31/07/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: Business focus drives change

31/07/2007 - 22:00

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Strategic restructuring and a renewed corporate and business focus are behind the appointments of new chief executives at three major Western Australian not-for-profit groups – United Way WA, Volunteering WA and Silver Chain – during the past month.

Not for profit: Business focus drives change

Strategic restructuring and a renewed corporate and business focus are behind the appointments of new chief executives at three major Western Australian not-for-profit groups – United Way WA, Volunteering WA and Silver Chain – during the past month.

 

United Way WA has promoted its corporate partner manager, Sue Dixon, to chief executive officer, replacing former Freehills partner, Rosemary Peek, in the role.

 

The move had been planned for the past year, as part of a strategic restructure by the organisation.

 

Ms Dixon, who has held the position of corporate partner manager for the past 12 months, said she hoped to utilise her business experience at United Way.

 

“(Ms Peek) and I were both aware that not-for-profits tended to be run by people from other not-for-profits, or those with a particular cause. There needed to be more of a business focus,” she said.

 

“The organisation realised it was in dire need of people from a corporate background.”

 

Ms Dixon was formerly marketing manager at Alinta Ltd, and spent seven and a half years with the organisation.

 

Former HBF managing director, Mike Gurry, who chairs the board of United Way, said it was a strategic move by the organisation to appoint Ms Dixon.

 

“Certainly, having people with a corporate background is important in terms of the work we do. United Way’s main activity is fundraising in the corporate arena; therefore being able to understand and communicate appropriately in that arena is critical for the role,” he said.

 

The organisation has replaced its entire staff in the past 12 months, taking advantage of natural turnover to recruit specific skills.

 

“The majority of our new recruits have experience in the corporate arena, but we have one who is highly skilled and respected in the charitable arena. We can then offer a much better understanding of where the money is going and who needs it,” Mr Gurry said.

 

Volunteering WA has also appointed a new chief executive officer, to replace outgoing CEO Lynn Fisher.

 

Long-serving Celebrate WA director, Mara Basanovic, will take the reins as CEO, having held her current role for the past 13 years.

 

Ms Fisher, who is retiring from full-time work, said her departure gave the organisation the opportunity to assess its future, following the drafting of a new strategic plan nine months ago.

 

“What you look at is whether the organisation will continue in its path or if the organisation wants to go in a different direction,” she said.

 

Volunteering WA chair Dr Sue Young said the organisation had moved into an innovative phase under Ms Fisher and the new appointment reflected that.

 

“We were looking for someone who could carry that innovation forward,” she said.

 

Dr Young said the board felt it was important to appoint someone with knowledge and experience in the not-for-profit sector, because of the synergies with volunteering.

 

“The not-for-profit sector is a major player in the broad field of human services, which uses a range of volunteering activities,” she said. 

 

“We’re still open to having representation on the board from the corporate sector, but we’re not necessarily seeking that in a CEO.”

 

Community and health services provider Silver Chain also replaced its long-serving chief executive, Ross Bradshaw, last month.

 

The organisation’s new chief executive is Chris McGowan, who has a background in ancillary health services in South Australia.

 

Silver Chain board member Dr Norm Marinovich said it would have been ideal to appoint locally, but it was difficult to find someone with the requisite level of experience.

 

“We needed someone who, apart from having a good knowledge of our services and health issues, also has a track record of managing a large business organisation,” he told WA Business News.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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