon joining the St. Basil’s family of programs and services.

He passionately wants consumers to feel they have a better quality of life, enjoying more activities, increased socialisation, good food and timely clinical care in a safe environment with the opportunity to develop new friends, good memories and achieve their goals.

Having been a part of the organisation for four years now, Spiro says that there is something very special about St. Basil’s NSW & ACT that has kept him there for this time: “It’s very simple – our consumers and our staff,” he says.

“I can honestly say that I have never felt so fulfilled in my professional life. I know that every day I make a positive difference in somebody’s life.

“The fact that we share the same ethos and values of our Church ensures that my job is made easier,” he adds.

The Board of St. Basil’s NSW & ACT is currently embarking on a revitalisation of its strategic plan, to be spearheaded by strategies designed to ensure the sustainable growth of the organisation so that it may continue its good work for another 60 years and beyond.

Spiro, who is responsible for ensuring the implementation of this vision across the organisation, is hopeful that the redevelopment plans for the St. Basil’s Annandale, Bexley and Canberra locations that were unfortunately put on hold this year due to COVID-19 may soon resume.

“In 2015, the main focus of St Basil’s Strategic (Growth) Plan, amongst other things, was the redevelopment of Annandale, Bexley, and Canberra. We secured development approvals for each and then COVID-19 happened,” Spiro explains.

“We have paused all redevelopment plans whilst we concentrate on reviewing our strategy to ensure we are current with our plans.”

Whilst the organisation’s business plans have perhaps been impacted by COVID-19 throughout this difficult year, the most important priority for St. Basil’s has remained the needs of the residents and their families.

Balancing these needs with the COVID-19 restrictions has not been an easy task but Spiro says he has been truly amazed by the efforts of the St. Basil’s NSW & ACT staff to continually work through adversity.

Key to the success of St. Basil’s NSW & ACT in navigating its way through these trying times, Spiro believes, is communication.

“The secret has been regular communication with our consumers and their families,” says Spiro, also noting that the shared empathy of the people at St. Basil’s NSW & ACT for consumers and staff is the intrinsic quality that sets his team apart from others.

“Great empathy for our consumers and staff is what makes the management and staff at St. Basil’s so special,” says Spiro.

“This is what separates our management team from other management teams I’ve been involved with.”

Testament to this empathy and care is the way that the people at St. Basil’s NSW & ACT are striving to make Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year even more festive than usual for its nursing home residents.

“We have arranged a gift for our residents to remind them that they are not alone and to make them feel cared-for and loved. This year we gave our residents some cosy robes which they loved,” says Spiro.

But that is not all.

“Our customer service officers come up every day with new ideas that assist our residents to get involved in the Christmas activities and have some fun,” says Spiro.

St Basil’s NSW & ACT keeps the festivities alive by organising numerous Christmas activities including art and craft classes during which residents can draw or paint their own Christmas trees and candles, as well as decorate or make wreaths and ornaments.

All the while there is singing, dancing and even musicians visiting the St. Basil’s NSW & ACT facilities to play Christmas songs.

As an extra special touch this year, St. Catherine’s junior choir will be visiting the St Basil’s Randwick location to perform Christmas Carols for the residents.

Residents also have the opportunity to participate in cooking classes where they can make traditional and very tasty Christmas sweets such as ‘melomakarona’, ‘kourabiedes’ and ‘baklava’.

“All of our chapels will hold Divine Liturgies during Christmas. On 31st December, Vespers are held at our facility in Lakemba, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios,” says Spiro.

Vespers are followed by the traditional cutting of the ‘vasilopita’ to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year.

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