Farewell Shannon - but not Goodbye
“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” – Ernie Harwell
The KSP Writers' Centre office has been lucky to be staffed by an incredible line-up of passionate and friendly people since it opened in 1985. Today, we say a formal farewell to Shannon Britza (nee Coyle), who is one of those friendly people. Shannon is the longest-serving employee in the history of the KSP Foundation, and the newest recipient of a prestigious KSP Foundation Life Membership.
For the past ten years, if you have interacted with the Centre in some way, you are likely to have conversed with or been smiled at by Shannon. She was thrilled to be accepted at KSP for an internship back in 2012 as the newsletter editor, and was thereafter invited to join the Management Committee. Then, she became the fulltime Coordinator and went on to become the first CEO of the KSP Writers' Centre in its history.
Shannon's contributions to the Centre from 2012-2022 were significant, and include:
Conceiving, launching and growing the Fellowship Program
Implementing numerous administrative systems to increase efficiency and modernise operations – including PayPal, Wix, Free-to-Book, Submittable and EFTPOS
Developing a comprehensive Policy Manual and Heritage Collection Policy
Generating over $1M in revenue which includes non-grant income growth of 29%
Sourcing numerous grant funds and managing grant projects, notably including: Colours of Katharine Commemoration Event including a KSP Choir performance, piano recital by David Helfgott, and play performance with a script commissioned from Louise Helfgott; Refurbishment of Katharine's Cottage; Production of the 'Blackboy Hill is Calling' Anzac Centenary social history book which sold over 2,000 copies; Constitution rewrite; Emerging Writers Program; and specialised heritage conservation and collection management training
Increasing entries to the Spooky Story Competition by 924% from 2016 to 2022
Writing a business case (described by Cr Martin at the Shire of Mundaring council meeting in May 2021 as ‘the best business case I have ever read’), which led to KSP's first successful service agreement increase in over 16 years and enabled the Centre to hire a Community Engagement Officer.
Shannon was recently awarded a Life Membership by the Board of Management for her:
'Dedication and passion in caretaking Katharine's Place and memory for ten years and for your warmth and professionalism in prospering KSP as a welcoming, supportive hub for writers'. She proudly joins the list of other KSP Life Members: Glen Phillips, Chris Oakeley, Eris MacDonald, Mardi May, and (RIP), Charles Staples, Chris Prince, Sally Clarke, and Colin O'Brien.
Shannon is now taking time to enjoy some well-earnt long service leave by spending time with her family, study a bookkeeping qualification, cook lots of lovely things, relax, and, of course, write!
Bottom left photo: Shannon with David Helfgott at Katharine's piano, 2019. Photo by Jess Gately.
While at this point it would be customary to say that we are sad to see Shannon go - but we won't be saying that. Because, we are happy to announce, that while Shannon is no longer the CEO, she is still working for the Foundation as a contractor, to take care of KSP's accounts and heritage collection, and to help make the transition period as smooth as possible for the Centre and its newest team members.
So we say farewell, but not goodbye. We congratulate and celebrate past achievements while also looking forward to the exciting next chapter: For the Centre, for Shannon, and for the community.