St Vincent de Paul Society (Tas) welcomes new CEO, Heather Kent.

The St Vincent de Paul Society (Tas) has appointed Heather Kent as its new CEO, following Lara Alexander’s move to the Tasmanian Government as the Member for Bass earlier this year.

The Society’s State President, Mr Mark Gaetani, said that he is delighted that Ms Kent has accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer and that he and the State Council are looking forward to working with her over the next five years.

“Ms Kent has worked in the not-for-profit sector in Tasmania for over a decade and brings experience and knowledge to the Society, which will enhance and contribute to the ongoing growth of the organisation over the ensuing years. Heather will take up her role with the Society as soon as she has completed her contract with her current organisation,” Mr Gaetani said.

“In her new role, Heather will be responsible for leading the transformational development and delivery of the Society’s long-term strategy of service to the community, ensuring sustainability of our charitable programmes. This ambition and vision is intrinsically linked to the Society’s aspirations for future major housing projects, which aim to deliver transitional and affordable housing to match the Society’s Emergency Assistance and other programmes.

“The timing of Ms Kent’s appointment as CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Tasmania could not have been better. As we enter the new financial year and embark on several new initiatives, which form part of the 2022 – 2025 Strategic Plan, adopted by State Council last month, the Society will be grateful for Heather’s expertise to guide State Council and the Society to achieve its goals, with the mission of the organisation at its heart.

“We still face many challenges in Tasmania. Homelessness continues to be a systemic issue. One that the Society believes will be exacerbated with the challenges of rises in the cost of living and tightening budgets,” Mr Gaetani said.

Ms Kent said she is excited to be taking a leadership role with one of Tasmania’s core charities.

“No one can doubt the tremendous impact the St Vincent de Paul Society has on communities across Tasmania. Be it the delivery of food and soup on a nightly basis on Loui’s and Vinnies Vans, offering shelter and accommodation through affordable housing and Bethlehem House, creating meaningful employment through the Society’s Special Works, or its exceptional Emergency Assistance programmes that deliver funds and support every day to so many in need. The St Vincent de Paul Society has a lot to be proud of in Tasmania and I am looking forward to working with the Society’s members, volunteers, and staff; and to making an even greater contribution to helping the underprivileged and disenfranchised,” Ms Kent said.

“I hope to call on my 18 years’ of experience in dealing with government and the not-for-profit sector to further the goals of the Society. My initial focus will be upon building strong relationships that foster existing trust and loyalty with the community. I know that donors and volunteers already enjoy a long and rewarding relationship with Vinnies and its programmes. To nurture those for the benefit of the community more generally genuinely excites me – I can’t wait to get started.”

“My career has enabled me to take on a variety of leadership roles and Board appointments, each focused on improving the wellbeing of our community, through a range of perspectives. The chance to bring skills and experience from these areas to Vinnies is an honour and I look forward to working with the Society’s State Council, team, members and volunteers in striving toward a better future through the goals identified in the new Strategic Plan. The hardship felt across Tasmania is well-known to me and I also know my role in advocating for and working with others will be as challenging as it will be rewarding. I aim to work with the Society’s leadership team in cultivating an organisation of strength, steering Vinnies forward as it continues to serve and support those who are most vulnerable.

Ms Heather Kent – short biography.
Heather is a proud Tasmanian who has spent considerable time living and working in a range of locations across the state, including smaller, regional communities. With a background that spans health, disability and education, her skills in communication and advocacy have assisted her to lead and work with others in delivering a positive impact to the community.

Heather holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from the University of Tasmania and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Heather has built grass-roots knowledge of the needs and challenges faced across the state through roles upon several boards including the Tasmanian Community Fund, Primary Health Tasmania and also as a lay member of the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania. Most recently, Heather has been CEO of the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation for over a decade.

Seeking opportunities to work with and for others, Heather knows the importance of building relationships of trust in order to effect positive change. She understands the value of working collaboratively and recognises it is vital to listen and learn in nurturing relationships. Heather never shies away from challenge and aims to continue working with passion and energy as well as compassion and empathy.

MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.

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