Australian Heads International 'Make-A-Wish' Found
17 July 2000 at 1:07 pm
An Australian has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the world’s largest wish granting organisation to direct it’s growth and development during a critical phase of continuing international expansion.
Tony Walsh, the Chief Executive of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Australia is the first non-American to take up the international job overseeing its 20 member countries.
Walsh will remain as Australian CEO while helping the international body expand into more countries and continue to grant cherished wishes of children under 18 with life threatening illnesses.
The organisation has granted more than 80,000 wishes around the world since its creation just twenty years ago.
Walsh says his vision for the Foundation is for all people to share the power of a wish, not just the recipients and their families, but the volunteers and the world wide community as well.
The major challenges in the new role include restructuring the International Foundation and its administration to ensure global relevance, improving professionalism, increasing its resources and expanding into other countries.
At 45, Tony Walsh has been involved in Not for Profits all his working life. He started out as a social worker in local government specialising in issues relating to children and teenagers. After the obligatory Aussie trip overseas, Walsh says he returned home with renewed vigour and new skills and took up a position with the Red Cross as manager of youth programs and services.
He then became CEO of the Save the Children Fund in Victoria, before making a slight career shift into the health area and becoming CEO of the Continence Foundation of Australia.
‘But working with children is my love and my passion and the job for Make-A-Wish Australia came up and it just had my name on it. I had to have this job.’
‘Taking on the International job is a great honour.’
Walsh has two children of his own; Stephanie, aged 7, and Christopher, aged 11 who he says completely understand his work and love being involved as well.
He says the move to take on a non-American CEO reflects the major strategic and cultural changes he has been able to develop in Australia and he hopes to move the International organisation towards a more professional and credible future.