THE woman who oversaw the opening and closure of St Stephen's Hospitals in Hervey Bay and Maryborough is the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.
UnitingCare Queensland chief executive officer Anne Cross said the win, while being a great personal accolade, would hopefully help to profile the important role the not-for-profit sector played.
In 2012, she cemented a partnership with the Federal Government to build Australia's first fully integrated digital hospital at Hervey Bay, along the way extensively redesigning how clinicians and staff go about their work to deliver quality treatment for its patients.
The new $96 million St Stephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay opened on October 13, the same day St Stephen's Hospital in Maryborough closed its doors.
Ms Cross said she hoped her award, announced on Wedensday night, would attract even more high-achieving people to offer their skills and talent to valuable community-based organisations.
"The health and community services sector is a significant contributor to Australia's social and economic fabric," she said.
"UnitingCare Queensland is a significant business.
"As one of Queensland's largest employers, much of what we do is world class.
"Hopefully this award will highlight our role and importance in society."
Within a year of her appointment as CEO in 2003, Ms Cross used her business nous to lead the transformation process, consolidating more than 100 separate organisations into four service groups - Blue Care, UnitingCare Health, UnitingCare Community and Australian Regional and Remote Community Services.
Under the four umbrella groups, Ms Cross oversees 16,000 employees and 9000 volunteers across 400 locations.