NFP Execs in CPA Business Leaders List
3 April 2013 at 10:52 am
Three young Not for Profit Executives have made it into the CPA Australia’s list of Top 40 Young Business leaders.
Oxfam Australia CFO Anthony Alexander. Photo: In the Black
The accounting membership peak body, CPA Australia has listed Anthony Alexander the 38 year old CFO of Oxfam Australia, Nicole Graham the 31 year old Chief Executive of the Spastic Centres of South Australia and Jonathon Munn the 32 year old Business Manager of the Hutt Street Centre in South Australia in the top 40 list.
Published in the latest CPA Magazine In The Black – those chosen are described as young, ambitious and highly motivated.
For the second year running, In The Black invited nominations for high achievers aged under 40 for the Young Business Leaders list.
It says the result is a group of remarkable young professionals, as varied in their fields as they are geographically dispersed, that gave the selection panel a difficult challenge.
Oxfam’s Anthony Alexander is a CPA member who has spent 15 years working in the Not for Profit sector and as CFO and company secretary of Oxfam Australia for the past 18 months has played a key role in restructuring the organisation.
After beginning in banking, Alexander said he made a decision to forgo the high salaries in the private sector. “I felt I needed to make a more direct connection with people and communities; to develop broader social skills and experience in my working life,” Alexander said.
He worked at Mission Australia as commercial manager before joining the Royal Flying Doctor Service as National Finance Manager.
At Oxfam, Alexander manages a A$90 million annual budget used to promote social justice and fight poverty around the world. One of his first tasks was to make the organisation fit for the future by building financial capacity and reducing costs. He achieved that, recording a A$2.4 million surplus last financial year.
Alexander says his biggest challenge, besides juggling a young family with his career, is working in a sector in which non?financial objectives are paramount, especially when objectives are intangible and hard to quantify.
Appointed to her current role as Chief Executive of the Spastic Centres at 28, Nicole Graham became one of the youngest CEOs in Australia. Since then she has led campaigns and programs to improve the lives and raise awareness of people living with disabilities.
Graham joined the HR department at the Spastic Centres of South Australia (SCOSA) nine years ago from a human resources role at Mitsubishi Motors.
“I was seeking an organisation that aligned with my values to make a positive contribution to the community as well as adding value to my professional skills,” Graham said.
Promoted to General Manager of Client Services, she took on responsibility for an annual budget of about A$7 million, overseeing nearly 200 employees across 11 locations in South Australia.
She says one of her greatest satisfactions has been to see one of those locations turned from an empty shell into a state-of-the-art resource for the SCOSA community.
“Close to a quarter of a million dollars worth of equipment – and time – was donated by businesses and individuals after we put out a call to action,” she said.
The realisation he could make a difference for society’s vulnerable drew Jonathon Munn to the NGO sector.
As business manager of Hutt Street Centre in Adelaide, South Australia’s leading homelessness organisation, he says he gets satisfaction knowing his decisions ensure the greatest amount of money and resources possible to benefit those in need.
Within months of joining the fast-growing Hutt Street Centre two years ago, Munn had redesigned the financial, accounting and IT systems, met all compliance requirements and identified significant cost savings, earning admiration from his board.
He first saw the impact of NGOs as marketing co-ordinator for Anglicare SA, one of South Australia’s biggest employers.
But he says it was the business side that attracted him and within six years, aged 28, he was Finance Manager reporting directly to the CFO for the organisation, which had an annual turnover of A$90 million, A$150 million of assets and A$100 million in equity.
Munn also volunteers many out-of-work hours to help the homeless.
The CPA selection panel said the process of whittling down the field of early achievers sparked intense discussion on the defining qualities of outstanding leaders among the members of the selection panel. All experienced leaders themselves, the panelists looked for indicators of career success, inspiration, innovation and leadership initiative, beyond the parameters of day?to?day jobs.
Those who displayed leadership in their professional lives and the community were a keen focus for the six panel members, who convened at the Sydney offices of CPA Australia to evaluate entries.