Terry van der HamFor the past 13 years, our Director of Supply Chain Operations, Terry van der Ham has positively impacted not only those around him at Mater, but people halfway around the world experiencing genuine need.

Shortly after he joined Mater in 2003, then CEO Dr John O’Donnell asked Terry to investigate ways in which Mater could provide some much needed assistance to Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

“They sent us a list of items they desperately needed, and not only were we able to source the products, but 90 per cent of them were no longer of use to us in Australia,” Terry said.

It would be the beginning of a tradition which continues today, as a group of dedicated Mater People gather each year to collect items which are then shipped to areas experiencing need across Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For Terry, being able to actually see the difference the equipment makes was an eye-opening experience.

“We knew we were helping people in need, but to actually see the equipment be used really put things into perspective. There are hospitals operating without a reliable supply of electricity, using generators at night to power their buildings—it’s something which we’d never see happening here,” he said.

Mater’s work overseas has been supported by various suppliers, keen to support a project which is helping to ‘save lives’.

“The response from our suppliers has been overwhelmingly positive. When they know they’re genuinely contributing to something which is helping save lives, they’re always keen to support us.

“Without them, the process of donating goods overseas would have been infinitely more difficult to make happen,” Terry said.  

Terry’s team, who he calls the ‘arms and legs’ of Mater, like him, never hesitate to go above and beyond to ensure the best outcome is reached for our patients and staff.

“When I first started, my role was primarily operational, but my team now manage the procurement and logistics of getting much needed supplies across Mater, and they know this campus and our customer base like the back of their hands, which is no easy task!

“Having a great team allows me to focus my energies on supporting Mater’s strategic goals and priorities,” Terry said.

When asked what makes Mater different, and why he’s stayed for more than a decade, Terry’s response is simple.

“We’re all here to fulfil a common purpose—to help people who are in need.

“The fulfilment from being able to give back is a key reason for why I say at Mater—it’s more than just a job; it’s genuinely a Mission.”

For Terry, it’s one without borders.