May 7, 2024

The face of Spectrum

If you visit Spectrum’s Dallas office, chances are the first face you see will be that of either Joelle or Rawah, our friendly receptionists.
Joelle and Rawah met while studying English at Kangan TAFE. They completed work placements together at Spectrum as part of their course, and now, they are at the frontline of Spectrum services, job-sharing the important reception role.

Two women facing the camera, one is Syrian, the other is Palestinian.


I’m from Syria and I came during lockdown in August 2021. I came with my family – we are five girls and my mum. I am the oldest one.

When I started studying my course – Level 3 English – I wanted to improve my English because I was shy. I thought I’m not good at English; I thought people couldn’t understand me.

We had to do a placement for our course, and we did some research about Spectrum, and we liked them. When I started volunteering at Spectrum, all the people were friendly.

After we finished volunteering, they phoned us and said they were happy with our volunteering. They liked that we were friendly with all the staff and the clients. We started with them as a casual and then after we worked part-time.

This job suits me a lot. Rawah and I are a great team; we always support each other. I am studying to be a Civil Engineer and if I need to go to exams, Rawah can replace me. She supports me with everything.

I can’t stay in my home and only take the payment from Centrelink. That’s not me. I want to be a good model for my sisters. That is why I decided to work hard, to get a job and to continue studying. I started studying Engineering in my country and it was my dream to continue.

I see a lot of difference between working here and working overseas. I used to work in Syria and in Lebanon. I worked in big companies. We can’t even speak to our manager. Here we can even talk to Rebecca (Spectrum CEO) like our friend.

Here you can say your opinion, and if you need help with anything, they understand that and can help you. This is ‘feel at home’ to me.
I had a lot of lovely, special times, with the clients and the members of staff.

I imagined myself when I came here (to Australia) and I needed support. When you come to a new country, a new language, a new culture, everything is new. So, you need someone. Our family needed support.

So, when I see the new arrivals, I want to help them, so they don’t suffer like me when I came during lockdown, and everything was over the phone. Now we can see their faces, we can help them, even how to use public transport. I’m happy to help anyone, especially new arrivals.

If you need anything, come to us. We are here to help you.


I am Palestinian. My family were refugees and I was born in Lebanon. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Lebanon, with excellent grades. I studied Bachelor of Finance and Business Administration.

I came to Australia in 2018, and in 2021 I did a Certificate III course in Business Administration and then after that I wanted to prepare myself for how to look for work, how to engage in the workplace in Australia, and to know more about the culture. I joined the English course in Feb 2022. Learning English to prepare for working in Australia. We learned about Australian culture and the workplace. It was online for the first two months – that’s how Joelle and I first met.

We were very excited to volunteer at Spectrum. We did the placement at Spectrum at the end of July 2022, and we started working as casuals in September and eventually got a part-time contract in October.

I am grateful to be in Australia, where I have been supported to settle and to work. I am supported to study and I am now doing the Diploma in Community Service.

Everyone is friendly. If my son is sick, Joelle can replace me.

In our country, when you go to work, the manager he always needs to control you. You feel all the time that you cannot open your mouth to say anything. You don’t have freedom of expression. Here if we have feedback we can raise anything we want.

When we come here we don’t feel the pressure, we feel really comfortable, friendly people, and for the clients when they come, we really need to show them that they are at home. They are our priority.

To me, ‘feel at home’ means friendly staff, that you can work with them. When you are happy in the workplace, you are happy to come to work.


This article was first published in Spectrum’s Annual Report 2023.