Nada Kirkwood, outgoing Committee of Management (CoM) member, reflects on the experience on being on the CoM, and offers advice to those intending to nominate ahead of this year's AGM.
Writers Victoria (WV) relies on a committed, hardworking and highly skilled management committee so that it can continue to service its members in an effective and relevant way. Congratulations on considering being part of that Committee!
I will not be re-nominating this year, and thought it might assist potential candidates to explain what I did during my time as a Committee member.
What was my background?
I am a lawyer and I worked for many years as a political and policy adviser. I have extensive experience with:
- media relations,
- government departmental and budget processes,
- human resources management, and
- employment law.
I had also previously been a Director on the boards of both a government corporation and an NGO, and I had done an Australian Institute of Company Directors course.
When I joined the Committee, I had recently completed my first novel-length manuscript.
What did I do as a Committee member?
As well as attending Committee and sub-committee meetings, some examples of tasks I was solely or partly responsible for as a Committee member were:
- Organising pro-bono legal advice for WV for several matters, and liaising with those lawyers.
- Reviewing WV’s rules and corporate structure, with the assistance of lawyers.
- Advising WV management about sensitive legal, human resources and membership issues.
- Assessing all applications received for the role of WV director when it arose, and interviewing potential candidates.
- Promoting WV events among my networks to boost attendance as required.
- Regularly liaising with the Chair of the Committee and other Committee members as issues arose.
Skills WV needs on its committee
Ideally, Committee members will have an interest in writing, and expertise and skills in one or more of the following areas:
- Strategic Thinking/Planning
- Information technology
- Writing & Publishing Industry Knowledge
What is expected of Committee members?
The Committee itself meets every two months, usually for a few hours on Wednesday evenings. Committee members are expected to have read the relevant accounts and papers prior to the meeting, to have identified any issues and be prepared to contribute to discussion and decision making.
All Committee members are expected to also serve on one or more sub-committees (finance, development/fundraising, governance). I was on the governance sub-committee and also chaired a working group to investigate changing the corporate status of WV.
Sub-committees might meet monthly, bi-monthly or more often if the need arises.
The Committee works best if members stay familiar with staff and operations of WV, the writing community generally, and attend WV seminars and functions (which may be during or outside of business hours).