A longtime employee of the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society is its new executive director.
“She’s got lots of experience and was ready to move up,” said society president Ineke Boekhorst. “She’s very compassionate, very dedicated and enormously committed to the organization.”
Boekhorst added Willis is a longtime resident who knows both the city and the organization well.
Her role has been recruiting, training and mentoring volunteers who support people through palliative care and bereavement. There are presently some 70 people who volunteer for the organization this way, and there are 80-plus others who work with the thrift store.
Willis has a degree in psychology from UBC and began her career with Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services as an outreach counsellor.
“I made a shift when I had a significant loss in our family,” she said.
Willis was a volunteer counsellor with the hospice society before being hired for her present position and said the role has been a perfect fit for her.
Over the past three years, there has been a large increase in referrals to the society for grief and bereavement programs and she wants to continue that growth.
“Our main goal is to continue to raise the profile of the hospice society in the community.”
Boekhorst said the society’s human resources committee went through an extensive process that hired Willis.