David Simpson

David Simpson

Chief of Strategy and Partnerships, Southern Cross Healthcare
Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy)

He loves being able to help nurses, doctors and many other health professionals find new and innovative ways to enhance the provision of healthcare across New Zealand, says David Simpson who heads up the Strategy and Marketing division at Southern Cross Healthcare.

“I lead Southern Cross Healthcare’s corporate strategy, marketing, responsible business, mergers and acquisitions, and workplace health teams. I loved being a physiotherapist earlier on in my career and it taught me so many wonderful skills, but instead of helping one patient at a time, I now get to support the systems delivery of healthcare across the Southern Cross Healthcare network, which stretches across over 100 sites of care.”

He says he has been very privileged in his career so far.

“I’ve had a number of interesting jobs with remarkable organisations. My most proud achievement to date has been working with colleagues and partners to build new healthcare businesses across Australia and New Zealand, that improve the access to high-quality healthcare services including mental health, cancer, workplace health and more.”

Memories of AUT
As much as he loves his career now, it isn’t quite how he saw his future when he was a teenager in the 1990s. As a Canadian-born New Zealander he loved playing ice hockey, having represented New Zealand until an injury led him to pursue a physiotherapy degree. This was later followed by business studies at a number of universities, including courses at Harvard University and the Wharton School in the United States of America.

“I injured my knee playing ice hockey overseas. When I came back, I went to the doctor who sent me to a physiotherapist and from there on, I thought it would be a really interesting and rewarding career. I decided to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) and chose AUT as it was close to my home on the North Shore and where I grew up in Birkenhead.”

While he still has many fond memories of his time at AUT; it is the people he met that he remembers most.

“Some of the friends I made during my time studying physiotherapy have become lifetime friends, and we still catch up from time to time. But the real highlight was meeting my wife at AUT – she was a year below me at physio school, which was pretty special, and we’ve been married for almost 20 years, with two wonderful daughters.”

Advice for other students
David has some great advice for students who are only at the start of their university journey.

“My advice to university students would be to just say yes whenever you’re offered an opportunity, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone.

“It’s amazing where saying yes to opportunities can lead you.”