L-R: Hon Alfred Ngaro, Hon Paula Bennett, Lisa Woolley and Councillor Linda Cooper.
With the presentation of a taonga and afternoon tea, Lisa’s family, local supporters and VisionWest staff gathered to reflect on and honour her long service.
After a welcome by local Kaumatua Warahi and Linda Paki and Fred Astle, Head of Māori Development at VisionWest, we heard from Gary Grut, Senior Pastor at Glen Eden Baptist Church and Trustee at VisionWest. “Under Lisa’s leadership, VisionWest has grown into an organisation that deeply impacts lives and community.”
Gary also shared Craig Vernall, Baptist National Leader’s contribution “Lisa, in a season when church and society are looking for inspirational women leaders to show us how to lead, you’ve provided a model of what great leadership looks like. You’ve been consistent in your goals. Courageous with your vision. Generous with your knowledge and always caring of the most needy around you.”
Following Gary, Michael Taylor, Board of Trustees Chair and Brook Turner, Head of Community Services Development shared about their experiences working with Lisa. Her dedication to transforming lives and heart for people were common themes throughout all the speeches. As Brook pointed out, “Lisa walks the talk and makes time for all of us. She never seems rushed and often stops in the carpark or somewhere on campus to connect with staff and see how they are going.”
Before afternoon tea was served, Lisa was presented with her taonga – a beautiful korowai made by Jean Pompey from Mangatangi Marae – and came forward to give an emotional response beginning with “I did not expect all this….”
Having touched the lives of so many in her fight for our community’s most vulnerable members, Lisa has secured a legacy at VisionWest for decades to come.