Karla McPhail has found the loss of dedicated staff members difficult.
Karla McPhail has found the loss of dedicated staff members difficult.

Heavy heart for Coast businesswoman

REAL Group businesswoman Karla McPhail has always been a busy woman, leading multiple businesses, supporting local not-for-profit groups and clubs, and generally running each and every day.

She has not been left unscathed by the COVID-19 outbreak, having to say farewell to loved staff members as her team restructures the businesses to manage the uncertain road ahead.

At this point in time, The Real Group businesses The Rocks and Two Sisters remain open for takeaway, Coal Train remains open and will be online from next week, Undamine, Jet Dry Cleaning, CQ Waste Services and the Keppel Barge are still operating.

Ms McPhail said her team is working to support as many people in the organisation as possible as they adapt their work practices and roles.

“In tough times we have a choice to either band together or pull apart and I am extremely impressed to have a team working alongside me who are inspiring and innovative and embrace change with a cautioned enthusiasm,” Ms McPhail said.

“We have definitely banded together to look after each other.

“Coal Train students will be able to log into a learning portal where their training modules will be available.

“Their unique login will also give them live streaming into the classrooms. We are creating video content and assessment platforms.

“Every afternoon we are going live with all trainers so that students working from home can also ask questions they may not have thought of during the live streaming.

“We continue to comply with stringent social distancing and sterilisation guidelines and people are still able to come in and train.”

Ms McPhail said her team members are changing how they do business, and this also means human resource changes.

“Every single person in our business operations has been affected in some way including redundancies, role changes, casual employment changes or a reduction in hours,” she said.

“None of these decisions have been easy and leading organisations into an unknown territory is challenging, one can only prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

“I often travel a lot for work, so I am enjoying being in the office every day. All our children are home, so this is also a bonus.

“Currently I am still working from the Coal Train office. Our office space is large enough to ensure social distancing, everything is constantly wiped down with antibacterial agents and we screen everyone coming into our building.”

The hardworking mum said this had been one of the most challenging times of her life. “Saying goodbye to employees who I love has been difficult,” she said.

“Members of our team have been amazing, in particular some of our younger employees, their ability to adapt, take this time as an opportunity to enrol in university and they remain positive at this tough time.

“I have never been more impressed; these people are our future leaders.

“A month ago, none of us could have imagined we would be in the position we are in today. “The protection of the elderly and the vulnerable is critical, as is our economic wellbeing.

“Our most vulnerable often have lower incomes and challenging home situations.

“We need to ensure they are okay, and we all have a role to play in that and help where we can.

“If we all follow the advice of the Government, I believe in the coming days we will start to see light at the end of the tunnel. Together we can do this.”

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