Barbara Lusk, contract manager and public health advocate extraordinaire, has retired from her (most recent) role with the Ministry of Health after nearly two decades of providing support and guidance to organisations such as our own.
I still remember her first visit to our small and at that time, rather run-down, shared premises in Otara. It would have been 2001. Barbara sat in my office and explained how she liked to work, and how reporting would be done...sensibly. And thus it was done, twice a year and on request, for any contract we held under her portfolio, in the format she laid down. I have to admit, the advice was so sensible, it's a format I use for pretty much any reporting!
Many phone conversations, many meetings, many emails, many talks with other people who when Barbara was mentioned said "oh yes, I know Barbara", and the time to retire seemed to arrive out of 'the blue'. Barbara can't retire, she'll be there forever! But there was a farewell function, and it was poignant and inspiring in equal measure to sit in a room full of people who also obviously valued Barbara highly. People who, like us were going to miss Barbara's skills, tact, wisdom, warmth, sense of humour...throw in some shrewd analysis...there are plenty of words to describe what you got when under her management or collegial umbrella. There's a nice post here from Alison Pask of ANA.
So on behalf of Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa, sincere and heartfelt thanks to you Barbara. Thank you for your patience and support, your faith in public health and health promotion and people. And all the absolute best for your retirement.
Karen Pickering - General Manager, Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa