Scouts Appoint New Boss
14 October 2013 at 9:01 am
Marty Thomas has taken over Scouts Australia’s top executive position at a time when the organisation is on the brink of big change.
|Scouts Australia Chief Executive Marty Thomas.|
Thomas has replaced Richard Miller who retired after more than 13 years as National Chief Executive.
Thomas, who at one stage ran and owned his own manufacturing and wholesale four-wheel-drive equipment company in Western Australia, has been a volunteer with Scouts Australia for more than 23 years in positions including top volunteer roles as Chief Commissioner and as a Board member.
He comes into the top job from the role of Executive Manager of Scouts Victoria, and before that was the Executive Manager of Scouts Western Australia.
Thomas said he was proud of the organisation’s achievements, under the leadership of Miller, including putting an end to the decline in Scouts membership numbers.
“We have done an awful lot of research about who we are and where we sit in the marketplace,” he said.
“Since 2000 we have been on a decline and Scouts Australia had spent the last decade or so on where we fit, our relevance, demographics … much of that work fit into our strategic plan in 2002.
“And in 2007, we halted the decline and pushed the numbers back up again.”
He said the research led to a more “sophisticated” approach to growing the organisation, including the change of uniform and growing its technology systems – in particular a database tool to measure the performance of the organisation.
“We’ve started using technology better, most states now have a more sophisticated database,” he said. Thomas says he’s excited about the future of the organisation including the development of its three-year strategy going into the future.
“We want to develop a clear message to the community,” he said. “What we do, why we do it and the value that has for kids.”
Thomas said key strategies to move Scouts Australia forward included recruiting more volunteers to its more than 14,000 volunteer workforce.
He also said that developing a financial and business strategy was also important.
“Will there be a benefit of just a national organisation, just being Scouts Australia and state organisations ceasing?” he said.
Thomas enters the job during a time when Scouts Australia has made national headlines as it comes under the scrutiny of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
However, he welcomes the Royal Commission and said that despite it being a “black spot” and “devastating” for the organisation, he hopes that the Royal Commission will also “go beyond the past” and come up with a national best practice for organisations and child safety.
And despite leading a successful career in the private sector, Thomas says he is pleased he looked to the Scouts Australia as an alternative career path.
“One of the things about Scouts is it’s a global organisation,” he said. “It’s like the Coca Cola of the Not for Profit sector …
“You feel like you are doing something meaningful – this is much more rewarding.
“The network of folks you meet are much more interesting, in the private sector it’s like swimming in a pool of sharks.
“Not for Profit people are open and honest. And when you bring passion to the table, people don’t think it’s weird.”