Scholar Profile - Chris Campbell PDF Print E-mail
Chris Campbell

CHRIS CAMPBELL

CEO at The Junction Works Ltd

Awarded a scholarship for the Meikle Files Black Leadership Program, 2013


What sort of work does your organisation do?

Since 1987 The Junction Works (TJW) has provided a range of children, youth, community and disability services to individuals and families living in the greater Western Sydney region. The Mission of TJW is to “Create new possibilities in people’s lives” and focuses their support on some on the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

Describe a typical day's work.

A typical day is full of difference with planned and unplanned interactions with many people on a range of issues.

My office is located in our new service center at Austral which is the focal point of a number of our key services. This allows me regular access to the young men and women with disabilities and their families. I also have the opportunity to relate with our staff on a daily basis. This gives me the chance to talk with them about anything and everything. It helps me connect with the cultural and emotional health of our organisation. A typical day may also involve planned meetings with our funding bodies or corporate supporters locally or in the city to seek their ongoing support.

My typical day involves a lot of talking and relating to people, presenting the mission of TJW to different groups and making decisions that allow others to complete their tasks. Each conversation has a common theme. It is to hear the important issues of others and set a vision and direction for TJW’s mission. The recent success of TJW has been based on developing positive and trusted relationships with the people and communities we relate with.

What were some of the key learnings from the Meikle Files Black Leadership Program?

The MFB Leadership course was different from other leadership courses that I have been involved in. It did not follow a standard framework or model. However it brought together the extensive learnings of Andrew Meilke from his numerous interviews of different people from diverse backgrounds.

The key learnings were the different key principles and subsequent practice points that underpin the unique leadership model of MFB. In summary the key principles focused on the development of self, the team performance and the shared belief system.

The style and content of MFB, whilst delivered differently, did resonate and reflect key learnings from alternate leadership programs. But its point of uniqueness was to highlight key issues in a different way than other courses, programs and books.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

The use of the key principles and practice points has assisted me to focus on the important issues in my role as a leader and allowed me to convey critical and clear messages to my executive team and staff. It has also enhanced my confidence in my own personal leadership skills and knowledge. It has reinforced some of my strengths and made me reflect on other practices/behaviours.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

My undergraduate qualification was in social work. Why I chose social work is still a mystery to me. However working with and relating to people has always been an innate and comfortable skill. I complemented my social work skills with post graduate qualifications in Business, culminating in an Executive MBA from Mt Eliza Business School.

During this process I was offered senior roles within the profit sector, however the roles never appealed due to their lack of depth and complexity. I actually find the NFP sector more challenging and complex as you need to understand more completely the needs and aspirations of people who are doing it tougher than the average person in Australia.

In the NFP sector you are not selling products or services to consumers. You are an instrument of aspirational change and achievement of better lives. Your accountability is more personal as you interface with the people you work with. Whilst in the for-profit sector accountability and success is measured on share-holder value or size of your remuneration package. I’m not sure that these are best measures of success or value of a person’s role/job.

So that is why I have enjoyed the NFP sector for more than 30 years.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

Firstly the NFP sector has to believe they are a valued sector which does make an impact. It is the often the belief system of the people within NFPs that holds it back and “undersells” it worth. To address this issue NFP senior staff and CEO’s need to invest in their professional development and seek out courses that differ from their undergraduate training. There is a need to make a personal commitment to further their education and exposure to courses that introduce and enhance new skills and knowledge. This is where ASF does a great job in providing access to scholarships that would not ordinarily be available to people in the NFP sector.

Secondly the NFP has to demonstrate, in a measurable way, the impact it makes. Whilst it is important to identify the cultural difference between NFP and profit sectors, it is not sufficient to just say we are “caring and do good things”.  In addition to doing good things the NFP sector is required to demonstrate its impact on its Mission. If it can’t do this successfully then it is appropriate to question the value/worth of an NFP organisation.

Thirdly there needs to be an investment in a system of measurement that adequately assesses the value of different NFP organisations in a way that can be reported back to its stakeholders (funders, corporate, donors, clients etc.).

Next the NFP sector is not a homogenous group. Within the NFP sector there is a diversity of difference in their fundamental purpose. So it is important that the measurement systems reflect the difference of the NFP sector.

Finally I think there is a need to commence a conversation on rationalising the number of NFP’s in Australia. There are currently 700,000 NFP’s of which 67,000 are registered charities. Partnership and mergers of like-minded organisations need to occur to help sustain the future of the NFP sector.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I think I’m fairly average and boring person who likes to do average things. Watch sport, drink wine, play golf, and spend time with family.

What others have noticed in me is my ability to observe and distill an issue and then communicate a message and/or solution that others can understand and implement.  Another way of putting it is, I let people know what I’m thinking in 25 words or less.

I also like talking and meeting with different people, as long as they don’t “big note” themselves. I am comfortable in my own skin and enjoy a simple life.


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"In the NFP sector you are not selling products or services to consumers. You are an instrument of aspirational change and achievement of better lives. Your accountability is more personal as you interface with the people you work with."


ABOUT CHRIS:

Chris has worked in the youth, community health and disability sectors for over 30 years, 20 of which he has held executive positions. He has been the CEO of The Junction Works since 2011.

In 2013, ASF awarded Chris a scholarship to attend the Meikle Files Black Leadership Program.

ABOUT TJW:

Annual revenue / size:

Large - $5m - $25m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Social Services

Operating in:

NSW

Website:

http://thejunctionworks.org/