Bridget Doogan: New Chief Executive

Bridget Doogan took up the position of Chief Executive on 14 January this year, and We are delighted with her appointment and look forward to working with her. This is a brief resume written by Bridget.

As a new year begins and I look to the future, I am so delighted to begin the year by introducing myself, Bridget Doogan, as the new Chief Executive of Saint John of God Care Services.

I was born and brought up in Perth, Scotland where my parents settled when they came over from Ireland in the 1950’s. I have four brothers and two sisters and have been lucky to have had the support, fun and challenge of being part of a large extended family. I think ultimately that the values I experienced within this family lie at the heart of the reason I am drawn to Saint John of God Care Services. Hospitality is a way of life for us and most of life’s events are met with the offer of a cup of tea and a helping hand.

For the past two years I have worked as Development Manager with the Scottish Health Promoting Schools Unit. Our mission was to work with Health Boards and Local Council Partnership groups to enable them to help schools make a real difference to the health and well-being of children and young people in Scotland. We also worked with National Agencies and the Scottish Government as they developed legislation and policies which would help those at service level to achieve this. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to contribute to this important work.

Prior to joining the unit, I had a career in a wide variety of schools and had been a Primary Head Teacher for fifteen years. I worked in Perth, Spain and Dumfries and Galloway. Working in a leadership role allowed me to develop a wide variety of skills and to be in a position to work with staff, children and parents to develop learning communities which enhanced the lives of all those who were part of that vision. I also realised the need to develop my skills and during this time, undertook training in counselling and facilitation, which proved invaluable for my work with people. It is great to be coming into a position which will fully utilise and enhance all my skills.

As a leader, I believe in genuine participation and working with all stakeholders to ensure that the services we offer really do meet the needs of those who use them. The importance of listening and good communication is very clear to me and I endeavour to do this wherever possible. In school, we were always telling the children that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!

Outside my working life my great love is music. I like to sing and play the guitar and am very convinced of the power of music and the positive effect it can have on people.

I enjoy travelling to interesting places, the most notable of which has been Alaska and the Yukon in Canada. I am an avid reader and usually have around three books on the go at any one time. This year, I have also set myself the challenge of learning to ski – this is a great test of perseverance for me!

My experiences in my personal and professional life to date have shaped the person I have become. I am a strong believer in social justice and in working to create a society which embraces difference and allows everyone a fair opportunity. I will bring with me this passion for making a positive difference in people lives which has been the driving force behind my work in schools and with health and education at national level.

I understand that my arrival marks the beginning of a change for St John of God Care Services and I am mostly looking forward to getting out and about to experience the services for myself. I am impressed by what I have read and heard and heartened by the welcome I received from those of you I have already met.

Following my appointment to the post of Chief Executive, Brother John presented me with a wonderful painting which depicts the story of The Good Samaritan. This now hangs on my office wall as a constant reminder of the mission we all have and which I am now privileged to be part of.

I am so excited by the prospect of belonging to an organisation with such an inspirational history, a willingness to move and adapt to meet the challenges of the times but at the same time to stay true to the values and spirit of its founder.

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