New Zealand CEO charts path to growth

St John of God Hauora Trust’s new Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Williams, has assumed the role as the organisation moves to meet strong demand for its services.

19 Nov 2021

St John of God Hauora Trust’s new Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Williams

Sarah was appointed in June having acted in the role since November 2020, after previously leading the organisation’s Community, Youth and Child Services division since 2014. 

“When I started with St John of God Hauora Trust, everything felt familiar because of my experience at a boarding school operated by the Sisters of Mercy,” she said.

“The Sisters of Mercy have similar origins to the Sisters of St John of God in Wexford, Ireland, and as a result I feel a deep connection to our shared values.”  

Sarah’s career in health started as a registered nurse, and she found herself drawn to caring for vulnerable people. She worked in community services, supporting people with traumatic and acquired brain injuries, and later as a senior clinical leader specialising in care and rehabilitation programs for young offenders with intellectual disability.

These experiences in the health sector, as well as senior leadership roles in New Zealand and the United Kingdom will inform her focus as Chief Executive Officer.

Sarah’s primary driver is developing the five-year strategic direction for the Trust, putting people at the core of everything.

“Our residents, clients and their families are at the centre of everything we do. In recent months we have commenced a comprehensive strategic plan refresh for the organisation that will support our capability to respond to, and deliver on, demand for our services,” she said.

“We are fortunate to have the support of an experienced and skilled Board in New Zealand as well as the collaboration with the leadership group of St John of God Health Care to support our strategic development.”

The Trust is also looking to grow its Health and Ability Services division to add another 24 beds at St John of God Halswell for residential and transitional rehabilitation care.

“The Board of St John of God Hauora Trust has recently approved the business case for the development of 24 additional beds at St John of God Halswell that will be known as the Lucena Unit,” she said.

“We are consistently at capacity for our residential care and rehabilitation services so this is fantastic progress in our ability to reduce our standing waitlist and support more people in need of our quality service.”

Additionally, Sarah said she was looking at ways of using data to power their decision making about services.

“We have a lot of qualitative information that highlights the value of our services but our next focus is building the capability to better evaluate our services, measure our impact and make sound decisions to improve the support we provide,” she said.

Did you know?

St John of God Hauora Trust is a leading provider of disability, youth and social services in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

The Trust supports people living with a physical or neurological disability through our health and ability services at various locations throughout New Zealand.

In the South Island, the Trust operates St John of God Halswell, a residential and respite care facility, as well as four community homes in the Christchurch and Selwyn districts of Canterbury. 

In the North Island, residential and respite care is provided to people living with a physical or neurological disability at St John of God Karori.

Community Youth and Child Services deliver innovative programs at St John of God Waipuna, providing young people, their families/whanau and the community with support and opportunities for development.