13/02/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: New year brings new faces

13/02/2007 - 22:00


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Several not-for-profit organisations in Western Australia have made management changes at an executive level in the early part of the year.

Not for profit: New year brings new faces

Several not-for-profit organisations in Western Australia have made management changes at an executive level in the early part of the year.


One of these is the Western Australian Community Foundation, which has appointed Tonia Swetman as its new chief executive officer.


Ms Swetman was most recently director of the Kwinana Industries Council and was previously with Woodside Energy in productivity enhancement and community relations for the company’s North-West Shelf expansion. 


She has also held senior management positions with the Pilbara Development Commission and has been a director of the Dampier Port Authority board.


Ms Swetman said she was attracted to the executive position because of the organisation’s basic philosophy.


“It’s an opportunity for people to give back to the community, but it is a business unit as well,” she said.


“We’re trusted with people’s funds to allocate appropriately and make their endowment work for the community.”


One of the challenges for the organisation was achieving self-sufficiency, rather than relying on corporate partners for funding.


Ms Swetman said this would be achieved by contracting services to other organisations, in areas such as community development, to help businesses improve their social responsibility.


“It’s also a challenge to make a complex array of services into a marketable product. We’re selling in a very competitive marketplace,” she said.


Ms Swetman said resourcing and leadership were two of the biggest issues facing any not-for-profit organisation, and it was important to develop a good mix of skills and good governance.


Meanwhile, national charity Paraplegic Benefit Fund Australia has appointed Warrick Welsh as chief executive officer of the organisation.


Mr Welsh has spent the past three years at Albany-based sandalwood oil producer, Mt Romance, as general manager of the consumer products division.


Mr Welsh said he was arriving at Paraplegic Benefit Fund Australia at a time of considerable growth for the organisation, with membership increasing at about 40 per cent for the past 18 months to two years.


“Currently, I see a focus of stabilising the organisation’s growth and getting our administration processes in order," he said.


"Our goal is to double our membership around Australia and deliver a higher level of benefit to the community.”


Mr Welsh said his management style would remain the same, as the business models for a not-for-profit organisation and a profit-generating company did not differ substantially.


“In terms of how you utilise the money you make, it’s different,” he said. “The money you’re then generating goes back out into worthwhile causes.


“I suppose my shareholders are the community at large who require our benefit…and we need to ensure the money we do generate is not going out unnecessarily into other people’s pockets.”


For Margaret Jackson, newly-appointed chief executive officer of alcohol and drug counselling agency, Holyoake, profile raising and promotional activity will constitute a large part of her role.


“Being a not-for-profit, you don’t have the funds to advertise – funds go into servicing and helping clients,” Ms Jackson said.


Ms Jackson was previously development manager at the Women & Infant Research Foundation and has been acting in the chief executive position at Holyoake since last year.


Other recent management developments in the not-for-profit sector include Marion Fulker’s move from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) to advisory group Committee for Perth last month, and the resignation of long-term ScreenWest chief executive, Tania Chambers.


Ms Chambers has accepted the chief executive position at the NSW Film and Television Office, while former Department of Culture and the Arts chief finance officer Alan Ferris has been appointed acting chief executive at ScreenWest until a new appointment is finalised.



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