President’s commentary: Taking stock of 2020 and casting forward to 2021

A robust plan is the best defence against uncertainty. When I reflect on 2020 and how Governance Institute of Australia’s own planning framework has performed, this couldn’t be truer.

The core elements of our strategic plan have held up strongly against the challenges this year has created. Of course, some updates and refinements have had to be made, but the foundation remains strong and continues to guide us.

A key achievement to highlight is the policy and advocacy work we’ve been undertaking, particularly around the tension between how boards, directors and management work in the digital age, and how the legislation that governs how we work hasn’t kept pace.

We’ve strived behind the scenes, and in the public domain, to prosecute the case for change into the long term to provide certainty to Australian organisations regarding electronic execution of documents, e-signatories, digital minutes, about electronic meetings. We’ll continue this work on our members behalf, as well as on other issues we know are important to you, like ESG and ESG reporting, and managing the governance of data.


Another achievement we’ve made ― like many organisations — was the pivot to digital delivery and services: In April we were able to move to fully online delivery of our courses within a week. A huge effort by the team.

Following the initial implementation, we continue to make improvements to our digital delivery including improving online interactivity for students, and creating new filming spaces that improve lighting, sound and support for our presenters.

More achievements of Governance Institute that I feel proud of in this most unusual year include:

  1. Switching our event program — including our largest annual event series, the two-day Governance and Risk Management Forums in May — to be completely virtual (don’t forget to register for our upcoming virtual National Conference on 7–8 December).
  2. We’ve boosted efforts to grow our brand and awareness, resulting in one of our strongest years for media, and initiated our Brand Ambassador program
  3. We launched our Arts Support Program, designed to help NFP arts organisations during the pandemic, with the Australian Ballet our inaugural collaborator.

As you can see, it has been a busy year for our organisation, as I know it has been for many of you.

I hope, as 2020 comes to a close, that our members can also take the time review their own organisational achievements this year – and importantly, take some time to ‘zoom out’. Remember that Governance Institute of Australia is here to support you in your efforts through our advocacy, events and courses.

Click the link for a full list of Governance Institute Board and State Council members. 

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