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CEO starts for Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Agency

Laitinen outside Hawkes Bay Business Hub where she will be based in her new role

The Chair of the Board of Hawke’s Bay’s new Regional Economic Development Agency (HBREDA), Alasdair MacLeod, is pleased to welcome aboard HBREDA’s inaugural CEO, Lucy Laitinen.

Laitinen comes from a six year stint as CEO of Anglican Care Waiapu, based in Napier. Anglican Care Waiapu is the social services arm of the Anglican Diocese of Waiapu, a region covering Southern Hawke’s Bay to the Bay of Plenty, encompassing Tairāwhiti and Taupō/Turangi.

HBREDA’s primary focus will be on encouraging and enabling new economic activity in the region in line with the Matariki strategy focus of  enabling a sustainable, accessible and resilient Hawke’s Bay economy where every whānau and household benefits.

During her time at Anglican Care Waiapu, Laitinen led the development and implementation of far-reaching strategy to transform the organisation at all levels to achieve stronger social return on investment. She drove a focus on partnership and collaboration and was instrumental in setting up a three-way partnership with Hastings Church, Hastings District Council, and Anglican Care Waiapu to establish an integrated community hub for the homeless on Market Street in Hastings.

Laitinen also drove a new fund investment strategy for Anglican Care Waiapu in which the organisation  joined a small but growing community of investors choosing to invest in businesses with a social and environmental return as well as a financial return.

Most recently she has contributed to efforts by the Anglican Church to support the local community following the cyclone, particularly marae with connections to the Māori (Mihinare) Anglican Church.

Chair of the Waiapu Anglican Social Services Trust Board that oversees Anglican Care Waiapu, John Palairet, says ‘‘Lucy Laitinen has been an outstanding and transformative Chief Executive of Anglican Care Waiapu. Lucy will bring strong relationship and commercial skills to the role and is ideally suited to implement the Matariki strategy’’.

Chair of REDA Alasdair MacLeod says “Lucy was a stand out in a field of strong candidates for the role. She brings a different lens to the role – and we wanted a different lens. We don’t want to be a standard EDA – that’s not good enough for Hawke’s Bay. We need something different. With Lucy, we believe that together we can do that, and deliver on the aspiration that we have a sustainable, accessible and resilient Hawke’s Bay economy where every whānau and household benefits.”

Lucy has a broad background and skillset with time in the humanitarian sector and local government and a strong track record of delivery.

She grew up on a farm in Kereru in the Hastings District before moving with her family to Ruatoria in the early 90s. She attended Sacred Heart College in Napier. Laitinen returned to Hawke’s Bay in 2017 after living overseas, primarily in Finland, and in Auckland. She has a Finnish husband, Harri, and two children, Mila (11) and Max (8).

In December 2022 the Matariki Governance Group (MGG) endorsed Chair Alasdair MacLeod and four board members: Shayne Walker, Rawinia Kamau, Caren Rangi, and Erin Simpson. At the time MGG Board Co-Chair Mayor Alex Walker said “As a regional leadership group we recognise that partnerships across iwi and hapū Māori, business, and the public and private sectors are essential to create the conditions for regional economic success. “Imagine a Hawke’s Bay where everyone is actively engaged in, and benefiting from, a thriving regional economy - that’s our aim.

Laitinen’s appointment comes after a recruitment process led by Rachel Cornwall and her team at Populous People based in Havelock North.

Laitinen started in this new position yesterday and was warmly welcomed with a mihi whakatau led by Shayne Walker on behalf of the REDA Board. She was supported by Rev’d Zhane Tāhau Whelan, Rev’d Isaac Beach, and Rt Rev’d Andrew Hedge, Anglican Bishop of Waiapu, along with whānau, former colleagues, and friends.

Photo: Lucy Laitinen at the doors of Hawke’s Bay Business Hub, 101 Queen Street East, Hastings – where she will be based in her new role.

15 August 2023

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