Observership Program Launches for NFP Boards
5 August 2014 at 11:20 am
Not for Profit boards looking to address the challenges in engaging the next generation can take part in a new Observership Program in 2015 following the success of a two-year pilot.
Not for Profits in NSW are invited to join the Observership Program and allow a young professional to sit on their board as an Observer for a 12-month period, gaining access to the perspective of the next generation.
Modelled on a successful program in the United States, the program was launched in 2012 by former investment banker, Jonathan Gavshon.
Gavshon has enlisted the support of David Gonski as patron. Philanthropy Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and JCA have all committed to be strategic partners and are assisting in driving the growth of the program.
Selected via a competitive application process, each Observer is paired with an organisation for one calendar year. Observers attend all board meetings as non-voting members, gaining insight into fundamental governance and decision making processes.
Organisers says AICD delivers a tailor-made training program over five intensive sessions, focusing on directors’ key duties and responsibilities in the Not for Profit sector. Each participant is assigned a board liaison to guide them through the experience – ensuring that the Observers can maximise the value they bring to the table.
Jonathan Gavshon said the program’s initial pilot yielded impressive results, with 25 per cent of boards inviting their Observer to join as a full-fledged member and believes that the program will change the way that the community sector thinks about succession planning.
“It is a rare opportunity for these boards to engage the talents and perspectives of the next generation in a low-risk, meaningful way, and ensures that they are provided with the support to contribute properly,” he said.
David Gonski said the Observership Program was an outstanding way for the future directors of all levels of Australian entity to gain experience in what to do and indeed what not to do round the board table.
“I think it is so good that I am filled with regret that it or a similar program didn’t exist when I was young,” he said.
Go to www.observership.com.au for more information.