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A New Year And an Exciting New Chapter for Spectrum Care

A New Year And an Exciting New Chapter for Spectrum Care

Chief Executive Chris Harris to step down after nearly a decade of service to the disability sector

Chris Harris was appointed Chief Executive of Spectrum Care in 2007 and brought a mix of skills from his career in the NGO and mental health sectors which suited that particular juncture in Spectrum’s organisational lifecycle. This skillset was complemented by a focus on people, developed through his leadership experience at Outward Bound, Framework Trust and Waikato DHB.

Over the years that followed, Mr Harris led and collaborated in myriad sector initiatives aimed at increasing the quality, consistency and measurability of support services provided to disabled New Zealanders.

Key among these achievements was the development the New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN), which was launched in 2010 with a vision for ‘An inclusive New Zealand’. Spectrum’s Board supported Mr Harris’ involvement at a governance level of NZDSN for the next five years. Mr Harris was also the elected representative for the disability sector on the Careerforce ITO board where he serves as the deputy Chair and also served on the NGO/MoH working group for several years.

The pursuit of excellence has been woven throughout Mr Harris’ tenure, crystallised in the attainment of an internationally calibrated Business Excellence Silver Award in 2010 and an unprecedented Gold Award in 2013, which acknowledged Spectrum Care as operating at a truly world-class standard.

Mr Harris’ reflections at the time captured the nature of the organisation’s journey towards excellence:

“From the moment we first encountered the world of Business Excellence, it became apparent we could never again be satisfied with ‘good enough’,” said Mr Harris.

“We’ve long believed that we hold ourselves to a higher standard, to loftier ideals and a more holistic world view, due first and foremost to our person-centred Vision and Values, and our capacity to support people with disabilities to live great lives. We’ve also sought to move beyond the minimum standards that define the quality monitoring context of the health and disability sector, and the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence has allowed us to take this important step – refocusing on an aspirational journey which embraces excellence and best practice.

“Above all, our Business Excellence journey is an expression of our organisational commitment to building a better, brighter future for the people we support.”

Reflecting on his decision to step down from the role of chief Executive, Mr Harris offered the following comments:

“Spectrum Care is a remarkable organisation and I’ve been proud to occupy the role of Chief Executive over the past eight years.

“During my tenure with Spectrum and as part of the wider disability sector, there have been many significant milestones that we’ve achieved together, including the development of the New Zealand Disability Support Network and the creation of new person-directed support options that are both innovative and individualised. In the pursuit of these achievements, I’ve been privileged to work with an array of committed and visionary individuals, both within Spectrum and across the sector.

“The Spectrum Board has recently approved the Strategic Plan for the next five years and, while the future direction outlined in the plan excites me, I’ve reflected on my capacity to lead the next stages of growth and development. I’ve concluded that the organisation would benefit from having a new leader to take it forward and, for this reason, have decided to step down from my role as Chief Executive.

“This has been a difficult decision because I have a deep commitment to the journey we’ve made together. I have enormous respect for the people and families who rely on our services, and the staff that provide wonderful and inspired support. However, I’ve decided that my job at Spectrum Care is largely done and it’s now time to pass the baton to a new Chief Executive.

“My commitment to the disability sector and our shared objectives is absolute and I look forward to offering ongoing input and support in the future.

“Thank you once again for your support and please embrace this change as an opportunity for Spectrum to achieve even greater outcomes. We’ve shared some great times and I will leave Spectrum Care with a strong sense of pride about the successes that we’ve achieved together and the opportunities that lie ahead!”

Deputy Chair of Spectrum's Board, Bridget Snedden, commented, "I'm very sad to receive Chris’ resignation. His achievements while at the helm have been outstanding, and his deep commitment to disabled people and their families is very evident in his daily work. For this I am very appreciative.”

The task of recruiting a new Chief Executive is an extremely important step which requires a careful planning and selection process. For that reason, Mr Harris has indicated that he will remain in the CE role until the end of June 2016 and the Board has committed to a full and exhaustive recruitment campaign.

ENDS

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