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BBI-AICD Breakfast Briefing examines Challenges, Culture and Change in the Not-for-Profit Sector

24 November 2017 | General Interest

Leaders of religious congregations and board directors from across the Catholic education and health sectors have come together for a breakfast briefing in Sydney to examine some of the key governance challenges facing the Not-for-Profit sector in Australia.

The briefing on 24 November was presented by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), in partnership with BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI-TAITE) and examined how NFPs are performing in terms of their management of culture, risk and financial stability.

The briefing was also an opportunity for BBI-TAITE to announce plans to incorporate a new Governance and Canon Law element into the AICD Company Directors and Foundations of Directorship Courses in 2018, building upon its commitment to providing board directors with a holistic understanding of Church governance for a modern world.


The guest speaker at the breakfast briefing was the AICD’s NFP Sector Leader, Mr Phil Butler who shared some valuable insights on the 2017 AICD NFP Governance and Performance Study which involved a detailed survey of almost 2,000 NFP directors and governance leaders.

The study revealed that while many not-for-profits have strong organisational cultures, less than half of them lacked formal processes to measure or manage their culture. It also found that less than half of respondents said that reputation was considered by the board and management when making strategic and operational decisions.

The study findings triggered an engaging discussion at the breakfast briefing on the importance of culture and maintaining the charism of Catholic organisations, especially in a context where growing numbers of laypeople are taking leadership roles on Church boards.

“Culture is not simply a matter for the Church board, but it should permeate everyone within the organisation and as growing numbers of laypeople assume leadership roles, the charism of Church organisations may be expressed in new ways  from that experienced in past decades when these organisations were led exclusively by leaders from religious congregations”, explained the President of the Australian and New Zealand Canon Law Society, Sr Maria Casey RSJ, who was among those attending the event.

A member of the Finance Committee for Catholic Care- Diocese of Broken Bay, Mr Tony Kutra said the breakfast briefing was an invaluable opportunity to network with others engaged in Church governance and to share insights around the importance of good mission and good governance in Church organisations.

The Chair of the Duchesne College Council Board in Brisbane, Mrs Helen Sinclair said she benefited greatly from the interactive discussion at the briefing, especially the conversation around the charism and culture of the Catholic organisation and the importance of stakeholder engagement.

“I believe that is particularly central when looking to recruit a new Principal in a Catholic school, for example, to ensure that leaders of Catholic institutions are committed to maintaining the culture and charism of the organisation- a legacy which is being entrusted to them in that leadership role”, she said.

You can find more information on the AICD-BBI Company Directors Courses on the BBI-TAITE website.

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