Hospice hires familiar face as executive director

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Jessica Smith will move, but only slightly, as she takes the full-time position as executive director of the Chatham-Kent Hospice. Smith held the position in a part-time manner, while also overseeing St. Andrew’s Residence.

Jessica Smith has removed two part-time hats to wear one full-time one as the executive director of the Chatham-Kent Hospice.

The hospice board of directors said Smith was their choice following an extensive recruitment process.

“Jessica, through the co-operation of St. Andrew’s Residence, has been providing executive

director services for hospice since its inception, and now with this appointment, she will be

solely dedicated to leading our organization into the future,” Graham Kemble, chair of the Chatham-Kent Hospice Board, said in a media release.

Born and raised in Chatham, Smith’s career started in health care nearly 25 years ago. She began as a student dishwasher at St. Andrew’s Residence in high school where she discovered a passion for caring for people at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. This inspired her to obtain degrees from McMaster University, studying social work and gerontology.

Smith was involved in the early planning stages of establishing a residential hospice in Chatham-Kent and has been serving as a shared executive director for St. Andrew’s Residence and Chatham-Kent Hospice since 2014.

“I’ve had the privilege of being involved in the history of Chatham-Kent Hospice since it was a grassroots volunteer campaign. I can remember when the conversation of building a residential hospice in this community was just a whisper,” she said. “I am incredibly honoured for this opportunity to deepen my role at Hospice and to build on this history.”

Smith will officially switch hats July 22.

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