Company Secretary of Evolution Mining reveals why he chose the Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance

Evan Elstein, Company Secretary of ASX-listed company Evolution Mining insists that ‘the governance role in the modern company is not about sitting in the office writing minutes of meetings’.

‘You need to be out and about,’ he says. ‘Boards and executives need you to be their voice on governance. They also need you to be their sounding board. So having a broad understanding of commercial and industry issues is very important.’

Studying ‘made sense’ after a long and diverse career

Evan’s career certainly reflects the diversity of experience that many boards value. He started out as a chartered accountant in an IT company, before moving on to a role as CFO and company secretary in a listed company. However, that role lasted only a year as an opportunity came up for him to pursue his passion in IT consulting. But while he enjoyed his IT role immensely, after many years he eventually found himself missing the fast pace and excitement of a listed company environment.

So when offered the chance, in 2011, to join listed gold miner, Evolution Mining, as Company Secretary and Vice President of IT and Community Relations, Evan jumped at it. ‘The role was ideal as it allowed me to combine my passions for IT and governance. I’m fortunate to be able to wear many hats,’ he said.

It didn’t take long for Evan to realise that postgraduate governance study would be enormously beneficial at this point in his career. ‘I’d reached a point where I had plenty of hands-on practical experience, but I needed to consolidate my knowledge and validate my skills. That’s when I decided to do Governance Institute’s Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance. Having a formal qualification was a way to assure longevity in my career.’

The Graduate Diploma was a ‘winner’ for practical know-how

Evan enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in 2012 and completed it in 2014. He speaks highly of the practical nature of the course, which equipped him with the skills and knowledge he could immediately apply. ‘We had two new directors join the company at the time I was doing the course on directors’ duties. Having up-to-date information was very useful for our director induction process. The risk management module was also very practical. As a mining company, we are very conscious of risk management and how it can affect our business. The content of the risk management course helped us to refine our process.’

A range of study formats to suit everyone

Although Governance Institute students have the option of studying through face-to-face lectures or remotely with online resources, Evan felt he would benefit more from the face-to-face option. ’I had done a correspondence course before and knew that, this time, I wanted a more interactive format. I attended weekly lectures at Governance Institute and enjoyed engaging with the course presenters, asking questions and meeting other students. The course presenters were very good and represented a mix of academics on black-letter law issues, and working professionals with relevant experience on the more practical topics.’

Study has made a difference

Evan says completing the Graduate Diploma has given him greater confidence to be more proactive with the board and executive on governance matters. ‘I’ve been able to consolidate my practical experience and industry knowledge and make it relevant in a governance context. I think our board and senior management see the value in that. I now have the foundations to move forward with my career,’ he said.

Click here to view the interview between Stephen Partington (Company Secretary of Channel Ten) and Evan Elstein.

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