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Speaker snapshots: Third Sector Professional Development Seminar

2 min read

Ian Porter, Alternative Technology Association (ATA)

ATA’s Board currently has eleven members, with office bearers including President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Board members have varied backgrounds in energy, academia, industry, community, and skills such as policy, law, HR, design, publishing, communications and accounting. ATA’s Board composition is reviewed annually to determine skills needs – these are developed through training and through recruitment.

ATA Board members act as:

  • Directors, through Board Meetings, annual strategy sessions, and subcommittees
  • Volunteers, utilising their skills and experience to assist with tasks such as publishing, policy analysis and legal services
  • Ambassadors, promoting ATA and providing first point of contact with their networks e.g. for fundraising, partnerships.

Laurice Temple, Victorian and Tasmanian President, National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

NAWIC is a national not-for-profit organisation which encourages and supports women in the construction and related affiliate industries. Run by an entirely voluntary Board of Directors, the Board is made up of two Directors from each state Chapter and supported by a paid association management support team. NAWIC is a $1M – $2M organisation, with 1,300 members around Australia.

Challenges – how I overcome them:

Try to keep on top of the policy and procedures, and communicate these to the state council. Directors may not understand the full ramifications of policies and procedures. You need to work on communication CONSTANTLY!

My Personal Recommendations

  • Understand the Board, members, and their skills
  • Understand the risk and governance of your group and industry
  • Understand why you are giving your time…and don’t let it blind you.

Terri Smith, CEO, Optometrists Association Australia – Victoria division

We have more than 1000 members – they are all optometrists – and helping them to govern the organisation is indeed a challenge.

Making it easy; communications remind the Board of my role and of their role.

Give them subtle prompts about their legal/moral responsibilities as Directors as well as messages about the extent or limitations of my authorities.

For example, I tell them, ‘We need to re-form the audit sub-committee – the purpose of the sub-committee is to meet with the Auditor. This is an opportunity for the Board to ensure it is meeting its responsibilities to effectively manage the resources of the Association’.

Important considerations:

  • Realistic – they are not a professional board
  • Direct – it’s appropriate to be clear and direct with the Board
  • Brave – don’t be afraid to draw the line or stop them crossing the line.

Chris Giles, General Manager – Executive Services, Surf Lifesaving Australia

SLSA is Australia’s major water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority. There are over 150,000 volunteer members across the country, and the association is made up of over 330 separate legal NFP entities.

An organisational effectiveness review, conducted to assess whether SLSA was ‘fit for purpose’, considered the following:

  • The level of alignment of national and State/Territory strategic plans
  • SLSA’s governance and management systems and processes
  • The level of alignment between national and State/Territory governance policies
  • The roles and responsibilities of the SLSA Australian Council and its associated Boards and sub committees
  • Compliance with ‘Best Practice’.

Forty recommendations were made, and consolidated into a ‘Continuous Improvement Plan’:

  • To agree on a ‘Consultation Policy’
  • To implement more effective liaison, communication and “customer service” protocols
  • To consider Service Agreements between SLSA and State/Territory Centres.
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