Rise employee Lesley Lee is a humble woman; so much so that she didn’t want anyone to know about her 2017 Australian of the Year nomination.

But our Lesley is worth a bit of fuss. In May this year, Lesley will celebrate 10 years as an activities coordinator at Creative Arts by Rise, formerly Creative And Therapy Activities.

Arts background

With a background in arts and a degree in special needs, Creative Arts by Rise is a perfect fit for Lesley. She assists in the art room, helping guests create beautiful stitchings, crochet work and other crafts.

I work in the best place. I love coming to work. I like to push the clients’ boundaries so that they get something out of it too.


News about her 2017 Australian of the Year nomination came just weeks ago. The nomination is confidential, so Lesley doesn’t know who put her forward.

I’m humbled that someone thinks of me in that way. It is one of the highest regards that someone thought I was worthy of nomination. I have no idea who it was.

Enter Rise Client Services and Development Officer Joanne Reilly, who has a little more insight into why Lesley might be nominated.

Lesley is extremely modest and maternal. She makes people feel welcome. She is extremely inclusive and will not have anyone left out. Often people are shy and she will advocate for them. Even people who tour the craft room, if they meet Lesley they suddenly want to do craft because she s so welcoming.

Personal life

This kind lady is clearly embarrassed by the kind words from Joanne. However some experiences from her personal life shed a little more light on what makes her such a great coordinator and able to relate to the guests.

I have multiple sclerosis. Every day is a challenge. I have travelled the journey of a lot of clients here. I know what it feels like to be disabled. I know what it feels like to not have any friends. I know what it feels like to have family shun you. I know what it feels like to be frustrated as hell at not being able to get the help you need. So I can empathise. We can laugh at ourselves and have a good time.

Lesley is an incredible woman and definitely worthy of a little fuss.

Creative Arts by Rise

Creative Arts by Rise is located in Warwick. Numerous activities are held here. These include

  • Painting
  • Woodwork
  • Knitting
  • Cross stitch
  • Excursions

Creative Arts by Rise was formerly Creative And Therapy Activities (CATA). CATA merged with Rise Community Network in 2016. You can read more about the merger here.