As a not-for-profit that deals with the issues of a manufacturing company, like testing, processing, and distribution, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (Blood Service) has a truly unique challenge before it. Jennifer Williams, CEO of the Blood Service, spoke to The CEO Magazine about how the business has evolved in recent years to become more efficient and cutting-edge.
The CEO Magazine: You came to the position in 2009 after running several hospital networks and working in the private sector. What attracted you to the Blood Service and the not-for-profit sector?
Jennifer: My background had been in health, with seven years as CEO of Austin Health and then five years as CEO of Alfred Health. Of course, I knew about the Blood Service, but I had not had direct dealings with it. Obviously, they were products that the hospitals that I worked in consumed but I didn't have any direct relationship with them, so it was an organisation that I really had little knowledge of. I didn't understand the full range of complex functions required to get a transfusible product from a donor into a hospital fridge.
As I went through the process of talking to the headhunters, the organisation really came to life. I never really think about jobs in terms of ‘this is public,' ‘this is private sector'; it's really about the actual job, where the organisation is, what I can contribute to the organisation, and what I can get out of it.