By LEIGH PRITCHARD
A WOMAN will sit for the first time as chair of one of the largest employers in the Clarence Valley.
The 10-member Community Programs Incorporated (CPI) board elected Heather Roland to take over as chair from Ian Shaw at its March 15 meeting.
Mrs Roland said it was the first time in the organisation's 17-year history there would be a female chairperson.
"I feel very honoured to have been appointed the first woman chair," Mrs Roland said.
"Community Programs is one of the largest employer in the Clarence Valley, with 160 employees."
She said her experience as deputy mayor of the former Grafton City Council from 1998-1999 had prepared her for the new position.
"My six years as a councillor were very happy and I gained a great deal of experi- ence. My new role will expand my horizons," Mrs Roland said.
"It is important people keep on learning and be open to learn."
Mrs Roland is the Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival organising secretary and former chair of the Northern Rivers Regional Plantation Committee.
She said her first task as CPI chair would be to get to know the different aspects of the organisation, including the Clarence Institute, Early Childhood Intervention Centre and Aboriginal Services.
"I see my role as lifting the profile of Community Programs, they deserve it," Mrs Roland said.
"Community Programs opened my eyes to the importance of having a strong community, which can generate jobs and they ensure the welfare of so many residents."
She said a future goal for the organisation was to complete the Pullens Centre at Prince Street, Grafton.