After a period of handover, we are settling into our new way of working, with a new CEO, new board members and a slightly new organisational structure.
Our new CEO, Katherine Hewitt, is now fully in place.Katherine has been with Gateway for just over three years, first managing the Health and Wellbeing division, then as Deputy CEO, then Operations Manager.
It’s clear that not only does Katherine know Gateway very well, but she understands the directions in which the organisation is moving and why, and believes in its goals as strongly as the Board does. She has an in depth knowledge of the local health and social care economy, and is passionate about addressing both inequalities and the underlying determinants of ill health and social deprivation.
Katherine’s background is in community development and regeneration. Although her previous work was largely in the public sector it was always about forging links with the voluntary and community sectors and building their capacity, so her move to the not-for-profit sector was a natural one.
Katherine replaces Vicki Fitzgerald, who left at the end of April. Vicki set up Gateway and has been leading it for the last eight years, so we recognise that a change of CEO could mean a big change for the organisation. However, Katherine’s appointment means some continuity and so the change will be a gentle one.
Under Katherine, Gateway now has one Operations Manager, Jo Harper, but two Departmental Managers. Michelle Smitten runs our Employment Access, Skills and Training (EAST) department, and we welcome Jane Piggott-Smith, who will be running our Health and Wellbeing department.
Gateway was set up to deliver training and development for people who need it most, by creating new paraprofessional roles, and that will continue to be the case. Gateway is here to fill the gaps and to engage the people who need it most; our ethos hasn’t changed.
As we explained in our eighth birthday blog post in February:
We say that people are best helped by those who are two steps ahead – in other words, people who have experienced problems but have made progress. So we employ people with direct, personal knowledge of the issues our clients face. Often, they’ve overcome similar problems themselves. The people they are supporting will relate to them and their achievements don’t seem too far out of reach.
Our departments cover areas like employment training, weight loss and pregnancy outreach. The common thread is “people who need help” and all of the areas we cover have a direct impact on health and wellbeing.
Katherine’s priorities, which are set by the Board, will include continuing to deliver important contracts across the city, but also setting up some more of our own trading activities, like the interpreting service that we set up last year. These sorts of activities – that are completely under our control – still exist to help people and “fill in the gaps”, but also make us more sustainable as a business. Of course, we’re still interested in new opportunities, tenders and service delivery, but having a mix of both is important.
We have also doubled the number of board members – from six to twelve.
Although all of the current six board members give Gateway a lot of time, they all have day jobs, so their time is limited. By having more people on the Board, we’ve realised we can spread the work a lot more. It has also given us the opportunity to bring in new specialisms, skills and points of view.
Our new board members have experience in third sector and health roles, including patient involvement, employability and volunteering – but also workforce development, HR, organisational development and PR, which are already proving to be invaluable as we move forward into the new era.
Meet the new board members
Moybul comes from a background of volunteering and community work. He has worked with a range of social enterprises, charities and community development projects – including those related to housing, employability, health, youth work and the environment – often in voluntary managerial and director roles.
Mark has worked in the disability movement for nearly 20 years and has held a number of voluntary directorships in that time. In the last two years he has sat on the Community Champion panel for BeBirmingham and was a strategy group member of Birmingham Link. He is also a visiting lecturer for Social Work degrees at Birmingham City University and Birmingham University.
Steve is a communications and change management consultant with a background in health and social care. As a consultant, his work focuses on helping organisations communicate and improve engagement by creating connections and building meaningful relationships. His consultancy specialises in the UK health and social care markets but has also supported clients across the wider public sector, the private and not for profit sectors.
Mandy is the Director of Workforce for Health Education West Midlands. She has worked in the Education and Health sector for over 15 years and has experience with both Birmingham City Council and a range of NHS organisations in Birmingham and the Black Country. Mandy has been a supporter of Gateway’s work since its inception and, as Director of Workforce at South Birmingham PCT, worked closely with Gateway as it was being set up.
Richard has worked for several years in employment and housing support and currently works as an employability professional delivering the Work Programme. His background also includes a knowledge of housing law, and housing and income related benefits law. Richard is also heavily involved in charity work, so brings a strong third sector knowledge.
Liz currently works with communities, partnerships and corporate businesses to raise investment to support patient care and service delivery, but her previous work includes working in the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). As well as giving health guidance and resolutions to members of the public, families and carers, she has also worked with commissioners across the city to develop services in patient experience, children and young people, and maternity services.