President's Report to Members - February 2021 – Update on the 2020+ Strategic Plan, Thought Leadership projects, eCommunity growth and plans for Council in 2021.
As 2021 gets underway, I am sure that we all hope it will be a brighter and more predictable year than 2020. We have all faced significant and un-expected challenges over the last year and your Institute is no different. Notwithstanding the challenges, I am pleased that I can bring you a positive update on recent and upcoming activities for the Institute.
Since the beginning of 2021 I have been in contact with many international Council representatives from our nine Divisions. Throughout last year the Divisions all went through a process of adapting how they serve the Institute’s members in each of their Divisions. The significant shift they all made was to introduce webinars, on-line learning and examinations as well as on-line events such as award nights. This platform development has been impressive. I am sure this momentum will continue during 2021 and I do hope that you will find the contact you have with your local Division in the coming months to be very accessible and valuable.
I would like to report to you the global Institute’s progress with our 2020+ Strategic Plan, initiatives in relation to our thought leadership projects, the growth of the eCommunity as well as plans for Council meetings during 2021.
2020+ Strategic Plan
As I mentioned late last year, the 2020+ Strategic Plan is structured around 6 key elements: financial stability (including our Covid-19 response); business growth for students and members; brand enhancement; qualifications; thought leadership and finally organisational governance.
Since the Plan was approved at the Council meeting in October 2020 we have made substantial progress on a number of fronts. For example:
- As the work of the Thought Leadership Committee (TLC) is critical in progressing the Institute’s mission we have commenced a process to recruit an experienced Policy Adviser to support the work of the Committee in a direct and on-going way. The TLC members have been generous with their time and have produced extremely valuable thought leadership papers but we know that their contribution can be even more effective with the support of a dedicated resource and so we hope to have this in place in the coming months,
- The Professional Standards Committee has made substantial progress with its review of how the Institute assesses a person’s suitability to qualify as a Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional. We hope to have some preliminary recommendations to be considered at our Council meeting in April of this year. How we bring people into membership is critical to maintain the reputation of being Chartered and the Institute must always be at the forefront of best practice,
- As a number of Divisions started conducting examinations remotely and on-line last year the experiences have been shared across all nine Divisions so that exams can be held in the same manner across Divisions ensuring that best practice education methods are in place.
In addition to the progress noted above the Executive Committee and Council are also acutely aware of the financial challenges being faced by all of our Divisions. I am pleased to report that significant operational cost savings at the global level have been achieved so that the financial burden on everyone has been partially relieved.
The Institute continues to benefit from an active and forward looking TLC comprised from members across our Divisions.
In December 2020, the TLC released its final paper for 2020 – “Diversity of thought”. This discussion paper explores how diversity of thought can be encouraged in the boardroom, the pivotal role the Chair plays and how you can measure the extent of diversity of thought in your boardroom. The paper addresses some key questions such as: how does a governance professional prepare their board for making complex decisions? What role does diversity of thought play in decision making? What is the difference between diversity of thought and diversity of membership?
The TLC will also release its first paper for 2021 in March this year to coincide with International Women’s Day. The paper – “Women in the boardroom” examines, in depth, the status of women in the boardroom across the nine jurisdictions of the Institute’s Divisions. I urge you to look out for this paper when it is released.
The eCommunity has proved to be a valuable service to members as well as a tangible and practical demonstration of the global nature of the Institute. We have contributors from every continent and every Division. I continually see the exchange of ideas or queries being posted that you would expect from a professional global community such as ours.
The eCommunity is now supported by a dedicated Steering Group of members from across almost every Division. The Steering Group have contributed regular blogs, started discussion threads and are always available to answer many of the questions that have been posted.
I urge you to keep an eye on the eCommunity as the year progresses. It is our current intention to host a global webinar each quarter, to host more interviews through “The Governance Exchange” series and to keep the dialogue going that so many of our members seek. I hope that as many members as possible can join and become active within the eCommunity on an on-going basis.
Transition to new post-nominals
If you have not already done so, the Council has asked that all members transition to the new post-nominals from 1 January of this year.
As a reminder, Fellows will be able to use FCG, Associates ACG, Affiliated members CG (Affiliated) and Graduates GradCG. In addition, members are welcome to add CS in brackets after their post-nominal if they are a Chartered Secretary or CGP if they are a Chartered Governance Professional or CS and CGP if they are both.
2021 Council meetings
As international travel continues to be severely restricted, the first Council meeting of this year will again be held via Zoom. This will be the third Council meeting in a row held via Zoom. It is a tribute to all Council members that we have continued to have very effective meetings under these circumstances. Of course, we do hope to return to face to face meetings as soon as is practicable. In the meantime, we are currently setting dates for our late 2021 meeting and leaving it open as to whether it will be face to face or again via Zoom.
In closing, I hope that 2021 is a bright year for all members and I thank you for your on-going support of the Institute which is very much valued.
I look forward to updating you further on our progress we after our April 2021 Council meeting.
Peter Turnbull AM FCG
5 February 2021
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