Leading the Way for Board Diversity in the Not for Profit Sector

Southcare Inc’s Emerging Young Leaders Program will launch on 28th January 2015. Now in its third year, the program will welcome 20 young (under 40 years) professionals from a diverse range of corporate, government and not for profit backgrounds who share a common passion to use their professional skills to contribute to Board governance within the WA aged care and not for profit sector. With many of these professionals already skilled leaders in their own fields of expertise, this program will give them direct exposure to Board executives and leadership coaching and governance training exclusive to the local aged care and not for profit sector so as to be in a position to progress to their first not for profit Board position.

This year’s participants hail from a wide range of professional backgrounds including law, commerce and finance, core competencies in the skill sets of any Board Director. “I can use my knowledge to provide insight to a Board on perspectives that may not have previously been considered” says Miguel Gomes, a 2015 participant and Senior Business Analyst at BGC who has worked in Corporate Finance in the United States and Australia.

Southcare is the lead organisation behind the Program with some 24 Community Partners, including Silver Chain, Baptistcare, Bethanie, Hall and Prior and other key aged care, not for profit and corporate organisations. Community Partners have been supporting the program financially and in principle since its inception providing mentoring and observation and internship opportunities on their own Boards. Helen Attrill, CEO of CommunityWest, a Government agency dedicated to organisational development and governance in the aged care sector and a principal Community Partner noted “Our own organisational journey is soon to culminate in the hosting of an Emerging Leaders Board Internship – we are looking forward to this exciting next step in our journey to greater diversity on our Board”.

Community Partner executives will gather at the Program’s first 2015 Unconvention in February, themed “Building the Board you Want” to support the cause for better Board governance and diversity. The Unconventions will host a number of prominent and interesting speakers as well as former graduates of this program who are now in Board positions and internships.

The Emerging Leaders Program has a vision to build a world class aged care and not for profit sector steered by strong, professional leadership which includes skilled, young professionals on Boards. Its mission is for progressive organisations and young leaders to work together to increase age diversity on not for profit Boards to inject fresh thinking, new skills and different perspectives to deal with the future challenges and skills gap that will emerge when the baby boomers leave the Board room. Australia’s ageing population is well documented; as is the fact that 62% of publicly listed Board members are 50 years and over. The program is looking ahead to include the young professionals of today who will provide the solutions of tomorrow, in the Board room.

With approximately 700 charities and over 190 aged care organisations in WA, there is still a lot of work to do. However, Southcare CEO and Program Director Dr Nicky Howe is positive that the sector can transform itself “We must include new talent in our business, only those of us who adapt, change, develop, improve and grow will evolve to be able to deal with tomorrow’s challenges. We have to be determined about diversity on Boards. We cannot leave young people out”.

For more information on the Emerging Young Leaders Program, go to its website http://www.youngleadersonboards.com.au/. Meet this years participant’s here.  To become a Community Partner, email Southcare, CEO Dr Nicky Howe at nicky.h@southcare.org.au.

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