International Women’s Day – Liezl Lama

We’re taking the opportunity on International Women’s Day to showcase one of our amazing team members, Liezl Lama.

Women’s economic empowerment is central to a gender equal world.

Liezl has dedicated much of her career to empowering veterans and family members through Financial Counselling and financial mentoring.

A veteran of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is anyone who has achieved one day of service, including includes both current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force.  70% of those supported by Bravery Trust are aged 50 years or younger and 74% have families to support. This is a cohort with significant and unique life trajectory and financial and personal needs often include complex mental health and personal circumstances. As a cohort, veterans experience significant barriers to accessing mainstream community services.  

Liezl has worked with Bravery Trust to deliver a veteran-specific Financial Counselling Service and improve the financial literacy of veterans and their family members.  Education is empowerment.  Liezl has built a thriving financial counselling team which shares the passion and expertise to engage veterans and deliver the intensive casework needed with complex presentations.   Veterans often attend the service having left the ADF due to medical injury or illness. In addition to the reduction of income, her clients are often grieving the loss of identity and separation from their social circles. Adjustment to civilian life is found by many to be costly, and can involve moving interstate to return to family, can co-occur with marriage breakdown and can be impacted by mental health concerns including PTSD and depression.

Liezl first encountered veterans working in the Northern Territory where she saw firsthand the unique difficulties of in-service life. She regularly worked with serving families to manage hardship brought on by deployments to the NT, where power prices and cost of living outstripped family incomes. She then worked in general community settings before joining Bravery Trust,  where she has spearheaded the development and exponential growth of our financial counselling program. Initially employed as one member of a two-person financial counselling Team, Liezl invested heavily in her colleagues to build the program. Liezl has mentored multiple staff in other operations areas, encouraging and supporting them to become qualified financial counsellors, with her mentorship being actively sought out across the organisation.

Through her passionate advocacy, Liezl has exponentially increased demand for financial counselling across the veteran community, supporting veterans as well as direct family members.  She has provided extensive guidance to Bravery Trust leadership on the best practice in cultivating a financial counselling program, working across policy and procedure development, guiding IT development, and the training and induction process for incoming staff. Liezl has been a driving force throughout a rigorous application of the agency self-assessment for compliance with the code of ethics, which across 2023 to move from ‘compliant to ‘best practice’ wherever achievable for an organisation of our scale.

Liezl has contributed directly to the development of Bravery Trust’s submissions to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, where her background in both psychology and financial counselling have been immensely valuable, conveying the inter-relationship between financial and psychological hardship and challenges. Liezl has worked actively not only to personally promote the program but she has invested heavily in staff across Bravery Trust so they can promote the service and engage veterans’ nationwide.

Liezl has learned to navigate the veteran-specific financial options regarding Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs entitlements and the various tax and liability issues associated with shifting between compensation and superannuation systems. With her background in psychology and general counselling, Liezl has the skills to coach practitioners in working with people experiencing mental health challenges and in a care team environment, whilst maintaining the boundaries that facilitate a focus on the financial needs without getting diverted by the client’s mental health and wider welfare needs. This has resulted in a highly accessible and responsive service which delivers strong outcomes in the financial domain.

Beyond her skills as a practitioner and advocate, it is Liezl’s investment in Bravery Trust and her colleagues which has had the most significant impact. She is an absolutely joyous team member, finding ways to bring heartfelt laughter and togetherness in the most trying circumstances. Liezl has been a lynchpin in keeping staff moral and engagement in challenging times and has driven our organisational culture. Her investment in practice development has resulted in more practitioners understanding and empathising with the unique needs and opportunities for veterans and extended that service to hundreds of veterans who may otherwise have not received financial counselling.

Count Her In!

Invest in Women.

Accelerate Progress.

Supporting Those Who Serve

Bravery Trust
Bravery Trust