Oamaru Hospital is a huge part of this district, and the people who work there have important roles to play in challenging times. The Oamaru Mail continues its regular series profiling staff. Reporter Tyson Young catches up with the new chief financial officer, Lesley Wilson, to have a chat about her role.
Q Where do you hail from, Lesley?
I come from Fife, in Scotland, originally. My family and I immigrated to New Zealand just over seven years ago.
We spent two years up in the North Island before coming to live in North Otago. We’ve been here for just over five years.
Q What made you want to come to New Zealand?
We got to a point where, in the UK, life became very, very hectic – it’s at a much faster pace over there than it is here.
At that time, I was working as a financial controller. It was a big job, lots of hours and also lots of travel. My husband I and talked about moving to another country, and Canada and New Zealand sounded quite appealing.
We decided to put our CVs online and see what would happen. Within a week, I got a phone call from a North Island-based company called Argenta, at 10 o’clock at night, from New Zealand.
They said to me they needed a finance manager and were looking for someone with my particular skill set.
Soon afterwards, they invited me over to New Zealand where they interviewed and introduced me to the team. Three and a-half days later, I flew home again and I was offered the job.
That was it – six months later, we were in New Zealand. That was in November 2011.
Q How did you end up in Oamaru?
My husband got the opportunity to work at Oceania Dairy when the factory started in 2014. He was employee No 5 and helped set up the supply chain at the factory. That was what brought us to the South.
It was a decision to move for his job rather than mine at the time.
At about the same time, I joined Te Pari as their management and cost accountant. I was responsible for introducing budgets and things.
Q How long have you been at the hospital?
I’ve been here for about eight weeks.
Throughout my career, I did work briefly for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. I had also worked for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.
Q How are you finding it?
Well, the opportunity to work again in the health sector and the hospital is just so exciting.
As an accountant, numbers are numbers, but getting the opportunity to do numbers for something that you’re really interested in doesn’t always happen.
I’m really interested in helping the hospital regenerate and provide great services for the community.
It’s an incredible opportunity, actually.
Q Do you believe Oamaru Hospital does well overall?
I think we have lots of opportunity to make efficiencies. The hospital is still very paper-based and we really need to bring it to where we are now with devices and technology.
We’ve got lots of opportunities there to be more efficient which I think in turn will help us provide a more proactive, team-oriented service for the community.
Q When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to run – I do a lot of running. Recently, I was one of 450 people who ran in the 60km Kepler Challenge.
I love spending time with my family, who are very active. If we’re not out hiking and mountain biking, we’re outside spending time in our 5ha bush that is on our property.
I also have a big interest in the arts and dancing.
Q If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would be the first thing that you’d and why?
I would love it if we could distribute money more evenly. Some may not agree but that’s me with the finance heart.