Innovation and improvement at SMCT: inside Lisa Falla's award-winning year

28 November 2023
A photograph of SMCT's Strategic Product Manager Lisa Falla, smiling, as she poses with her award alongside SMCT Chief Customer Officer Damian Ramondetta
Strategic Product Manager Lisa Falla poses with Chief Customer Officer Damian Ramondetta at the 2023 SMCT Awards

At Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT), we take pride in recognising and celebrating the exceptional individuals who play a vital role in our organisation's success. Our annual SMCT Awards honour the remarkable achievements of our team members who consistently go the extra mile, positively impacting our organisation and the communities we serve.

This year, we are proud to announce that Strategic Product Manager Lisa Falla has been awarded the Innovation and Continuous Improvement Award.

This award recognises individuals who demonstrate exceptional skills in identifying and implementing improvements, advocating for innovative solutions that benefit our customers, and engaging in collaborative efforts that enhance our organisation.

Strategic innovation in action

“I have been doing product development for most of my career. While the products here may differ from my previous experience, the fundamental principles remain the same, allowing me to contribute effectively even though I’m relatively new,” Lisa says.

Lisa’s award win speaks to the significant impact she has made within her first year with us.

"I did know that I was nominated for an award but given I've been in the business for such a short time and understanding the high calibre of the team at SMCT, I did not think I would win. It's really humbling," says Lisa.

Lisa has significantly improved how SMCT handles large construction projects where new graves or cremation memorials are built. She is particularly skilled in identifying the specific requirements of each project and ensuring that they align with the goals of both SMCT and the community. Lisa's ability to quickly understand the needs of community members and stakeholders has led to a new, more efficient method of organising these projects. As a result, project handovers will be smoother, project outcomes will be more dependable, and our communities' expectations will be more reliably met.

The essence of teamwork and continuous learning

Lisa's approach to her work is deeply rooted in the belief that innovation is a team sport, which is evident in how she describes the essence of continuous improvement.

"It's all about collaboration. One person doesn't come up with all the ideas. It's a team effort," she says.

Her commitment to growth extends beyond the workplace. During the pandemic, Lisa embarked on an MBA, enhancing her skill set and setting a learning example for her two children.

"Going back to study after working for so long is challenging, but it shows my boys that you're never done learning, which ties into the idea of continuous improvement. It's part of my personality; I’m always seeking to learn something new. It's also great to be able to tell the kids, 'I've got homework to do, so you should do yours too!'" says Lisa.

The road ahead

Lisa's first year at SMCT has been outstanding. Her drive to improve the efficiency of our operations and excel in every task is unwavering, and her willingness to exceed expectations for our clients, families, and colleagues has been an inspiration. Lisa wholeheartedly embodies our core values of Passion, Integrity, and Dedication, and we look forward to seeing where her transformative abilities take us in the future.

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