It’s Our Hospital – column 32

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By Fran Donaldson, Vice Chair, PECM Hospital Foundation

Along with several other Directors of the Foundation, I have been quite busy lately with the process of hiring a new Executive Director. We were very pleased by the number and quality of applications received in response to our ad. By the deadline of April 16, we had about 16 applications, from people both local and from as far away as Barrie and Toronto and Niagara. Clearly, the challenge of managing the Foundation staff and operations – with the prospect of a new hospital – has caught the interest of quite a few well qualified professional fundraisers. For starters, we invited five people to be interviewed, while several of those remaining may also prove to be worth following up.

Our interview process is a two-stage affair. In the first round, which began on April 19, three or four Directors met each of the applicants for about an hour. We took turns asking a total of about a dozen prepared questions, covering experience, education, and abilities relating to various aspects of the job, and we listened to the applicants make a presentation about asking for and managing major gifts. We also answered their questions to ensure they understood our situation and our expectations. The most astute candidates had usually done a good bit of research about our hospital, our Foundation and the County, and were able to customize their presentation to our interests. Now we are comparing our notes, including what we “liked” about each applicant, as well as what concerns we may have related to their job history, their knowledge of the various areas involved, their professional experience and their training. Meanwhile, another Director is checking references by telephone. Then we will “rank” the applicants, and invite some or all of them to return for a second interview.

That second interview will be even more rigorous. The applicants will meet some more Directors, and the questions we ask will be individualized, more specific to each one and perhaps more difficult, ensuring that we have a thorough understanding of what they can offer. We will also be concerned with how each one might relate to the Foundation team of staff and Directors, as well as the larger family of the hospital staff and people at Quinte Health Care, and especially how they might fit in with the community. After some negotiation around salaries, benefits and working conditions, the process will end with a job offer and an employment contract – all to be accomplished by mid-May, so the new Executive Director can start work around the middle of June. As I said, we’ve been busy, and the job’s not done yet.

So, why am I telling you all about it? Well, it’s really a question of transparency, something the Foundation Directors take very seriously. We realize that the hospital is the heart of the community, not a private enterprise, and we are stewards of the money you donate to equip this hospital – and to build and equip the next one. We appreciate and recognize our donors, and we want you to know that we take our responsibilities seriously. That means handling your donations very carefully, spending your money wisely, and ensuring that those we hire are well-qualified and certified professionals, responsible, dedicated, and committed to the highest ethical standards.

If you’d like to know more about the Foundation and how you can help, you can contact Penny at 476 1008 ext. 4503, or Briar at ext. 4425, or Marthe at ext. 4502, or visit our website at