Mana Recovery chief moving on
When Elizabeth Meaclem took the job of chief executive at Mana Recovery she was told she was there to fix it or shut it down.
Almost four years to the day, on July 29, Meaclem is leaving to manage a camp ground in Hanmer Springs with her husband.
‘‘We didn’t expect it to happen so soon. It all came very suddenly. I’ve sort of been in shock I think,’’ she said.
‘‘I like new challenges and when I get a place to a good spot it’s good to move on.’’
Meaclem has been through highs and lows with the organisation, the latest losing $430,000 a year from the Capital & Coast District Health Board.
Meaclem said she had many sleepless nights over the changes, but felt it would not be the end for Mana Recovery.
‘‘It is all looking very positive, looking at the books and how we are balancing. We are still in a strong position.
‘‘It’s just a little bit smaller at this stage. But we have got a growth plan to get us back through other means to the sort of revenue we had.’’
She said the trust would be making up the lost money by increasing the recycling side of the business.
Meaclem said that while she was sad to be leaving, the dream to move to a slower pace of life was a long time coming.
‘‘There were a few challenges here. The workload had become fairly significant.
‘‘It’s what I’ve done to myself, probably through success, that has made my job bigger than it needs to be.
‘‘I’ve been working really long hours to redirect the organisation and make sure we get through this little hurdle and come out well at the other end.’’
Her second in command, Dusty Hindle, will be taking her place.
‘‘Dusty is incredible,’’ Meaclem said.
‘‘She has got amazing integrity, which is so needed for this place.’’
Meaclem is a registered nurse and came from Australia to work for a mental health line. She met her husband and never went home.
Mana Recovery was in dire shape when Meaclem took over, but from the wall of awards at Trash Palace you would never know it.
‘‘They said, ‘You’re either here to see us through the difficulties we are in or you are going to help us close down’.’’
She started applying for funding, changing policies and nominating the trust for awards.
‘‘It started with us really wanting to change the perception of Mana Recovery, because it wasn’t doing so well with the public perception.’’
Meaclem said she was most proud of the trainee programme for people with mental health challenges.
‘‘Some of them might be 40 or 50 and we have given them the first job they’ve ever had. Most of these guys wouldn’t get a chance in the workplace.
‘‘We have always had two objectives of having mental health and sustainability together.
‘‘We are going to continue to provide a place where they can socialise and learn, and to provide them with employment. That’s just a great thing for the town.’’
Time to go: Elizabeth Meaclem
will miss Mana Recovery.