Executive Director, Treasurer and Deputy Chairman at Amana Living Inc
Awarded a BankWest Foundation / AICD scholarship for the Company Directors Course, 2014
What sort of work does your organisation do?
Established in 1962, Amana Living Inc is a part of the Anglican Community, and is one of Western Australia’s largest not-for-profit providers of aged care.
- 13 residential care centres with 752 bed licences,
- 17 retirement communities with 659 units with 723 residents,
- Two transition care sites with 65 places,
- Three dementia-specific day clubs,
- Approximately 1385 members of staff.
- Home Care services,
- 479 Home Care packages,
- 43,142 HACC Home Care hours,
- 87,786 HACC Day Club hours,
- Approximately 1050 Home Care clients.
We offer dementia services to support those living with dementia and their carers.
Describe a typical day's work.
My role is governance focused. The Board meets monthly, and the Finance & Audit Committee I chair meets most months. We focus on strategic direction, policy framework, risk management, property management and financial performance and accountability.
My typical month would include meeting as Treasurer with the senior finance team members and CEO to review the monthly financial reports and confirm any recommendations; Chair the Finance & Audit Committee meeting, considering the financial reports and cashflow projections, annual budget and review, investment reports and investment program, major capital investment projects and audit related matters; attend the board meeting which considers strategic direction, regular changes in government legislation and direction, reports from the Finance & Audit and the Governance Committees, executive reports and statutory compliance.
The services undertaken by the organisation are significant and diverse, both in nature and geographically. Board members regularly undertake site visits and participate in recognition functions at the centres.
What are some of the key learnings from the Company Directors Course?
The course provided excellent revision and teaching of the key responsibilities and challenges of being a director. Risk management, strategy, the legal environment and achieving an effective board team were highlights. For me it also included a focus on all types of organisations including Government and for profit, which enabled me to reflect on the different responsibilities to shareholders and the different expectations of stakeholders in those environments compared with the not-for-profit area I work in.
Having a five day focus with others of varying backgrounds but similar focus was very useful to share perspective and network.
How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?
Amana Living is currently reviewing our strategic plan, a process undertaken or reviewed every two years. This year is a major review of all areas and this process is done over several months to enable sufficient time and reflection on the process. I have been able to utilise skills learned in helping to frame the review process, determine facilitation and the need for input and resources required from both internal and external sources for the review process.
How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?
I am a life-long Anglican involved in the business of the church as a member of the Diocesan Synod since I was 18. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked in public practice to senior manager level. I determined that continuing in public practice was not my vocation, and my knowledge and experience could be used elsewhere. I moved initially into a finance position with a Church agency, and over the next 20 years have held progressively more senior roles in the NFP sector up to being CEO of an Anglican agency and currently Director of a division of the Perth Diocesan Trustees.
In parallel with my employment, since aged 16 I volunteered my time and later financial skills to many Church committees, both at my local parish, region, Diocese and nationally. Having this experience, I was invited by the Archbishop to be his appointment to the board of Amana Living Inc (then Anglican Homes Inc), and the board appointed me treasurer. I have held this position for 12 years.
What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?
The areas in which I am involved, particularly Amana Living Inc, are significantly controlled by Government legislation and policy. Aged Care is one of the most strictly controlled areas of care, as the standards and documentation, operational audit, financial subsidy, bed licences and fees are set by Government, and staffing costs greatly influenced by the public health sector. Of most challenge is the continuing tinkering with the systems which makes the process of strategic planning exceedingly difficult manage and anticipate. A service that provided a service 10 years ago could now operate at a loss. While acknowledging the growing realisation of the medium and long term public financial cost of aged care, the political process of constant change consumes a significant amount of governance and executive time and focus.
What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?
I am passionate about the community work that the Anglican Church undertakes with a wide range of community groups in need. I have been involved in a diverse number of industries and operations, and have developed a wide range of financial, strategic and risk management skills. I am talented as a trouble shooter and risk manager.
Click here to read about other ASF scholars.
Click here to find out more about the Bankwest Foundation Community Leader Scholarship Program.