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June 18, 2020

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Volunteer recruitment program helping the disadvantaged

June 17, 2020

Dana Sarkissian, Team Leader Marketing and Sales at Cox Purtell, explains why she has become involved in Project Displaced – a not-for-profit, grass roots recruitment supporting unemployed and disadvantaged people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.


I first heard about Project Displaced through one of my LinkedIn contacts, Anthony Cohen.


I had been linked with Ant for some time but we had only ever messaged each other when he started to share posts about creating a service that offered free support and advice for people who suddenly found themselves unemployed … stood down … displaced!


I quickly knew I wanted to be part of the movement. While, initially, Ant was not working himself, he wanted to assist those from the very sectors he had previously worked in and had been suddenly impacted – travel, hospitality and the arts.


I contacted Ant about joining and once he had all the logistics in play that allowed me to volunteer, I was on board and conducted my first consult on April 27. 


Since starting with Project Displaced, I have met with so many amazing people from all over Australia. In my role at Cox Purtell I would normally speak to only Marketing and Sales candidates, but with Project Displaced, I am helping people from all walks of life, many of whom have no history of dealing with an agency.


There is the hostess who has worked with Qantas for over 25 years and now realises she has management potential and is going to aim high when she is back in the skies again.


There is the customer service gun whose aim was to get a job at Aldi and hasn’t been able to. After some reflection, she has enrolled in a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course with the view to go overseas to teach.


There is the travel agent, the casino worker, the finance analyst, the project manager and so many others.


Since I began volunteering with Project Displaced, I have been overwhelmed by the gratitude, appreciation and kindness of others.


Many people ask me what I get out of doing it and I tell them that during this time when so many have been affected by the sudden loss of their job, why wouldn’t I share my knowledge from what I do every day of my working life?


And I tell them about a very special client named Jill.