My team and I feel extremely honoured to partner with Naomi Cowan (Chair) and the Board of Platform/Atamira Trust to recruit their next Chief Executive to follow on from Marion Blake MNZM who has led the organisation with distinction for twenty years.

I first met Marion in Auckland in the 90’s at the encouragement of my CEO who said to me, “Paul you really must meet Marion, she’s a greater thinker and you will learn a lot from her”. Never was a truer word spoken and I did once I got over my initial nerves of meeting such an imposing and determined figure in New Zealand’s mental health and addiction landscape.

Imposing and determined? She most certainly is. You do not drive fundamental change by being a wallflower. However when you lead a peak body you change hearts and minds of Government and officials with the strength of your ideas, your compassion and by creating safe spaces for the voices and ideas of others to be heard; membership organisation’s and the people they serve. Marion has always done that. She has always navigated a true north and it was a fitting moment when she was recognised in the New Zealand honours list for services to people with mental health and addiction issues.

Marion Blake MNZM at her investiture with Governor General Dame Patsy Redd

I was on the Board of Platform for many years so I must admit when Naomi and the Board first approached me about recruiting to the role I found it very hard to imagine Marion not in it. Luckily Marion quickly disabused me of that quandary – “this isn’t about filling anyone’s shoes, it’s time for new shoes!” – and she is of course right.

So here we are then at week one of finding those new shoes and it comes at another pivotal moment in time when the community sector needs a strong, credible advocate to ensure the recommendations of He Ara Oranga and Pūrongo Whakamutunga are fully brought to life.

Could this be you? You can read more about Platforms aims and this mission critical role by clicking here.