Getting to know us - Carlene Cardona-Elvy
By now, you well and truly know what we do here at South West Sydney Virtual Assistant.
But, we realise that you may not actually know what makes us tick; what we love; where we're from and how we got to where we are today.
So I decided, well why not give everyone some insight into who we are, and why not start with myself.
I was born in 1980, at the time we lived in King Street, Mascot.
We moved out to Campbelltown when I was 2 1/2 years old, and our house in Raby was the very first one to be built... back then, it was just us, the cows & rabbits and I loved it!
We had a fabulous neighbourhood back then. The otto bin would be our makeshift wickets and street cricket was our go to activity on a weekend afternoon.
I started my schooling life at Heathfield Public School, which would soon become Robert Townson Public School. I had a very keen eye for computers, and when the school got their first Apple Mac, I was in Year 4, the teacher turned to me and asked me to help her use it.
In 1992, in my last year of Primary School, along with my class mates and our awesome Year 6 teacher, Mr Spiewak, we held our annual school concert, and created a full sized replica of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, and I played the bird lady from 'Mary Poppins' singing 'Feed The Birds'.
I also fell in love with a group during my primary years, UB40... a love affair with reggae music, that to this stay is still as strong as ever!
While I was in high school I took a very keen interest in music, but more so being able to compose music and writing songs. I had decided by Year 9 that I wanted to do Audio Engineering. Sadly there was no way I could afford the $20,000+ fees to do my diploma so instead I took myself to TAFE in Campbelltown and studied by Certificate III in Office Administration.
Once I'd finished, I then landed my first job in Administration with Ipec Specialised Services (which would later become Toll Ipec). There I managed multi million dollar contracts for clients such as Nike, Collins Debden and Big W. I also studied further in the IT Field and in 1999 completed by Microsoft Certification to manage the sites servers.
Fast forward a few years I then went on to work in IT managing Adobe software product upgrades, registrations and first level IT support, then later moved onto a local timber company where we manufactured veneer board for kitchen manufacturers.
I then decided to spread my wings, and took off overseas for a few months, where I went 'home' to Malta for the first time to visit all my family. I am very proud of my maltese heritage (something I instill in my children to carry on traditions).
It was the best time ever! I spent some time in Rome visiting a friend as well.
I came home a few months later and took on a project managers position with another freight company where I helped design a new freight management system. Once this was complete I then went to work with Sunbeam (and funnily enough the Sunbeam warehouse in Minto is directly opposite our SWSVA office).
I stayed there for a few years before then moving onto a contract role with Chemicals company BASF, and once this was completed I then made my move into the Outsourcing Industry with Salmat, later to become Fuji Xerox. I would manage the data coming in from the banks, electricity companies etc and schedule them for printing and processing in our mail house to head out and on their way to you!
This is where my journey into motherhood began and where I met my now husband. I had maternity leave in 2012 to have my daughter Sophia and then again in 2015 to have my son Jack - it was whilst I was on leave with Jack that South West Sydney Virtual Assistant came to life. I decided the 3am starts were too much to handle anymore, especially with little ones to boot.
Along with running my business, I also host the monthly Start Up Mum meetings to support other local business mums with their businesses. I am also on the Civic Sub Committee with Campbelltown Chamber of Commerce, representing the members with Local, State & Federal levels of government and I also volunteer my time at my former school assisting with reading groups and also work as the School Banking Coordinator.
In the nearly 3 years since I started this business, I have been very fortunate to have created a life I guess I always wanted to have, being able to have a career I love, but also getting to be a mum at the same time. In this short time, I was lucky enough to be nominated for the Telstra Business Awards, the Local Business Awards, where we became finalists, but most importantly, I have made some many amazing friends with other local business owners.
Where do I see myself in the next few years? Well I do hope to have expanded our team here further, supporting as many businesses as we can, but I'd also like to take the time to travel with my family back to Malta.