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Thank You Robbie

After a wonderful three years of service, Rainbow Families Board said goodbye to Robbie Robertson
(he/him) at the 2022 AGM. While Robbie will continue to serve on the Marketing Committee, he has
been a huge part of the Board and we’d like to honour his contribution and express our gratitude.
Robbie co-parents his daughter Sophie with his ex Jason. He describes Jason as “a wonderful guy”
and in classic parent of a pre-teen style, says Sophie is “12 going on 17 and knows everything!”
Calling his family joyful, curious, and cheeky, clearly that almost teenage sass is just as adored as
every other aspect of parenting.

The best piece of advice Robbie has been given about parenting is to trust your instinct. “Trust your
gut. You’re going to get so much advice from different people but you know your child and yourself
better than anyone else.” He believes that understanding different parenting styles and hearing
advice from other people helps you find the mix that’s best for yourself and your family, which for
Robbie looked like having structure that benefitted both Sophie and himself. “I have the confidence
in having an hour to myself after bedtime. Find whatever works for you and listen to everything”.
Something you may not know about Robbie, unless perhaps you were living in the UK a couple of
decades ago, is that he used to be a TV presenter for the BBC! In his early twenties he took on a
weekend and evening job that saw him visiting a different city every week for a travel segment on a
magazine show. “I was made to wear the same clothes for the whole weekend to ensure continuity,”
he says of his two year stint on That Gay Show.

Naturally Robbie came across Rainbow Families due to having his own family, having visited the stall
at Fair Day when Sophie was a baby, but has a connection that goes even further back than that.
Robbie’s ex-partner Jason knew Scott (Brunelle, Rainbow Families outgoing Co Chair) and their
families were in India at the same time during their surrogacy journeys.
On the role of Rainbow Families in his life, Robbie says the significance is twofold, “connection with
other similar families is really important to show Sophie that her family is similar to others.” Robbie
and Jason were the only same sex couple where they lived and where Sophie attended school, so
they felt it was important for her to recognise other families that looked like hers. Secondly, Robbie
says “by advocating together we have a stronger voice in the community, which is important to
break down and resolve some challenges that face all families in different ways. It creates an easier
sort of future.”

Referring to Rainbow Families as inclusive, engaging, and fun, it’s easy to see why Robbie agreed to
get involved as a volunteer a year after first being asked four years ago. Robbie has always been
deeply passionate about volunteering and this was his third board appointment for different
charities, having been working with charities for 25 years both in London and here in Australia.
“Rainbow Families resonated the strongest in terms of the work having a direct consequence for my
family. It ticked two boxes; I enjoy volunteering and it benefits my community”.

The highlight of his time on the Board has been meeting the incredible range of Board members
from our community. Robbie has worked with people he never would have had the chance to meet
and heard different perspectives on the community we live in. “You have a perception based on your
lived experience every day and then you hear other people’s experiences that are so vastly different.
It opened my eyes to continuing to be curious.” Robbie values recognising that what he perceives
and engages with isn’t everyone’s experience. “Don’t assume anything,” is a resounding theme from
his time on the Board.

Robbie’s passion for Rainbow Families is infectious and it’s easy to see why he wants to remain
connected via the Marketing Committee. “It’s such a thriving charity. Against all odds and adversity
Rainbow Families continues to grow and scale every year, touching the lives of tens of thousands of
potential and existing parents and their families. Through everything the world throws at you it has
stayed true to its constitution and builds legacy.” Robbie feels excited to see where Rainbow
Families goes into the future too and says he’d like to see the charity achieve national coverage.
“The natural next step as a NSW based charity is to come together with colleagues in other states to
create a national body, because that’s when we’ll be able to ensure there’s not disparity state to
state and ensure the support network reaches everybody regardless of state.”
Welcoming the new Board members, Robbie offers some sound advice, “focus on delivering one
thing really well. Concrete but small steps forward will win the race. We all get carried away with
different opportunities but it’s important to recognise that this is a small organisation of volunteers
and it’s better to do one thing really well than lots mediocre”.
Thanks so much Robbie, it’s been wonderful ti have your oversight these past few years.

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