Serendipity heralds selection of new Chief Executive

By PSS | Posted: Wednesday March 25, 2020

Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) board members and staff have recently welcomed new Chief Executive, Michael Parker to the fold.

Michael took over the role in early February, replacing John Prendergast who has relocated to the capital and now holds the position of General Manager of the Catholic Archdiocese ofWellington.

Michael said his selection came after a year-long string of serendipitous events saw his speedy return to health and the workforce - following cancer treatment - coincide opportunistically with the job opening and his suitability to the head position.

“Our move to Southland has been a really positive one for Gillian and I,” said Michael.
“I feel privileged to be here – both for being well and also for having almost ‘fallen’ into this position.”

PSS Chairman Tim Loan said the board had every faith Michael would lead the organisation admirably. He said the organisation was “incredibly fortunate’ to be reaping the benefits of Michael’s wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge that spans the finance, business and non-profit sectors and includes his most recent tenures as Chief Executive of two different ‘sister’ Presbyterian Support organisations.

A long-time champion of social equity and community conscience, Michael’s early banking career was spent helping low-income families dig their way out of oppressive debt, having fallen victim to exploitative loan sharks. Fast forward to the year 2003 and Michael “found his calling” when he was first appointed Chief Executive to one of the seven federated Presbyterian Support organisations - finding the social services provider’s strategic vision and ethos of community good and community care, aligned to that of his own. This most-excellent ‘fit’ was reaffirmed when Michael spoke of the internationally-recognised work his team undertook embedding the client-centred ‘Eden Alternative’ model of care into aged-care residential homes, as being one of his proudest contributions.

“The Eden Alternative philosophy centres on the principle of eliminating the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom in residential aged care. The change is actioned via collaborative care partnerships, capacity building and empowerment and can, interestingly, be applied to almost any care setting,” said Michael.

” I see the essence of this fitting nicely with Presbyterian Support Southland’s vision and values but for now I’ll just be observing things, getting to know the people and services on offer, understanding what makes us tick, why we do things the way we do, how we stay relevant … So that we can continue to grow the many good things I see happening down here”.