After 46 years in the disability sector – 26 of them spent with Disability Macarthur, Annamaria Wood retires next month to “enjoy life as a Nonna”, marking what many say is indeed the end of an era.

“She will be greatly missed not just by our organisation and the community but by the many families she has touched and made a different in their lives,” said Paul Blyton, Chairperson of Disability Macarthur.

Annamaria has worked in the disability industry as a community nurse, project officer with the Department of Community Services and finally as CEO of Disability Macarthur.

“Since I left school I’ve been doing the jobs I love… it is very hard leaving but at the end of the day it’s a long time,” Annamaria said.

“Somebody said to me ‘I thought you would be here forever’ and I said to them ‘Oh, I don’t think I want to die here’”, she joked.

Reflecting on the connections she made in her career and how rewarding they were Annamaria said, “I have been fortunate to have met and worked with many lovely and amazing people through this time…memories I feel proud to be a part of and will always treasure.” 

Annamaria discussed the big changes she has seen in her career with Disability Macarthur talking about the “big shift” there has been in the last 26 years towards people with disabilities.

She said, “There’s more respect and I feel that we have always tried to be inclusive. We’ve been inclusive in the advocacy of people with a disability, and I suppose trying to take that stigma away”.

Though she will miss her “other family” (as she calls them) at Disability Macarthur, Annamaria is looking forward to spending more time with her five grandchildren under seven years old.

“I am looking forward to having a bit more Nonna time… life goes too quickly and I want to be able to enjoy more of my time with my friends and family and probably do some volunteering,” she said.

–   Kayla King