Making a difference at Governance level
13 May 2013
Having the opportunity to influence the direction of an organisation is one of the reasons that Michael Corry joined the board of a not for profit organisation.
It was a logical progression from a career as a Chartered accountant climbing the corporate ladder and gaining the skills needed to mix with talented people. Michael has worked in both an accounting firm and also in the commercial world. This enables him to look at the issues facing organisations such as cash flow, remuneration and options for leasing or buying assets from both technical accounting and commercial angles. His aim is to make organisations better and more efficient.
Michael completed LV’s Experience Bank Leadership Program in 2007 and became an Alumnus. This gave him access to the community organisations that were looking for new board members or needed financial committee members.
Since then, Michael has served on a few NFP boards and three years ago he joined the board of Palliative Care Victoria after serving on the finance committee; “It was a great opportunity to make a difference and put back into the community. It also gave me a chance to work with talented people who were dedicated and also great fun. And I’m always learning.”
Today he is also on the board of Plan International Australia, a position he has had for 15 months. Plan is a major child rights agency, part of a large international federation. He also became aware of this opportunity through LV. For both organisations he chairs the finance committee. Each board and committee has different needs and consequently his time commitment for each differs. Board meetings are held between five and eight times a year for each board, lasting between two and six hours. Additional time is needed to read the papers beforehand. Chairing committees takes more time again due to the preparation required. Board committees tend to deal with specialist topics in more detail and report in summary to the full board.
For anyone thinking of becoming a board member Michael has the following advice: “understanding directors’ legal responsibilities is a very important start and LV’s training can provide this. Take on a role that matches your skills and interests and get to know the Chair of the board and CEO well before committing. A good Chair will guide new members regularly and provide feedback.”
Such guidance will help avoid the classic trap of getting too involved in management. “Always remember that you are governing not managing and never lose track of what the organisation is there to achieve.”
Michael has his own consulting business offering interim CFO services to businesses.