Inside AICD - Company Directors Course May 2008

Thursday, 01 May 2008


    Order of Merit recipients explain what they took home after completing AICD’s flagship Company Director’s Course last year.

    Course gets top marks

    Four participants in the Company Director’s Course (CDC) in 2007 achieved the Order of Merit, attaining over 80 per cent in the assessment component of the course. The Order of Merit recipients are Sarah Dods, GAICD; Rupert Roxburgh, GAICD; Phillip Campbell, GAICD; and Thomas McGinness, MAICD.

    Some 2059 participants registered for the CDC in 2007 – a nine per cent increase from the previous year. The popularity of the CDC is evident not only from these figures, but the testimonials provided by the four Order of Merit recipients. It’s not just about the up-to-date course content, expert presenters and rigour of the assessment, it’s also about the networking opportunities and learning from other experienced participants. It’s a qualification that is now well recognised by Australian and international companies. In 2008, the International CDC will be offered in both Singapore and Dubai.

    Sarah Dods GAICD

    Dods’s career to date has had a strong technical focus. She holds a PhD in fibre-optic communication systems and has 15 years experience in roles within both industry and academia. In 2007, when she completed the AICD’s CDC, she was working as a principal researcher for NICTA – Australia’s research centre of excellence in information and communications technology (ICT). NICTA’s mission is to solve practical problems by making breakthroughs in ICT, and then take the solutions to market through a range of approaches including start-up companies, technology licensing and industry collaborations.

    The project that she was working on at the time had strong commercial potential, so she attended the CDC in preparation for becoming the chief operating officer of the monitoring division, which was created at the end of 2007 as a spin off of NICTA. She has successfully raised $3.85 million in an initial funding round and opened offices in both Australia and the US.

    Dods says: “I thoroughly enjoyed the week of the course, learning a lot from the broad range of experiences and viewpoints from other participants and session facilitators. It was both rewarding and humbling to be a novice in the presence of so much expertise. I got to know a very smart and diverse group of people, and hope to keep in contact with them in the future.

    “Having come into the CDC with a technical background, I knew that I needed to expand the business aspects of my skill set to successfully move into a senior management position. The course opened my eyes to the intricacies of running a company and provided a thorough and timely grounding in the responsibilities and successful operation of a board, and its relationship to the rest of the company. The understanding I gained from the course enabled me to actively contribute to the founding of the monitoring division and carry out my new role based on solid practices.”

    Rupert Roxburgh GAICD

    Roxburgh worked in investment banking in the UK and returned to Australia a few years ago. On his return, he started a restaurant business but most recently, he formed a company called Beachwood Designs which is focused on consolidating and expanding a furniture and homewares business involved in retailing, importing and wholesale. He is currently focused on a thorough business review of the company and the implementation of structures, systems, processes and strategies that will ensure a successful, ethical and targeted expansion plan is carried out.

    Roxburgh found the exposure to the high calibre AICD CDC participants very worthwhile and impressive. The background provided about the Australian regulatory and legal environment and how this affects being a company director also proved useful to his current business plans. Roxburgh adds that the course itself provided a necessary framework, and highlighted potential pitfalls when considering his role as both an executive and company director.

    Phillip Campbell GAICD

    Campbell is currently the operations planning manager at the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in Adelaide where he is responsible for long-term network planning. His previous roles have been in configuration management, project management, consultancy management, the position of chief engineer and whilst in the RAAF, as a commanding officer. He is currently the external affairs director for the Australian division of the Royal Aeronautical Society and serves on the Australian Joint Board for Aerospace Engineering. He has previously served on the Congress of Engineers Australia and as President of the South Australia Division of Engineers Australia. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee to the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Trust operated by Australian Executor Trustees.

    Campbell considers the CDC very worthwhile, particularly with regard to board governance and the importance of the notes to the company financial statements.

    Tom McGinness MAICD

    McGinness has been communications manager for the National Research Flagships program at CSIRO for eight months. After 17 years in various roles at CSIRO, McGinness has a strong commitment to helping Australia realise tangible benefits from the CSIRO’s innovation system. Originally a scientist, he now works in marketing communications which he sees as crucial to creating the understanding and commitment needed to sustain support for research and development.

    In summing up his CDC experience, McGinness says: “The CDC was rewarding and challenging on many levels. There was much to absorb, some of it in unfamiliar territory such as finance. A real understanding of the content required careful concentration. The quality of both the facilitators and my fellow students was a major impetus to work hard, particularly when it came to the exam and assignment. What I learned in the course has been immediately valuable to me. I now find I am better equipped to participate in strategy discussions, analyse risks and understand the implications of financial statements – and to ask the right sorts of questions of my colleagues.”

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