She has a passion for the NFP sector and has forged a long career in that space. But stepping into the world of directorships has proven to be a new and challenging experience. Leanne Babic MAICD, a 2022 AICD NFP scholarship winner, reveals how she is applying learnings from her AICD course to her director role at Diabetes South Australia.

    The NFP sector is “for purpose” and that's where the heart and soul of Australia and community really lie for Leanne Babic MAICD, non-executive director at Diabetes South Australia and former CEO of charity Easy Care Gardening.

    “The reason I'm so passionate about the NFP sector is it brings community together and it's for purpose,” she told AICD in a recent interview.

    “It's an opportunity to work with a diverse range of people, including volunteers, right through to maybe the Prime Minister of Australia. You don't know what your day is going to bring. It's always bringing new challenges and to me absolute joy. The not-for-profit sector to me is to be able to connect with people and to be able to make a true difference in their lives.”

    NFP Scholarship recipient Leanne Babic MAICD01:21

    Receiving an AICD NFP scholarship was a turning point for Babic, who before becoming a director in the NFP area in 2020 worked for 15 years in roles ranging from a clinician and researcher through to an executive manager. She completed the AICD’s Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors Program in 2022 after receiving the scholarship.

    “I went in a little bit blind into my first director role. But after the course, I was more aware of what I hadn't known. I learned a lot. I would recommend definitely completing all the online tasks before going into the course, and for me personally, it was the start of my director journey and the start of my lifetime learning.”

    Doing the course face to face proved to be her favourite part of the study. “I was able not only to learn more about being a director and also the financial component of being a director, but also it gave me an opportunity to network with a diverse range of people from executives and people on boards in various non-profits, and I have been able to keep those connections.”

    She has also used insights from the course, mainly the fiduciary duties of what it means to be a director in the non-profit space. “I've been able to directly apply those to my current role at Diabetes South Australia, and I believe that it's probably given me a better preparedness for taking on my next director role.”

    It’s also better informed her non-board work as well. She has worked as a senior manager in the NFP, corporate health, disability and aged care sectors. 

    “I have learnt so much in my directorship journey in the past three years. I have learnt not only what it is to become a good director, but also that it's really important to keep your lifetime learning up and keep current.

    “I also found that I learnt to become a better CEO and executive because I understood things from the board side… I think that was the biggest learning for me.”

    She says she would100 per cent recommend applying for the NFP scholarship”, because of all the value that the course brings, not only in terms of learning and networking opportunities, but also the ongoing learning involved. “It is a lifelong learning journey and you should continue that journey.”

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