President’s commentary: The opportunities that lie ahead…

What lies ahead for 2021? We lived through and witnessed so many extraordinary events in 2020 that it is hard to imagine the tide could rise any higher but who has the temerity to make that prediction?

What does this mean for Governance Institute and for us as members, governance professionals and as leaders? I believe it provides the opportunity to display what we are capable of in a year that may be as challenging as 2020. This will be shown:

  1. through the targets we strive to achieve
  2. by our conduct in getting to these targets
  3. how we react to the forces that may buffet us in the future.

For Governance Institute, 2021 will be critically important year with the targets that we strive to achieve. There is BAU (Business as Usual) and this cannot be compromised when providing support and value to you as a member is so important.

But no less important is the progress and evolution of the organisation. Part of this is continuing to deliver on our 2020–2025 Strategic Plan, notwithstanding a heck of a Year 1! And another part is progressing options and alternatives arising from our own governance review, undertaken by Blackhall and Pearl, including the appointment of an independent and professional chair to serve a longer term and additional Board appointments to preserve member representation and further improve diversity. 

Which moves me from the ‘where to’ and on to the ‘how to’. Of course, there are practicalities and constraints, of people, resources, gantt charts and more. But the more important and more enduring part is the character you display on your journey. Here there are limitless opportunities and I have been reminded of these character attributes in professional reading and by watching the events of 2020.

Behaviours I commend to you are to genuinely listen, to be inclusive and to model the leadership characteristic that you have seen and admire. Your colleagues and the people who rely on you will be influenced by, guided and remember these attributes as they ripple long into the future.


You can (and must) look out for the people around you, and be kind to them. And when the next ‘unprecedented’ event happens, your calm, measured response and reliable presence will be the hallmarks of leadership and governance professionalism.

At a personal level, I encourage you to reflect on where, and how, you want to steer towards in 2021. We all must acknowledge and accept that forces will deflect us from our chosen course, but the surety of having a course and moving towards it with decency and humanity is an incredible opportunity.

Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to Megan Motto and her team for their efforts in 2020, likewise John Mazengarb as immediate past-President. Thanks are also due to Warren Baillie and Peter Turnbull AM as retiring Board members, and to all of the members that serve on state councils and professional committees.

It is an honour to start the year as Governance Institute’s 2021 President. I have confidence this is a year rich with opportunities for both the Institute and for all of us as governance professionals and I wish you every success in these important endeavours.

Click the link for a full list of Governance Institute Board and State Council members. 

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