Baptist Community Services NSW and ACT (BCS) marked the end of a memorable era last week as it farewelled long-time Chief Executive Officer, Dr June Heinrich and welcomed its new chief to the helm, Ross Low.
After 16 years heading up the organisation, Dr Heinrich left Baptist Community Services last Friday to move into semi-retirement.
Dr Heinrich reassuringly said she would not stray too far from the sector at all, as she expects to increase her membership on various boards and possibly carry out some post graduate research at either the University of Western Sydney or Macquarie University.
Although sad to leave, Dr Heinrich said that it was the right moment to go, as the worst thing a leader can do is to stay on beyond their time.
“I felt that 16 years is a long time to head up an organisation,” Dr Heindrich said.
“It is good for an organisation to have a new direction and a fresh person of the helm.”
Recalling her term as CEO, Dr Heinrich referred to the changing face of aged care and the expansion of community care.
“The biggest change I think is the growth in community aged care. Older Australians are making the choice to remain in their homes in the community for as long as possible to avoid entering residential aged care.
“At one stage we had about 30 community aged care packages and now we have thousands. That is without doubt the biggest change.
“The other is linked to the fact that people are putting off entering residential aged care so when they do enter, they are older and frailer and are a different client group.”
BCS’ new CEO, Mr Low, was promoted within from the role of general manager of the corporate support division where he managed the finance, IT, payroll and procurement units from 2009. He also occupied the role of chief financial officer (from July 2006) and business strategist (from 2004).
Mr Low joined the board of BCS in 2001 and served as a director and chairman of the audit and finance committee.
Dr Heinrich said that Mr Low will bring to the role wide experience in finance and senior management with several multinational corporations, having worked in both in Australia and overseas.
“Ross is well placed to lead BCS in this phase of the organisation’s journey, and I commend him to you,” said Dr Heinrich.
“His different perspective will help the organisation to take on a different way of looking at things.”
Offering Mr Low words of wisdom about occupying the role Dr Heindrich said: “The thing about aged care is that it’s all about people and we have got to keep our focus on our clients.
“Profit is important and we have to be viable but the focus is on the clients, maximising their independence and their self esteem. We will all go there one day so we want a system that respects the individual.”
Managing director of BCS’s financial consulting firm, Premier Consulting, Bruce Message, said that Mr Low is a deserving incumbent for the CEO role.
“His thorough knowledge of an incredibly complex business will enhance BCS and its broader community, through his measured considerations and decisions,” said Mr Message.
“I am convinced that under his stewardship, Ross will make an enormous contribution to further the vision and values that BCS hold as being a passionate innovative Christian organisation.”