Dairne Kirton, CCS Disability Action National President, is delighted to announce the appointment of Mel Smith, current Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager for the Southern region, to the role of Chief Executive.

Ms Smith will be filling the role from incumbent David Matthews on July 1, 2021 who has served the organisation for over 20 years.

She has a long history with the organisation, where she began work as a Support Worker following a social work placement through Otago University in 2002. She then moved into a Coordination role and, following a period working for the Deaf Society in Western Australia, returned to take the Team Leader position in Otago and later Waitaki. This was followed by her appointment to the acting Regional Manager role and later to a newly established General Manager position for Southern in 2016. Ms Smith was appointed to a newly created Deputy Chief Executive Position in 2020.

“I do feel exceptionally proud of this organisation and the work we do in communities, so I am excited to take on this new position. I think creating a society that is more accepting of diversity is truly possible. All it takes is one person, influencing another – and that sows a seed for change. I hope that I’ll be able to help create an environment where these seeds can blossom and grow,” says Ms Smith.

She has a passion for working with people and enjoys the challenges of creating workplaces and building teams in which people can grow and shine. Her commitment to disabled people and their families is unquestionable and over the last eleven years, she has demonstrated a specific interest and ability in employment. Ms Smith will be tasked to provide effective leadership across the whole organisation and will continue to work hard to ensure that the vision and values of the organisation are upheld.

“Mel was the stand-out in a large field of impressive applicants numbering more than forty. I am thrilled with the appointment and the board and I are looking forward to the benefits of her leadership in the years ahead,” says Ms Kirton.

David Matthews and Mel Smith will work together with the support of CCS Disability Action National Board over the next three months to ensure that there is a smooth leadership transition.

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