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Jack Flanagan - Celebrating achievements

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Jack Flanagan’s connection with Catholic Healthcare goes back to 1998, when he was invited to become a Director of both Catholic Healthcare and Hawkesbury District Health Services. 

“I was a Director with Catholic Healthcare for six years, stepped down, then in 2009 I was invited to come back as a Trustee. Later in 2013 I was invited to be the Chair of Trustees. I performed that role until I retired in 2017,” says Jack.

“When I was first appointed in 1998, Catholic Healthcare was only involved in acute care They ran a hospital at Windsor, and managed hospitals in Dubbo and Bathurst.  We were soon asked to respond to the emerging needs in residential aged care which is when we acquired Bodington Aged Care in the Blue Mountains. That was the start of our move into aged care and community care.”

Jack is honest enough to admit in the early days there were a lot of naysayers.

“There were lots of organisations waiting for us to fail,” says Jack. “Some of them would have been in competition, and others would have thought, ‘well they haven't got the expertise to succeed’. But we overcame all of it. It was amazing.”

According to Jack, Catholic Healthcare was also blessed with having Chris Rigby as its first CEO.

“His vision and his idea of Mission were critical,” says Jack. “He was very hands-on and went out of his way to visit every community. He was a good leader through the Board, he was an excellent leader with the executive team, and he was fabulous with employees.

“He always wanted to celebrate achievements. That’s important for any organisation, but especially an organisation like Catholic Healthcare, which is Mission driven. As we get bigger and the number of employees increase, there's a tendency for the Mission to lose its impact. It is more important than ever to ensure it remains part of our DNA.”

Jack is also keen to celebrate the achievements and story of Catholic Healthcare.

“I realised several years ago there was no history of the organisation. I thought it would be a good idea to try and pull together the stories since 1994.”

Jack’s research has now formed the basis of a new 25th Anniversary limited edition coffee table book which traces the history of Catholic Healthcare, profiles the key people involved and captures the organisation’s commitment to seeking out new opportunities. The book will be launched at the Foundation Day Gala Dinner in July 2019.