Magazine article New Zealand Management

Andrea McLeod: Renaissance Woman. (Young Executive of the Year)

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Andrea McLeod: Renaissance Woman. (Young Executive of the Year)

Article excerpt

From music to midwifery, motherhood to management, Andrea McLeod has packed an almost scary amount of achievement into the past 15 years.

The 36-year-old mother of six has already notched up tertiary qualifications in music, midwifery, women's studies and health services management and is about to add a Master's degree in Management to her credentials.

In between studying and raising a family, she has also acquired a wide range of job skills--from delivering babies to managing a Maternity Centre, and from sales work to her present role as manager of health promotion for Public Health South.

Along the way, she has perhaps unsurprisingly earned a reputation as someone who gets things done--on time, as well as bringing a welcome blast of enthusiasm and commitment to the task in hand. Passion and people skills appear as a consistent theme throughout her occupational variations.

After abandoning a music teaching career in her early 20s, McLeod qualified as a midwife in 1996 and ran her own sole practice in Dunedin. That left her enough time to continue pursuing her talents as a sales representative which included selling timeshares and tupperware, and working as area manager for Kiwi Publishing.

Health administration started to become a central focus when she took on the role of managing the Lumsden Maternity Centre in rural Southland. Like many such health services in small rural towns, the hospital was teetering on the brink of survival because it lacked sufficient resources.

After submitting comprehensive reports and recommendations to the Ministry of Health (Health Funding Authority), McLeod was able to negotiate a five-year increased contract. She rates that as a major achievement.

"It meant rural maternity services in northern Southland and Fiordland were able to be continued and the centre was able to remain ... a focal point of the community."

A desire to pursue other management challenges took McLeod back to Dunedin where she became an accreditation facilitator with the Otago District Health Board. The role required liaison with many different clinical service areas as well as an in-depth knowledge of quality standards and processes.

Since taking on her current role last year, she has successfully led her 18-strong work team through the quality accreditation process--one of several innovations she has introduced to the service.

Others, including a new orientation programme, more effective delegation, and a new model for individual performance appraisals highlight McLeod's collegial style of leadership.

"I strongly believe that group decision-making is an effective and efficient means to achieving team results."

She also believes in leading by example, though her own sets a pretty demanding standard--one in which she justly takes pride.

"My continued search for knowledge both through formal study and informal networking is a big achievement for me personally. Managing to juggle being mother to six children, run a household, carry a fulltime management position and study part-time on top of that is something I'm proud of."

Not that McLeod is likely to rest on her laurels. She reckons her leadership capability has yet to be realized.

JUDGES' COMMENTS

WINNER

ANDREA MCLEOD

Andrea McLeod is an outstanding executive and a superb time manager. She impresses as an engaging and outgoing personality and sets high standards of achievement for herself and her team.

She is highly articulate and well focused. She brings considerable imagination and enterprise to the challenges which she has faced--the story of the retention of the Lumsden Maternity hospital and her efforts to turn around local sentiment about using it so it would remain viable, is a classic of its kind. …

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