This month we are taking the opportunity to farewell, celebrate and thank Rick Crethar, who has been an invaluable contributor to the Shake It Up Australia board of directors for many years.
Rick is a former senior partner at PwC who has 35 years’ experience working as a business advisor with some of Australia’s leading companies and government sector, providing advice on strategy, transformation, risk management and profitable growth. He is an experienced board director and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Rick has an Economics Degree from the University of Sydney and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia & New Zealand.
We spoke with Rick all about his time with Shake It Up and his vision for the future of Parkinson’s research and the Foundation.
Hi Rick, over your tenure with the Shake It Up board, can you share some of the biggest highlights?
There have been so many highlights and memorable moments. Obviously the partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research was a highlight and continues to be, for so many reasons. They’re a hugely credible voice globally when it comes to Parkinson’s, and I’m proud that Shake It Up has built that credibility to become Australia’s largest non-government funder of Parkinson’s research.
It has been amazing to witness the exceptional growth of the Foundation with a small core team, while staying completely focused on our mission.
Other key highlights include establishing the Catalyst Programme velocity to fast-track research in accelerating the discovery of new drug therapies, as well as Clyde being appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, which was tremendous recognition of his work. There is a lot to be proud of.
What is your vision for the future of Parkinson’s research in Australia?
Well, the ultimate vision is to find a cure – and we are relentless in pursuit of that vision. What is very exciting is that we’re going through a revolution in Parkinson’s disease research at the moment. We’re seeking to accelerate research to not just be able to live with Parkinson’s, but to ultimately find that cure. I think it’s important that Shake It Up continues to be bold in pursuit of that vision, which is how it is has arrived at the place it is today. Collaboration is also essential, to unite around the cause.
The vision is to keep building that momentum for progressive research and transforming the future for everyone impacted by Parkinson’s disease.
Over your career, what is one of the most significant lessons you’ve learned?
You have to always stay true to yourself, and back your own ability in whatever you seek to do. To be confident, not arrogant. To be credibly bold. And to be tenacious, and don’t let things get in your way.
If you keep backing yourself, whatever setbacks you might face, you’ll be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going until you achieve what you want to and more. You will amaze yourself with what you can achieve.
And really, this is what I most admire in Clyde. He has that tenacity, and a bold mission, but also the selflessness and drive to help others.
What are you most proud of in your time on the Shake It Up Australia Board?
Shake It Up has brought a huge amount of focus to a disease that has historically faced a stigma and lack of attention, awareness or understanding. There has been exponential growth in the research being done, and that work is having a profound impact on people living with Parkinson’s, their loved ones and Australia as a whole. It is amazing to see what can be achieved with a small team and the generosity of spirit we witness everyday from donors, supporters, fundraisers, the business community, and the research community. That generosity is truly what make foundations like Shake It Up successful.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Clyde, Greg and Carolyn for the opportunity to be part of Shake It Up for all this time, and my fellow board members who have been truly excellent to work with. I look forward to seeing the amazing progression that I know is in the future of the Foundation.
The team at Shake It Up Australia and our Board thank Rick for his years of service in support of our vision of a world without Parkinson’s, and his insight and experience that has helped the Foundation reach where it is today.