The dawn of 2023 bore a heavy weight on the hearts of the CA team. Alena, a vital part of our crew, tragically left us on the 17th of March, her departure as sudden as it was heartbreaking. Not more than five weeks later, on the 22nd of April, we faced another abrupt loss with Debi’s unexpected passing.
Alena and Debi were not just employees, they were integral members of our family, their tenure with CA spanning intermittently from the moment of our establishment in 2006. Their value extended far beyond their professional skills and abilities; it was also deeply rooted in their unique and vibrant personalities.
In honor of their memory, we have created this tribute page. It serves to celebrate and recognise these two incredible individuals who brought joy into our lives. Their absence will be profoundly felt, and their impact, forever remembered.
Debi was College Australia’s own five-star, first-ballot, hall-of-fame educator. She swaggered in with a treasure chest of wisdom in business, retail, and hospitality and a colossal 23 years of training experience that could make even the oldest tortoise blush!
Originally a desert dweller from the US, Debi traded the tumbleweeds for kangaroos and emigrated to Australia in 1985 with her motley crew – her family. By 1988, she was basking in the sunshine and sequins of the Gold Coast, rubbing elbows with the crème de la crème of Gold Coast’s hotel moguls.
A true Yoda in her own right, Debi’s passion was supporting her Padawans to acquire the skills needed for some truly out-of-this-world career jumps. She had a sixth sense for knowing exactly what a student needed when they were in the academic doldrums, planting the seed of knowledge and sitting back to watch it blossom into their personal “Jack and the Beanstalk” tale.
Achieving work/life balance? Debi had that in her back pocket. She whittled away her free time belting home runs in softball and baseball and disappearing into the thrilling pages of crime and mystery novels. Her top pick for a cosy day inside was “Private LA” by James Patterson, which she’d recommend with a wry smile and a twinkle in her eye. But the real apple of her eye? Her family, featuring her daughter Heather, son-in-law Aaron, the dynamic duo of grandchildren Hendrix and Havana, and her extended family.
Debi was a firm believer in the age-old adage – you can’t pour from an empty cup. She knew that doing what she loved topped up her cup to the brim, allowing her to give her all to her students at College Australia, her ultimate endgame.
Her vivacious spirit, which clocked out way before anyone anticipated, is sorely missed, but always brings a chuckle when remembered. So long, our dear Deb.
Alena was our one-and-only czarina of Recognition of Prior Learning, an all-rounder of the Registered Training Organization, a virtuoso educator, sharp-eyed assessor, and a detail-obsessed data warden. She was like a wizard at the helm, ensuring our ship didn’t get distracted by shiny mermaids and stayed on the right path.
As a trainer, Alena’s passion for hospitality, retail, business, health, and horticulture was as clear as a bell. Or perhaps, as loud as one ringing at the crack of dawn on a Sunday – there was no ignoring it. This enthusiasm was mirrored in the monumental triumphs of her students – we’re talking ‘celebrate with a marching band’ level of success!
Away from her professional sphere, Alena sought peace in Mother Nature’s playground. She curated a culinary garden that would make even the most discerning salad swoon. It was a vegetable wonderland that played a starring role in her kitchen escapades – bon appétit! And let’s not forget her love for gin, making her possibly the only paddle boarding gin connoisseur you’d ever meet, cruising down her local river with her dog as the first mate, nose to the wind, plotting their next adventure.
Alena’s exit was a touch ahead of schedule, to put it lightly. Her high-spirited character is missed – even her plants seem a little less green. So here’s to you, our dearest Lene!