There is a deep appreciation for the Institute — and aspiration for what it could be.
2022 has been a year of remarkable recovery. Only a year ago, Australia was still emerging from the pandemic and we were about to enter a summer punctuated by the Omicron wave. But this year, despite many headwinds — the war in Ukraine, rising costs and interest rates, slowdowns with our trading partners — Australia has continued to grow and unemployment has reached record lows. AICD members have played a vital role in this recovery, setting a course for their organisations to manage these risks, reopen for business and take advantage of the opportunities as the economy bounced back. In hindsight, it is easy to take this for granted, yet from where we were at the start of the year, the job did not look simple.
The AICD, as an organisation, has followed a similar journey. The pandemic was difficult for us. As a membership body, fostering connection is fundamental, and this became much harder during the waves of lockdowns. My predecessor, Angus Armour FAICD, did a tremendous job steering the AICD through this time — accelerating our digital transformation, moving courses and services online and building a one- team culture among AICD staff. These changes are part of Angus’ enduring legacy to the way the AICD delivers for its members.
2022 has been a year for the AICD to re-gear. We know that meeting in-person is important for our members to build lasting connections and we have ramped up our face-to-face offerings. We have some way to go on regearing, but know that the team is working hard to do so. Over the past six weeks, I have traveled around the country as part of the Essential Director Update (EDU) roadshow. At every event, there has been a real buzz to be back face-to-face. In total, more than 10,000 of you attended one of the EDUs, either in-person or online.
We know how important events like the EDU are to our members. Next year, we will run an events program across the country and online, featuring leading experts and directors, with plenty of opportunities for you to meet and network with your fellow members. A milestone in the calendar will be the Australian Governance Summit in Melbourne on 1–2 March. I am excited about the conversation we’ll have on “The opportunity of tomorrow” and look forward to seeing many of you there. Events at the AICD are back while maintaining the digital and hybrid gains during COVID-19.
In terms of the AICD’s aim to build the capability of a community of leaders, it has been a very successful year. 2022 has seen demand for AICD courses well above pre-pandemic levels. Part of this is catch-up. Part reflects the continuing commitment of AICD members
to their professional development. The task of a director is more complex than it has ever been and the AICD will continue to ensure our members are equipped for the challenges that they face on their boards.
On the policy and practice front, we continued our focus on critical areas of governance to support our members through advocating for policy reform, providing practice guidance and building knowledge of key areas. We played an active role in debates around climate change and broader sustainability reporting, we released the Cyber Security Governance Principles — with the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre — which had 11,000 unique views in its first three weeks of publication and worked as part of a stakeholder coalition that saw governments across Australia commit to harmonised NFP fundraising laws.
In my first four months as CEO of the AICD, I have been struck time and again by how much AICD members and staff care about this organisation and its mission. There is a deep appreciation for the Institute — and aspiration for what it could be. I have received many thoughtful suggestions for how the AICD can do even better. These conversations have given me a great sense of enthusiasm for the work ahead. I cannot wait to get going on my first full year as AICD CEO in 2023.
In the meantime, I wish all of our members a safe and restful break with family and friends. Here’s hoping that after the recent years of bushfire, pandemic and La Niña, we get a more traditional Australian summer this year.
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