Blackwood Homes and Care have completed their restructured Executive Management Team by appointing Steph Sutherland as Development and Commercial Director.
Replacing former Development and Commercial Director Simon Fitzpatrick, who became Chief Executive in February, Steph occupied the post on an interim basis before securing the role permanently – something she says she is really excited about.
Steph said: “It’s an exciting role at an exciting time for Blackwood as we strive to improve the services we provide, in both housing and care, to reach new customers.”
Steph, 34, originally joined Blackwood in 2018 as a Development and Procurement Officer before progressing onto the role of Development Manager a year later.
Her ascent into the Executive Management Team is something she is extremely proud of and she says it highlights the opportunities to grow within Blackwood.
She added: “To come in as an Officer five years ago and then become a Director is a huge achievement for me personally.
Blackwood is a great organisation for identifying potential and supporting succession – finding people, who can and want to progress.
Steph joins the new Executive Management Team, that also contains Corporate Services Director Liz MacKinnon, Finance Director Heather Duncan and Head of HR, Jane Reilly – meaning half of Blackwood’s senior management are women.
The independent living specialists were formed 51 years ago by Dr Margaret Blackwood OBE and Steph says she is delighted to be part of the latest generation of women helping to drive the organisation forward.
Steph said: “It is a new Executive Management Team with a lot of experience, fresh ideas and different perspectives, which can only be a positive for the future direction of Blackwood.”
Steph says Blackwood’s values align with her own and that she appreciates the fact the Board give senior management freedom to think outside the box and provide fresh business solutions.
She said: “As an organisation, Blackwood is very person-centred, both in terms of our customers and our staff, but the big draw for me is that Blackwood wants to do things differently.
“We have strong backing from our Board and Chief Executive, who all have a very positive attitude towards the future. They want us to go out there and think differently – they don’t want us to just do what is expected or what we’ve always done.
The Board want us to innovate and explore and that outlook makes Blackwood different and an exciting organisation to be a part of.
Blackwood Chair Julie McDowell said: “I’m really pleased that Steph has joined the Executive Management Team – her fresh ideas, enthusiasm and expertise will be a real asset to Blackwood.”
Chief Executive Simon Fitzpatrick said: “Having worked with Steph for over five years in different roles, I’m delighted to have her on the new executive team at Blackwood.
“I know Steph is committed to service excellence, taking forward our commercial growth, and, ultimately, helping people live their lives to the full.”
As Steph starts her new role she says she has a very clear objective: to help Blackwood make more people live independently.
My focus is the delivery of new homes and services to reach more customers. Ultimately I want Blackwood to help more people to live independently – that’s our aim.