Home sweet home for new HHHSF director
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | April 13, 2017|
The Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation (HHHSF) has found its new executive director.
Beginning May 1, Lisa Tompkins, presently the director of sales, marketing and communications for the CN Tower, will take over for Dale Walker at the helm of the HHHSF and become a permanent resident of the county with her retired husband.
While at the helm for 18 years, Walker helped the foundation raise $13 million.
“It’s quite a privilege to be continuing the excellent and important work that Dale has done for the community,” Tompkins told The Highlander.
Tompkins, who’s been an HHHSF board member and vice chair for 13 years, will be working closely with Walker during the month of May to ensure a smooth transition.
She has been a cottager in the county for 35 years.
“The two have been synergistic in my life and I look forward to a new chapter,” Tompkins said about balancing her volunteer duties with her full-time occupation at the CN Tower. “I’ve had a wonderful career in my current job … but I won’t miss the commute.”
A total of nine applications for Walker’s replacement were reviewed between February and March.
Eight of them were worthy of getting the job, says Peter Oyler, and creating a short-list of three wasn’t easy, and it was done with minimal dollars.
“They were all very qualified,” Oyler said. “Her [Tompkins’] background with the foundation was crucial.”
HHHSF board member, Eric Recalla, who helped spearhead the recruitment phase, said the board’s decision to select Tompkins was unanimous.
“Right now she has to get herself established from a hands-on perspective,” Recalla said, adding Tompkins’ different personality and the new ideas she is expected to bring forward will have a positive impact on the foundation.
“We have some challenges ahead,” Recalla said, pointing to gaps in the health care system. “The health system is starving, and we have to do what we can to help with that.”
According to the Ontario Health Coalition, the province has the fewest hospital beds left per capita of any province, and that number is declining.
But Tompkins is enthusiastic about her new role, says Recalla, and looks forward to working with the rest of the foundation.
An emotional Walker reminisced about her time as the foundation’s director, and was quick to say the people she met and worked with along the way, in addition to some of the major projects she helped fundraise for, were some of her most cherished memories.
“It’s been so great; I’ve had great people around me and amazing volunteers. It doesn’t work without them.”
While she isn’t retiring, Walker is looking forward to a brief break and spending time with family, before joining her husband Jerry at Walkers Home Hardware.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.