• 20 Jun 2017 1:30 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    While using social media channels to get the word out about your meeting or event might be getting all the attention right now, don’t make the mistake of discounting a tried-and-true channel 91 percent of us check every day: email.

    Yes, that humble in-box is responsible for 43 percent of all ticket sales, according to the 2017 Event Email Benchmarking Report from event technology platform company EventBrite. The study involved 341 organizers in the U.S. and U.K., the majority of whom—51 percent—planned business events, along with festivals (14 percent), classes (12 percent), and musical (7 percent) and sporting events (5 percent).

    When It Comes to Lists, Size Matters

    While of course your list will scale to the size of the event you’re marketing, generally speaking, bigger is better, according to the survey. Almost half of the survey respondents said their lists went to 1,000 or fewer recipients, while 20 percent went to 10,000 or more, and 29 percent said their list lands somewhere in between. About a fifth, however, said they don’t actively grow their lists—but you likely don’t want to be in that group if you also want to grow your event registrations.

    Ways to collect email addresses include:

    • Require an email address on the registration form for your events, e-newsletters, and websites.
    • See if your sponsors and other business partners will share their lists. You also can ask if they would let you run a promotion on their website, mail or e-newsletters.
    • In printed mailed fliers, onsite promotions, and through social media, offer a discount or an opportunity to win free tickets or a VIP pass to those who share their email addresses. You can tell them they have to provide their email to claim their prize. Social media was the most popular inbound marketing channel for survey participants, used by 45 percent of U.S. and 51 percent of U.K. respondents.
    • Ask those on your current list to pass your emails—especially those filled with non-promotional content—with their network.
    • Add a sign-up button to your event’s Facebook page that links to great content they have to register with their email to see.

    When to Send

    You don’t want to deluge your potential registrants with so many emails that they roll their eyes and delete your missives without opening them, but you also don’t want to have them forget all about your event with too-infrequent emails. The happy medium, survey respondents said, was about one message a week.

    It is important to have a regular schedule so people will know when to expect to hear from you. To figure out when the optimal days and times are, the study suggests trying out different frequencies and measuring the results. You also can offer to let people decide for themselves how often they want to hear from you.

    That being said, U.K. respondents leaned toward sending email on Tuesdays, while U.S. event marketers said Wednesdays were the best for them, especially for professional conference promotions. The study suggests starting out with a Tuesday schedule (adding Thursday if you opt for twice-a-week), but keep testing to see what days work best for your specific audience.

    For more benchmarking data on open, click-through, click-to-open, and conversion rates, and other metrics and email marketing strategy tips, visit the EventBrite download page. Yes, free registration, including an email address, is required.

    This article was originally sourced from Meetings Net.

  • 20 Jun 2017 1:21 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Toolkits are a proven way to address member challenges, but not all toolkits are created equal. One expert shares tips for creating toolkits that best meet members’ needs.

    Toolkits are one of the best ways to deliver value to your members by showing them how to make good use of the programs, products, and services your association offers—whether the purpose is to raise awareness of a new campaign, describe a benefit, or teach an important skill or process. But a lot can go wrong in producing a toolkit.

    Your project team can get sidetracked or delayed. Or worse, your toolkit might not meet members’ needs and instead it sits on the shelf collecting dust.

    Amalea Hijar has more than a decade of experience developing and writing member toolkits for associations. She’s worked on them for the American Staffing Association and the American College of Cardiology, and in her current role as program director for growth at Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, she’s thinking about how toolkits can better serve industry partners.

    She also recently wrote an e-book about how toolkits can serve to enhance component relations. In her experience, the best toolkits deliver on a basic member challenge.

    “A good toolkit, regardless of the size or scope, addresses a serious membership issue,” Hijar says. “With a toolkit, you’re basically saying to the member, ‘Here is a way to help you solve your problem.’”

    Hijar has learned some valuable lessons that can be easily applied to your next toolkit. She suggests approaching the process through a four-step plan.


    Toolkits can be designed for a specific set of members or membership needs, but the most effective toolkits always start with member input on the problem. That means listening to members and asking them what the association can do better.

    Hijar starts every toolkit by interviewing members to identify common challenges and interests. Those conversations have helped her identify specific topics, including a toolkit on workplace safety and another for early-career members.

    “You need to develop toolkits that speak directly to a subset of members,” Hijar says, “because nobody is going to use your toolkit if you are solving a problem that doesn’t actually exist.”


    After you have identified a member challenge, Hijar says you can tap highly engaged members to assist with content development. Keep in mind that you’ll need volunteers who can commit to a project that typically takes about three months to complete.

    “You need to be thoughtful about time and make sure you’re including people who are passionate and care about the issue too,” Hijar says. “One way that I like to do that is by being upfront with the member and mapping out a three-month timeline to complete project.”

    The first meeting with your project team can help to outline the parameters of the content development process. In her e-book, Hijar suggests three key objectives for that meeting:

    • Identify each person’s areas of expertise and passion.
    • Brainstorm the mission and vision for the toolkit.
    • Agree on a timeline to complete the project.


    Of course, not all of your volunteers will be able to dedicate three months to developing a member toolkit, and that’s OK.

    A lot of your engaged members may be better suited to assist with small project tasks. For instance, Hijar says local chapters or individual members can be tapped to provide models and samples of work that can be easily incorporated into the toolkit.

    “Maybe you’re pulling together a media toolkit, and your chapter has a great template for creating press releases. Make sure to use it,” Hijar says. “Peer examples also have the added benefit of making the toolkit approachable.”

    Hijar also recommends scouting out a group of micro-volunteers—those who can devote just a few hours to the project—to try out the toolkit before it’s widely distributed. This informal user testing will help to identify content gaps or other problems, and the content development team can then further refine the toolkit.


    Publishing your toolkit may feel like the last step, but Hijar says it’s really only the beginning. The content development team should continue to review the toolkit as it’s being used. She recommends having at least two team meetings where the project can be evaluated based on user feedback.

    Tracking downloads and surveying those who downloaded the toolkit can also tell you a lot about how the document is being accessed and used. Most associations forget that a successful toolkit needs periodic updates, as well as a member-focused distribution strategy that includes a variety of content-specific formats.

    The standard format that most associations use is a digital .pdf, Hijar says, which works in some distribution channels but isn’t well suited for accessing the toolkit from a mobile device.

    “A good toolkit can be shared in a variety of formats—on social media, across email, or even handed from one member to the next,” she says. “You need to think about making it accessible and you can decide what formats work best, based off member feedback.”

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 20 Jun 2017 1:14 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A longtime association executive shares the essential characteristics needed to be a leader. Also: Find out how to streamline dues processing.

    Being an association executive is a unique experience. An executive must have a variety of hard skills, including a deep knowledge of his or her field, the ins and outs of organizational management, and an understanding of disciplines like marketing, fundraising, and more.

    But there are soft skills that can turn a good leader into a great one. Octavio Peralta, an association executive for the past 25 years, outlines what he believes to be the “five essential attributes of an association executive” in a recent post for Business Mirror.

    Look to the acronym DEPTH for leadership characteristics. “D” stands for dedication. “Associations thrive and sustain themselves because of their purpose, i.e., advancing a cause or advocacy,” writes Peralta. “Dedication also connotes a self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty, requiring total familiarity of the organization and the hard work it entails to do so.”

    “E” is for entrepreneurship. “While associations are considered ‘not-for-profit organizations,’ it is incumbent upon them to raise funds and generate revenues to be a sustainable organization,” says Peralta. “Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, and is an essential part of an association’s ability to succeed in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace.”

    Check out the rest of Peralta’s post for more on DEPTH.

    Administrative time and effort can be one of the biggest drags of any organization. Dues processing can be particularly frustrating, but there may be a more efficient way to manage that effort.

    The Billhighway blog outlines several steps that national chapters should take to simplify dues processing. “When chapters are run by volunteer leaders and small staffs, it’s in everyone’s best interest to relieve their administrative burden by finding ways to streamline and standardize processes,” writes Kyle Bazzy.

    Start with data reconciliation. Different chapters have different ways to collect data and multiple payment processes. How do you tackle this? “Assign a unique member ID number to accompany future dues payments,” says Bazzy. And make sure to offer a self-service portal tied to the national AMS to all local chapters, thereby reducing the data entry duties of local chapters.

    Bazzy also details a payment-reconciliation process and advises creating a standard data sharing and reporting method.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now.

  • 20 Jun 2017 12:58 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Membership organisations know that the millennial generation, which will soon be the majority of our workforce and membership base, is the most diverse generation we’ve ever had in North America. And the yet-to-be-named generation coming up behind them is even more so.

    Membership organisations are also aware of the ever-increasing number of studies showing that increased diversity and authentic inclusion produce innovation, better decision-making, faster and more creative problem-solving, better outcomes, and an improved bottom line.

    Membership organisations know that embracing and promoting D+I is the right thing to do, on many levels.

    And many membership organisations have adopted strong statements that claim a commitment to D+I among their leadership and membership.

    Where organisations often stumble is in turning those beautifully crafted and carefully vetted D+I statements into real change among staff teams, volunteer leadership, the memberships, and the professions and industries we serve.

    But membership organisations also have a secret power: the depth and variety of relationships you have with your audiences. Those deep, ongoing relationships with boards of directors, members, and the industries and professions you serve provide an excellent opportunity to have a significant impact on diversity and inclusion, but also carry with them increased responsibility to create change.

    For instance, in-person events like conferences can be fraught situations. Bringing large groups of people together in semi-professional, semi-social situations sets the stage for potential misconduct. Participation in conferences is often critical to professional advancement, but it also creates an ideal environment for ill-intentioned people to harass other attendees, most frequently (but not always) based on their race/ethnicity, gender expression or sexual orientation. That’s a challenge.

    But membership organisations have a corresponding opportunity to foster change at in-person events via creating and enforcing strong codes of conduct.

    Meeting harassment is far more common than you may realise. (For the data on this, see these survey results.) To be effective in preventing and addressing meeting harassment:

    • Create a strong meeting harassment policy that includes a clear, simple reporting mechanism (the Entomological Society of America’s code of conduct is a good example).
    • Train your staff.
    • Program a pop-up into your online event registration, and require all meeting registrants to indicate that they have read it and agree to abide by it. That doesn’t mean they’ll read it, it just means they can’t claim they didn’t know about it.
    • Put the policy in a prominent place in your meeting program, like inside the front cover. Don’t bury it on page 55.
    • Make sure your code of conduct includes detailed information about how and to whom to report an incident: name, cell phone number and email address. If you want to encourage reporting, this should be one person, not just “staff.”
    • Put the policy with the contact information on signs that are posted throughout the meeting venue, including the exhibit hall and especially at the entrances of any event where alcohol is served.
    • Announce the policy at the start of all plenary sessions.

    This accomplishes two crucial things: you’ve put potential harassers on notice, while also sending a clear message to women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and others that you are committed to creating a safe and welcoming meeting. If you actually enforce the policy by removing harassers from your meetings and banning repeat harassers from registering and attending, what you’ll see is a spike in incident reports for the first couple of meetings, and then a rapid drop-off as the worst of the serial harassers are weeded out, and the others learn to rein themselves in.

    To learn more about how you can leverage the variety of relationships your organization has with your audiences to create genuine diversity and inclusion, download your free copy of Include is a Verb: Moving from Talk to Action on Diversity and Inclusion at

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser.

  • 20 Jun 2017 12:54 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Not long ago, I had a conversation with my oldest child, who recently entered the teenage years (heaven, help us). Having received his first smartphone, I wanted to talk to him about his online conduct, where mistakes can haunt you forever. After all, I told him, you can’t take that stuff back. Once you put something into the digital realm, removing it is like trying to take sugar out of a cake when it comes out of the oven.

    After several minutes of me blathering on, I realized that he’d long since tuned me out. He wasn’t invested in anything I had to say, and I don’t blame him; I was delivering a message he didn’t want to hear, in a way that doesn’t resonate with him: the dreaded parental lecture.

    Like most parents, I’ve never been able to make much of an impact by talking at my children, but that doesn’t stop me from foolishly returning to the well time after time after time, with consistently poor results.

    “They’ll get it this time,” I reassure myself, confident that there’s nothing wrong with my delivery or previously failed communication attempts. Despite all evidence to the contrary – and there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary – I fall back into bad habits and fail to alter my approach.

    Interestingly enough, I see this same phenomenon from a different perspective on a regular basis at work.

    I Want to Believe

    Part of my job involves working alongside Naylor’s association partners to develop and implement a communications plan for their print and online presence. As a result, I often have conversations with association staffers who have concrete ideas about what type of content their members want in a magazine, regardless of whether those notions are based in fact.

    “Our members love to see pictures of themselves in the magazine,” an association executive once boasted to me. “They can’t get enough of ’em, and they tell me that all the time.”

    However, just a few short months later, at the behest of that same executive – supremely assured that members would vindicate his statement – he was confronted with hard data that contradicted his assumptions.

    A readership survey, completed by a portion of this association’s membership, indicated that most readers didn’t much care to see pictures of the most recent networking mixer in the association’s magazine, even though it had been a staple in the publication for years.

    To his credit, he listened to the majority and adjusted his magazine’s editorial plan to better reflect this feedback, and the content in his magazine has steadily been getting stronger and stronger.

    It’s not that including photos of past events is a bad thing on its face – it’s certainly possible to use these effectively as part of a larger strategy. Rather, the problem in this situation was that the executive was relying on anecdotal evidence and hadn’t thoroughly polled his members to find out what they wanted and, conversely, didn’t want.

    Simply put, there is often a chasm of difference between the noise created by a small minority of outspoken voices and the overwhelming consensus of the less-vocal majority.

    Hollywood knows this as well as anyone. Take, for example, the curious case of Snakes on a Plane. To say this horror/comedy film generated enormous buzz on the internet prior to its release would be an understatement tantamount to calling our most recent presidential election “a tiny bit polarizing.”

    But when the movie hit theaters, it ultimately grossed a disappointing $34 million domestically – a scant $1 million more than its filming budget. Despite the early hype, the movie was a dud.

    Ahead of its release, analysts were predicting a record-breaking run at the box office, but the echo chamber created by the film’s offbeat plot/title/marketing turned out to be just that – pure hype. The box office results weren’t at all indicative of the opinions of a relatively small group of vocal supporters who were impossible to ignore. Instead, the final numbers reflected the reality of the situation: The minority who were most invested drowned out the apathy of the general movie-going public.

    The Truth is Out There

    Setting aside perceptions based on anecdotal evidence, it may be tempting to resort to cheap, shortsighted tactics like clickbait, sensationalism or paid content masquerading in the form of editorial material. But, an association can effectively communicate with its members by implementing a well-planned strategy. And the best part? Given the chance, your members will tell you how to craft this strategy. As long as you pose the question in a structured format, you’ll end up with information that can prevent the echo chamber effect that will have you chasing shadows.

    To add the cherry on top of this sundae of awesomeness, there are numerous free survey tools out there that associations can leverage in soliciting member feedback. There’s literally no reason to not check the pulse of your members on regular occasions.

    For the past 10 years, I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with some amazingly talented association executives, leaders and visionaries. The most successful of these dedicated men and women are able to look beyond their own biases – and we are all biased – to more accurately assess the needs and wants of their members. Adequately surveying their members allows these leaders to communicate with members instead of at them.

    Because, as my kids will tell you, communicating at someone is like throwing paperclips at a dartboard. Nothing is going to stick.

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser.

  • 20 Jun 2017 12:06 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    “My presentation is fine. It’s the audience’s fault if they don’t get it?”

    “Why do I need to change the way I present? My lecture has worked for years. I get great scores and reviews.”

    I’m sure you’ve heard statements like this. Maybe you’ve even said something similar yourself. So, why should speakers change how they present at your conference?

    The Lecture—The Presenters’ And Learners’ Desert Mirage

    The standard didactic lecture…It’s been used successfully for years. Right?

    All that glitters, you know. Or one could say, all that instructs through speech…

    It’s the stuff that dreams, careers and legends are made of.

    So how much value does the lecture really provide? Especially since it’s the most dominant form of conference education.

    Lectures, panels, and speeches prevail even though evidence shows that the traditional stand-and-deliver lecture does little to help an audience learn (Bligh 1971; Freeman, McDonough, Okoroafor and Wenderoth 2014; Smith and Valentine 2012; Teaching College by Norman Eng just to name a few).

    We’ve bought into securing, selling and promoting the presenters’ and learners’ desert mirage.

    One Conference Improvement Challenge: Lectures Beget Lectures

    Here is one of the primary challenges with improving conference education.

    The majority of your conference speakers imitate what their teachers and professors did with them. They lecture. They mimic the traditional college professor didactic monologue.

    Yet, there are no teaching license requirements for college professors as there are for teachers in kindergarten through grade 12. Most college professors—and conference presenters—spend little to no time understanding effective teaching and learning strategies. These academicians focus instead on cultivating their subject matter expertise.

    So we have this ongoing cycle of lectures birthing more lectures.

    Unless your conference presenters understand how their audience learns, the majority of your conference education will remain ineffective.

    A Second Improvement Challenge: Pedagogy Versus Andragogy

    Many successful presenters have crossed the ineffective lecture chasm to create more effective instructional strategies.

    These speakers direct learning. They make the decision about what should be learned, how it will be learned and when it will be taught. They use a pedagogic model.

    Pedagogy literally means the art and science of teaching children. The focus is on how information is presented and taught.

    In the pedagogic model, the subject and the presenter are the starting point for conference education. The audience as learners are secondary. Thus the audience is required to adjust their learning and retention to an established way of information delivery. This results in the learner trying to substitute someone else’s experience and knowledge for their own…with little success.

    However, most of the time the audience leaves a lecture feeling satisfied. These attendees believe they have actually learned from that lecture although they will probably forget most it within hours. Rarely do attendees complain about wanting a better model.

    Both the presenter and the learner have bought into the lecture even though it’s a desert mirage.

    Shifting To Learner-Centered Andragogy Models

    John Dewey, Eduard C. Lindeman and Malcolm Knowles, are three professional education researchers that felt pedagogy fell short for effective learning, especially for adults. They promoted learner-focused education. They believed that we learn what we do. And that learning needs to connect to our experience, past knowledge and needs.

    Knowles took these concepts deeper. He borrowed and promoted the term andragogy—the art and science of adult learning.

    Andragogy defines an alternative to pedagogy. It refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages. Speakers design their presentations to facilitate participant learning. They focus on how the audience will receive and interpret the information instead of how to deliver it. They provide ample opportunities for participants to think, reflect, make sense of, connect, understand and apply that information.

    For conference learning opportunities s to succeed in the future, we must unlearn our speaker- and teacher-centric reliance. We have to free ourselves of lecture- and pedagogic-bias as educator Marcia Connor would say. We have to adopt evidenced based education models that result in our participants’ learning, retention and on-the-job application

    This article was originally sourced from Velvet Chainsaw

  • 20 Jun 2017 11:57 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Despite all of the high-level risks, some board directors and administrators continue to email sensitive documents via non-secure platforms. Directors may even use their personal email accounts and mobile phones. This opens up your organization to vulnerabilities such as hacks and data breaches. Using various email and mobile platforms to email or text board documents is also a headache for IT and board administrators, as levels of visibility and control can be compromised.

    We’ll examine the challenges of emailing and messaging confidential board information and make the case for adopting a secure messaging app.

    Emailing puts your board’s sensitive information at risk

    Directors use email and text to communicate with each other because it’s easy and convenient. But vulnerabilities and risks impacting your company include the following:

    Phishing attacks: Criminals are becoming more strategic and stealthy with their email phishing attacks. These attacks seek to trick users into opening email attachments that are actually a sort of virus or malware. The emails may appear innocuous, even seeming to come from a reliable source. Board members, for example, may receive emails asking for tax information or requesting bank transfers. The messages may even come from a trusted email account — one that’s been hacked and taken over. Sometimes, board members use their personal email accounts to handle board communications so they won’t get these mixed in with the emails from the companies they work for, according to an article by CSO. But the use of those relatively unsafe accounts creates a risk that hackers might exploit.

    Password hacks: Some directors will use the same password for their personal and business email accounts. If an attacker gets a hold of the password for one email account, that could potentially give him access to the business at large, and an organization’s confidential information could be compromised. For example, a cybercriminal could hack a director’s password, log in and extract sensitive information by posing as the director via their email. The information could go public and damage the organization, or the criminal might hold the sensitive information hostage and ask for a ransom. Either way, the results could be disastrous.

    Rogue apps: Employees may use these unvetted and often insecure rogue apps, which are apps that have not yet been vetted, approved and supported by the company, to improve productivity. But doing so places the company’s sensitive data at risk, as these apps may not be secure, and could have backdoors that hackers could exploit.

    The case for adopting a secure board messaging app

    If your board is considering adopting a board messaging app, here are some suggested strategic best practices for selecting a solution:

    • Assess the security threat. What are your company’s vulnerabilities? How are your directors treating sensitive documents? Be sure the board messaging app you select delivers enterprise-level security so that you can maintain control and ensure compliance. Security is a top priority, so be sure the vendor you choose has top-notch security features.
    • Get leadership buy-in earlier during the review process. Involve your leadership and board directors in the solution assessment and in the selection process. Determine what features and benefits mean the most to them and set up a comparison grid outlining the potential solutions. If you don’t get leadership’s input early, you may select a messaging app that doesn’t meet their needs and that won’t be universally adopted.
    • Stick with one, and only one, solution. Using several messaging solutions creates fragmentation and headaches for your IT department. Using multiple solutions could also cause more vulnerabilities, as they may not all possess the same level of security. Just select the best solution for your needs and eliminate the rest. If board members or staff members are using their own apps for certain tasks, understand what problems they’re trying to solve, and how you can address those problems.
    • Educate directors and administrators. A messaging app won’t work if board members and staff aren’t trained to use it. When deploying the solution, it’s important to educate the teams using the app. This will also help ensure that they use it properly, so information stays safe and secure.

    How Diligent Messenger delivers the safer, smarter way to email and message

    Don’t compromise the security of your Diligent Boards solution by emailing board materials outside of the portal.

    Diligent Messenger safeguards all data with the same best-in-class security infrastructure and encryption as Diligent Boards. Because users are authenticated by your Boards and Messenger sites, you can control the potential recipients of communications.

    Benefits for directors and board administrators include:

    • Compliance with your organization’s document retention policy, so messages can be retained or deleted;
    • Improved communication and collaboration, which allows directors to connect instantly with other directors while reviewing board materials; and
    • Real-time sharing, so users can share documents securely in real time to augment collaboration efforts.

    Overall, a secure board messaging app — like Diligent Messenger — improves collaboration and communication while keeping your organization’s information safe and secure.

    For more information, visit

  • 20 Jun 2017 11:52 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Tanya Barden as the new Chief Executive Officer of AFGC.

    Ms Barden will commence as CEO on 3 July 2017.

    Chairman of the AFGC, Mr Terry O’Brien, congratulated Tanya on her appointment from a field of high calibre candidates.

    “Tanya brings tremendous experience and proven success at senior executive levels in both the public and private sectors, with a career spanning the public service and business. Importantly, she also has experience with the $126 billion food and grocery sector, having worked as AFGC Director of Economics, Trade and Sustainability,” said Mr O’Brien.

    “Ms Barden comes to the position with a strong background in competition, energy and economics policy and regulation having worked in various roles at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Subsequent to this she worked for energy retailer ActewAGL and ran her own on-line food retail business.

    “Tanya has been at the forefront of AFGC’s advocacy on key areas of reform, particularly flagging to governments the need to commit to strong energy market reform to reduce the cost pressures caused by the spike in energy costs. She has also led the sector’s trade agenda having driven an ongoing focus to improve market access through the reduction of non-tariff barriers.

    “In these government and corporate roles, Tanya has demonstrated a strong collaborative style and a great ability to think strategically, develop policy, campaign effectively and engage with business and government on a range of issues,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “The AFGC Board and staff welcome Tanya to this exciting position. Members are very familiar with her outstanding contribution to the policy advocacy for the sector, and we very much look forward to her taking an expanded role from July.”

    Mr O’Brien also paid tribute to the leadership provided by Acting Chief Executive Dr Geoffrey Annison.

    “Geoffrey is a great asset to the AFGC with tremendous knowledge of our industry and commitment to its ongoing growth. The Board thanks him for providing steady leadership to the organisation until Tanya begins, and we are delighted that Geoffrey will continue as Deputy CEO beyond that date.”

    This media release was sourced directly from AFGC and was written by James Mathews.

  • 20 Jun 2017 11:34 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Jeremy Irvine, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Prosthetists Association talks with Victor Perton about Australian Leadership: Australians demand to know 'why' from their leaders and then decide for themselves. 

    Jeremy Irvine: “Leading people is a responsibility, not a right. You have to want to lead, and want to challenged – and it must come from within.”

    Victor Perton: Jeremy, what are your favourite stories of contemporary Australian leadership?

    Jeremy Irvine: I’ve been fortunate to have worked with and for some great leaders in my time in politics, and in industry and professional associations.

    One of my favourite examples of leadership was a principal at an independent school in Canberra I knew, Paul Browning. Paul used to talk about the drop-off line in the morning being a time when he would not do any meetings – it was a time for him to stand at school, greet his students, and acknowledge or talk with parents. That’s stuck with me - he had choices with his time and he prioritised making time for his students and their parents – ultimately both of whom, in a way, were his employers. That time before school each day was important to Paul, because he was being available, he was being seen to be available, and he was genuine in committing each day to be available to the community which he led and served. Paul talks of and writes about ‘servant leadership’ and of trust. You need to drive yourself to earn it from those you seek to lead, have a vision and then be able to contextualise and communicate what you’re doing and why.

    Another leader I admired tremendously when I worked in federal Parliament was a gentleman called Michael Manthorpe, who at the time was a branch head in the department my minister was responsible for. Michael was a classic case in all that is good about the public service, because he was committed to the service of the public for good. His branch admired him, the ministers’ offices he worked with respected him, and he was devoid of arrogance. There was a steely resolve tempered with incredible decency. Here was someone who led by example, quietly, and was achieving. He’s since gone to be a very high-ranked public servant who has been recognised with a Public Service Medal and was recently appointed as Commonwealth Ombudsman. I have reflected at times over the years as I’ve seen Michael on Estimates (once a staffer, always a staffer!) if much of his career success has been in no small part due to his lack of arrogance and his commitment to his people and craft. The boy from Kingaroy, as I recall he was from, has led by example and it’s fantastic to see Michael’s career turn out the way it has – fantastic and totally unsurprising.

    The third and probably most profound leader I have seen in action was Julie Bishop, now our Minister for Foreign Affairs – back then she was aged care minister and I was humbled to be offered a role as one of her advisers. Julie personified everything good about action leadership – she had exceptionally high expectations of herself and of her team and demanded only the best. “I don’t know” was not a term to be uttered in Question Time briefing and you had to be across your portfolio area and ready to deliver. She actively sought advisers’ views, listened, made good decisions and ran a high-tempo, backbench-friendly and professional office and it engendered total loyalty by her staff which was reciprocated by her. Julie knew herself extremely well and coming into the ministry she was already a successful and experienced parliamentarian, civic leader and lawyer who knew what needed to be done and she had a vision of how she – and her staff and department – were going to get there. Critically, Julie was compassionate, and the only reason I left the office was because I got quite ill. Among all her competing priorities, she made significant time to ask what I needed from her and she did so because she genuinely cared.

    What do Paul, Michael and Julie have in common in their leadership?

    Firstly, they knew themselves and how they ticked and were internally constantly reflecting on how to improve. They were self-driven, highly-motivated. They all had good judgement – the ‘x factor’ of making a call based on gut instinct and experience. They had a vision of what needed to be done, how it needed to happen and actively encouraged and supported their people, all of which generated loyalty. Finally, they did not suffer fools, they drove excellence and were all exceptional communicators in explaining the why.

    And the proof is there to see – Paul is a leading independent school principal and leadership thinker, Michael led the response to the ABC child care issues and was awarded a PSM for it, and Julie is Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party.

    Victor Perton: Jeremy, what are the qualities that Australians seek from their leaders?

    Jeremy Irvine: Head – being able to create a vision that has meaning, explaining the why and making it real

    My four-year-old son Gus’s favourite phrase is “why Dad?” – from bath time to explaining the difference between red and green trams (!) – but even at his age, he wants context.

    In a leadership sense, from the goldfields, through past Federation and the wars, Australians have demanded to know ‘why’ from their leaders – and then decide for themselves.

    ‘Yeah Nah’ is not a line from Kath and Kim, it’s a good way of understanding the Banjo Paterson ideal of the Australian ‘no-one is my master’ egalitarian ‘I’ll follow my equal’ spirit.

    Australians expect to know what it is they’re being told to do, why, what meaning it has, and for the direction to have been considered and thought-out. Hand – getting stuck in, making decisions and being proactive. Nothing smacks more of poor leadership I think to Australians than passivity.

    People respect leaders who actively seek out the B*S and remove it from their organisations (also known as – which I love – the ‘no d*ckheads policy’). That brings with its challenges, but as someone who’s had their share of appalling leaders, I believe that if you want the coin, you need to earn it.

    A title is useless without meaning and actively focusing on the people you lead and serve (including your team) and getting on and doing is what people not only seek, but what they deserve to get from you as a leader as a minimum. You need to be active, open, making decisions.

    Steve Smith, for example, won’t win a test by standing in the slips, letting the game go and not hatching a plan to have England 5-52 at lunch on day one of a Boxing Day Test. It’s about action, planning, nimbleness. You need to be thinking, taking counsel, leading by example, and encouraging your team. Do.

    Heart – genuinely caring about people and not being ‘full of it’ People are too busy, too intelligent to be spun platitudes.

    “Leading by example” by its very nature means striving as a leader in your own right to be an exemplar of the behaviours you wish to exhibit and be judged for. With tongue somewhat in cheek (again political observation with relevance to reality): Some day, somewhere, you’ll don a fluoro vest and hard hat and stand behind someone more important than you, smiling, on national TV, while having tie askew and the remnants of lunch in your teeth – and no-one will know who you are, or care. This is the quality of not believing your own B*S – and it’s a must. No-one will remember the media gaggle or you, but they’ll thank you for helping get the local hospital funding.

    Why? Because it’s not about you. Really. And the good leaders know it.

    Leading people is a responsibility, not a right.

    Victor Perton: Jeremy, what are the unique qualities of leadership in Australia and by Australians?

    Jeremy Irvine: This is a tough one for me as I’ve worked only in Australia and then for a few years in New Zealand, so my view is framed on my experience.

    Top three: You can come from anywhere and be anyone and be the person you want to be. John Curtin, arguably one of our greatest prime ministers, left school at 13, was a reformed alcoholic, went to jail for his beliefs. Curtin had a profound impact as leader during World War 2 and beyond. I’ve stood in the old House of Reps chamber and wondered what it would’ve been like in late 1941, early 1942 as the war in the Pacific directly threatened Australia and what type of person would’ve been needed to have led the country through such incredible national stress and unimaginable real fear. Curtin was it.

    John Monash, another example, rose through the ranks from being a reservist officer in World War 1 to command the Australian troops in France. A first-generation Jewish German-Australian too – it’s almost hard to imagine in those times. After the war, he was a civic leader and according to his biographer, “in the 1920s Monash was broadly accepted, not just in Victoria, as the greatest living Australian". The Shrine of Remembrance is a notable example of his energy and drive and it’s fitting that so much of Melbourne (uni, hospital, freeway, school, city) is named in Monash’s honour. His pre-and post-war achievements alone are staggering, let alone the critical role he played in the war itself.

    Good Australian leadership is consultative, egalitarian leadership. Former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor highlights listening as a key leadership trait, acknowledging mistakes and learning from them, but not being bogged down by errors. Taylor was a consultative, considered leader on the field who as an opening batsman literally led the team from the front. In any team, sport, corporate setting or whatever, there are going to be people cleverer than you. Shut up and listen to them and decide and then act. No-one knows everything.

    Positivity: Australians have, at their best, an incredible positivity and good Australian leadership empowers it. Acknowledging the real challenges and ordeals of the past that continue today in many parts of our community, we are a nation of rolling our sleeves up and getting on and doing the doing. Good Australian leadership sees each day as an opportunity and to have a go. It confounds me that often we can be so negative, when the opportunity to be positive and look at what could be is self-evident.

    Good Australian leadership harnesses the genuine goodwill of people, it’s positive, it puts people first, and it gets on and does.

    This article was originally sourced from the Australian Leadership.

  • 20 Jun 2017 11:25 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Dr Deen Sanders, Chief Executive Officer, of the Professional Standards Council was awarded an Order of Australia Medal 2017 for services to public administration and to professional standards. 

    Service includes:

    • Chief Executive Officer, Professional Standards Councils, since 2012.
    • Chief Professional Officer, Financial Planning Association of Australia, 2006-2012.
    • Director, The Why Corporation - Strategic Consulting, 2011-2012; Managing Director, 1994-2000.
    • General Manager, Financial Services Education Agency Australia, 2003-2006.
    • Executive Director, Global Learning Advisory Services, 2003-2006.
    • National Project Director, Financial Services, National Finance Industry Training Advisory
    • Board, 2000-2003.
    • Doctoral Researcher, Central Queensland (CQ) University, 2006-2010

    For more information on Dr Deen Sanders, click here.

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